Why choose a cruise to St Nazaire?

If you choose a St Nazaire for Nantes cruise, you’ll dock in the port of St Nazaire, a city renowned for its shipbuilding industry. It has plenty of attractions to fascinate plane and boat enthusiasts.

Just an hour’s drive away you’ll find the beautiful city of Nantes which combines the charm of riverside promenades and 15th-century châteaus with exciting contemporary art installations and quirky restaurants. There’s no shortage of places to explore.

St Nazaire bridge

A guide to St Nazaire’s hotspots

Learn more about St Nazaire’s maritime past with a visit to the Escal’Atlantic, a unique museum housed in a former submarine base. It’s a museum that covers the history of ocean liners and it’s decorated to resemble one, too. Nearby you’ll find the French submarine l’Espadon, housed in a former German U-Boat base and now converted into a museum. You can board the submarine to get a real insight into the lives of its crew.

Meanwhile, Nantes’ historic centre has been recently revitalised, and combines the traditional with the contemporary – for example, you’ll find an amazing Gothic cathedral and an art museum within walking distance. Or, if you like, you can travel between them on a small, colourful train.

The most iconic historical attraction in Nantes is the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a stunning 15th-century castle, surrounded by a moat and accessible over a drawbridge. Inside is a museum which tells you more about Nantes’ interesting history.

In Nantes, children and adults alike will adore the Île de Nantes, an island on the River Loire. Here you’ll find an amazing steampunk-inspired playground, with a 40-foot mechanised elephant that gives rides to passengers, and a carousel inspired by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

steampunk playground Nantes

Cruise lines that sail to the port of St Nazaire

Marella Cruises

Celebrity Cruises

MSC Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises

The best time to visit St Nazaire

The most popular time for a St Nazaire cruise is between July and August, when the temperature is a pleasant 19°C-20°C, sometimes higher. This is great weather for sightseeing and al-fresco lunches.

If you visit in the off-season, you can still enjoy sightseeing. In the winter months of November–February, the temperature averages between 6-8°C. The Nantes Christmas market is one of the largest in western France – guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit.

Did you know?

  • St Nazaire was occupied by the Nazis in World War II, who used it as a major submarine base
  • Nantes was initially built on numerous islands lying in the Loire Estuary
  • Jules Verne is one of the most famous citizens of Nantes
  • The sardine tin and hackney cab were both invented in Nantes