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Lorizack

Viking Shuttles Bruges

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On our upcoming Trade Routes of The Middle Ages Cruise, we have planned to venture into Bruges on our own, using a Viking shuttle. We’ve never been on an ocean cruise before, so this is a huge leap of courage in an otherwise highly scheduled and guided list of excursions. From what I can read online, Bruges is very walkable and easy to navigate. But I’m getting cold feet! Will there be a shuttle? Should I safely book the ‘included excursion’, which doesn’t even go into Bruges? Or is this do-able? Any advice on shuttles or Bruges would be appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

We booked the optional Bruges tour and I'm glad we did.

We were on the Along Europe's Western Coast cruise earlier this year, which is almost identical to yours with the exception of the northern portion. I recall that if you did Bruges on your own you had to take a short train ride and I believe there was a shuttle to the train station. The port is very large and security is tight and it took a while to get outside of the port area where you might find other transportation.

 

Bruges is a marvelous city and should not be missed. We've been there twice.

 

BTW When in Portsmouth we took the included tour and hopped off the bus right at the Historic Dockyards and spent the afternoon touring the Mary Rose Museum  (incredible museum, one of the best I've ever seen) and touring Nelson's flagship Victory. It was one of the best parts of the trip. I highly recommend it.

Edited by OneSixtyToOne

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We did Trade Routes last fall, and it is a fabulous cruise. Bruges was our top priority on the trip, and I was worried that the optional excursions with Viking might all be sold out by the time we got to book our excursions. However, my fears were unfounded, and we had no trouble booking the Bruges On Your Own excursion with Viking. It was modestly priced (maybe $49 per person?), and provides the roundtrip transportation directly to the drop off spot right outside the center of the city. It is very walkable, with something great to look at everywhere you go. Chocolate shops are everywhere, and we had a lovely lunch at a little place off the main square (see below). As luck would have it, we were there on market day, which was a bonus.

 

We also did the included tour of the Naval Dock Yards in Portsmouth, as mentioned in the previous post, and it was really interesting. Malaga was an unexpected delight. All in all, even with the bad weather that caused us to miss Falmouth and experience rough seas and some rain, it was a great trip.DSC06303.thumb.JPG.f83ef32d4fb422d2aaa03e72846696b4.JPG

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Thank you both for some excellent advice!  There is still room on the Bruges On Your Own excursion, so I think I will go ahead and grabbed two spots. We will appreciate knowing that our transportation has been arranged, and we can then look forward to lovely Bruges.  I also thank you for the heads up on Portsmouth. So very much to look forward to.

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On 8/27/2019 at 10:31 PM, Lorizack said:

Thank you both for some excellent advice!  There is still room on the Bruges On Your Own excursion, so I think I will go ahead and grabbed two spots. We will appreciate knowing that our transportation has been arranged, and we can then look forward to lovely Bruges.  I also thank you for the heads up on Portsmouth. So very much to look forward to.

Whatever you do, DON’T miss Bruges.  It is very easy to navigate on your own.  Market day is Wednesday in the main square.  We had two days there and could have enjoyed even more time.  Flemish stew was wonderful.  Belgium waffles with strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate—yummmm. I understand the pot of steamed mussels was fabulous.  Loved walking along the canals and quaint streets. 

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Bruges is lovely and easy to stroll on your own.  If Viking offers a shuttle or another way to get there take it.   I bought this  little book in London before our train left for Belgium and it is with my sister now for her visit to Bruges.  Very helpful maps that fit in a pocket. https://www.amazon.com/Bruges-PopOut-Map-Maps/dp/1910218316/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=bruges+pop+out+map&qid=1567112240&s=books&sr=1-1 

I posted a few photos I took in 2012.  I am hoping to create our own Bruges extension to our Danube cruise next year.

IMG_1062.JPG

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IMG_1141.JPG

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10 hours ago, LeRenardrouge said:

Whatever you do, DON’T miss Bruges.  It is very easy to navigate on your own.  Market day is Wednesday in the main square.  We had two days there and could have enjoyed even more time.  Flemish stew was wonderful.  Belgium waffles with strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate—yummmm. I understand the pot of steamed mussels was fabulous.  Loved walking along the canals and quaint streets. 

I can vouch for the delicious Flemish stew at the Bistro de Pompe shown in my earlier post. I tried to recreate it for our family Christmas Eve dinner this year, but alas the Belgian beer that was available here just wasn't the same. The market in the square had a stand  where they made Belgian waffles to order. There were flower stands with more fresh flowers than we stock in the florist shop where I work, but then they are just a couple of hours from the world's largest flower auction at Aslsmeer, Netherlands!  

 

I adore Bruges. Would love to go back one day.

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Thanks to everyone. I did book the Bruges On Your Own excursion. In Canadian dollars it was 64$ each. I expect that the peace of mind which will come from having our transportation arranged will be worth it. I’ve uploaded walking apps and made note of all suggestions. T minus 18 days to our adventure!

