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Cruises to Nantes

Nantes (Photo:Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock)

About Nantes

Imagine a city full of spectacular artwork where, in the course of a few hours, you can explore a reinvented shipyard from the back of a 40-foot-high animatronic elephant, whirl past weird and wonderful sea creatures on a surreal carousel, explore the dark story of 19th-century slavery inside one of the Loire's most spectacular castles, wander the narrow streets of a medieval old town and take in the stunning 18th-century architecture of an elegant neoclassic district.

Welcome to Nantes, birthplace of writer Jules Verne and, arguably, the most unusual and fun city in France. Plunged into depression when its long-established shipbuilding industry relocated to Saint-Nazaire in 1987, the city gave itself a shake, refused to bow to a gloomy fate and reinvented itself as a haven for artists and architects and a melting pot of new ideas. As a result, Nantes has been transformed into one of the most creative, innovative and vibrant cities in France (and, indeed, Europe).

Now a gateway for cruises along the Loire River, this delightfully offbeat city certainly justifies a pre- or post-cruise stay, to allow time to discover treasures like the artists' quarter on the quirky island of Trentemoult, the funky restaurants and galleries of Ile de Nantes, and the elegant 19th-century Passage Pommeraye shopping arcade.


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  • 12 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Bordeaux
    Visiting:
    Bordeaux, Nantes ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Azamara
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    Cruise Itinerary

    12 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Azamara)
    • Day 1
      Bordeaux
    • Day 2
      Bordeaux
    • Day 3
      Nantes
    • Day 4
      Nantes
    • Day 5
      Brest
    • Day 6
      Saint-Malo
    • Day 7
      Cherbourg
    • Day 8
      Honfleur
    • Day 9
      Honfleur
    • Day 9
      Rouen
    • Day 10
      Rouen
    • Day 11
      St. Peter Port (Guernsey)
    • Day 12
      Isle of Portland (England)
    • Day 13
      Southampton
    Ship Details

    Azamara Journey - Azamara

    Pros

    Unique programming, friendly service and impressive commitment to destination cruising

    Cons

    Limited entertainment options, including a too-small casino, and hit-or-miss theater offerings

    Bottom Line

    Great choice for a truly grown-up getaway with more time in port

    Reviews

    Azamara Journey Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    For destination-intensive itineraries, excellent food, a comfortable onboard experience that le...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    flyingron
    Sail Date Feb 2020
    Mostly good, some sad, and some ugly
    Read More
    JohnnyBumpo
    Sail Date Feb 2020
    Good boat, great cruise
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 11 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Lisbon
    Visiting:
    Porto, Bilbao ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Azamara
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    Cruise Itinerary

    11 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Azamara)
    • Day 1
      Lisbon
    • Day 2
      Porto (Leixoes)
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 4
      Bilbao
    • Day 5
      Bordeaux
    • Day 6
      Bordeaux
    • Day 7
      Bordeaux
    • Day 8
      Nantes
    • Day 9
      Nantes
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      St. Peter Port (Guernsey)
    • Day 12
      Southampton
    Ship Details

    Azamara Quest - Azamara

    Pros

    Destination-focused itineraries; friendly and fun onboard vibe

    Cons

    Standard cabins are small with tiny bathrooms, despite a high price tag

    Bottom Line

    Destination-immersive, upscale cruising, with not a lot of nickel and diming

    Reviews

    Azamara Quest Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins3.5
    Dining4.5
    Service5.0
    Value3.5

    Editor's Note: A March 2019 dry dock saw the ship's casino converted into ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Madkel
    Sail Date Feb 2020
    First Azamara Cruise.
    Read More
    Canadian World Travellers
    Sail Date Feb 2020
    Azamara Quest vs Oceania R-Class Review - Sophisticated Cruiser over 50+ cruise
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 11 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Porto
    Visiting:
    Santander, Nantes ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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    Cruise Itinerary

    11 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Porto (Leixoes)
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Santander
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Nantes
    • Day 6
      Lorient
    • Day 7
      Douarnenez
    • Day 8
      Saint-Malo
    • Day 9
      Honfleur
    • Day 10
      Antwerp
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Hamburg
    Ship Details

