Updated: 14.08.19 by Darcy Alexander
When you have stunning ports like London, Liverpool, Southampton and Edinburgh on your doorstep, it begs the question; why travel to other places to embark on your cruise? These harbours not only give you the possibility to decide where you want to depart from, but also offer you alternate options for amazing routes and destinations. One of the greatest benefits of starting close to home, is the ease with which you travel; you get to your starting point faster, and in much more comfort than sitting on a plane, squished, for hours.
No baggage restriction
Travelling via cruise allows you more flexibility when it comes to baggage as shipping companies don’t require limits like an airline. As you may be aware, most commercial airlines limit you to bring 1 bag for under 23 kgs and any additional extras can come at a hefty price. If you’re travelling for an extended period of time, departing from the UK will save you money, allow you to pack more of the things you need and at ease.
Ease, convenience and comfort
In general, choosing a cruise that starts close to home is convenient. There’s no language barrier when checking-in, no need to exchange currency for buying snacks or paying the taxi driver, and it can allow you more to pack more. If you do need to fly to your city of departure, within the UK, make sure to pack accordingly!
Cruises from the United Kingdom in 2019
There are a number of upcoming and sailed cruises in 2019 departing from the UK. Earlier this year, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruised for 7 nights from Southampton to Paris, Vigo and Lisbon before returning home. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 set sail on the 23rd June 2019 and visited Canada & New England. In 21 days, the ship stopped off at New York, Halifax and Boston, before returning to Southampton. In May 2019, Explorer of the Seas cruised around Norway where beautiful places like Bergen and Olden were visited for 9 nights, departing from and returning to Southampton. So make sure you check out our Cruises from UK ports page to find the best prices and deals for your next cruise departing from the UK!
It’s easy to forget just how beautiful the UK is – especially on the harbours. Although Southampton is the most popular, there are other amazing ports out there, that sometimes get overlooked. Discover our top picks below and it might just be a great idea to explore the cities prior to your departure.
Southampton – Port of Southampton
Upon arrival at the Port of Southampton, you’re offered the option of de-loading your car before parking – to save you dragging them across the car park, and yes – there is parking at the port! After parking, or leaving the taxi, head through to security, and check-in. The departure lounge is home to comfortable seating, a fully licensed bar serving both hot and cold food and drinks, a selection of complimentary magazines and washroom facilities (wheelchair accessible). If you’ve not been to Southampton before, make sure to find time prior to departure to visit the Stonehenge, or the Westquay Shopping Centre. Explore the wonderful city of Southampton, where you’ll find many beautiful green spaces, museums, theatres and other attractions from which to choose.
Newcastle – Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal
One advantage of departing from Newcastle is the location. If you decide on a route that includes the Baltic’s, Fjord’s or Scandinavia, you could save as much as a day’s worth of cruising, if you leave from Newcastle. The Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal provides parking close to the terminal, and facilities include a shop, café and licensed bar for drinks and food. If you desire an improved shopping experience, visit the Royal Quay, located just a few minutes from the terminal. The terminal is also perfectly situated for passengers who want to explore the city of Newcastle, as the harbour is near to main transport connections.
Portsmouth – Portsmouth International Port
Taking a cruise from Portsmouth International Port is a unique experience; you can look out over the port on the outdoor terrace and enjoy the relaxing view. Admire Portsmouth’s rich history combined with its contemporary beauty as the ship sets sail. Portsmouth’s antiquiry includes literary greats such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. Attractions you could visit include the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Mary Rose Museum, the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum, Gunwharf Quays and the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. From a geographical standpoint, the harbour is very suitable for cruises to France and Spain. The infrastructure allows you to get to the port by car, train, coach and of course, taxi. The Portsmouth International Port offers a multi-storey car park, which can be used for long-term parking.
