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Caen (served by Port Caen-Ouistreham) is an Orne River cruise port and city in northwestern France (Calvados department) with total area approx 26 km2 (10 ml2) and population around 110,000 (metro around 420,000). Caen is approx 10 km (6 ml) from the English Channel, to which is connected permanently via Canal de Caen a la Mer. The canal ends at Ouistreham (city's commercial port) where a lock keeps the tide out and lets large vessels (including ferries and cruise ships) to navigate up the canal to Caen's harbors.
Caen is Normandy's 2nd largest municipality (following Le Havre) and 3rd largest city - following Rouen and Le Havre. Caen Metro is Normandy's 2nd largest (after Rouen) and France's 21st largest. Caen is at approx 2 hours drive northwest of Paris City. It is linked to the UK (southern England) via the Ouistreham-Portsmouth ferry (regularly scheduled daily) service. The small Ouistreham port is at Caen Canal's end (English Channel). The Portsmouth-Caen (via Ouistreham) ferry service is run by both supercats (fast-ferries) and standard Ro-Pax (roll-on-roll-off) passenger and car ferry ships. The ferry terminal is approx 15 km (9 ml) from Caen. Daytime shuttle buses serve foot passengers.
Caen is very close to Normandy's landing beaches, also to the Atlantic coast, the popular resorts Cabourg and Deauville, Norman Switzerland, Pays d'Auge. The city is famous with its historical buildings (most of which created during William the Conqueror / 1028-1087) and also for the Battle for Caen (during the Battle of Normandy / WW2 1944). Chateau de Caen was built by William the Conqueror (who conquered England in 1066). The castle is one of Western Europe's biggest medieval fortresses and currently serves as a museum.
In 2018, the cruise port Caen-Ouistreham handled 7 ship calls, and 6 in 2019. For 2020 were scheduled 10 calls, with projected growth to 20 in 2024.
Caen cruise terminal
Caen cruise port is accessed via a 15 km (9 mi) long shipping channel linking Ouistreham with Caen City's downtown located cruise terminal. Travel time along the canal is ~1,5 hours. The "inland voyage" features scenic cruising on Orne River featuring the popular Chateau de Benouville (18th-century castle) and passing under the Pegasus Bridge (fka Benouville Bridge)
The port can handle only smaller-sized cruise ships with max passenger capacity ~1,000. The cruise terminal/quay is located at walking distance from downtown Caen. In 2020 will be inaugurated complimentary for cruise tourists electric bus shuttle service between the terminal and downtown.
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