With a rich and varied maritime history, it’s no surprise the UK has so many cruise ports. Whether you want to head off on a world cruise or a luxury voyage, there’s a cruise port to suit your needs. Here’s a list of the UK’s main cruise ports:
Ports in England
The Port of Dover is the second-largest cruise port in the UK. With two passenger terminals, Dover welcomes over 200,000 cruise passengers per year. Mostly dedicated to shipping and ferries, the Port of Dover has the capacity to accommodate three cruise ships at once during its peak season (April to October). Twenty different cruise lines (including Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hurtigruten and Princess Cruises) sail from Dover to incredible destinations such as Norway, the Baltics and Iceland.
Hutchison Ports Harwich International is a multi-purpose freight and passenger port. It is a single berth, single terminal affair, which makes it the smallest of the three main cruise ports to serve London. Despite its size, Harwich port offers a variety of amenities including electric vehicle charging ports, free Wi-Fi and access to a railway station. It is also a short walk from the main shopping area which hosts a number of retail outlets.
Just a few steps away from the city’s UNESCO World Heritage waterfront, Liverpool Cruise Terminal welcomes visiting ships into the heart of the city. Currently, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises sail from Liverpool. By 2022, Liverpool Cruise Terminal will have welcomed over 500 cruise ships.
The Port of Tilbury is home to the London International Cruise Terminal which is the capital’s only deep-water, purpose-built cruise facility. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines sail from Tilbury cruise port throughout the year, with Azamara, Silversea, Norwegian Cruise Line, Azamara and Regent Seven Seas Cruises joining them during the peak summer months. Cruises destinations include the British Isles, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
The Port of Tyne in Newcastle is one of the UK’s most popular cruise and ferry ports. Its award-winning International Passenger Terminal has two purpose-built, lock-free cruise berths which allow for up to 2,000 passengers in a turnaround call. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Marella Cruises and Saga Cruises all sail from Newcastle to destinations including the Baltics, Canary Islands and Norway.
Only 60 miles from London, Portsmouth International Port is an ideal starting point for a no-fly cruise. Known as the Great Waterfront City, Portsmouth has been building a reputation for its cruise port in recent years. Passengers can choose from a plethora of cruise lines including Silversea, Saga Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The Port of Southampton is the UK’s largest cruise port. Host to a wide variety of cruise lines including P&O Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises, the Port of Southampton has been welcoming cruise passengers for over 100 years. Southampton port has four dedicated cruise terminals; City Cruise, Mayflower, Ocean and QEII where cruise ships whizz passengers off to far-flung destinations.
Ports in Northern Ireland
Belfast Harbour is the principal maritime gateway of Northern Ireland - around 70% of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade is handled here per year! The number of cruise lines that sail exclusively from Belfast is limited - only Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Crystal Cruises offer departures. However, Belfast is a popular port of call for cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean International, Saga Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.
Ports in Scotland
Forth Ports Leith is Scotland’s largest enclosed deep-water port. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the port is only three miles from Edinburgh, providing direct access to world-famous visitor attractions. Crystal Cruises, Silversea and Oceania Cruises all sail from here to Iceland, Norway and Northern Europe.
Which cruise lines sail from the UK?