    Bremen - Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

    In June 2010, Bremen underwent a two-week refit

    Crewmembers are fluent in both German and English

    Offers spacious cabins and many amenities

    Reviews
    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    Editor's Note: In June 2010, Bremen underwent a two-week refit which included: --All...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    simonpjd
    Sail Date Jan 2014
    Fantastic Antarctica experience on ms Bremen
    Read More
    LittleRedJohn
    Sail Date Jun 2008
    Wonderful
    Read More
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Nantes
    Visiting:
    La Rochelle-La Pallice, Pasajes ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Ponant
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    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Ponant)
    • Day 1
      Nantes
    • Day 2
      La Rochelle-La Pallice
    • Day 3
      Pasajes
    • Day 4
      Bilbao
    • Day 4
      Santander
    • Day 5
      Cruising
    • Day 6
      Vigo
    • Day 7
      Porto (Leixoes)
    • Day 8
      Lisbon
    Ship Details

    Le Jacques Cartier - Ponant

    Reviews

    Le Jacques Cartier Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    Carrying just 184 passengers, Le Jacques Cartier offers up the same sleek styling as its sister...

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  • 10 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Southampton
    Visiting:
    Honfleur, Rouen ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Azamara
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    Cruise Itinerary

    10 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Azamara)
    • Day 1
      Southampton
    • Day 2
      Honfleur
    • Day 3
      Honfleur
    • Day 3
      Rouen
    • Day 4
      Rouen
    • Day 5
      Cherbourg
    • Day 6
      Saint-Malo
    • Day 7
      Cruising
    • Day 8
      Nantes
    • Day 9
      Nantes
    • Day 9
      Cruising
    • Day 10
      Bordeaux
    • Day 11
      Bordeaux
    Ship Details

    Azamara Quest - Azamara

    Pros

    Destination-focused itineraries; friendly and fun onboard vibe

    Cons

    Standard cabins are small with tiny bathrooms, despite a high price tag

    Bottom Line

    Destination-immersive, upscale cruising, with not a lot of nickel and diming

    Reviews

    Azamara Quest Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins3.5
    Dining4.5
    Service5.0
    Value3.5

    Editor's Note: A March 2019 dry dock saw the ship's casino converted into ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    soars
    Sail Date Feb 2020
    Boutique Six star ! - head office needs to learn how to count stars!
    Read More
    uktraveller
    Sail Date Feb 2020
    South Africa intensive Feb 2020
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 9 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Bilbao
    Visiting:
    Ile D'yeu, Nantes ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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    Cruise Itinerary

    9 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Bilbao
    • Day 2
      Ile D'yeu
    • Day 3
      Nantes
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Channel Islands
    • Day 6
      Rouen
    • Day 7
      Rouen
    • Day 8
      Brugge (Bruges)
    • Day 9
      Borkum
    • Day 10
      Hamburg
    Ship Details

    Hanseatic Inspiration - Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

    Pros

    ** Bilingual expedition ship with a focus on nature and education

    Cons

    ** Cabins book up far in advance, so it can be hard to get a reservation

    Bottom line

    ** Luxurious and comfortable way to visit remote destinations

    Reviews

    Hanseatic Inspiration Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5
    Cabins
    Dining

    Hapag-Lloyd's newest ship, the 230-passenger Hanseatic Inspiration, is the second of the German cr...

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  • 5 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Nantes
    Visiting:
    Saint-Nazaire, Ancenis ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    CroisiEurope
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    Cruise Itinerary

    5 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (CroisiEurope)
    • Day 1
      Nantes
    • Day 2
      Saint-Nazaire
    • Day 3
      Saint-Nazaire
    • Day 4
      Ancenis
    • Day 4
      Bouchemaine
    • Day 5
      Bouchemaine
    • Day 6
      Nantes
    Ship Details

    Loire Princesse - CroisiEurope

    Only cruise ship to sail the Loire River

    International passenger mix

    Stylish and smart interior design

    Reviews

    Loire Princesse Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value4.0

    The spare but stylish Loire Princesse is "the ship" on the Loire, France's longest river. Afte...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    spodshivalov
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    More like a bus tour than a river cruise
    Read More
    Tauntonbob
    Sail Date May 2018
    Overall excellent, but skip some of the excursions
    Read More
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Nantes

    Leaving:
    Saint-Malo
    Visiting:
    Brehat Island, Ouessant ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Ponant
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    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Nantes Route (Ponant)
    • Day 1
      Saint-Malo
    • Day 2
      Brehat Island
    • Day 3
      Ouessant
    • Day 4
      Glenan Islands
    • Day 4
      Concarneau
    • Day 5
      Groix Island
    • Day 6
      Hodeidah
    • Day 6
      Port Navalo
    • Day 7
      Houat
    • Day 7
      Belle Ile
    • Day 8
      Nantes
    Ship Details

    Le Jacques Cartier - Ponant

    Reviews

    Le Jacques Cartier Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    Carrying just 184 passengers, Le Jacques Cartier offers up the same sleek styling as its sister...

