The Christmas Market is a tradition as old as time and there are hundreds to choose from, so why go to the trouble of a Christmas Market Cruise?
There are a few destinations that are available to cruise ships, Bruges via Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Cherbourg and Le Havre to name but a few.
The one that is most visited all year round but also is a wonderful destination for Christmas is Bruges. You do not actually arrive in Bruges by ship as the nearest port s Zeebrugge, a commercail port and as such is called a ‘ closed ‘ port as cruise ship guests are not free to wander around unsupervised, you are usually coached at a minimum of 300 yards to the Port gates ! from where you can make your way via tram, tram tickets are purchased at the small conveniance shop 500 yards to the right of the Port gates, from here you can make your way to Bloomenburg and catch a train to Bruges from the station, in all it takes around an hour in total, or you can pre purchase an excursion either before online or onboard with the Excursion Concierge direct to Bruges, this involves at the very least a coach and 5 hours to have a wander around the amazing and picturesque city.
Once in Bruges there are of course the delights of the chocolate shops, my favourite is Maison du Chocolate off of the main square, a quirky and tiny shop with just enough room for 4 shoppers at a time, but oh my, they have the most amazing chocolates, my wifes favourite are the orange peel chocolates that look like worms, all wriggly but wonderful.
If you are feeling cultural, inside the Church of Our Lady is the statue of the Madonna and Child Jesus by Michelangelo, the only piece of art that was moved outside of Italy in his lifetime around 1564, this was looted by the Germans along with millions of works of art during the 2nd World War, for their own protection, apparently, and was recovered from a salt mine near Altaussee in the Austrian Lake District. It is a wonderful piece, there is a film about this called ‘ The Monuments Men ‘ .
There are many more shops to pick and choose from and also taste from as well. Cafe’s offering the best hot chocolate in Belgium, I am dubious as it usually consists of a bowl of hot milk and chocolate on a stick ! to the most amazing beers and ales, waffles, cheese and of course mussels and chips.
You also get to wine and dine on a beautiful cruise ship on your way there and back and enjoy West End type Productions in the evening.
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