After enjoying a visit to Amsterdam last year, i looked into where else we could go on a ferry in Europe. It wasn’t long before i discovered Bruges in Belgium. It was described as a pretty fairytale medieval town, famous for good chocolate, beer and fries. I had found my new holiday destination!
I was happy with the price, we paid around £325.00 for 2 people, including the ferry crossing, upgraded outside cabin, evening meals on ship, coach transfer into Bruges from Zeebrugge and 2 nights hotel accommodation in Bruges town centre. I am sure last year we paid practically that for 2 nights in Scarborough and train fares, so definately a bargain, considering the distances involved.
We got a lift to Hull from our home and went to the foot passenger terminal. Compared to the last trip we took to Amsterdam, the ferry terminal was much older and tired looking. All the staff were lovely and friendly and we soon were waiting to board ship. It was entirely my fault we were early as i do tend to worry and panic we will miss boats, planes etc.
I was really disappointed with the ship, or maybe I had been spoilt by the lovely ship we sailed on last time? This ship The Pride of York was smaller, had more claustrophobic corridors and walk ways and generally the bar areas were not as nice. It reminded me of a working mens club crossed with a youth club. The cabins were old and were bunk beds. I am almost sure we upgraded the same (from standard to premier) one level and before we got beds side by side rather than bunk beds. Everything from the wardrobe, curtains and carpets could really do with replacing. This all said, it is after all just a place to sleep until you reach Belgium, so we didn’t let it spoil our evening.
There was a stunning sunset which we viewed from the bar and we had a lovely buffet style evening meal, with lots of choice. We were far too greedy and ate too much! This was paid for upfront on booking, its best to do this as you get a discounted price rather than paying on the night. Lets face it, everyone is going to eat on board and there is only a choice of the kitchen buffet meal or the restaurant. You may as well pay up front and save yourself a few quid.
After the evening meal we went back to the bars, one is an entertainment bar with a singing act and games of bingo etc. The other a little more chilled out with a pianist. We alternated throughout the night. Drinks were more or less the same price that you would pay in a normal bar.
We then had a good nights sleep in our bunk beds, ready for the main event, Belgium!
We were woken at an indecent hour (thank you GMT) with a greeting that breakfast was being served, our expected arrival time and instructions for disembarkation. This all progressed very smoothly and we got though passport control and onto our coach quickly. It took around 30-40 mins to reach Bruges. We were told times and location to catch the return coach. Amazingly i saw a street sign just as we pulled into the coach park for the street on which our hotel was located. We literally got off the coach, turned right and followed the road for approx 10 minutes and we at our hotel. It was the Ibis Brugge Centrum as it was around 10.30am we planned on asking if we could leave our cases in their luggage room until later when we checked in. The lady at reception checked to see if a room was available, happily there was, so we were able to check in straight away. There was a Bruges tax to pay direct to the Hotel, which we had been made aware of so were expecting. 2 Euro per person per night so only 8 Euro. But worth noting if you were going for a longer time or if you have a large family. The room was gorgeous, it was an old building so our room had beams and was triangular in shape. It was quirky and i loved it. The only thing it lacked was tea and coffee facilites (to make you buy them in the Hotel bar perhaps?)
We settled in for a few minutes, did the essentials, connecting to the free WI FI (obviously) checked the view from the window and the English channels on the TV and headed out to explore this beautiful town.
I already knew, after being in Belgium for approximately 2 hours, i was going to love it….
To be continued…………….