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More about Nantes

Why go to Nantes?

Pros: From history buffs to hipsters, there's something for everyone here -- medieval architecture, art galleries and more.

Cons: Many attractions are closed on Mondays, which happens to be departure day for river cruises.

Bottom Line: Nantes is a quirky city with a rich history that blends modern with medieval.

Where You’re Docked

CroisiEurope's paddle-driven riverboat Loire Princess -- which was specifically designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Loire and is the only riverboat regularly operating cruises along it -- docks at Ponton Belem on Quai de la Fosse, which lies opposite the Chantier Navals tram stop. This is an ideal spot from which to explore Nantes, as the 18th-century center is only a five-minute tram ride (or about a 20-minute walk) away to the right, while the railway station and the city's lovely botanical gardens are a further five minutes down the tramline.

Nantes Cruise Port Facilities

Ponton Belem lies right next to the Anne de Bretagne Bridge, which takes you straight across the river to Ile de Nantes, home to the spectacular new law courts, the revived dockyard areas and the fascinating Les Machines de l'Ile (see Don't Miss). It's also within very easy walking distance of the Abolition of Slavery memorial (also to the right, when you stand with the boat behind you). If you head in the opposite direction, a five-minute walk takes you to the ferries that cross the river to charming Trentemoult island.

Good to Know

Traffic! As well as trams, cars, taxis and buses, Nantes is home to legions of cyclists, so -- as in Amsterdam -- you need to keep your wits about you and look out for zooming cyclists. Also look for art installations; follow the green line on the pavement and it will guide you round the Ile de Nantes and the city's main artworks. Museums and attractions are closed on Mondays -- the departure day for river cruises. But if you have a late-ish flight after disembarking on Friday, you'll have time to see the nearby Machines d l'Ile in the morning. Also bear mind the variable weather and cobbled streets -- wear sensible shoes and carry an umbrella.

Getting Around

On Foot: You'll find Ile de Nantes and Les Machines d l'Ile an easy 10-minute walk from where the boat is moored, while the Place Graslin at the heart of the 18th-century city center is about a 20-minute walk (turn right outside the boat dock and keep going, then head inland at Allee de la Bourse (home of the old Stock Exchange).

Invest in a Pass Nantes if you want to go sightseeing, as this not only offers unlimited access to the city's trams and buses, but also free admission to museums, monuments and the TAN public transport network (excluding the airport shuttle). You also get discounts at some shops.

By Tram: Line 1 trams run to the right from Chantier Navals to the city center and beyond that, to the Botanical Gardens (which are just opposite the main railway station). Trains run regularly from the airport to the main station. From the station, catch a tram headed left and disembark at Chantiers Navals, where your boat is moored.

By Taxi: Taxis are freely available around Nantes. A taxi from the airport to Quai de la Fosse costs upward of €30, depending on when you travel (prices are higher on weekends and other off hours, so check the fare before you get in).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency is the euro (for the latest exchange rate, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com). There are no ATMs near where the boat docks but you will find plenty in town, around the main Rue de Strasbourg (near the Natural History Museum) and there's also an ATM at Nantes Atlantique Airport.

Language

English is widely spoken and understood in Nantes, particularly at attractions and in restaurants. But don't assume everyone speaks it, as the French can take offense at people treating English as the universal language. Keep the locals happy with a few basic phrases, like...

Good morning / evening Bonjour / Bonsoir
My name is... Je m'appelle...
How much is this? Combien est-ce?
Do you speak English? Parlez vous Anglais?
How can I get to...? Comment puis-je obtenir de...?
Where is...? Ou est ...?
Can I have the bill, please? L'addition, s'il vous plait?
Thanks (very much) Merci (beaucoup)
Goodbye / See you later Au revoir
Pleased to meet you Ravi de vous rencontrer / Enchante
Pier Le port
Ship Bateau de croisiere

Nantes Cruise Reviews

Loire Princesse
Tauntonbob
Sail Date: May 2018
Not too much heritage retained, but be sure to visit Parc des Machines...Read More