Dover and surrounding area combined with Zeebrugge the next day : August 2017
Day 1 :
Why do I keep booking these early ferrytickets? Oh yes off course … I hate traffic jams and in the morning rush, Brussels is a disaster … so I left around 05.30 this morning, most days this the time when I actually go to bed after working half the night … but this resulted in me being nicely on time in Calais for boarding the P&O “Pride of Canterbury” that sailed a bit too late at 10.10 instead of 09.50 but that didn’t bother me. Upon arrival in Dover I drove immediately to Dungeness for a visit to the old lighthouse and a walk around the area and its beach.
I went back in the direction of Dover to stop briefly for a short walk around Samphire Hoe nature reserve, this place was created with the rubble that came from digging the Channel Tunnel and added some land to the UK, it’s a very relaxed place to walk around and perfect for local wildlife.
I continued to Dover only to find out that the supermarket in the centre of town had vanished so I went to the marina for a quick lunch and a walk around the beach with a small tea to finish my day in the UK. By 18.00 I was waiting to board the P&O “Spirit of France” and once on our way it was time to relax and have dinner while crossing the channel.
The ship was right on schedule and by 21.10 I was already on the highway to Zeebrugge, the result … at 22.30 I was in my room relaxing.
Day 2 :
This morning I was able to sleep a bit longer because the port of Zeebrugge was just 3 minutes away so after breakfast and checking out I went to the port entrance and after the usual security clearances and documents checks I could board the Queen Elizabeth for a tour and lunch, the 2 other ships in Zeebrugge today were AidaPrima just in front of the QE and Mein Schiff 6 on the other side of the port due to limited space at the Zweedse kaai. We had a group of 25 people and after a tour of the ship with the needed photoshoots and explanations we went to the Brittania restaurant for a nice 3 course lunch. By 14.00 I had left the ship and went to the marina for a better view on Mein Schiff 6, since I had a few hours to kill I took a relaxing drink on a terrace closeby to wait for the ships to set sail.
Queen Elizabeth overview : it has been 13 years since I cruised on Caronia & QE2 so I didn’t have an updated view on Cunard other than second-hand accounts. I have to say I was impressed by this ship in more than one way, the interiors look stylish classic and made of good quality materials, for some reason I immediately had a Titanic or Queen Mary feeling when I was walking trough the ship and apparently the interiors were based on the original Queen Elizabeth so that makes sense I guess. The ship seemed very relaxed and calm for such a big vessel and off course with about 1000 crew members for 2000 passengers the service should be very good. The restaurants all have their own special theme and as we had lunch in the Brittania restaurant I felt very fortunate to be on a Cunard ship again.
By 17.00 I went to the port entrance near the Western lighthouse to wait for QE & Mein Schiff 6 to leave port in order to have the best view for photos. This was the end of a short succesfull phototrip.