Northern Ireland’s Castle Ward
While millions of fans immerse themselves in the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones television series, Crystal Cruises is unveiling a new Thrones-focused Crystal Adventure in the show’s key filming location, Northern Ireland. Crystal guests will explore several iconic production locations near Belfast, where they will step into mythical medieval life, shooting arrows, taking photographs with show costumes, and learning how real, centuries-old castles and towers are transformed into sets for the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The half-day excursion is offered with an August 24, seven-day luxury cruise through the British Isles aboard Crystal Symphony and a September 5, 14-day Ireland/Iceland & New England Transatlantic voyage aboard Crystal Serenity.
From Belfast, guests will travel to the shores of Strangford Lough, location of 18th century Castle Ward and estate, which includes Forest Park and Audley’s Castle. The 820-acre landscape and medieval buildings have served as pivotal sites for the show’s first and second seasons, such as Winterfell, the Lannister encampment, Robb Stark’s campgrounds, and where he first fell in love with Talisa. Participants will learn how special effects are used to transform the real castles into those on-screen, and play their own Game game, matching actual sites to show scenes. Warrior-wannabes can also try their hands at the medieval sport of archery, and a photo op with series costumes will showcase the ingenuity that goes into creating characters’ different looks.
“Both show fans, and those who’ve never seen an episode, can immerse themselves in a fascinating, fantasy world, while connecting with the beautiful history and countryside of Northern Ireland in a very unique way,” says John Stoll, vice president of land programs.
“Enter the Game of Thrones” Crystal Adventure is available for $289 per person. The August 24 cruise sails from Dublin to Belfast and Londonderry, Northern Ireland; Galway and Cork, Ireland; Portland, England; Saint-Helier/Jersey, Channel Islands; and Dover/London, England, with three maiden calls en route. The September 5 voyage sails from London/Southampton to Guernsey/St. Peter Port, Channel Islands; Waterford, Dublin and Belfast, Ireland; Reykjavíc, Iceland (overnight); Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Boston, Massachusetts. Until April 30, all-inclusive “Book Now” fares start at $3,405 and $4,925, respectively, per person.
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