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weluvafrica

Cherbourg to Mt St Michael tour with Holland America

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Hi,

I would like to know if anyone has done this tour and if you think it is worth it since you don’t get much time, between approx 51/2 hours traveling back and forth, and another hour or 2 with the shuttle up to the Abbey, depending on where they park the bus. Do you think you had enough time to actually look around. Thank You

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34 minutes ago, weluvafrica said:

Hi,

I would like to know if anyone has done this tour and if you think it is worth it since you don’t get much time, between approx 51/2 hours traveling back and forth, and another hour or 2 with the shuttle up to the Abbey, depending on where they park the bus. Do you think you had enough time to actually look around. Thank You

 

I haven’t done this tour but I have been to Mont St. Michel.  I didn’t do it from Cherbourg. I didn’t think there was enough time due to the distance.

 

We did it with a private transfer from St. Malo which was much closer.  We probably spent 5 hours at Mont St. Michel at least IIRC and while you could spend less time, there was no one in our group who would have wanted to return earlier.

 

At the very least if you want to see some of it, I would want 3 hours.  JMO, though.

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50 minutes ago, weluvafrica said:

Hi,

I would like to know if anyone has done this tour and if you think it is worth it since you don’t get much time, between approx 51/2 hours traveling back and forth, and another hour or 2 with the shuttle up to the Abbey, depending on where they park the bus. Do you think you had enough time to actually look around. Thank You

 

We did this HAL shorex from Cherbourg when cruising on the Rotterdam in May 2011. Yes, I know, that's over 8 years ago, but I am guessing the basic logistics remain equivalent. It was a long day; we left the pier around 9:00am and we were the last tour to return before sailing. If I recall correctly, there were two coaches making the tour and not all of the seats (at least on our coach) were occupied.

 

After the ride through the countryside, we had lunch at a local restaurant. The meal was excellent and a nice change from the usual "HAL ship food". As a pre-lunch apertif, we were offered a glass of Calvados. Well, no one at our table of 8 wanted their Calvados, so we gladly quaffed our dining companions' snifters. (This may, or may not, have "influenced" our favorable impression of lunch!)

 

After lunch, we left for Mont St. Michel. The coach could not park near the entrance, but we were dropped off immediately next to the entry and the coach then left and parked somewhere remotely. When the group was ready to leave, the tour guide called the coach back to the drop-off/pick-up point, so there was no additional walking or waiting for a shuttle.

 

We had at least 2-3 hours at the abbey, which, IMHO, was more than enough time. 

 

Again, this HAL shorex was 8 years ago, so some components of the current excursion offering may differ from our previous experience.

Edited by ryndam
typo

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We were on the tour with Kazu & really enjoyed it list.. One of those things on our bucket

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While on this year’s world cruise, we did HAL’s excursion to Mont St. Michel from Cherbough.  Although it was a long day, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  We would have liked a little more time there, but only because we were on our own for lunch.  The time allotted to touring the Abbey itself was sufficient.

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If this might be your only chance to see Mont St Michel do go! We missed it on a Prinsendam cruise due to weather and tides and was very disappointed.  When we did go back to France, we did a road trip before our cruise  and made sure we got there.  It a wonderful place to visit.  

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I would second "highland cruiser!"  If this is your only chance to get there (meaning you are not going to travel to Bayeaux or any other place closer to Mont St Michel in the future) I would go.  I have been to the Abbey, but not from Cherbourg.  But I have been on other HAL marathon long shore excursions before and yes, they can be long and tedious.  However, Mont St. Michel is something to see.  No matter what you decide, have a great cruise.

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If the place appeals to you, I would third Highland Cruiser. I took a very long day trip from Paris to see Mont St. Michel, and though I hope to go back and spend a day there, I’ve never regretted the long day trip!

Edited by Mike B Landlubber

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On 11/9/2019 at 5:25 PM, Mtn2Sea said:

While on this year’s world cruise, we did HAL’s excursion to Mont St. Michel from Cherbough.  Although it was a long day, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  We would have liked a little more time there, but only because we were on our own for lunch.  The time allotted to touring the Abbey itself was sufficient.