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Bruges is worth seeing. The train is a good option. It’s cheap, fast, and has a free shuttle from the train station to the center of town.  It is a better option than buying transportation from the cruise. In May, we had OBC.  We bought “Bruges on your own”. We figured it would be more convenient. Not so.  The bus left us off at the edge of town. The train shuttle went into the town center. We had to walk into town and return to the bus park. It wasn’t a really long walk. It took away time in the town.  We took the canal boat ride for 10 euros. It was a good time.  There are lots of shops,  cafes, art galleries, churches, etc. be sure to buy chocolate.  Have a good time.

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Glad you’ll get to see Bruges. It was a real highlight for us when we took your cruise in 2018. 

 

For anyone else reading this thread and wondering, it’s very easy to get into Bruges on your own. That’s the one place where we did our own thing rather than take an excursion. When you walk out the gates of the port area, there’s a shuttle company to your right and across the street. It’s cheap and runs frequently. You can book ahead or you can just show up. Rick Steves goes into more detail, or I’d be happy to provide more info if desired. 

 

My only complaint about Bruges is that we didn’t have nearly enough time there! 

 

 

63634888-95BE-4142-BE5D-F5CE92D55CDF.jpeg

Edited by Twitchly

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I did watch the Rick Steves walking tour video, along with any others I could find.  Looks like a major theme for anyone visiting Bruges is food...glorious food! So I’ve got those figured out. Beer, hot chocolate, frites, waffles. Beyond that, anything else we should check out? On my bucket list would be Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, if it’s not too difficult to arrange.

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This may have changed, but the last time I was in Bruges, it was possible to simply walk in and see the Madonna and Child.  We were there in the off season, so hopefully your experience will be the same.

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On 9/9/2019 at 3:48 PM, Twitchly said:

Glad you’ll get to see Bruges. It was a real highlight for us when we took your cruise in 2018. 

 

For anyone else reading this thread and wondering, it’s very easy to get into Bruges on your own. That’s the one place where we did our own thing rather than take an excursion. When you walk out the gates of the port area, there’s a shuttle company to your right and across the street. It’s cheap and runs frequently. You can book ahead or you can just show up. Rick Steves goes into more detail, or I’d be happy to provide more info if desired. 

 

My only complaint about Bruges is that we didn’t have nearly enough time there! 

 

 

63634888-95BE-4142-BE5D-F5CE92D55CDF.jpeg

Hi Twitchly,

I had read there were a couple of shuttle companies close by. Do you remember the name of the company you used, and do they take credit cards?  My husband and I were thinking of doing that instead of the ship’s excursion.  Did you go around this time of year?  We’re going in early October and wondering what kind of clothes to pack. We’ve only been on cruises in warm weather!

Thanks in advance for your help!

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On 9/15/2019 at 8:25 PM, sparkles said:

Hi Twitchly,

I had read there were a couple of shuttle companies close by. Do you remember the name of the company you used, and do they take credit cards?  My husband and I were thinking of doing that instead of the ship’s excursion.  Did you go around this time of year?  We’re going in early October and wondering what kind of clothes to pack. We’ve only been on cruises in warm weather!

Thanks in advance for your help!

 

Hi, Sparkles —

 

I think we purchased our shuttle tickets online through Viator: https://m.viator.com/tours/Bruges/Return-Cruise-Shuttle-Service-from-Zeebrugge-to-Bruges/d4836-22540P1

 

But you probably could just show up without an advance ticket. Other people did. You do have a short walk from the shuttle drop-off into the city center because Bruges doesn’t allow buses there. If that’s a problem, there are always taxis. 

 

We went in April, so the weather is probably similar. Probably cool rather than cold. Layers are a good way to go. I think you can check the weather online at places like weather.com. I brought a lightweight jacket, a cardigan, a couple sweaters, and some tank tops to layer underneath in case it got especially cold. (Hello, Norway!)  And some pretty scarves. I think there were a few warmer days in Spain where I wore a lightweight shirt. There’s quite a temperature range on this cruise, given that it runs between Norway and Spain. Layering is your friend.

 

It’s a fantastic cruise. Have a great time!

Edited by Twitchly

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21 hours ago, Twitchly said:

 

Hi, Sparkles —

 

I think we purchased our shuttle tickets online through Viator: https://m.viator.com/tours/Bruges/Return-Cruise-Shuttle-Service-from-Zeebrugge-to-Bruges/d4836-22540P1

 

But you probably could just show up without an advance ticket. Other people did. You do have a short walk from the shuttle drop-off into the city center because Bruges doesn’t allow buses there. If that’s a problem, there are always taxis. 

 

We went in April, so the weather is probably similar. Probably cool rather than cold. Layers are a good way to go. I think you can check the weather online at places like weather.com. I brought a lightweight jacket, a cardigan, a couple sweaters, and some tank tops to layer underneath in case it got especially cold. (Hello, Norway!)  And some pretty scarves. I think there were a few warmer days in Spain where I wore a lightweight shirt. There’s quite a temperature range on this cruise, given that it runs between Norway and Spain. Layering is your friend.

 

It’s a fantastic cruise. Have a great time!

I imagine I will be doing a lot of layering (and laundry!). I really like the idea of pretty scarves.  My luggage is normally on the heavy side even when traveling in warm weather, wearing lighter clothing. 

Thank you so much for the information and advice!  😊

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