Dundee – Port of Dundee
The port of Dundee is very special; it’s a natural harbour dating back 800 years. The Scottish port is the easiest and quickest way for passengers to visit Scotland. In 2018, Scotland’s first design museum, the V&A Dundee, opened and it is not one to be missed. Make sure to visit Dundee Law, an extinct volcano that offers a tremendous view over the city, and don’t miss out on learning more about Captain Robert Falcon Scott, either – The British Royal Navy officer who discovered the Antarctic Plateau. On arrival at the port, first drive to the Cruise Terminal where your luggage will be collected, before parking – but please remember that you will need to pre-book parking. If you decide to travel by train, organise a taxi for when you arrive at the Dundee Railway Station, as it’s about 2.5 kms away from the port. Taxis are situated right at the exit of the railway station.
Dublin – Dublin Port
Dublin is Ireland’s most popular port for cruise liners. Internationally it compares very well as it welcomed over 150 cruise ships in 2018 – roughly half of the cruise ships docking in Sydney (with Sydney having 2 dedicated cruise ship passenger terminals). The city itself has plenty to offer with its 18th century fine Georgian buildings, wide streets and spacious squares. Trinity college, which was founded by Elizabeth I in 1591, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The temple bar district offers a great mixture of food, drink, shopping and music and is centrally located. A visit to the Guinness Storehouse is also recommended.
The port is situated only 2.7km from the city centre. Both, short and long term parking parking is available. Alternatively, you could take the Dublin Bus route 53, which will take you directly to the port. Taking the Luan or tram does not take long, but be aware of the walking distance from the stop to the terminal (up to 45 mins).
Dover – Port of Dover
Dover offers an amazing view when departing the port, particularly of the famous white cliffs. Dover Castle and the Dover Museum are also worth a visit. When you get to the terminal you will be amazed by the space and comfort of the departure lounges and selection of stylish café bars and washrooms. Dover Port has a unique parking situation in that it offers on-site parking, including the option to park outside or undercover. The car park has more than 1,000 spaces available, which is why a shuttle transfers passenger from the facility to the passenger terminal. Alternatively, take the train from London, which takes just over an hour, with a 25 mins walk or few minutes taxi ride.
London – Port of Tilbury
Of course, London has so much to offer, you’d barely know where to begin! There are some basics that you must see, such as Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. If you like museums, check out the Tate Modern, Warner Bros. Studios or Madame Tussauds. If football is more your thing, visit the Emirate Stadium, FC Chelsea Stadium or even the famous Wembley Stadium – or all of them. If immersing yourself in the culture, history and sights is what you’re after, simply walking through the city will suffice – there truly is never a dull moment in this beautiful city. If you have a chance to see London at night, try out some of the critically acclaimed restaurants or shows. The Port of Tilbury offers both short term and long-term parking, so you can take a taxi, train or shuttle bus which takes you directly from the train station to the cruise terminal.
Edinburgh – Port of Rosyth
Being located only 25km out of the city of Edinburgh, the Port of Rosyth offers phenomenal views of the Forth Road and Forth Rail bridges. The city has a rich history, which is why visiting Edinburgh Castle, the museums and /or galleries is more than worth it. There’s bountiful shopping and a special food culture, which needs to be tried. The city with all its wonderful Georgian terraces and amazing buildings is the perfect complement to the natural setting that you encounter in the Scottish capital. The port is situated only 10 minutes from Edinburgh Airport, so if you do decide to fly into Edinburgh, you are very close. The port itself does not have public transport, however, so you’ll have to book a taxi from the closest railway station.
Liverpool – Port of Liverpool
The Port of Liverpool is unique and its only a 3-minute walk to the Pier Head, where in the summer there is a fair ground with many rides. Keep walking south, and you’ll find yourself at the Beatles Story Museum in less than 10 minutes. There are great restaurants, a lively atmostphere and the Wheel of Liverpool is situated right there too – the huge ferris wheel offers stunning views. Liverpool is not only birth place of the Beatles, but also the cultural capital; consisting of more national museums, theatres and galleries than any other city in the UK (except London). And we can’t forget about the home of Liverpool F.C., of course. The Port of Liverpool offers parking possibilities, however, passengers will need to contact their cruise operator about a space beforehand. Everything is pretty much walking distance as the cruise port is situated in the heart of the city – a truly special port!