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For many cruise passengers the ultimate luxury of a sea voyage is not so much impeccable service or endless dining options; even sumptuously-appointed cabins can play second fiddle to the delight of driving to the port of embarkation. Here porters will unload as much luggage as you care to pack and convey it from boot to boat, and before you can say “bon voyage” you’re onboard your floating hotel.


Flying to meet up with your cruise is all too often a necessary evil, but with interminable queues at airport security, complex regulations about what you can and cannot take with you on the aircraft, all-too-punitive weight restrictions, not to mention delays and cancellations due to striking air traffic controllers across Europe, it’s rarely a pleasure. Little wonder the number of passengers choosing to cruise from British ports exceeded a million last year – more than those flying to foreign ports to begin their holiday. Now more than ever, the stress associated with hurtling through the skies in an aluminium tube – not to mention jet-lag - can be banished to the deep.


Passengers eager to cruise from UK ports such as Southampton; Dover; Tilbury; Greenock; Liverpool; Newcastle; Bristol and Rosyth have a greater array of ships to embark than they might imagine. There’s a choice of Brit-friendly cruise companies, American-style cruises, as well as a choice of traditional-style and new-wave cruising. Due to their convenience, cruises from UK ports are a hit with those travelling with children.


The massive increase in capacity from Britain’s ocean cruise central means that not only will there be a cruise to suit all tastes, but there is an even greater array of itineraries from Southampton. With such stiff competition on ex-UK sailings by companies who’ve refined a successful cruising formula, it comes down to tactical pricing as much as the loyalty factor for seafaring holidaymakers.


Top itineraries for ex-UK cruises are the Norwegian fjords; the Baltic; Canary Islands; the Mediterranean and even round Britain cruises. In winter months longer sailings include Grand Voyages and World Cruises.

  • 1st April 2019

Gary Buchanan


Edinburgh-born Gary Buchanan has been a travel writer for over 30 years. He has been a specialist cruise writer for 25 years contributing to leading British publications including national newspapers and consumer magazines. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans.