Gold rooftop on Catherine Palace

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!

Western Mediterranean

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.

Palma CathedralPalma de Mallorca cruise ship port

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 Colosseum in Rome, Italy The Sanctuary onboard a Princess Cruise
Briksdal in Norway

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.

Related: Visiting Briksdal Glacier from Olden, Norway

Norwegian Fjords cruise to Stavanger

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.

Gamla Stan in StockholmTallinn

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.

The Hermitage Winter Palace facade from the Palace Sqaure

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.

Amsterdam CanalBruges, Belgium

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

Cunard Christmas Village display

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! 

Cocktails at seaFunchal, MadeiraThe back of the ship of Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas

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?

Where next?
Visit my ship tours page and guides to Europe’s ports of call to make the most of your time ashore.


  1. You’re right, we’re luck to have so many amazing cruising destinations available from the UK (though if you want any choice in which ship you go on, you pretty well have to leave from Southampton). And the only addition I would make to your list, is , yes surprisingly, a round Britain cruise. It’s a very easy way to see some of the most interesting places in our islands.

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