Port Vendres, France: Small Ships And The Appeal Of Small Ports

Today, Silver Wind is in Port Vendres, France. I first visited the charming town on SeaDream II in 2007. Following is a brief account of that experience.

One of the advantages of small passenger ships – not only SeaDream I & II, but all small passenger ships – is the ability to call on small ports. For passengers, small ports often lead to more authentic travel experiences ashore – not to mention less-crowded touring.

When SeaDream II navigated into the harbor at Port Vendres, France, there were no other cruise ships in port. In fact, it would be hard to imagine more than one passenger ship docked at tiny Port Vendres. And I could never imagine a ship carrying, say, more than 1,000 passengers in this port.

I hopped on one of the Hummer bicycles that SeaDream makes available free of charge and pedaled through Port Vendres on the Sunday morning we were there. After pedaling not more than five minutes, I passed a group of fisherman who were cooking over an open fire sardines they had just caught. I stood around and watched for a few minutes before being invited to join in.

I then pedaled 15 minutes to Collioure, a charming village that is said to have inspired the painters Matisse, Picasso, Derain and others. Collioure was truly picturesque, and the fact that there were few cruise passengers in port elbowing for space made the village – and indeed the entire day – all that much more special.

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