Hello. We are on a cruise that will stop in the Greenock port from 8am - 7pm. I can't be sure that we will be able to get off right at 8am but I'd like some suggestions on what to see. Is it worth heading to Edinburgh to see the castle then stop in Glasgow on the way back? What's the quickest mode of transportation? We will be there sept 12.
For independent transportation options Greenock to Glasgow, suggest you visit the Rome2Rio website:
We were on a cruise a few years ago that stopped in Greenock for the day, but since we'd been to Edinburgh on a previous visit, we concentrated on Glasgow. If you like compact museums, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was one of our highlights.
As I recall, once we disembarked from the ship, there was an excellent group of tourism volunteers (in kilts) on site offering maps and suggestions to anyone who needed ideas.
Several of our cruise-mates enjoyed a guided excursion to Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond.
If you look at a map, Edinburgh is on the complete other side of Scotland to Greenock, so imo, whilst it's possible, it's not ideal to visit Edinburgh from a day cruise stop there.
Afaik there is no direct public transport connection between Greenock and Edinburgh. The quickest way is to take the train from Greenock (central or west - take a cab or walk from the cruise terminal) to Glasgow Central station, then you change stations to Glasgow Queen St (walk, bus or cab) and catch another train to Edinburgh. All in this will take the best part of 2 hours each way and cost about £28 rtn per person (£38 if you travel before 9am). So that's about 4 hours on the train in total - and you obviously need to leave plenty spare time on the way back so you don't miss the departure of your ship!
I guess the cruise company may offer a trip, but you'll be driving through central Scotland at rush hour, so you're still probably talking 2 hours each way in a coach.
Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are large cities with lots to see, you can't really do either of them a great deal of justice in a day, so trying to see both in the day just isn't going to work. With only 4-5 hours in Edinburgh you'll be rushed there, nevermind trying to see anything in Glasgow too!
If you want to go to Glasgow then you take the train as mentioned above, the journey time in that case is about 45mins each way and the fare £7 to £10 rtn per person.
Another option is a tour to the Highlands, afaik a number of companies such as rabbies offer tours picking up from the quayside - take a look at their site for itineraries and booking info.