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jrmende63

Booked on IONA. Only sailed Carnival/ Royal Caribbean

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7 hours ago, jrmende63 said:

Spike11 what all did you do in Hamburg? 

Eglesbrech has already mentioned lake tours ( you can also tour the canals) and the amazing town hall. We also went to the largest miniature railway in the world ( and apparently Germany’s biggest tourist attraction). It might sounds a bit tacky to some, but it was quite outstanding in size and attention to detail ( you can easily spend two hours in there). There is also St. Mickels Kirk ( excuse spelling) and the contemporary philharmonic building ( which you can visit for free). In addition there is the sobering St. Nicholas’s church ( or what’s left of it). Most of the church was destroyed in WW2, but the tower remains ( and can be visited via a glass lift for superb views). In the basement is a museum detailing the devastating effects of the WW2 bombing campaign ( which basically created a fire storm). 

I’ve only really scratched the surface, we saw lots of other things as we walked round. Hope this gives you a flavour.

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And if anyone’s after chocolates in Brugge, or Zeebrugge for that matter (and why wouldn’t you?), check out Leonidas.

 

Excellent chocolates at a reasonable price, and a fraction of the UK price. Also available in the Netherlands for not much more than Belgium.

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4 hours ago, Spike11 said:

Eglesbrech has already mentioned lake tours ( you can also tour the canals) and the amazing town hall. We also went to the largest miniature railway in the world ( and apparently Germany’s biggest tourist attraction). It might sounds a bit tacky to some, but it was quite outstanding in size and attention to detail ( you can easily spend two hours in there). There is also St. Mickels Kirk ( excuse spelling) and the contemporary philharmonic building ( which you can visit for free). In addition there is the sobering St. Nicholas’s church ( or what’s left of it). Most of the church was destroyed in WW2, but the tower remains ( and can be visited via a glass lift for superb views). In the basement is a museum detailing the devastating effects of the WW2 bombing campaign ( which basically created a fire storm). 

I’ve only really scratched the surface, we saw lots of other things as we walked round. Hope this gives you a flavour.

Fantastic info Spike, thank you. 

St Nicholas is on our list, we passed it last year on the way to the Christmas markets but didn't go in. It is a stunning, Gothic tower. 

We also fancy the Beatles tour which sounds interesting. 

Andy

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5 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

The ports you have selected are interesting with lots to see and do.

 

Rotterdam usually makes passengers very welcome with a small market with local products set up in the cruise terminal and a shanty singing choir if you are off the ship early enough. The terminal is only about a 20 minute walk from the main town centre but the port normally offers a complimentary shuttle bus.

 

In the centre is the massive food market, sounds boring but it is huge and you can find some interesting food and drink products there. The cube houses are also near the shuttle drop off and I would recommend a visit inside the cube which is open to the public if you have an interest in architecture (but you need to be fit as lots of steps).

 

You can organise your own tour of Rotterdam harbour https://www.spido.nl/en/tochten-cruises/rotterdam-havenrondvaart.

 

in Hamburg there is lots to do as well. You can book your own round tour on the Alster lake, just go to the booking huts which are obvious at the side of the lake. There are lots of hop on hop off bus tours just along from the shuttle drop off (you are likely to need a shuttle as big cruise ships are berthed further out of the city).

 

You can book a tour of the impressive Town Hall. It do want to do that book whenever you arrive as they are popular, and there are only a couple in English. You. To only hear all about the Hamburg, the art inside is amazing.

 

Hamburg has some great places to eat and if you want to do the traditional beer and sausage experience with staff in costume then there are places right in the middle that are open for lunch. It is also a great place for shopping with lots of quality shops eg the Alsterhaus right on the lake.

 

Brugge is in my opinion one of the prettiest places in Europe. The ship berths nowhere near the city so you will need transport. P&O offer tours or Brugge on your own. The shuttle takes you to Blankenburg where you then need a train but that takes time and on a first visit you are probably better getting straight onto the city to maximise time. 

 

There is is so much to see in Brugge that your can just wander around. You can however get a boat trip on the canals, a horse drawn carriage tour, mini bus tour etc which give an orientation. You also need to try the excellent chocolates, some of the literally hundreds of beers they produce and the chips and mayonnaise which are a local speciality along with mussels in wine and garlic or rabbit.

 

As others have said just come back with any questions you have.

Fantastic, concise summary and good advice as always Eglesbrech, thank you. 

Andy

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This free (tips based) walking tour of Rotterdam is very good.  You get to see the fabulous food market, the cube houses, the cathedral,  learn of the history etc.  We enjoyed it a lot.  

https://freewalkingtourrotterdam.com/

 

As has been posted Rotterdam is a huge port (The Europort) and the sail in and out is fascinating.  Try to get a set in the Crows Nest bar (or whatever they name it) at the front of the ship, get a glass of your favourite tipple and let the world slip by for an hour or two

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17 minutes ago, AndyMichelle said:

Fantastic info Spike, thank you. 

St Nicholas is on our list, we passed it last year on the way to the Christmas markets but didn't go in. It is a stunning, Gothic tower. 

We also fancy the Beatles tour which sounds interesting. 

Andy

No problem. Interesting that the church was designed by George Gilbert Scott ( who also designed St. Pancras Station)! We didn’t have time to do any Beatles stuff ( even though we had a full day there)!

