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British Isle on Regal - Princess Normandy Excursion Thoughts?

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We are on this British Isles cruise in September 2020 and are booked for a Princess excursion to Normany while in LeHarve. It is a 10-1/2 hour excursion. Has anyone been on this excursion that can provide any details other than what is on the Princess excursion write-up? Finally seeing Normandy has been on our bucket list.Thanks.

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Personay I would look at Overlord Tours rather than doing it via Princess.  Overlord can do either an 8 person van that you would recruit others from you roll call to join.  Or they have a large bus that you could be part of.  Typically Overlord or any of the other local tour comanies will offer you a much better experience at about half the price of a Princess tour.

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We took the Princess excursion to Normandy in 2015 and it was excellent.  The tour guide was very good.  The coach made stops for rest room breaks.  The tour included lunch at a country club and the food was very good.

There are two things I say on this tour that I felt were very touching.  One was looking at a cross in the American Cemetery that instead of a name simply said "Known But To God".   The second was in the local town where in a second floor window above a shop was a sign that said "Thank You America"   Seeing that thank you sign over 70 years after American troops liberated the town was such a touching sight. It just reinforced the close bond between France and America that began during the American war of independence and continued through two world wars.

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You could also consider spending time there before or after your cruise. I usually don't feel it's worth be driven long distances on shore excursions to see sights that deserve more time.

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We've done 2 Princess cruises that included Normandy as a port and in both cases, opted for Overlord. The first one was done by another CC member and at the port we paid the driver prior to the tour. Then when we did the Royal a second time, I contacted Overlord and discussed a more custom tour, spending the entire morning in the Normandy area, visited all the major sites, then for lunch we stopped in Bayeux, hometown of our guide. Had time to visit the cathedral, cute cafe for lunch, and a scoop of ice cream as we walked back to the van, then we continued through historic villages and spent the last hours in Honfleur - totally fantastic walking town in which we caught a wedding at an historic church, then meandered along the waterfront, stopping at lots of sweet shops. There's no way a big bus tour could do what we did, so much more personalized at half the cost. Yes, I did prepay for the entire group, traveling with a few friends but managed to find others on the roll call who wanted to join us. 

 

Darcy

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We took that excursion earlier this year...was at Normandy the day before the 75th DDay anniversary.  As you can imagine, it was pretty crazy! We were with a group of 2 other couples. All our excursions had been booked several months in advance, at least that's what we *thought*. One couple had not booked this one. By the time we discovered this about 3 weeks before the cruise,  all slots were (of course) already full. We had to cough up the big bucks for the "private car" version of that tour. Nobody had ANY complaints,  even with the higher price. Of course,  one of the big pluses was the fact that we were there the same week as all the hoopla and activities.  The cemetery was roped off; you couldn't walk among the graves. We were told it was because of all the dignitaries that would be there the next day and they didn't want the grass to get "messed up"! Whatever...it was still an amazing trip, well worth the long ride. (The private guide was constantly giving us facts about what we were seeing along the way which may or may not have been available had we taken the normal group bus.)

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I found a GREAT guide there with 8 pass van but only took 6, very knowledgeable on EVERYTHING , ate lunch there on beach. If you get a chance, someone makes LOCAL beer there, brown ale, very smooth, they put labels  to honor our boys ,on bottles. About 20 ounce bottle souvenier when beer is gone, I think 7 E for the bottle, you won’t be sorry with the beer, bring some back for me, I did but wish i’d Brought more

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We are planning a British Isles cruises for 2021.  A must for us is a return to Le Havre.  We stopped there on a transatlantic in 2016 with Celebrity and did the Celebrity 10 hour tour.  It was the highlight of our cruise and we were on the ship for 34 nights.  No matter which way you go - do a tour of Normandy - you will never forget it

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If you go with the Overlord 17 passenger bus, they will first put you on a waiting list until they have at least 8 people interested.  Then they e-mail you that the tour has opened up.

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We did this tour this last August and it was definitely very memorable.  The American cemetery is beautiful, probably the most beautiful cemetary I've ever seen.  I wish the tour had been offered at the beginning of our cruise rather than the very last day before disembarkation though, but that would have required the cruise have France as the first port instead of the last and I don't know if Princess ever does that.  It was a long day and to get back and have to rush to get packed to get luggage out and eat dinner to get to bed for a very early morning made the last evening feel very rushed.  The bus ride there and back is definitely long but we felt it was worth the trip.  We did made a note to ourselves to try to pick shorter excursions the last night of the cruise in the future though.  

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I agree with TM.  We also did a tour with Overlord Tours and enjoyed it very much.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about all the areas we visited.  A member on our roll call set up the tour and we joined their group. 

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Depending upon your overall trip plans you might consider another option.  We did the cruise as mentioned earlier in August.  My original plan had been to do the Normandy tour from LeHarve with Overlord, disembark the ship in Southampton, transfer to London and take the train to Paris for a few days.  Instead we got off the ship a day early in LeHarve, rented a car and drove to Honfleur where we spent a night.  We then spent 3 nights in Bayeux and did an Overlord tour to the D-day beaches from there.  We thus avoided the 90 + minute drive to and from.  We had a great day with them and saw and learned so much.  We then drove to Paris and spent 3 nights.  It was a great trip for us but realize than not everyone can devote so much time to a single trip.


Tom

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We considered doing the Princess one but ultimately went with Overlord and are so pleased we did. The shuttle was comfy, 16 or fewer people in the group, the tour guide was the owner and had a wealth of information to share, and we got to visit 2 picturesque French villages. 

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I assume there was no problem returning on time.  The company seems big enough to deal with any problems.

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We are on the September 13,2020 cruise. I have thought about renting a car that day, but we are still undecided. Thanks for the info on Overload. We may look in to that as well. 

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It's a good 1-1/2 bus ride from Le Harve to the beaches in the American zone - so that's 3+ hours of the 10-1/2 right there.

Still, it should give you a reasonably good overview of the sites and certainly a memorable experience that should not be missed.

We opted for a pre-cruise independent trip to Normandy before our recent TA from Le Harve - spent three days in Bayeux and still didn't see everything I wanted. We had the Princess tour booked on one trip over there but the ship wasn't able to dock due to bad weather, so I'm not a good source for that tour, but as I said - there's a lot to see. This time we hit it right and boarded in Le Harve. 

Our full-day tour of the American zone was with the Bayeux shuttle tour (out of Bayeux) and was quite good with ample tour time and an excellent British guide and Invasion buff: St. Marie-du-Mond, Utah Beach, St. Mere-Eglise, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach at Vierville, and the American Cemetery at closing when they play taps and lower the flag - very, very emotional experience. There were thousands there and you could hear a pin drop during Taps. If you can, I highly recommend a side trip either pre or post cruise. We did see the Princess tour buses on the road during our tour. 

On other days, we toured the British and Canadian areas - plenty to see there also including the excellent Merville Battery site.

There's also Mont St. Michel and the Bayeux Tapestry exhibit! 

Whatever you do, enjoy your trip!

 

 

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Overlord Tours had no problem getting us back in time so we would not miss our ship.  The private tour companies are very aware not to return to the ship late if they frequently missed the ship they would be out of business fast!  As far as getting off the ship a day earlier there was a couple on our roll call that wanted to do this and go the Normandy then Paris.  They called Princess and were not allowed.  What this couple was told was the port authorities at Le Harve  only let a small amount of people disembark early in this port and that number was already met so if you want to do that call Princess early.

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