We agree with Dave on every item (it's Dave's lucky day
) As to your ports there are 3 basic ways to handle ports in Europe (and just about everywhere). You can, of course, book the cruise line excursions which are generally somewhat overpriced (both the tour franchiser onboard and the cruise line need to get their cut of the money) and usually on large buses (I call them cattle calls). You can also arrange for private excursions (this can be expensive unless you have a few others that want to join you). And finally you can do your pre-cruise homework and simply do things on your own. For us, after more then forty years of international travel we seldom have ever taken an excrusion. In Ponta Del Gado , where we will again visit in a couple of weeks, we prefer to simply rent a car and drive the more scenic routes of the island. As to Cork, you will be docking in Cobh and most will pay for excursions to Cork. If you want to simply go to Cork you can walk to the train station (only a couple of min from the pier) and take the train into Cork. Once in Cork you might want to use the Hop on Hop Off Bus to see most of the city or simply do a lot of walking. LeHavre requires some tough choices. First time visitors usually opt to go to Normandy (D-Day stuff) or make the long trip (up to 3 hours each way) into Paris. If this is your first trip to Europe and you want to see the D-Day stuff this might be the place to book an excursion. The alternative is to rent a car and drive yourself (we have done this many times) but many first-time visitors do not like to drive in Europe. As to Paris, it is possible to get there on the train (its actually faster then the tour buses) but its a long way to go and you might be concerned about getting back to the ship on time. This would leave you with several excursion options such as just taking the bus and doing Paris on your own or using a city tour. Just keep in mind that you will spend nearly 6 hours in transit just getting to and from Paris. Actually, there are a number or cruisers who will often arrange to disembark in LeHavre so they can stay in France rather then go on to England.