Go local: the easy way to cruise

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NCW2012small.jpgFed up with the queues at airport security and the money-grabbing tricks of budget airlines? It has never been easier to sail away on a cruise and it’s gaining in popularity all the time. Last year more British passengers than ever began their holiday from a UK port – up 100,000 to 753,000.
More ports are getting in on the act as well. Southampton is the busiest cruise centre by far but, fearful of the competition, it has been fighting against the re-development of a Liverpool terminal, and it faces competition from Dover, Tilbury, Harwich and others.
Ships leave Britain for almost every destination on the globe – as well as short trips to the Mediterranean, the Baltic and the fjords, world cruises depart for South America and Australia every January, crossings to the Caribbean are commonplace, and Cunard still runs a regular service to New York.
Here are some suggestions for cruises departing from our home ports.
SOUTHAMPTON
Home of P&O and Cunard, the south coast city is also the UK base for ships such as Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and Celebrity Eclipse. Holland America Line’s 1,400-passenger Rotterdam sets out on November 3 for an exotic 32-night Caribbean Odyssey round trip from Southampton to the Caribbean with fares from £1,599 – or £799 for a 17-night fly cruise returning from Aruba. Call 0843 374 2300 or go to www.hollandamerica.com
PORTSMOUTH
It’s not too late to book a berth on the inaugural cruise of Voyager. This ship, formerly the Alexander von Humboldt, is joining Voyages of Discovery’s fleet and sets out on December 4 and there are still berths available on the first 18-night sector to Barbados (from £999 including return flight). Call 0844 488 0889 or go to www.voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk
DOVER
For the first time since 2008, Carnival Cruise Lines will be sailing out of the port of Dover next summer. The 2,200-passenger Carnival Legend sets out on June 21 for a 12 night Scandinavian cruise visiting Copenhagen, Warnemunde, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin and Zeebrugge (from £979pp. Call 0845 351 0556 or visit www.carnivalcruise.co.uk
TILBURY
The Empire Windrush, carrying the first large group of immigrants from Jamaica, arrived here in 1948, and during the 1960s the Thames-side port was the departure point for thousands of “£10 Poms” heading for a new life in Australia. It’s now the home port of Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo, offering a variety of voyages from a two night cruise to Amsterdam departing on October 27 (from £149), to a 42-night odyssey to the Amazon leaving on January 3 (from £2,599). Call 0844 414 6185 or go to www.cruiseandmaritime.com
LONDON (TOWER BRIDGE)
From a mooring alongside HMS Belfast, join the luxury Seabourn Pride for a 15-night cruise to Edinburgh, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Dunvegan and Fort William in Scotland; Derry/Londonderry; Douglas, Isle of Man; Dublin and Waterford in Ireland, and Falmouth. Departs September 1, 2013. (from £5,042). Call 0845 070 0500 or go to www.seabourn.com
HARWICH
This east coast port is handy for departures to the fjords and the Baltic, and is less than 90 minutes by rail from London’s Liverpool Street station – special trains run to coincide with some ship arrivals. Fred Olsen’s Black Watch departs on May 7 next year for a 14-night European capitals cruise visiting Warnemunde (for excursions to Berlin), Stockholm, Sweden; Tallin, Estonia; St Petersburg, Russia; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Amsterdam, the Netherlands (from £1,559). Call 01473 742424 or visit www.fredolsencruises.com
NEWCASTLE
Join a 12-night North Cape adventure on the 1,250-passenger Thomson Spirit, departing May 13, 2013 for Bergen , Hellesylt, Geiranger, Sortland, Honningsvag, Tromso, Kristiansund and Flam (from 993). Go to www.thomson.co.uk/cruise
EDINBURGH
Set out from under the Forth Bridge to explore the World Heritage sites of Iberia during a 12-night cruise on board Fred Olsen’s Black Watch and visiting Leixoes (Oporto), Vigo, La Coruna, Aviles, Bilbao and Le Havre. (from £1119). Call 01473 742424 or visit www.fredolsencruises.com
LIVERPOOL
Join the classic 780-passenger Ocean Countess on her final departure from the Mersey. The 13-night cruise on October 9 visits Lisbon, Madeira, La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Agadir, Malaga and Barcelona. (from £759). For more information call 0844 414 6185 or visit www.cruiseandmaritime.com

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:43+00:00 18 September 2012|Cruise deals, Cruise destinations|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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