 

We were also on the WC, and booked the HAL excursion as our freebie excursion.  It was long day, but totally worth it (even if we had paid for it).  We had an excellent guide, so we had good & very interesting info about the countryside as we drove back & forth.  We had plenty of time to go ALL OVER the Abbey & grounds & town (people do live there; there is even a cemetery for them) … we didn't take the time for lunch, we just bought a fresh (yum!) loaf of bread from one of the bakeries, and did a little bit of shopping before going back to meet the shuttles back to the bus parking.

 

For the stop in Cherbourg, we had originally planned to go to the Normandy beaches, but when we saw this excursion listed in our excursion booklet, we immediately changed our plans.  Very glad we did!

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Did this off the Summer Solstice cruise on the Zuiderdam 2018. Yes it was worth it. We were not the type to need to see every nook and cranny; we went thru on our own and did not stay with the tour. We enjoyed the views and the people watching. You do not have to stay with tour! Just get the time you need to be back on the bus and enjoy yourself. It will be crowded. It always is. If you have the chance to spend loads of time in France then it would be great to watch the light change thru evening but we did not have that luxury. I would do it again. 

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We also took the HAL tour. I posted all our photo on Facebook and also included our diary of this excursion. We took this tour in September of 2016 while on the Prinsendam. I have included some of what my DH wrote below. Hope this helps.

 

“By 8:50 AM we were on our way, departing this windy morning on HAL’s 9.25-hour “Mont Saint-Michel” Tour from Cherbourg. Our guide was Kristen and our driver was Richard. This 110-mile drive would take 2.5 hours. 

 

A half-hour later, we were on the Autoroute A84 and we passed Candol with 48 km yet to travel. Switching to the four lane N178, we have our first view of this tidal island mount in the distance. It is an isolated granite peak only about a half-mile off the coast. 

 

Only a few minutes later we turn onto two-lane D43 and then into Parking Lot #7. The former parking lot was moved 1.6 miles away from the Mount in 2012 and is now surrounded by trees. The cars cannot be seen from the summit. With more than three million visitors each year, there were many parking lots. We were told to be back at the bus by 3:20 PM. That means that we would have only about four hours including travel time to the base of the Mount to explore this popular attraction.

 

We disembarked from our bus in the bus at parking lot #7 and walked some distance to the Mont Saint-Michel's Visitors Center.

 

After using the toilets at the Visitor Center, our group had a priority shuttle bus running back and forth on a new bridge.

 

Originally, there was a tidal causeway that was only uncovered at low tide. But in 1879, this was raised to be permanently dry. Then it was noted that it stopped the circulation of seawater around the mount and silt had begun to collect. In 2014 this new bridge was completed. Surprisingly, it was completely submerged itself by a “supertide” on March 21st, 2015.) After our ten-minute shuttle ride, we hurried to take wide angle photos from this distance. It was now sunny and 70 degrees F.

 

The bus dropped us off at the bridge. From there, we had to walk again to the base of Mont Saint-Michel where we would begin our climb. I have wanted to visit Mont Saint-Michel for a long time. Ironically, we almost didn't go on this tour because of the long drive. But I thought it was worth it.

 

Looking up from from the base, MH and I weren't sure we would make the climb to the top! At 11:45 AM, three hours after departing from the ship, we begin our climb, following Kristen. She slowly leads us up gradual ramps paved with ancient stones, pausing at each switchback to explain more of the history. Other tourists begin to climb the many stairs directly to the top. Don and I just take our time. 

 

There was a noon-time Mass being conducted in the Romanesque church of the abbey at the summit as we quietly entered. “No photos, please’, the sign said." After ninety minutes, Kristen’s tour is over. We will have about seventy-five minutes of free time. Now, how do we find our way out of this maze of buildings? “Just keep going down.”, Kristen told us." 

 

We didn't want to miss catching the shuttle back to the parking lot so we exited Mont Saint-Michel sooner than we needed to. But that was okay as it gave us some time to take photos of the awe-inspiring rock that rises 263 feet above the seabed. We didn’t take time to eat, but did have a snack bar while walking on the ramparts.

 

By 2:30 PM, we were in a long line to board the returning shuttle bus. We noticed that since it cannot turn around on this narrow bridge, it is drivable from both ends. Thirty-five minutes later, we are all aboard our coach and we can depart for the two-hour drive back to the pier.

