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North Sea Cruising - why?

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    North Sea Cruising - why?

    More and more cruise lines are offering cruises to the ports around the North Sea - You know the ones I am sure. Southampton, Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam and Hamburg.

    Having just returned from our second circuit (The first being September 2016) I cannot see us returning in a hurry.

    The weather was variable, actually bad enough for the overnight stop in Amsterdam being cancelled 48 hours early and an overnight stop in Zeebrugge implemented and an extra sea day, the second day in port effectively being wiped out by torrential rain and winds.

    The ports are of variable interest - Southampton and Le Havre are both limiting unless you undertake expensive excursions to cities that are easier to visit by plane or train, Zeebrugge is OK but still a transfer and train to Bruges, Amsterdam is a great cruise port - the city is on the doorstep of the ship and Hamburg is a nice city but closed on Sunday and big ships dock well outside the city.

    So doubtful weather, no variety in ports/itineraries and the journey to Southampton for us up north.

    Am I being unfair?

    Cheers

    Tony B

    #2
    No, I don't think you are being unfair, you are entitled to your opinion. I agree that the weather and itinerary does not inspire me, but others must like it or the ships would be empty.

    Comment


      #3
      Short trips, multi embarkation giving access to a far bigger pool of cruisers.

      Germans will happily drive to Amsterdam or Hamburg to avoid flying.

      Le Havre got added to the round Britain to get Paris on the itineraries to attract more American.

      The changes to itineraries this year for Northern Europe was far more Iceland options and they sold extremely well.

      Previous years the main itinerary changes was the move of ships way from the UK and shorter Baltic/Norway trips avoiding the crossing.


      To do short trips from the UK you are stuck with that route, a Norway or Ireland or the route down French coast/northern Spain.

      Remember 30% of UK cruisers are new to cruising plenty to feed a few ships doing these trips

      Comment


        #4
        I never cruise for the the weather, although I prefer not to get rained on or have ports cancelled.

        I'd cruise to any port once and give it the benefit of the doubt.
        See my cruise blog: HERE

        Comment


          #5
          Would never drive to Southampton for any cruise which was less than 10 day's in length . I did the Pre Christmas cruise with Cunard and it was wet and cold (Very) but I would do the same cruise in warmer weather , even if it did rain?
          I think the cruise lines use these short cruises as both Taster cruises and to adjust the schedule for longer and more profitable cruises...Taffy
          ​Taffy

          Comment


            #6
            Cruising from Southampton lost its appeal many years ago for me. I can see and do far more in a 7 night fly cruise, to a much wider variety of countries, than is possible on a two week Ex UK cruise.

            At this time of year I consider a week of a two week Ex UK cruise, as a week wasted, bobbing around in the cold and blowy English Channel.

            The only short out of the UK that I would consider would be similar to Jill Smiths' recent Seine cruise taking in the Rouen, Honfleur areas, but I do agree these shorts are there to attract new business............Wilba
            Wilba

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Wilba View Post
              Cruising from Southampton lost its appeal many years ago for me. I can see and do far more in a 7 night fly cruise, to a much wider variety of countries, than is possible on a two week Ex UK cruise.

              At this time of year I consider a week of a two week Ex UK cruise, as a week wasted, bobbing around in the cold and blowy English Channel.

              The only short out of the UK that I would consider would be similar to Jill Smiths' recent Seine cruise taking in the Rouen, Honfleur areas, but I do agree these shorts are there to attract new business............Wilba
              Cruising from SOTON never lost appeal - it never had any. You couldn't pay me to take one of those cruises. Each to their own.

              Also how many times have people commented that the cruise ship experience on a short/party cruise differs from that of a longer cruise?

              Annie
              Last edited by annie, Glasgow; 12th September 2017, 08:31 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                As someone who is undertaking such a cruise in a few weeks time, a few ideas, some or all may not be relevent to everyone or possibly anyone but they infuenced our choice.

                A chance to try MSC Yacht Club for a very favourable price
                An hours drive from home to Southampton
                Never visited Hamburg before
                Van Gough and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
                Coastal Tram from Zebrugge giving acces to Ostend and Vaart where one of the best preserved parts of the Atlantic wall is open.
                MuMa modern art museum in Le Havre that is hosting a major exhibition of Impressionist works.

                John

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Haworth, Wokingham View Post
                  As someone who is undertaking such a cruise in a few weeks time, a few ideas, some or all may not be relevent to everyone or possibly anyone but they infuenced our choice.

