If you're driving to the port then take plenty of pound coins...they charge five pounds per 24 hours but the machines don't take notes. The car park is only just across the way and it does have a change machine if you find yourself stuck.
Don't bother getting to the port too early. That's unless you like sitting on a plastic seat in what looks like a huge argos waiting room with only a slow coffee machine for entertainment.
Our cabin was compact and clean but really warm. Turn the aircon down when you get in...unless you want the sauna effect. Suggest you take some water with you because it's another pound for a small bottle on board and that heat takes it out of you.
The bars were all ok, we tried them all. The staff were friendly and the other travellers ranged from "flirty and forty" girl groups (nice) to thirteen year old school kids who were having the time of their lives (how jealous was I?). Also met some carp fishermen, a nice couple from Leeds and a guy I know from work.
The duty free shops had some really good offers on the wine. They make you pick it up in the morning so you can't drink it on board (as if).
Book your table at Langhams Restaurant when you board (get me with the nautical speak). I requested a window table. Probably not worth the bother since it was pretty dark out there... The meal and the service in the restaurant were excellent: well recommended to pass the evening. The disco was also very entertaining (especially the carp fishermen and the thirteen year old girls prancing to Mama Mia songs...)
In the morning we missed breakfast but the coach transfer to Bruges was a painless 20 minutes. Just don't forget to get off the boat cos they don't call you foot passengers...
If you are doing the day trip you can leave your bags in your sauna, ermm I mean cabin.
Bruges was lovely. All scenic canals and old houses, chocolates and strong lager. A bit like home really but more expensive these days (three euros a beer).
The people we met were really friendly and it's an easy place to just mooch about and enjoy on foot. We did the canal trip (couldn't resist it) at 7.6 euros each. An exciting white knuckle ride for forty five minutes. We shared it with some americans which was great. We really got into the tourist mode then and ate a load of chocolate eggs, some frites and lace.
Did a bit of a bar crawl taking recommendations from the nice bar people we met. Try CAMBRINUS Bar (touristy but loads of beers to choose from), De GARRE (hidden down a side street next to the Post Office in the main square, the gimmel is on your right). DE GARRE had a great local feeling atmosphere with high vaulted ceilings. We really liked it there especially after the eleven per cent beer. There is also Cookies Bar next door.
Our favourite place was a cool candle lit long bar called Joey's Cafe (it's on Zuidzandstraat off the main shopping street near a church). They were lovely people in there, worth seeking out if you want a more chilled muso kind of vibe...man.
We also did the Halve Maan Brewery Tour cos we thought we'd better. That was ok.
Didn't go on a horse and trap. Horses looked well but bored.
Had our last beer in the Bus Station Buffet Bar. It's not like Pumpkins at Manchester Victoria at all so give it a try if you're waiting for a bus.
Bruges was a great place to visit for a couple of days. Recommended!