Cruising around the UK is growing in popularity. Jane Archer looks at the different options on offer
Cruising around the UK is the new staycation for Britons who want a holiday at home with a foreign feel.
Some 23,000 passengers cruised around the UK in 2011, 5% more than in 2010, and that figure is expected to rise next year as more cruise lines launch voyages around Britain.
This year, 13 cruise lines are circumnavigating the UK, while Hebridean Island Cruises has voyages around the Scottish islands. In 2013, Carnival Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises will offer debut round-Britain cruises.
Carnival Cruise Lines has a round-trip sailing from Dover on Carnival Legend on September 13. Celebrity Cruises has four round-Britain cruises on Celebrity Infinity, which will be based in Harwich from May to October 2013 for a debut season of ex-UK cruises.
Cruising around the British Isles has many attractions, chief among them is that it’s an easy and cost-effective way to see several places in the UK without forking out for expensive hotels and petrol.
Clients also don’t have to worry about changing money but they get a feeling of having been away from home.
All the cruise lines visit Scotland and Ireland, with Leith, Invergordon, Dublin, and Belfast among the top stops, many also visit Guernsey or Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is the leader in round-Britain cruises. Marketing manager Mike Hall says: “Sailing from UK ports brings cruising closer to home and avoids the hassles associated with flying. The cruises appeal to those who want to experience our rich island heritage, delightful scenery and picturesque harbours.”
CRUISE & MARITIME VOYAGES
What’s on offer? Five to 14-night round-Britain cruises from Tilbury, Newcastle or Leith on Marco Polo between April and September. Ocean Countess has a six-night sailing from Hull to Liverpool on May 23, an eight-night cruise from Liverpool to Leith and back, and a nine-night cruise from Liverpool around Ireland on September 14.
Highlights: A 12-night UK and Ireland cruise from Tilbury on Marco Polo on July 8 visits Glengarriff, Galway, Killybegs, Greencastle (for Londonderry), Belfast, Douglas and Leith.
Sample price: From £599 for a 10-night Treasures of the British Isles cruise on Marco Polo in May.
What’s on offer? An 11-day British Isles cruise from Dover on Crystal Symphony on August 25.
Highlights: An overnight in Rosyth, Edinburgh’s second port, and visits to Belfast, Dublin, Holyhead in Wales, Waterford, Portland and St Peter Port.
Sample price: From £3,206 including drinks and gratuities.
What’s on offer? An 11-night cruise around the UK from Southampton aboard Queen Elizabeth on July 27.
Highlights: Eight ports including the Orkney Islands, Liverpool and Cobh in Ireland.
Sample price: From £1,399.
FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINES
What’s on offer? Two round-Britain cruises from Dover – a nine-night itinerary on Braemar on May 22, and a 10-night voyage on Black Watch on June 11.
Highlights: Black Watch visits St Peter Port, Belfast and Dundee in Scotland.
Sample price: From £729.
What’s on offer? Two round-Britain cruises from Dover – one 12-day itinerary on Marina on June 6 and one 21-day voyage on Nautica on July 3.
Highlights: Nautica’s Viking Expeditions cruise sails north up the west coast of Britain, visits Iceland and Greenland and returns along the UK’s east coast.
Sample price: From £1,499.
What’s on offer? Two 10-night round-Britain cruises from Southampton, one on Arcadia on June 16, and Adonia on August 7.
Highlights: Adonia is visiting seven ports include Greenock, for Glasgow, Foynes in Ireland and Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Sample price: From £1,099.
What’s on offer? Six 12-day British Isles cruises from Southampton on Caribbean Princess between May and August. Two eight-day Ireland and Scotland cruises from Dover on Ocean Princess on August 2 and 17.
Highlights: Caribbean Princess ports include Guernsey in the Channel Islands, Holyhead in Wales, Loch Ness from Invergordon and a day in Le Havre for trips to Paris or Normandy.
Sample price: From £848.
REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES
What’s on offer? One 10-night cruise round Britain from Southampton on Seven Seas Voyager on September 6.
Highlights: Rosyth, for excursions to Edinburgh, Invergordon, Portree, Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff and St Peter Port.
Sample price: From £4,172 including shore excursions, drinks and gratuities.
What’s on offer? A nine-day round-Britain cruise from Dover on Athena on June 8.
Highlights: This can be turned into a 13-day Diamond Jubilee voyage by adding a four-day cruise from Portsmouth to Dover departing June 4.
Sample price: From £867.
What’s on offer? One 11-day round-Britain and Ireland cruise from Southampton on Silver Whisper on May 13.
Highlights: Eight ports including Foynes and Killybegs in Ireland and Oban and Portree in Scotland.
Sample price: From £3,899 including drinks and gratuities.
What’s on offer? Minerva has a 15-day round-Britain cruise from Portsmouth on June 6 and a 14-day cruise around Ireland sailing on July 19.
Highlights: The round-Ireland cruise visits Portrush, Killybegs, Glengarriff, and cruises up the Seine in France to Rouen.
Sample price: From £2,500 for the round-Ireland cruise.
What’s on offer? One 11-night round-Britain cruise on Thomson Spirit from Harwich on September 1.
Highlights: Nine ports including Douglas in the Isle of Man, Dublin in Ireland, Tobermory in Scotland and Newcastle in England.
Sample price: From £810 including gratuities.
VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY
What’s on offer? Two round-Britain cruises on Discovery – an 11-day Heritage of the British Isles cruise on May 26 and a 13-day walking-themed Britain and Edinburgh Tattoo voyage on August 13.
Highlights: A Footloose cruise in August has optional guided walks in each port. The itinerary sails the west coast of Ireland and overnights in Edinburgh.
Sample price: From £1,879 including gratuities.
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