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12 night cruise, British Isles, Le Havre, Belgium and Amsterdam

12 night cruise, British Isles, Le Havre, Belgium and Amsterdam

May 18th, 2019, 01:22 PM
  #1  
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12 night cruise, British Isles, Le Havre, Belgium and Amsterdam

Hi all!

Iíve booked a 12 night cruise next month for my husband and I with fun stops Iím frantically trying to research and plan for.
The Fodorís community is always so incredible in helping me make the most of our adventures.

Iíll be researching posts according to each location but thought Iíd start a thread in case anyone wants to chime in on multiple areas. Iíll make notes on what Iíve planned for or weíre thinking about and welcome ANY feedback or recommendations. Weíre in our 40ís and would prefer to book private tours or bus/taxi/Uber around.

2 Days in Dublin
(Looking at Dublin Pass for Guinness/Jameson/St. Patrickís/hop on and hop off (of which my husband is a fan). Overnight will be on ship.
1 Day in Liverpool
1 Day in Belfast
2 Days in Cork
1 Day in Dover
2 Days in Le Havre/Paris
My husband has never been to Paris so we could go and spend the night there (accommodation/private tour/restaurant recommendations?) or Iíd like to find a more charming/quiet French countryside/nice town experience closer to Le Havre port.
1 Day in Bruges/Belgium
2 Days in Amsterdam
Bought tickets for the Anne Frank annex and may get tickets for Van Gogh museum. A friend recommended staying in Jordaan which seems to be convenient.

Thanks in advance!

geanster is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 01:32 PM
  #2  
 
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Paris would be good if you can get there and back in time.
For a charming village in Normandy not too far from Le Havre , look at Honfleur and Bayeux( near D-Day Beaches.)
Look at hotels in the lower number Arrondisments near the Seine..4,5,6,7. Do not know about tours but Trip Advisor should have some listed.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
May 18th, 2019, 01:54 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Your ship overnights in several ports, which is a good thing as you wonít have to rush back onboard and can spend the evening ashore. Though except for le Havre I donít think you really need to find a hotel for the night. You should sign up for your sailingís Roll Call on Cruise Critic to find others cruising with you and share information and tips.

Amsterdam: the cruise terminal is right next to Centraal station and thereís an excellent tram network, suggest you buy a two day pass. DH and I always make a trip to both the Rijks and Van Gogh museums.

Bruges: ships usually dock a Zeebrugge, and youíll need to take a taxi or train to get to Bruges, about half an hour.

Le Havre: Going to Paris always sounds exciting but itís quite a drive to get there and back, all for less than two full days. If you do want to stay ashore Iíd suggest maybe Bayeux, itís small enough plus has a magnificent cathedral and the Bayeux tapestry. The DDay beaches would make for a full days trip, or Rouen and Giverny to see Monetís home and garden.

Cork: Blarney Castle immediately comes to the mind, also Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. Rock of Cashel too.

Dublin: Spend one day in town and the other going out to Newgrange and the Boyne Valley

Liverpool: Beatles tour if youíre a fan of the Fab Four, or take the train to Chester.

You probably want to post on the Cruise forum instead of the regular Europe one.

geetika is online now  
May 18th, 2019, 03:20 PM
  #4  
 
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Le Havre itself is a post-WWII reconstructed city and so I would head out to other sights nearby and Geetika has good ideas. However, St-Joseph's Church in Le Havre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is amazingly ugly but is a magnificent feat of concrete and stained glass so the overall result from indoors is something quite impressive.

Lavandula
lavandula is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 09:35 AM
  #5  
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Thank you all. I’m taking notes.

I think my husband will want to visit Normandy and I believe it’s the 75th anniversary of DDay and there may be commemorative events/exhibits. I’ll look at Honfleur and Bayeux.

I’d have liked to see the Palace of Versailles and I read about the musical fountains and gardens that they’ll have the Saturday we’re there. I’m wondering if it’s neat enough to make it a priority.

I’m wondering if the Dublin Pass really expedites wait times and I’ll be looking into New Grange and Boyne Valley.

I’ll look into Chester.

I saw that Winterfell castle and other Game of Thrones filming locations are an option for Belfast. I’m trying to watch some of them now and wondering if we should head South for Winterfell or North for Giant’s Causeway...

A friend who lives in Amsterdam recommended we stay in Jordaan. It looks to be pretty central so I’ve been checking into accommodations in that area and will look up the two day tram passes.

Cork and Bruges will take next focus.

Continued thanks!


geanster is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 09:57 AM
  #6  
 
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Versailles these days is never "neat enough" for me to warrant even an RER ride out there, never mind a 2-hour drive. Except maybe in February. There's no shortage of wonderful things to do in and around Bayeux (and Caen - the Mťmorial is incredible). Save yourself the hassle and stick around Normandy.
StCirq is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 11:00 AM
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It depends on the ship whether Amsterdam is Amsterdam cruise terminal, or (increasingly) Ijmuiden which is quite a way from Amsterdam. it is important you check that.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 11:05 AM
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Just a quick note: I don't know the Dublin Pass -- but if it is anything like the London Pass -- it is a huge rip off.
janisj is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 08:38 PM
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by geanster View Post
Thank you all. Iím taking notes.

