There’s something truly magical about taking a cruise. Whether it’s the sense of occasion as you wave goodbye to land, or the feeling of finally being able to relax as you float along peacefully on the open water, going on a cruise is an unforgettable experience.

If you’re based in the UK and thinking about taking your first cruise, it’s a good idea to try a cruise from a UK port as you won’t have the hassle or expense of flying and you won’t have any luggage limits either.

What’s more, there won’t be any long queues for security and passport checks and mobility assistance is easily provided. If you enjoy the experience, you can then set your sights on cruising further afield.

Read on for everything you need to know about setting sail from the UK, including what to expect when you get on board and the various types of cruises you can take. 

What to expect when you embark on your cruise

As soon as you step foot on board, you’ll be shown to your cabin and have a chance to explore the ship.

One of the great things about cruising is that there is such a wide range of activities and entertainment options available, and there will be a timetable of activities, many of which you can book in advance.

Whether you want to join in with some on-board fitness classes, enjoy some live music in one of the bars or catch a blockbuster movie in the ship’s cinema, there will be plenty to keep you occupied during your time at sea. And of course, let’s not forget about the food! From tasty buffet options available 24/7 to gourmet dining in the ship’s restaurant, you won’t go hungry during your cruise. 

UK ports and destinations you can visit

Many cruise lines offer short breaks called ‘seacations’ around the UK, while others offer longer cruises to Northern Europe, France, Spain, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and further afield to Morocco. You can also embark on longer round-the-world cruises from the UK. While the vast majority depart from Southampton, there are cruises from other UK ports such as Bristol, Liverpool, Hull, Harwich, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Dover, Tilbury, Dundee, Edinburgh-Leith, Rosyth, Oban, Greenock, Invergordon and Belfast.

Which cruise lines sail from the UK and where do they sail to?

Typically big names such as P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Virgin Voyages all offer cruises from UK ports. 

Is there one cruise ship that is permanently based in the UK?

Yes. NJT’s key trade partner MSC Cruises recently announced that one of its newest and most innovative ships, MSC Virtuosa, will operate a full UK season in winter 2022/2023 and summer 2023, operating out of Southampton which opened a new £55m cruise terminal in 2021. MSC Virtuosa won Cruise Critic UK’s ship of the Year in 2021 and has five swimming pools and an aquapark, in addition to a luxurious spa. Itineraries will include cruises to Northern Europe with durations ranging from three-night breaks to three-weeks.

Are some ships designed for families and others for adults only?

While there are also cruises specifically designed for families, offering activities and entertainment tailored towards children and teenagers, there are also adult-only cruises. P&O’s Arcadia and Aurora for example are exclusively adult ships. Arcadia has a British Isles itinerary departing Southampton in summer 2023, while you can visit Amsterdam on Aurora in spring 2023 departing from Southampton.

Can you go on a ‘themed’ UK cruise?

Absolutely. Many cruise lines offer special-interest cruises with a focus on everything from food to music and gardening to history. For example, ROL has a ‘royal-themed’ cruise, while P&O have a food cruise for 2023 with chef Marco Pierre White and wine cruise with wine expert Olly Smith.

Taking your first cruise from the UK is definitely an experience not to be missed.

With so much to see and do both onboard and ashore, without the hassle of a flight, it’s easy to see why ‘no-fly’ cruises have become so popular in recent years.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday experience then why not set sail on a cruise from one of Britain’s many ports?

Get in touch with us today and be ready to say “Bon Voyage”!