 

My DH survived the climb to the top of Mont Saint-Michel. If you climb all the stairs, there are actually over 900 steps to reach the top.” By MDH.

 

Ages ago, the Assistant Director of our library, recommended that I read the murder mystery, "Old Bones" by Aaron Elkins, which deals with a murder that took place during WWII. One of the scenes in the mystery has to do with one of the characters in the novel drowning in the rushing tide off Mont Saint-Michel. Did he make a mistake about the tides or was he murdered?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Storylady

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We visited Mt St Michael from a Celebrity Cruise docked in Le Havre.  We booked a private guide with another couple and we were able to visit Mt St Michael with a brief stop at the relatively unknown Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial which is about a 30 minute drive from Mt St Michael....and very much worth seeing.  It is slightly smaller than the more well known Normandy one, it is just as memorable.

 

I suggest you check to see if maybe a private tour will allow you to see more.....

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19 hours ago, ghstudio said:

We visited Mt St Michael from a Celebrity Cruise docked in Le Havre.  We booked a private guide with another couple and we were able to visit Mt St Michael with a brief stop at the relatively unknown Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial which is about a 30 minute drive from Mt St Michael....and very much worth seeing.  It is slightly smaller than the more well known Normandy one, it is just as memorable.

 

I suggest you check to see if maybe a private tour will allow you to see more.....

Whether to do a private tour or not depends on how long you are in port. You may have been in port longer. Cherbourg is actually closer than Le Havre. We were some of the last tours returning. Considering the amount of time it takes to walk to the shuttle stop. The time it takes to get the shuttle and then walk to just the base of Mt St Michel not counting on walking up 900 steps to the top and then walking back down. And then the amount of time it takes to make your way back to the bus. I wouldn’t do a private tour. But that is me. I don’t like to cut it close. As it was, we were the last bus back and we didn’t make any stops.

Edited by Storylady

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We did a private tour with a few other CC folks from Cherbourg. The ship was originally to port at St Malo and we had planned to finally get to Mt St. Michel....a long time dream. When HAL changed the port, we decided to go anyway, even though it was further. It is a long ride and there are many steps, as others have said, but it was an incredible, memorable day. It was like walking through a town from long ago......like nowhere else. So, yes....go, just go!

I hope to get back for an omelette myself one day.

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We took a private tour through Viator.  It was from Le Havre to St. Michel on our second day docked there.  The first day we went to Normandy, also by private tour.  Highly recommend taking private tours.  You will have much more time to see the sights!  

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Our experience is that almost any 1/2 day or more private tour gives you significantly more time doing what you want to do......you don't have to constantly wait for 40 people everywhere....or have that 30 minute "free time" that you didn't want....or walk at the pace of the slowest person.  For 2 people, it probably will cost more...for 4, it's usually the same or even cheaper than the ship's tour.    (BTW..and off the topic but related....airport transportation by the cruise lines for 2 often costs more than just taking a taxi)

 

Viator is usually an excellent source of guides...also Trip Advisor reviews (I believe TA owns CC so it's OK to mention them). 

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On 11/9/2019 at 8:54 PM, weluvafrica said:

Hi,

I would like to know if anyone has done this tour and if you think it is worth it since you don’t get much time, between approx 51/2 hours traveling back and forth, and another hour or 2 with the shuttle up to the Abbey, depending on where they park the bus. Do you think you had enough time to actually look around. Thank You

I think you are on the Nieuw Statendam transatlantic sailing. If so be aware Mont St. Michael is closed on May 1 due to a holiday. (International laborday). From their website: 

The abbey complex is open year-round except on December 25, January 1, and May 1.

Opening hours are 9:30 am to 6 pm from September to April and 9 am to 7 pm from May to August. Last admissions are an hour earlier.

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Hi, 

 

During a recent British Isles cruise on the Crown Princess (Sep. 10-22, 2019), I did the cruise line's full-day Mont St. Michel tour from Le Havre. It was a long day, but I greatly enjoyed the tour. Mont St. Michel is incredible and was one of the highlights of the cruise.

 

Chuck

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For $380 we did a private tour

 

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Our next stop was at Deauville

 

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And last was Honfleur

 

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Edited by scubacruiserx2

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