I think my husband will want to visit Normandy and I believe itís the 75th anniversary of DDay and there may be commemorative events/exhibits. Iíll look at Honfleur and Bayeux.

Iíd have liked to see the Palace of Versailles and I read about the musical fountains and gardens that theyíll have the Saturday weíre there. Iím wondering if itís neat enough to make it a priority.

Iím wondering if the Dublin Pass really expedites wait times and Iíll be looking into New Grange and Boyne Valley.

Iíll look into Chester.

I saw that Winterfell castle and other Game of Thrones filming locations are an option for Belfast. Iím trying to watch some of them now and wondering if we should head South for Winterfell or North for Giantís Causeway...

A friend who lives in Amsterdam recommended we stay in Jordaan. It looks to be pretty central so Iíve been checking into accommodations in that area and will look up the two day tram passes.

Cork and Bruges will take next focus.

Continued thanks!


Jordaan doesn't have that many hotels, so I wonder which hotels are on your list. Of course what is called "Jordaan" on booking sites, often isn't.
menachem is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 08:18 AM
  #10  
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Hi!
I usually try to book through Vrbo or airbnb. I found a cute spot that will let us check in around 9 am since we’ll have to leave the ship and will be hauling our luggage.
geanster is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 09:30 AM
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by geanster View Post
Hi!
I usually try to book through Vrbo or airbnb. I found a cute spot that will let us check in around 9 am since weíll have to leave the ship and will be hauling our luggage.
Do you mean in Amsterdam? If so, most short term rentals in Amsterdam are illegal.
janisj is online now  
May 23rd, 2019, 10:13 AM
  #12  
 
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Jordaan does have several house boats on canals - for a unique stay.
PalenQ is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 11:58 AM
  #13  
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I considered one of the house boats because what a cool experience! But Iím guessing that if weíre on a ship for 12 nights, we might be ready to give our sea legs a break. Iíll trust that VRBO/AirBnB did their jobs and hope for the best. Otherwise, Iíll be hitting up the girl I know to stay with her I suppose. Lots of great reviews so it seems to be working out for people. Love the opportunity for the more authentic experiences and the flexibility (early check in, etc.)
geanster is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 12:02 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Do you mean in Amsterdam? If so, most short term rentals in Amsterdam are illegal.
Have you had a bad experience? I remembered that youíd posted about illegal rentals in NYC when I had a thread about a visit there 3 years ago.
geanster is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 12:59 PM
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Amsterdam has cracked down on Airbnb and the like to try and reduce the number of tourists, the fact that those tourists do not pay the compulsory tourist tax, and the hassle they give to residents of Amsterdam.
Whilst a place may be listed on Airbnb or wherever it may already be over it's allowed number of days rental. Airbnb (and other sites if listed on multiple sites) does nothing to control this and people do get thrown out of places if they are found by the city employess who spend their lives checking these things.
Stay in a hotel. Provide some income for the city, and for those employed in the hospitality industry.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 01:36 PM
  #16  
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Thanks for the info! I love a good hotel too. Equal opportunity explorer. I love that you travel in a camper! The tulip fields at Easter were STUNNING. That may be in the cards for us down the road.
geanster is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 01:48 PM
  #17  
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Thinking about using one day at Le Havre to see some of the Joan of Arc history in Rouen and then Giverny and Monet house. The problem is that I found two hotels I got really excited about but they both only book 2 nights minimum. Is that a common thing there? It would be nice to zoom in and around Paris just to let husband see some of the signature Parisian sights but guessing that won’t be realistic. You made a compelling argument to skip Versailles.

Day 2, we’d like to see Omaha Beach, cemetery and historic DDay things. Are there tours that cover both that AND Mont St. Michel?

On days this short, it’s more of a preview. Those places that leave an imprint, we plan longer future visits for.
geanster is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 02:51 PM
  #18  
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I’ve copied this intro to the cruise thread as suggested too.

I’d be open to recommendations on tour guides as well for each area. I’d prefer to book private if possible and will share with others via cruise critic if fiscally smarter.
geanster is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Jordaan does have several house boats on canals - for a unique stay.
most of them illegal
menachem is offline  
May 24th, 2019, 03:08 AM
  #20  
 
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One doesn't have to have a "bad experience" to steer clear of illegal rental properties. Just don't do it.

I can't imagine doing Omaha Beach, all the D-Day sights, and le Mont St-Michel in one day. Maybe there are tours that would haul you around to all those places, but I wouldn't go on one.

How do you plan to travel between Rouen and Giverny? It's 65 kms. Train? That seems like sort of a mad dash, as there is plenty to see and do just in Rouen, and Giverny is usually crowded if you don't get there very early in the day.

No, it's not uncommon for hotels/B&Bs to require a 2-night minimum. Nobody wants to clean house daily if it's possible to avoid it.
StCirq is offline  

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