These five must-do cruises from the UK sail around Europe every year, primarily from Southampton – one of England’s biggest cruise ship ports with direct connections to London. Adding these cruises to your bucket list ensures you’ll tick off most of the top cities and destinations across the continent, and only have to pack your bags five times!
A Western Mediterranean cruise will typically take 10 to 14 nights on a round trip from Southampton. This cruise is perfect for sun worshippers as you’re visiting some of the sunniest destinations in Europe – like Southern Spain (Cadiz and Cartagena), plus the Balearic Islands including Palma de Mallorca.
This cruise is also well suited to history buffs and those who enjoy city hopping and sightseeing, there’s not many holidays/vacations where you can one day in port be exploring the medieval villages of Southern France to tasting tapas in Barcelona or hiking Mount Vesuvius in Italy the next.
Further reading: Highlights of a Western Mediterranean Cruise
The Norwegian Fjords | Cruises from the UK
Breathtaking scenery coupled with fascinating shore excursions, the Norwegian Fjords is THE destination to convert the most reluctant of cruisers. Most cruise ship itineraries to the Fjords are around 7 nights, longer itineraries up to 14 cross the Arctic Circle and/or stop in Iceland to see the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun. On a typical cruise you can expect to see jaw dropping waterfalls, snow capped mountains and even glaciers.
Scandinavia and The Baltic’s | Cruises from the UK
A Baltic cruise is for those who want to immerse themselves in the cultural capitals of Northern and Eastern Europe. You can visit up to 7 countries over 2 weeks on a Baltic Cruise including Russia, Sweden and Denmark. Saint Petersburg is often a highlight with many cruise ships docking overnight.
Further reading: Highlights of a Baltic Cruise from Southampton
The fairytale scenes of Tallinn, Stockholm’s stunning archipelago and Copenhagen’s colourful harbours are other memorable moments of a Baltic cruise.
Northern Europe – The Mini or ‘Taster Cruise’
The 2 to 5 night mini cruises from Southampton are ideal for those who’ve yet to try a cruise and want to see what it’s like. Typical itineraries depart from Southampton and visit one or two ports in Northern Europe, most commonly Le Havre (for Paris), Zeebrugge (for Brussels and Bruges), Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg or St. Peter’s Port in Guernsey.
The Northern Europe itineraries are a popular option for a special occasion – hen/stag parties, birthdays, anniversaries are often celebrated, and if you cruise in November and December you can visit some of Europe’s best Christmas Markets.
Further reading: A Christmas market cruise from Southampton
The Canary Islands | Cruises from the UK
The warm year round temperatures makes the Canary Islands an attractive destination for autumn or winter sun and many cruises will stop off in Madeira and mainland Portugal along the way too. This island hopping itinerary allows you to sample the Spanish way of life in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote – so you can pick a favourite for a return visit!
These aren’t of course the only cruises from the UK, other popular cruises include a Transatlantic to New York or the Caribbean and Miami, plus a round trip around Great Britain and Ireland. Where’s your favourite ports of call or cruise itinerary?