The famous white chalk cliffs cradle England’s southeast’s principal cross-Channel port of Dover. It lies only twenty-one miles from the continent, and on a clear day the low cliffs of Calais are visible. The Romans put Dover on the map when, having conquered Europe, they decided to move on toward Britannia, using the natural harbor of Dover as the base for their northern fleet. They erected a lighthouse to guide their ships into port. Following their withdrawal from England in the 4th century when the Normans constructed the keep that now presides over the bulk of Dover Castle. This superbly positioned fortress had been in continuous use as some sort of military installation until 1958. A network of tunnels constructed beneath the castle during the Napoleonic wars was extended during World War II for use as headquarters for the Dunkirk evacuation. More recently, sections of the 3.5 miles of tunnels were provisioned as a refuge for Kent’s elite in the event of nuclear war. Now that there seems no longer a need for such facilities, the tunnels have been restored and opened to the public. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at Dover’s Western Docks. The distance to downtown Dover is two miles. Taxis may have to be called for pierside pickup. Dover is 85 miles from London. Frequent train service connects the port with London; traveling time is approximately 90 minutes (subject to traffic conditions). Shopping Stores in Dover are limited interest to visitors. Serious shoppers will want to set time aside to explore the endless shopping opportunities in London. Some of the most exclusive shops are found along Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets. Upscale department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty offer convenient shopping with everything under one roof. Designer clothing, china and antiques may be of interest. Purchases are subject to a 17.5% VAT (value-added tax). Guests not residing in one of the EU countries can obtain a partial refund of the VAT after spending a certain amount of money. Proper forms have to be requested from the shop at the time of purchase. The refund can be claimed at the airport VAT Refund Desk; if leaving the ship, check on board with the Purser’s Office for procedures. The local currency is the British pound. Cuisine The town of Dover has a limited selection of pubs and restaurants and more can be found in the surrounding countryside, serving meals cooked from locally grown produce and accompanied by a wide variety of bars and wines. Other Sites The county of Kent is a fascinating part of England that is dotted with Castles, historic houses, beautiful gardens and bustling market towns. Dover Castle Dominating the town from its hilltop location, this is Europe’s oldest concentrically-planned castle. From its position you can enjoy a fine panorama of Dover, its white cliffs and the English Channel. Inside the castle is Hellfire, a secret underground war room used by Winston Churchill. In addition to Dover Castle, other attractions include the Old Town Goal, a new museum, the White Cliffs Experience and the Roman Painted House. This ancient guest house was discovered during the construction of a car park. The excavated rooms feature the finest Roman wall paintings in England. Guests in transit to the next cruise may check with the Tour Office on board for additional sightseeing possibilities or arrangements by private car.