Mini Cruises to Bruges
Mini Cruises To Bruges
Despite not having an airport, a direct port, nor an international railway station, it's actually pretty easy to enjoy a break in Bruges. The mini cruise options from the UK include Southampton and Hull departures depending on if you live in the north or the south.
You'll find there is also a difference in facilities on board with the Hull option being a P&O overnight ferry, while the Southampton to Bruges mini cruise being a full service P&O cruise liner which may also stop at one or two other ports during the itinerary.
Popular Cruise Companies To Bruges
Bruges Mini Cruise Guide
Mini Cruise to Bruges From Southampton
A mini cruise to Bruges from Southampton will generally be on one of P&Os large cruise ships, offering a wealth of facilities like swimming pools, sports courts, gym and spa facilities, as well as kids clubs and plenty of social activities for the whole family.
These cruises may also stop at other destinations like St Peter Port in Guernsey or Amsterdam before docking in Zeebrugge where a range of daytrip excursion options will be available to visit and explore Bruges. 2-5 night mini breaks are available from Southampton which visit Bruges/Zeebrugge.
Other companies that also depart from Southampton and have itineraries that include Belgium are Celebrity Cruises, MSC and Cunard (which has a bit more of a grown up, elegant feel). If you're a first time cruiser, it's important to choose the right ship for you and your group. If you're a family with young kids, for example, Cunard won't be for you, and similarly if you're an older couple who likes more of a relaxing holiday, a vibrant Royal Caribbean ship might not be to your taste.
Mini Cruise to Bruges From Hull
Despite running ferries and ultimately a mini cruise option from Hull to Zeebrugge (Bruges), P&O Ferries announced that from 2021 they would no longer be running the route using their ferries. Despite being more of a ferry ship, they often sold overnight trips to Bruges, allowing you to book into a cabin and enjoy the restaurants and entertainment on board, before catching up on some sleep and arriving into Zeebrugge the next morning.
If holidaymakers now want to travel from the North East of England to Bruges, they can either take the DFDS ferry from Hull to Rotterdam, and travel down to Bruges via Antwerp and Ghent by road or train which takes around 3 hours. This is a bit more long winded unfortuntately but there are other options that might be more suitable.
Alternatively, holidaymakers can travel via train to London before jumping on the Eurostar to Brussels and then on the local service to Bruges. While this can be a more environmentally friendly way to get to Belgium, it won't necessarily be the shortest or cheapest. If you'd rather fly, the nearest airports with direct flights to Brussels are Manchester, Newcastle and East Midlands (there are no direct flights from the UK to Ostend-Bruges airport). From there you can take the train, although you may need to change trains in Brussels city centre.
Bruges Mini Cruises With P&O
Southampton based, P&O Cruises are generally the main company that offers mini cruises to Bruges, however, brands like Carnival, Marella or Cunard may also have the odd short break stopping off at Bruges.
There are a large number of cabin types on P&O cruises from Southampton, ranging from inside cabins sleeping up to four adults, all the way up to staterooms with balconies and even double level penthouse suites, so if you have a little extra cash spare, why not upgrade your cabin for one with a view.
Ships may stop at Zeebrugge only or may also visit other ports like Amsterdam, Cherbourg and St Peter Port in Guernsey, during the itinerary. One of the best ways to make the most of your time is booking onto one of P&Os organised excursions. They can cost a bit of money, but the tours allow you to take in the best of the city.
Getting Into Bruges
Cruise ships will arrive into the port of Zeebrugge, about 25 minutes to the north of the city. Tours and excursions can be pre-booked or arranged once you're on the ship. These can vary from a simple coach transfer service, to full day tours of the city and surrounding areas. If you prefer to travel into Bruges city centre at your own pace, you can either take the train from nearby Zeebrugge-Drop train station to Brugge, which takes around 40 minutes, or you can jump in a taxi which will cost in the region of about €50 each way. Once you reach the city, the best way to explore the cobbled streets is on foot.
Things To Do In Bruges
From chocolate tasting and trying local beers, to enjoying a boat ride along the canals, there's plenty of ways to spend your day here in this beautiful city. And did you know Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? A canal boat ride is certainly a unique way to see the city. Tours depart from various parts of the city and several of the excursions include a boat trip as standard. A walking tour is another wonderful way to see the city and its historic centre. A knowledgeable local guide can guide you through the cobble streets and alleyways to find some of the most popular places in the city, including The Belfry Tower on Grote Markt, Basilica of the Holy Blood just off De Burg Square and even the Torture Museum on Wollestraat! Make sure to stop into a couple of famous Belgian chocolate shops on your way back to the meeting point.
Of course, you don't have to head into the city, other day trips can take you out to explore the surrounding area, or you can simply walk over (or jump on a shuttle bus) to nearby Blankenberge, a cute little seaside down, with a lovely sandy beach and cafes. You've got to try the chocolate waffles of course!