                  A chance to try MSC Yacht Club for a very favourable price
                  An hours drive from home to Southampton
                  Never visited Hamburg before
                  Van Gough and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
                  Coastal Tram from Zebrugge giving acces to Ostend and Vaart where one of the best preserved parts of the Atlantic wall is open.
                  MuMa modern art museum in Le Havre that is hosting a major exhibition of Impressionist works.

                  John
                  Good for you - enjoy. It works for you.

                  I am quicker and cheaper flying to Italy than travelling to SOTON (which I have done once).

                  Annie

                  Comment


                    #10
                    AS a relatively new cruiser, these ports ARE of interest to me as I have never done them..........not everyone has been there, done that

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by alandrover, beccles View Post
                      AS a relatively new cruiser, these ports ARE of interest to me as I have never done them..........not everyone has been there, done that
                      That is valid.

                      For some of us it is the journey time to/from SOTON that is the deal breaker.

                      Annie

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I suppose whether you fly or use a particular port will often depend on how close you live to a port and how much the itinerary of the cruise appeals to you. For example I can fully understand why somebody living in Scotland would not wish to travel all the way down to Southampton to start a cruise. But it can also depend on whether you like flying or not, I have only ever flown once in my life.

                        Having said that I live within 20/30 minutes of the Port of Harwich but have never sailed from Harwich, mainly because none of the itineraries have appealed to me, and Cruises from Harwich are getting less and less. Stanstead is within an hours drive, but by the time you have parked, hang around the airport a couple of hours before your flight to check in, I could be in Southampton and on the ship. Once I am on the ship my holiday starts and I am a happy bunny, irrespective of the weather.

                        But like everything each to their own.
                        Last edited by Delboy, Essex; 12th September 2017, 09:05 AM.
                        Delboy


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                        Comment


                          #13
                          For me the short trips are great, we are a couple of hours from Southampton, as others have said, it's a great way of trying out a new ship, meeting up with friends if you can only get a few days of work. If you look you can find some real gems, and my trip down the Seine was lovely. A trip over to Ireland was equally as good, and I would love to go back.

                          The only down side is your subjected to the British weather, but I'm used to it ...............................................Car ol

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by toshtosh, Guiseley View Post
                            More and more cruise lines are offering cruises to the ports around the North Sea - You know the ones I am sure. Southampton, Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam and Hamburg.

                            Having just returned from our second circuit (The first being September 2016) I cannot see us returning in a hurry.

                            The weather was variable, actually bad enough for the overnight stop in Amsterdam being cancelled 48 hours early and an overnight stop in Zeebrugge implemented and an extra sea day, the second day in port effectively being wiped out by torrential rain and winds.

                            The ports are of variable interest - Southampton and Le Havre are both limiting unless you undertake expensive excursions to cities that are easier to visit by plane or train, Zeebrugge is OK but still a transfer and train to Bruges, Amsterdam is a great cruise port - the city is on the doorstep of the ship and Hamburg is a nice city but closed on Sunday and big ships dock well outside the city.

                            So doubtful weather, no variety in ports/itineraries and the journey to Southampton for us up north.

                            Am I being unfair?

                            Cheers

                            Tony B
                            We all have our own reasons for choosing the ships and itineraries. Cold weather cruises are an anathema to many but I find it interesting the so termed ''northern' cruises sail full on the ships we sail with, often well before sailing date.

                            Some ships have a very loyal passenger list. They cruise for the ship and if the itinerary is one which has been followed many times, don't get off the ship.

                            Some of us HAVE done most of the ''been there done that'' one way or another or seen what they want to of the world and now cruise for totally different reasons. We don't cruise for the weather all the time but I admit we are lucky enough to have both hot and cold weather cruises/holidays every year. Looking at the Cunard '19 itineraries, they have gone big time into the Northern Europe/Baltic arena with Victoria and Elizabeth. Victoria has the Med scheduled Sept and Oct only. I'd love to know if that's Med. ''politics'' or bean counters following the money having decided Northern itineraries are the ones which will sell more, or is it a combination of the two?
                            Who knows!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi all
                              I did a 4nt cruise to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam on P&O from Southampton last year.
                              I am doing the very same cruise (5nt) again on P&O this year.

                              Why?,,,,,because last year,like this year,are NYE cruises.....and last year was superb.

                              But i must agree with Tony,,,,,North Sea ports are a once only experience,,,,,,i found the same with the Baltic,after doing it twice,in 2015 and this year that's enough,,,,,but i will never get tired of the Med.

                              JC
                              C P Scott,,,,,"Comment is Free,,but Facts are Sacred"
                              "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

                              Comment


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