Quick recap of a repositioning cruise from Florida to Copenhagen

Enchanted Princess docked in Ponta Delgada, Azores,
en route from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Copenhagen, Denmark

I haven’t blogged since last fall’s Belgium/Paris/Kenya/South Africa travels, but that’s not to say we haven’t traveled. David and I spent three months doing a transAtlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Copenhagen, 5 weeks in Antwerp, 2 weeks near Geneva and a final stay in Corsica in the spring before heading home to Texas for a 4th of July family reunion and some summer pool time in the sun. Our spring travels were great, but I wasn’t sure I had much to add to the ever-swelling ocean of travel reviewers and bloggers. A dear friend disagrees, so I’m back at Wanderwiles just for you, Phyllis. I won’t detail it all (I’ve written a fair amount about our much-loved Antwerp already.), but there were some fun discoveries I’m happy to share.

First up, I guess a quick recap of the cruise is in order. We always love a repositioning cruise, but in 2022 it made more sense than ever given the travel frenzy as the world emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic. We needed to be in Antwerp in early April and flights were ridiculously expensive (in dollars or miles/points) and inconveniently routed, too. So, I went to Vacationstogo.com (“VTG”) to see if any repositioning cruises would get us there. We’re not brand loyal when it comes to cruises, choosing them for destination, usually as a one-way trip to start or end longer travels. I found a really intriguing Princess repositioning cruise from Florida to Copenhagen and a less interesting and more expensive option on Norwegian. We had a little bonus credit which Princess cruise line gifted to us in addition to a refund for a transPacific cruise to New Zealand that was canceled as the pandemic took hold. I confirmed lots of cheap direct (1 hour) flights from Copenhagen to Brussels Airport (the main airport for Antwerp), and the choice to go with the Princess cruise was a no-brainer. After deducting our credits, we paid a mere $1478 for both of us for 14 nights in a balcony cabin. (Without our credits, the total cost with taxes and fees would have still been only $2102.) With all lodging, meals, transportation and entertainment included, this was cheaper than the economy flights I’d seen, forget about business class! (There are gratuities to be factored in, although this cruise remained a great bargain.) The stops were appealing, too: Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Brest and Cherbourg in France, and Skagen and Copenhagen in Denmark. We’d been to Ponta Delgada before, but really liked it. Despite all my years in France, I’d not been to Brest or Cherbourg. It had been ages since I was in Copenhagen and David had never been. Fun!

In the spirit of keeping reviews of this cruise brief, I’ll hit only a few highlights and tips:

Ponta Delgada is a great cruise port, allowing an easy walk into the charming town. For those with the time and inclination to explore the island, there’s a car rental agency ANC Rent-a-Car (azoresholidays.pt) at the end of the main pier to the right as you head ashore near the swimming area. We rented a car last time we were in port for an overnight and made a full circuit of the island, eating lunch cooked by volcanic heat and admiring the gorgeous views and prolific wild hydrangeas. A favorite Ponta Delgada restaurant that demanded a return is A Tasca which offers tasty local food and reasonable prices. It’s a popular place and fills up quickly with a line forming outside. We were there and waiting at the lunch opening along with a few others in-the-know. A food tour stopped in on our last visit so I guess that’s a possibility, but we much prefer to skip the cost and restrictions and eat when and what we please for as long as we please. (A Tasca’s tuna steak is my personal favorite.) Another, quirkier, recommendation are the mojitos in the bowling alley on the pier just before the cruise ship boarding area. When we returned to the ship and discovered multiple excursions had just arrived creating a huge line, we decided we had time to grab a drink to go. Atlantic Bowling was the closest spot, and the bartender quickly produced as good a mojito as this Texan has ever had, poured it in a go-cup, charged us an extremely reasonable €4, and we were off.

Bayeux Museum courtyard. Photos of the famous tapestry are not allowed.

We also really enjoyed Cherbourg (another walking-distance port, boasting a seafaring history and flair), but only after we hopped a train to picturesque Bayeux to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry. [We walked to the train station and bought tickets from a machine. The machine is only in French and I helped two other English-speaking couples purchase their tickets. Senior rates mentioned online weren’t available on the machines. There was plenty of available seating on the trains to and from Bayeux.] Despite living in France for years and wanting to see the tapestry since my parents read to me about it as a child, I’d never made the trip. It was well worth it and an easy train ride from Cherbourg. Bayeux is a charming town of half-timbered buildings and a lovely cathedral. The tapestry is actually a 70m x 50cm (230ft. x 20in.) embroidery which wraps around several walls of the viewing room. It’s an amazingly intricate work of medieval art which tells the story of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066.

Nyhavn in Copenhagen

I was disappointed when rough seas canceled the scheduled stop in Skagen, the northernmost town in Denmark. Such changes are part of traveling by ship, though, and it hardly ruined our cruise, we just ended up with an extra night in Copenhagen. Construction is underway to extend the local metro out to the end of the cruise port which will be great, but for now, it’s a distance into town and too far to walk to the closest station. Princess offered complimentary buses in and out the first day, but we were on our own on debarkation day. We caught a cab to Orientkaj metro station and took the modern M4 metro into Copenhagen Central Station. The metro exit opened onto Stampesgade where we could see the sign for Hotel Tiffany, my choice for our stay. With its reasonable price, nice rooms and fantastically convenient location, Hotel Tiffany was perfect for us. The close proximity to the main train station made a daytrip to Malmö, Sweden, (over the Øresund Bridge, the longest combined rail and road bridge in Europe) and our departure to the airport very easy.

That’s all I’m going to write about the cruise except to say it was smooth, sunny sailing the entire time, fun and relaxing, and it’s always good to arrive overseas sans jetlag. As I mentioned at the start, I’m skipping our five weeks in Belgium as I think I’ve written enough about some of our favorite things there over the years. We did explore a few out-of-the-way places while staying in a village just outside of Geneva that I think are worth a mention, so in coming posts I hope to share a little about daytrips around the Jura Mountains and alpine lakes followed by highlights of Corsica. In September, we took a transPacific cruise to New Zealand where we spent three weeks and 2000 miles of driving exploring both islands.

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