Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Making the Most of Portland (Stonehenge)

Making the Most of Portland (Stonehenge)


GETTING THERE

 The Disney Magic will dock at Portland's single-berth Britannia Terminal. When she makes her inaugural visit on May 23, 2017 the Magic will be the largest cruise ship to ever call at the port. Local meet-and-greet teams will be on hand offering maps and advice. Free shuttle buses await to take you to Weymouth on the mainland (a 25 minute ride), with the last return trip departing one hour before All Aboard time. Another free shuttle will take you to the port's gates, near Portland Castle. Taxis are also available. Weyline (+44 (0) 1304 777 777) provides flat-rate taxi fares negotiated with the port, and the 501 bus also offers service to popular tourism spots in Portland and Weymouth. An all-day, adult ticket should be about £6, payable in cash. All Ashore on May 23, 2017 is 11:00 am, All Aboard is 7:00 pm.

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ACTIVITIES

Though Stonehenge is the area's headline attraction, it's a 90-minute drive. The area has much to offer without traveling quite so far. Just a half-mile from the ship is Portland Castle. Though not very imposing, it dates back to Henry VIII yet still played a role in both World Wars. Portland Bill is a scenic lighthouse at the island's southern tip. Both are open for tours. Neighboring Weymouth is the place to go if you want to "explore the port." The Victorian town has a charming waterfront and plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop. Nature-oriented tours may visit the water lily exhibit at nearby Bennetts Water Gardens, the sub-tropical gardens and swan sanctuary at Abbotsbury, or the Arne Nature Reserve. Portland is in the midst of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to ancient rock formations that include the Durdle Door stone arch and Lulworth Cove. Boat and kayak tours are popular ways to experience these sights. Visits to manor houses may also be on tap, including Minterne House with its family link to the Churchills, Lulworth Castle. 30 minutes north of Portland is Cerne Abbas, a picturesque village that's home to the famous Cerne Abbas Giant, a 180-foot tall naked male figure etched into a chalk hillside. Military buffs may enjoy the Tank Museum at Bovington Camp, situated on an active military base. 30 minutes east of Portland are the imposing ruins of Corfe Castle. If you're intent on a visit to Stonehenge, we suggest an excursion that includes a stop at nearby Salisbury Cathedral; you'll get much more bang for your time on the road. A somewhat longer drive can bring you to famed spa city of Bath, home to Jane Austen and a setting for some of her novels, where you can still experience the Roman Baths and glorious, Georgian-era architecture. Dorset Tours has the only tour booking desk in the cruise terminal: http://dorsettours.com

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SAFETY

Overall, this is a low crime region, with the crime rate in Portland being particularly low. Normal precautions are recommended if you plan to explore Weymouth, Salisbury, Bath, and other larger communities; be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowds (though considering when you visit, crowds should be at a minimum), and keep a close watch on your packs, purses, and parcels.

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