Dover, Southampton and Harwich seems to be the most favored UK departure ports for cruise lines. But what about you poor folks who do not live anywhere near these ports? Having to fly, drive or take the coach or train to get there can easily add on an extra day to your holiday and not everyone has the time. To help you out, I've trawled the internet to find alternative UK ports of departure for 2008. The major are round trips, with the occasional disembarking at another UK port or flying back to the UK, all of which are noted. So take a look. You might be surprised at where you can go.
You have quite a choice if you live near Liverpool thanks to Fred Olsen. You can get a Taste of Portugal or Iberia, have a Canary Christmas, discover the Secrets of Norway, spend Easter in the Med, try out Castanets & Calvados (Portugal, Spain and France) or have an Adriatic Adventure. All on a round trip from Liverpool. Other Fred Olsen cruises from the home of the Beatles are:
Black Prince, The Orinoco Delta (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, Canaries Interlude (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, Mini Cruise (Liverpool to Greenock)
Black Prince, A British Summer (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, Celtic Late Summer (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, Canaries Collection (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, Eastern Mediterranean Cruise (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, The Fortunate Islands (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Black Prince, Pre-Christmas Escapade (Liverpool to Liverpool)
Thomson also offers two round-trip cruises from Liverpool. You can either get a taste of Ireland or explore Idyllic Iberia aboard Thomson Celebration.
Okay, London might not be that far from Southampton or Dover but do you really want to be lugging your luggage across London on the tube, paying a fortune for a taxi to get you to a mainline station or getting stuck in traffic trying to get out of London? Fortune Silversa offers five cruises departing from Tower Bridge, although with four of them you fly back to the UK. You can choose to cruise to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lisbon or Montecarlo and fly back or go on a trip around the UK ending up back at Tower Bridge.
Yachts of Seabourn also offer a cruise starting from Tower Bridge that takes you to the Grand Harbors of Europe before you fly back from Copenhagen.
Alternately, Transocean has several cruises departing from Tilbury aboard Marco Polo. Explore the majestic fjords in Norway, discover the British Isles, admire some Icelandic Wonders & Northern Isles or enjoy some sunshine in the West Indies. All beginning and ending in Tilbury. Other Transocean cruises from here are:
Marco Polo, Springtime Fjordland (x 4) (Tilbury to Tilbury)
Marco Polo, Whitsun Fjords (Tilbury to Tilbury)
Marco Polo, The North Cape Explorer (Tilbury to Tilbury)
Marco Polo, Baltic Cities & St Petersburg (Tilbury to Tilbury)
Marco Polo, Celtic Explorer (Tilbury to Tilbury)
It's quite a journey from Scotland to get to the more popular UK cruise ports, but fear not! Classic International Cruises and Fred Olsen both offer four cruises from Leith. Cruise to St Petersburg via the Baltic Cities on Classic International Cruises' ship Athena on a round trip from Leith. Alternately, pretend you're an arctic explorer as you head to the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen that lies within the Arctic Circle on Fred Olsen's Boudicca, also a round trip from Leith. Polarstar Expeditions also offer a cruise to Spitsbergen from Leith, but you do fly back to the UK.
Other cruises from Leith are:
Classic International Cruises, Athena, Norwegian Fjords (Leith to Leith)
Classic International Cruises, Athena, Iceland and Northern Isles (Leith to Leith)
Classic International Cruises, Athena, North Cape and the Midnight Sun (Leith to Leith)
Fred Olsen, Boudicca, UK Mini Cruise (Leith to Newcastle)
Fred Olsen, Boudicca, Baltic Cruise (Leith to Leith)
Fred Olsen, Boudicca, Summertime in Norway (Leith to Leith)
Travelscope, on the other hand, offer a cruise to the North Cape and Land of the Midnight Sun aboard Van Gogh on a round trip from the port of Rosith.
If you live right down in the south west of England, Falmouth is the place for you. Want to travel around the world, but like me you're incapacitated of packing light? Well, Travelscope have a 93-day round the world cruise beginning and ending in Falmouth. Better be quick though, it departs 4 January 2008. If you do not have the time to spare to go around the world, why not enjoy some summer sunshine around Spain and Gibraltar, also with Travelsope on a round trip from Falmouth. Other cruises offered by Travelscope from Falmouth next year are:
Van Gogh, Caribbean Sunshine (Falmouth to Falmouth)
Van Gogh, Iberian Costas, Corsica & the French Riviera (Falmouth to Falmouth)
Van Gogh, Christmas & New Year Sunshine (Falmouth to Falmouth)
Glaswegians and their neighbors can depart from Greenock on several Fred Olsen cruises. Catch yourself some sunshine before the nights draw in on the 13-night Mediterranean Canvas cruise beginning and ending in Greenock. Or why not discover the delights of Norway on Norwegian Explorer (Greenock to Greenock)? Other cruises from Greenock for 2008, all by Fred Olsen, are:
Black Prince, Canaries Panoramas (Greenock to Greenock)
Black Prince, Mediterranean Medley (Greenock to Greenock)
Black Prince, Museums & Bistros (Greenock to Greenock)
Black Prince, Norwegian Panoramas (Greenock to Greenock)
Black Prince, Tagines & Tapas (Greenock to Greenock)
Black Prince, Greenland Adventure (Greenock to Greenock)
Black Prince, Dublin Mini Cruise (Greenock to Greenock)
Do not fancy the long trek from Hull to the south coast? Travelscope offer two cruises that begin and end in Hull. You can either admire The Majestic Fjords of Norway or cruise east to St Petersburg visiting some of the Baltic Capitals along the way.
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Pray there's no fog on the Tyne as you board Fred Olsen's Boudicca or Thomson's Celebration. With Fred Olsen you can cruise to France & Spain, explore the Baltic, spend some Summertime in Norway or discover the land of Volcanoes & Vikings.
Thomson offers cruises to Norway's fjords and northern cape, the lands of the Vikings and of fire and ice, and the treasures of the Baltic.
All the Fred Olsen and Thomson cruises from Newcastle are round trips.
The Scottish isles are beautiful and what better way to explore them than on a cruise. It might be tempting to go abroad on holiday but there's often so much to discover in your own backyard. Hebridean Island Cruises offer a number of cruises around the Hebrides starting and ending in Oban. There are too many to list here but you can get A Taste of the Hebrides, go In Search of Bright Waters, discover Highland and Island Treasures or find the Secrets of the Western Isles to name but a few. The only cruise departing from Oban that does not finish there is Summer in Orcadia, which ends in Scrabster.
If you live near Portland, why not go on a cruise with a bit of a difference on the RMS St Helena operated by the St Helena Line. According to her owners, this ship is the only ocean-going vessel in the world that still carries the title of Royal Mail Ship. As well as carrying passengers it also supplies goods to the island of St Helena. If you fancy something a bit different there are two cruises that depart from Portland and finish in Cape Town, or you can do the trip vice versa.
Hebridean Island Cruises offers one cruise, Jewels of the English Heritage, which departs from Portland and travels along the south coast to Tilbury where you disembark.
For those who live in the far north of Scotland, Hebridean Island Cruises offer three cruises departing from Scabster. If you want a round trip, you can explore the Northern Isles from Orkney to Shetland. Meanwhile, Home from the Far North takes you to Oban, where you'll end the cruise, via Orkney. Song of Norway takes you (surprise, surprise) to Norway where you'll visit some of the country's highlights before flying back from Bergen.
So you see, you do not always have to travel miles before embarking on your cruise. And, with the majority of cruises above being round trips, you do not have to worry about weight restrictions on your luggage. Just do not forget to tip the poor soul who had to carry your kitchen sink!