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cleobella

Le Havre in April

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Does anyone know if it would be risky planning a cruise to LeHavre in April. This is an important stop for us as my husbands family comes from the area. We are looking at an Apr cruise but I wonder about risk of missing the stop due to weather conditions?

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Posted (edited)

Le Havre is a well-protected and pretty weather-proof port. That's one reason why its a turnaround port (more accurately a boarding port for some passengers) for both European and trans-Atlantic cruises.

The risk of the weather preventing berthing is low, even in April. But big cruise ships are seriously high and slab-sided, so even the easiest ports can be problematic with a high wind from the wrong direction.

 

There are other considerations

- at any time of year the French penchant for industrial action & blockading ports is a fact of life. Again a risk, again quite a low risk.

- if Le Havre is the last port-of-call (which it often is) there's a risk that if the cruise is delayed by weather or mechanical issues the port will be skipped in order to get to its turnaround port on-time. Again a low risk, especially if the turnaround port is just a few hours across the English Channel at Southampton.

 

So low risks, not significantly increased by the time of year.

But the general advice from Cruise Critic members is that if you cruise solely in order to visit a particular port you should think again.

 

If Le Havre is the last port-of-call, have you considered ending your cruise there, spending more time with hubby's family, mebbe even a few days in Paris or elsewhere, and flying home from Paris.

For some reason not permitted by NCL, but it's often done with other cruise lines.

Or, as per my opening paragraph, could you consider a cruise which starts in Le Havre. 
Certainly some Princess, Costa and MSC cruises do. 

 

Which ship/s are you considering?

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

Edited by John Bull

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Thanks for the info. So, we have decided to do a Celebrity Spain and Canary Islands trip now at the end of Sept 2020. I has hoping to find a short  cruise out Southampton or Portsmouth to Le Havre area, but there are none from what I can see. There seems to be a ferry.  Any advise for tagging on an after cruise trip to this French port? 

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There is a ferry option through Brittany ferries (Portsmouth to Le Havre or Le Havre to Portsmouth). Looking at their website, it seems to be about a 7 hour ride. You can book a seat or a cabin with beds (for an additional cost). However, if you're looking to go to London, I'd recommend doing the Eurostar instead. Take the train to Paris to Gare Saint-Lazare and transfer by metro or taxi to Gare du Nord. 

 

Le Havre to Paris is about 2.5 hours by train or 3 hours by bus. You could take the train into Paris and enjoy an after cruise experience there. You can take a taxi from the cruise terminal to the train station (or walk, if you desire). No need to worry about taking a connection either! If you opt to stay in France, you'll most likely be flying out of Paris anyways so it may be worth it to stay at least a couple of days in Paris. Honestly, I think it's much easier to take the train than to drive to Paris and worry about having to navigate the roads in an unfamiliar country, especially if you don't know the language.

 

From Paris, you can take a day trip out to Versailles (less than an hour's train ride), to Disneyland, or to any French city you like! It's the main hub for transportation. You could opt to make Paris your home base and take day trips by train. 

 

Another option would be to stop in the town of Rouen, which is on the Le Havre-Paris line - takes about 1.5 hours. Rouen is the place where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake and features a beautiful cathedral and museum. It reminds me of what Le Havre would have been like had it not been bombed during WWII. From Rouen, you can take a regional train to go to Vernon and visit Giverny, where you can see Monet's gardens (including the famous Japanese bridge and water lily ponds). That would make an excellent day trip! It should be noted that you can visit Rouen and Giverny through Paris. There is a direct train from Paris to Vernon and from Paris to Rouen, so you can absolutely do these as a day trip if you like.

 

You could also rent a car and go tour Normandy. The D-Day beaches are excellent if you're interested in history. Seeing the Bayeux tapestry in Bayeux is another wonderful experience! However, these sites are not easily accessible by bus or by train so renting a car is really the best way to go about it. You'll be able to pass by cute little fishing towns along the way like Honfleur. Mont St. Michel is another beautiful and unique town to visit. There is a train from Paris to Mont St. Michel but it is quite infrequent so driving from Le Havre may be easier. 

 

 

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Dates might not work out, but ....................

 

P&O and Cunard offer mini-break cruises from Southampton, one to three nights, usually including Bruges and Le Havre.

Fred Olsen have small cruise ships for short cruises from Southampton or Portsmouth to France, including up the River Seine from Le Havre to Rouen. Some sailings from Southampton & Portsmouth but mainly from other UK ports.

Cruise & Maritime offer mini-breaks from Portsmouth, but I don't see any to Le Havre.

 

I know that some small (and usually expensive) cruise ships call at Honfleur, which is across the Seine from Le Havre. But probably as part of 7+ day cruises.

 

But simplest would be Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth.

Routes to Le Havre, Ouistreham/Caen, and Cherbourg. Or St Malo, but that's further west 

6 - 7 hour day and overnight sailings on traditional ferries, or one route (varies which route) served by hi-speed catamaran, about 3 - 3.5 hrs. 

Portsmouth is about an hour from Southampton by train or National Express bus (bus is best because it has a stop at Portsmouth International Port, by train means taxi from station to port)

Ouistreham & Cherbourg are the more-convenient for the D-Day beaches & sights, though Le Havre is only about an hour away. But from any port you need a tour or rental car to easily visit the D-Day sights. Well-worth 2 - 3 full days for D-Day,

Or if you want to go further afield (Brittany, Mont St Michel, Loire Valley, etc.), the ferry to St Malo might make more sense.

https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/ferry-routes/ferries-france

 

JB :classic_smile:

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JB and Simplerubies thank you both! All the suggestions are great, and give me a few good options. You guys are awesome!

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