All you need to know about sailing from the UK

Spring has finally sprung! With our sun-starved hearts, we’re ready to leave our frost-bound grottos and return to the world beyond. To explore and discover. To refresh and renew. Or at the very least, to lather ourselves in sun cream and vitamin D-infused sunrays.

Thankfully, we can get straight to it from British shores. Just locate your nearest cruise port and head to one of the UK’s magical, water gateways to the world. 

Step directly into your holiday

When you choose a cruise that departs from the UK, you can pack your bags and step straight into your holiday. You can even wear your bathing suit beneath your clothes and goggles atop of your head if you really want – ready to dive headfirst into the swimming pool the moment you put your bags down!

Today, more and more cruise lines are increasing the number of UK ports they depart from for this very reason. These are referred to as “no-fly cruises” as they embark directly from the UK, requiring no extensive, pre-cruise travel. This is a wonderfully relaxed way to start to the holiday, having cut out the airport entirely along with worries about excess baggage, connections and additional flight costs. This means, your holiday begins as soon as you step foot on board your ship, often only a few steps from where you’ve parked the car.

Set off from your local port

From the UK’s dainty, little coastline, you can set sail on an array of different adventures. Shorter itineraries include the sparkling, golden jewels of the Mediterranean and the history-packed, cultural gems of Europe’s finest cities. The wild and magical Norwegian fjords and the frosted, Icelandic tundra. The unique charm of the Baltic region, the exotic allure of the Canaries and North Africa.

All of these and more are possible from the following UK ports: Southampton, Portsmouth, London, Newcastle, Dover, Belfast, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Harwich and Hull.

Transatlantic voyages

There are also many Transatlantic cruises to East Coast USA, Canada and the Caribbean. These grand voyages depart from the major port of Southampton (the “Heathrow of cruising”), as well as from Liverpool, Dover, Tilbury-London and Bristol. Ships have been crossing the Atlantic to and from New York, on this historic and iconic voyage, since 1847.

A large number of these cruises are “round-trips,” meaning they return back to a UK port at the end of the voyage.  Other lines, such as Cunard and Crystal Cruises, also offer itineraries initially departing from Southampton but which include other UK ports of call before heading further afield, allowing passengers to board there too.

The world beyond

Many World Cruises also depart from and return to Southampton, in monumental, round trips that can span up to 4 glorious months. Travellers can set sail on a Western Circumnavigation across the Atlantic with P&O Cruises, calling in on the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Australia and East Asia. Fred. Olsen will also embark on a Wonders of the World tour, reaching South America, East Asia, India, the Middle East and North Africa, before returning home to Southampton’s shores.

No-hassle holidays

Once you step aboard your cruise, you find yourself at home for the duration of your voyage. No rushing for connecting flights and transfers. No expensive airport hotels to check into, or baggage restrictions to dampen your mood. And absolutely no lugging heavy suitcases behind you. Instead, enjoy a welcome drink as you wait for your suitcase to be brought directly to your cabin. Unpack once and then set out to explore the fun and leisure right on your doorstep; replenishing spas and swimming pools, casinos and kids' clubs, Michelin Star restaurants and Broadway show bonanzas amongst them.

Don’t start holiday off with jetlag

When you have to start your holiday off with a long-haul trek through the skies, you can find time zones rolling away beneath you. Once you land, after an uncomfortable stint in cramped and upright seats, you find that it’s a bright and early morning when your body and mind are ready to collapse into bed for a good night’s kip. No fly cruises departing from good old Greenwich Mean Time allow you to start your holiday fresh and cheerful, rather than groggy and drained.

No worries about delays or cancelled flights

Missing a cruise isn’t like missing a train or a plane. If a flight is delayed or cancelled, you can certainly book a new one. But if it doesn’t get you there in time for your cruise departure, well… that ship will have sailed and there’s nothing you can do about it. Delayed, cancelled or missed flights can ruin your cruise holiday, and just the possibility of a problem can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Eliminate the chances of any flight-related problems occurring by simply removing air travel out of the equation.