Zeebrugge for Dummies

Zeebrugge is the popular Belgium port where cruise ships dock in order for their passengers to visit BrugesGhent and the First World War Battlefields.

Zeebrugge obviously poses problems for some cruisers and I had the inspiration to write this review when I read what amounted to a load of poor information on a rather dull cruise forum.

 

 

Zeebrugge is a busy ‘working’ port and pedestrian access between the ship and the port gate is not allowed.

Whatever one’s destination, if it is a ‘Do it Yourself‘ visit, then the passenger generally needs to get to the railway station at the nearby town of Blankenberge from where a regular train service runs to both Bruges and Ghent. (Actually, it is the same train service)

Different cruise lines operate different routines when it comes to providing a shuttle bus service: some charge and others provide a complimentary service.

The first part of the journey entails taking a ‘shuttle’ bus either to the port gate or into the town of Blankenberge. 

Should the cruise line provide a ‘free’ shuttle bus then this is by far the quickest and most recommended way to reach Blankenberge Railway Station. The shuttle bus takes approximately 15 minutes and parks a few minutes walk from the railway station.

In the event a cruise line does not provide a complimentary shuttle service then passengers have a number of options.

The first of these is simply to pay for one’s transfer by shuttle bus. Here is an example of what was available on a recent Celebrity Eclipse visit…

Passengers simply disembarked from the ship and bought a return ticket for €12.00 per person.

Alternatively, the port provides a ‘free’ red bus shuttle to the port gate from where passengers can follow the road to the right of the port gate, and follow the  Kusttram (Coastal Tram) tracks…

…for some 500 metres where, near the Church of Zeebrugge, is the “Zeebrugge-Kerk” tram stop.

Trams generally run every 15 minutes and passengers can purchase a ticket on the tram – €2.00 one way.

Finally of course there are usually a number of taxis available at the gangway.

Passengers wishing to visit Bruges then have the option of either a local bus service or the faster and more efficient Belgium train system which takes just 15 minutes to Bruges and 30 minutes to Ghent.

A review of a previous visit to Ghent can be found at…

https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2013/05/21/one-way-to-do-zeebrugge-ghent-edition/

For the purpose of this review though the journey is to Bruges.

At the railway station ticket office purchase a return ticket to Bruges. The Belgium railway network offer a ‘special’ fare of €5.00 return for cruise ship passengers…

Trains depart Blankenberge every hour at 42 minutes past the hour.

Currently (June 2015) the railway station is under reconstruction. However, the platform system is well laid out and easy to follow platform notices are in place…

The train arrives at Blankenberge well in advance of its departure time and is very spacious, being a twin deck model…

As previously stated the journey by train takes 15 minutes.

A review of Bruges can be found at…

 

 

The return journey from Bruges is very similar and really quite easy.

On entering Bruges railway station…

…easily read information boards detail train departure times and relevant platforms…

Trains depart Bruges for Blankenberge at 4 minutes past the hour. On the above board the platform is given as 5B.

NB. If travelling from Ghent to Blankenberge it should be noted that the train splits at Bruges – the forward section taking a different line to Knokke (Platform 5A). It therefore pays to check the carriages at Bruges do indicate…

Whichever way you choose to get to Bruges do have a good journey. It ain’t that difficult.

 

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6 responses to “Zeebrugge for Dummies

  1. Pingback: One way to do Bruges | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

  2. Just finished a Baltic Cruise and last stop was Zebrugge  which I had this post then.   Thank you very informative – keep them coming much better than the Cruise Ship info

  3. Pingback: Cruises.co.uk | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

  4. When our cruise visited Zeebrugge the impression given by the ship’s staff was that it was difficult to do this on your own and of course its nothing of the sort! We docked near the port gate so just walked out, turned right and walked 5 mins up the road to the tram. We bought our tram tickets in the shop by the tram stop (I think a Spar). This had a notice outside in various languages telling you how the system works. The modern tram runs the length of the Belgian coast and you can buy a daylong ticket quite cheaply as well as individual tickets. (Funny how the cruise lines forget to give out this information). We had already been to Bruges so went a short distance down the coast to the attractive seaside town of De Haan which has some very attractive 1920’s houses

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