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18 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

The ports you have selected are interesting with lots to see and do.

 

Rotterdam usually makes passengers very welcome with a small market with local products set up in the cruise terminal and a shanty singing choir if you are off the ship early enough. The terminal is only about a 20 minute walk from the main town centre but the port normally offers a complimentary shuttle bus.

 

In the centre is the massive food market, sounds boring but it is huge and you can find some interesting food and drink products there. The cube houses are also near the shuttle drop off and I would recommend a visit inside the cube which is open to the public if you have an interest in architecture (but you need to be fit as lots of steps).

 

You can organise your own tour of Rotterdam harbour https://www.spido.nl/en/tochten-cruises/rotterdam-havenrondvaart.

 

in Hamburg there is lots to do as well. You can book your own round tour on the Alster lake, just go to the booking huts which are obvious at the side of the lake. There are lots of hop on hop off bus tours just along from the shuttle drop off (you are likely to need a shuttle as big cruise ships are berthed further out of the city).

 

You can book a tour of the impressive Town Hall. It do want to do that book whenever you arrive as they are popular, and there are only a couple in English. You. To only hear all about the Hamburg, the art inside is amazing.

 

Hamburg has some great places to eat and if you want to do the traditional beer and sausage experience with staff in costume then there are places right in the middle that are open for lunch. It is also a great place for shopping with lots of quality shops eg the Alsterhaus right on the lake.

 

Brugge is in my opinion one of the prettiest places in Europe. The ship berths nowhere near the city so you will need transport. P&O offer tours or Brugge on your own. The shuttle takes you to Blankenburg where you then need a train but that takes time and on a first visit you are probably better getting straight onto the city to maximise time. 

 

There is is so much to see in Brugge that your can just wander around. You can however get a boat trip on the canals, a horse drawn carriage tour, mini bus tour etc which give an orientation. You also need to try the excellent chocolates, some of the literally hundreds of beers they produce and the chips and mayonnaise which are a local speciality along with mussels in wine and garlic or rabbit.

 

As others have said just come back with any questions you have.

Thank you so much for this information. Brugge will be on our 40th anniversary. I love the idea of a boat trip on the canals. Also I think I need chocolate after 40years! Beer is right up my alley as well. This is going to be a wonderful cruise. 

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Everyone is being so helpful! I am enjoying learning what we might like to do. We definitely will be going as I paid off the cruise today! I am very happy to have that out of the way. Now to wait for flights and reviews..

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6 hours ago, jrmende63 said:

Thank you so much for this information. Brugge will be on our 40th anniversary. I love the idea of a boat trip on the canals. Also I think I need chocolate after 40years! Beer is right up my alley as well. This is going to be a wonderful cruise. 

P&O will probably offer the boat trip as one of their tours or do a Brugge on your own with them and get there quickly to book a boat. The carriage rides are really romantic too.

 

I  don't recommend that you try to shuttle and train on a first visit as you need to know your way around to do it. There are taxis but they are very expensive unless you can pre book and fix a price, others may be able to advise re this.

 

Beer is a big thing in Brugge and every beer has its own special glass. There is a beer wall that shows the beers of Brugge. If you are standing in the main square looking towards the bell tower take the main street to the left (not the one to the next square, straight on left). Keep to the left hand side of the pavement and a few minutes walk along you will see a stone entrance, the beer wall is there and they have a shop and pub to taste them with a view over the canal.

 

Brugge also has a lovely old brewery which does good food in a nice setting and a good local beer, Staff Hendric https://www.straffehendrik.be/en/brouwerij. They also offer tours but perhaps leave that for a second trip as you may not have time for it all.

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15 hours ago, jrmende63 said:

Thank you so much for this information. Brugge will be on our 40th anniversary. I love the idea of a boat trip on the canals. Also I think I need chocolate after 40years! Beer is right up my alley as well. This is going to be a wonderful cruise. 

If you look up 'how to get to Brugge' on the web you will find a shuttle bus which runs from the port to the town. It's very easy to do and you also get discount off a boat trip.

Edited by happy v

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I came back to post thank you  all for the information, but we have canceled this cruise. We booked a cruise to Iceland and two trips to Europe 3 months apart is not doable. 

 

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7 hours ago, jrmende63 said:

I came back to post thank you  all for the information, but we have canceled this cruise. We booked a cruise to Iceland and two trips to Europe 3 months apart is not doable. 

 

Wrap up and waterproof well for Iceland.At least in Sept onwards when we went.

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Drinks are cheaper on P&O, though much less choice than on RCI (I've never cruised Carnival).  No 18% service charge added to drinks, meals etc.  No daily tips.  Most P&O ships are less 'blingy' than American ones.  Sterling prices on board.  The food is very much geared to British tastes.  Sample menus are available on the website.  There'll be a curry every day.  You'll often find a proper British pudding (spotted dick etc.)  on the menu.  Especially in the buffet.  Custard!  There'll be tea cakes and scones in the buffet after about 3pm.  You'll get a decent cup of tea (PG Tips now rather than Twinings), as you'd well expect with a British line and lots of Indian crew onboard!  White Company toiletries.  I'm looking forward to my cruise on Iona and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

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