Port and Shore Excursions
Taxis were somewhat in short supply by the ship, but after a wait we zipped into Brugge and the driver dropped us off at Markt, with a pre-arranged pickup time for our return. I was glad I carried a map from a previous trip as this driver did not give us one. We visited the Bassilica of the Holy Blood (free, unless you want to enter the museum), rode a canal boat, and once again enjoyed roaming the narrow streets and window shopping in the restored medieval town. The street entertainers were top notch!
We stayed at the West End Dockyard and rode the free choo-choo tram around the grounds, stopping 3/4 of the way around to tour Ft. Scaur and the Bermuda National Museum. There were nice view points from the fort, especially of the canons pointed at our ship! We toured the many rooms of the Commissioner's House. There were varied displays including Bermuda tourism, slavery, a dollhouse, WWII, coins, and historic ships.
We chose to remain close to Le Havre, and took a taxi (125 euros for 3 hrs. for 4 persons) 20km to Etretat to see the sculpted white sea cliffs favored by the Impresionist painters. The taxi waited while we walked around and admired the fantastic view from all angles! Afterwards we went into Etretat town for authentic crepes and hot beverages before our return to the ship.
Odd port call: 4 to 10 pm. We strolled lovely Old San Juan from La Casita, along Paseo de La Princessa, the sea wall, up to the city gate then winding streets back to the ship. A great time for photography with golden late afternoon light!
Our visit to the Butterfly Farm (French side, $12pp for cruise ship passengers)was inside a warm and sweat inducing mesh tent, but we didn't care -- the butterflies were abundant, colorful, and thoroughly enchanting. The tropical flowers are lovely, too. DO carry a camera and ice water! Skip the organized tours, take a taxi for $9pp one way (and for some reason $8pp the other)!
From Princess' dock at Crown Bay, we took the $4pp taxi fare to Lindbergh Bay at the Emerald Beach resort. The water was warm and calm. The beach wasn't crowded. We paid $6pp to rent chairs. Nice way to relax.
Our rainy day plan to catch a taxi near the ship to see the free Municipal Museum Quinones de Leon turned out to be right on. The museum is housed in a lovely old mansion and contains lovely furnished rooms (one with armour), displays on history going back to the Romans, and famous people from this part of Spain. There is also a nice garden with roses, camellias, bird of paradise, palm trees. Go to the website and pay attention to the operating hours -- they close for a LONG lunch break!