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Baltic Cruise 1st Port of Call - Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium

Baltic Cruise (Bruges) . 2015 . Aug 2

This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

Our very first port of call on board the Caribbean Princess cruise to the Baltic Sea was Zeebrugge, the gateway to Belgium. Our first sight of the shores of Belgium as the Caribbean Princess docks at Zeebrugge in the early morning.

Always advantageous to have a balcony in your stateroom because I could watch the scenery from the comfort of my stateroom in my pyjamas.

The port of Zeebrugge is a container port, and no walking along the docks are allowed.

Unlike other ports of calls such as Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki where transportation network from the ports were better developed, it is rather difficult and inconvenient* to get to the nearest cities of Belgium cities of Brussels, Ghent and Bruges by yourself. Therefore, the best option is to spend some money and take one of the shore excursions offered by Princess Cruises.

* Note: There is an independent shuttle service that would take passengers to the beach town of Blankenberge, where passengers can connect to a rail service to bring them to Brussles, Ghent or Bruges.  Tickets for the shuttle service cost about 12 Euros for a round trip and the journey will take 20 mins depending on traffic.  
Princess Cruises offers a great selection of shore excursions to Brussels, Ghent and/or Bruges.  All of these shore excursions can be booked online prior to embarkation, but they can also be booked on-board at least a day in advance, subject to availability.

The Princess Shore Excursion that we have chosen was ZE1180A - Bruges & Time On Your Own.

Our shore excursion would bring us to the Flemish town of Bruges, a bustling port known as the ‘Venice of the North’, thanks to a network of beautiful canals that run through this historic and vibrant city.

Always liked the clean and efficient way that Princess Cruises manage their logistics.  We were on one of the first few buses departing for Bruges in no time at all.

A welcome gift of Belgium chocolates, a city map and a device for our guide to give us live radio commentary during the tour.

From the harbour, the Belgium capital of Brussels is about 80 miles (128km) away, while Bruges is a lot nearer at approximately 12 miles (19km) away.  It would only take a journey time of half an hour for us to get to Bruges.

Looking at the Belgium landscape as we travel on the motor coach.

Our local tour guide for the shore excursion to Bruges.  There’s plenty of steps to be taken on this walking tour of Bruges, so get on some comfortable shoes.

The tour begins!

One of the reasons why we chose Bruges was its fame as a town with most of its medieval architecture intact.  Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000, and rightfully so, once you begin to experience its charms.

We were on one of the first few buses to depart from the port, and hence Bruges was relatively undisturbed by tourist activities at this early hour.

Join us next as we embark on a walking tour of Bruges.

This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

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