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Guernsey is the kind of place I probably wouldn’t have visited if it hadn’t been the last port of call on our Princess Cruise press trip. And if it weren’t for the assignment with Princess Cruises, I might have never taken a cruise. Yet, last month, I found myself on a cruise to Guernsey – and it ended up being a highlight of the week.

It was one of those happy accidents that reminded me why I love travel. For me, travel is having an open mind and facing new challenges with curiosity rather than fear.

Even though I never expected to find myself there, I’m glad our Princess cruise took us to Guernsey. Because I felt like our day there reminded me of those very important lessons. It reminded me why I travel – and why I should travel closer to home.

Oh, and did I mention how much fun it was?

Why visit Guernsey on a cruise?

Aside from the fact that I was unlikely to visit Guernsey any other way, taking a cruise there was a great way to visit. Guernsey is big enough to spend an entire week or more exploring, but you can see a surprising amount in a day.

In fact, one of the best things about visiting Guernsey on a cruise is that you disembark right into the capital of St Peter Port. That means there’s no need to organise a paid excursion or transport – you can just stroll into town and do what I love best: getting lost in an unfamiliar place.


RELATED READ: 14 things I didn’t expect on my first cruise.


I barely scratched the surface with Guernsey but there was no need to venture far. While our other Princess Cruises excursions took us up to an hour’s drive from the port, I decided to stick close to St Peter Port in Guernsey.

It’s easy to rush on to the big sights and miss what’s right in front of you when you travel. So, I decided to see how much you could enjoy without leaving the St Peter Port cruise port area. And it turns out there’s a whole lot!

If you don’t relish getting lost as much as I do and you’d rather go in a little more prepared, here’s what to expect on a cruise to Guernsey and what to do while you’re there…


Princess Cruises Guernsey cruise ship view from Candie Gardens
A view of our ship, Sapphire Princess, from St Peter Port in Guernsey.

What to do in St Peter Port

St Peter Port is a small but charming little town with no shortage of streets to explore. It won’t be hard to pass an entire day there, so don’t be afraid to spend the entire day ashore. Here are some things you won’t want to miss:

 


Sip a cup of Guernsey tea

Well… a cup of tea with Guernsey milk, that is.

One of the only things I knew about Guernsey before visiting was that the cows make good milk. Guernsey cattle are famous for their high-buttermilk, high-protein milk, which gives Guernsey dairy products a creamy taste and texture. And yes, it’s delicious!

You could go straight to the ice-cream, but it’s not the only way to try that famous Guernsey milk. Plus, in my experience, it’s pretty hard to find. It’s much easier to taste the milk for yourself in a good old cup of tea.

Travel tip: Ask for milk on the side so you can try it on its own, too.


Princess Cruises Guernsey tea in Candie Gardens


Walk through Candie Gardens

Candie Gardens is an award-winning garden just a short stroll from the St Peter Port cruise port. Once part of a private estate, it’s now open for everyone to enjoy and completely free to visit. 

If for no other reason, the gardens will give you a great view over the city – including the port itself. We enjoyed a fantastic view of the Sapphire Princess cruise ship from the gardens, which is where the photo earlier in this post was taken.


Princess Cruises Guernsey candie gardens in St Peter Port


Feast on fish and chips

As a Brit, I’ve eaten a lot of fish and chips in my lifetime, but the haddock and chips I had in Guernsey was quite possibly the best.

Beeton’s is a short walk from the port, but the journey will take you right along the coast line. It has an extensive menu with all the favourites, as well as some more unorthodox options, and an outdoor area to sit at if the weather’s on your side. 

Travel tip: Order a side of gravy on the side to dip your chips in!


Eating fish and chips at St Peter Port in Guernsey on a cruise with Princess Cruises


Take advantage of tax-free shopping

Guernsey is not in the EU, so shopping is VAT free. That means you can pick up everything from clothes to beauty supplies at a lower price than you would in the UK.

Taking a cruise to Guernsey is a great way to stock up on products because, unlike airlines, there are no luggage restrictions. And if, like us, you’re sailing back to Southampton, the only limit is what you can carry.


The main shopping street in St Peter Port, Guernsey
Market Street is St Peter Port, Guernsey

Hear the sound of cannon fire

If you find yourself on land at midday, make your way to Castle Cornet. Entrance is £10.50, but you don’t need to venture inside to enjoy it.

As well as being a great spot to explore – and take in just how impressive the cruise ship is! – a cannon is fired at midday. I found myself right below the cannon by chance. I knew about it but completely forgot about it… until the announcement came at 11.55am!


Midday cannon firing at Castle Cornet in St Peter Port, Guernsey, on a cruise to Guernsey with Princess Cruises


Send a postcard from the oldest post box in the British Isles

Even if you’re not looking for one, you might notice the post boxes in Guernsey. Rather than the royal red that’s famously found all over the UK, Guernsey’s post boxes are a navy blue colour.

Except for one post box, that is. 

There’s a single red post box on the island of Guernsey and it happens to be the oldest post box in the British Isles. It’s proudly marked “Letter Box 1” and is still in use today.


Oldest post box in the British Isles, Letter Box 1 in St Peter Port, Guernsey


Take a walk to a nature reserve

Chateau de Marais is one of only three castles in Guernsey and around a 25-minute walk north of the port area. The walk there will take you along the coast and into a more residential area, so you’ll get a taste of what life in Guernsey is like away from the crowds. 

The castle is set in the grounds of a small nature reserve and makes a great spot for a picnic lunch or afternoon rest.


Nature reserve near Chateau de Marais in Guernsey


3 things to know before your cruise to Guernsey

To my surprise, Guernsey is a fantastic place to travel on a cruise. In fact, it may have been my favourite stop of all on our 7-day Europe cruise with Princess!

If you want to make the most of your day, though, there are some things worth knowing. Here are three things to consider before you book any cruise to Guernsey.


#1 – You’ll have to take a tender to shore

Guernsey is an anchorage port, meaning you’ll need to take a tender to land. 

I was worried that it would mean queues and waiting before the day had even begun, but it was surprisingly fast. Everybody on board our ship, the Sapphire Princess, could collect tickets for the tender service. Then, when it was your time slot, you simply hop on the boat and enjoy the 5 minute ride to shore.

The only issue you might have is if you have any kind of mobility issues. Wheelchairs aren’t allowed on the lifeboats and you need to be able to walk on and off (3-4 steps) unaided.


Princess Cruises tender in St Peter Port Guernsey


#2 – You might not actually stop

Stopping at St Peter Port is completely weather dependent. If the conditions aren’t right, the tender service simply can’t carry passengers to shore. And with the tender, there’s no way to disembark a cruise ship at St Peter Port.

That means your cruise may not even stop in St Peter Port. It’s a risk you take when you book a cruise to Guernsey, but it adds to the fun. After all, the worst case scenario is you end up with an extra “sea day” to explore the ship!


Princess Cruises Guernsey St Peter Port
The view of Castle Cornet as you arrive in St Peter Port

#3 – Watch your data while you’re there

Unless you’re willing to splash a fortune on the maritime network fees, you’ll probably have your mobile data switched off at sea. If that’s the case, you’ll probably be excited to switch it back on once your feet touch the land in Guernsey. 

If you don’t have data coverage in France, though, you might want to keep your phone on airplane mode. During our time in Guernsey, my phone switched back and forth between French and UK networks without warning. 

Given that Guernsey is only eight miles from France, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s just something to be aware of – especially if connecting to a French network is likely to rack up a huge bill!


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