We did this trip on the Golden Princess a couple of years back. My mind is a bit fuzzy on cost details but here goes. You are right about the cities being far from the ports. You will dock in industrial areas most of the time. If Kirkwall and South Queensferry (Edinburg) are on you itinerary these are tender ports. Princess does arrange for shuttles into town. At LeHarve it is a very long trip to Normandy or Paris. We choose the Princess tour to Normandy and it was an all day adventure. Hope this helps a bit.