UK Cruise Lines

UK Cruise Lines: Discovering The Best Cruise Lines of The United Kingdom

Embarking on a cruise from the United Kingdom offers an exquisite blend of maritime tradition. It also offers modern luxury, and the thrill of exploration. The UK’s cruise industry, buoyed by a rich seafaring heritage, is home to several cruise lines. Each catering to different tastes, budgets, and experiences. In this detailed exploration, we’ll delve into the prominent British cruise lines, highlighting their target passengers, departure ports, itineraries, and price ranges.

P&O Cruises – Britain’s Maritime Jewel

Target Passengers: P&O Cruises primarily appeals to British holidaymakers looking for a mix of tradition and contemporary cruising. With a focus on families, couples, and older passengers, P&O offers a quintessentially British experience at sea.

Departure Ports: Southampton is P&O’s primary homeport, with itineraries that include the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Norwegian Fjords, the Caribbean, and round-the-world voyages.

Itineraries: From short breaks to long voyages, P&O covers a vast array of destinations. Their ships are known for sailing to traditional sun destinations as well as offering unique cruises such as Northern Lights adventures in Norway.

Price Range: Prices vary widely depending on the itinerary and season. Shorter European cruises can start from a few hundred pounds per person. Longer and more exciting voyages can cost several thousand.

P&O Britannia - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: P&O Britannia / Sail Away Magazine

Cunard Line – The Epitome of Ocean Liner Elegance

Target Passengers: Cunard caters to those who appreciate the golden age of ocean travel, offering a sophisticated experience with a focus on luxury, history, and transatlantic crossings. Its passengers tend to be older or those celebrating special occasions.

Departure Ports: Southampton serves as the primary departure port, with iconic transatlantic crossings to New York, as well as itineraries to Europe, the Caribbean, and world cruises.

Itineraries: Cunard is renowned for its transatlantic crossings on the flagship Queen Mary 2. Besides, it offers a selection of cruises to worldwide destinations, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and round-the-world journeys.

Price Range: Reflecting its luxury offering, Cunard’s prices are on the higher end, with transatlantic crossings starting from over a thousand pounds per person to several thousands for suites and longer itineraries.

Cunard's Queen Victoria at Ocean Terminal, Southampton - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Cunard’s Queen Victoria at Ocean Terminal, Southampton / Sail Away Magazine

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – Personalised and Friendly

Target Passengers: Fred. Olsen targets mainly older British passengers who prefer a more intimate and friendly cruising experience. Their ships are smaller, facilitating access to ports larger vessels can’t reach.

Departure Ports: While Southampton is a key port, Fred. Olsen also departs from regional ports across the UK such as Liverpool, Newcastle, and Edinburgh, offering convenience to passengers nationwide.

Itineraries: Fred. Olsen’s itineraries focus on exploring closer to home with cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, the British Isles, and beyond. They also do longer voyages to the Caribbean and around the world.

Price Range: Prices are generally moderate, with a focus on value. Shorter European cruises can be quite affordable, while longer and more exotic itineraries will be pricier.

Fred Olsen Borealis - Fred Olsen Cruises
Credit: Fred Olsen Borealis / Fred Olsen Cruises

Saga Cruises – Exclusively for the Over-50s

Target Passengers: As the name suggests, Saga Cruises caters exclusively to the over-50s market, offering a refined and relaxed cruising experience with a personal touch.

Departure Ports: Southampton is the primary departure port, with Saga offering a range of itineraries that include door-to-door travel service from anywhere in the UK.

Itineraries: Saga’s ships visit destinations worldwide, including the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Baltic, and Norway, as well as offering scenic cruises around the British Isles.

Price Range: Prices reflect the all-inclusive nature of Saga’s cruises, including insurance and door-to-door pick-up service, with fares starting from the mid to high range.

Spirit of Adventure - Saga Cruises
Credit: Spirit of Adventure / Saga Cruises

Marella Cruises – All-Inclusive Family Fun

Target Passengers: Marella Cruises, part of TUI, targets families and couples seeking an all-inclusive, laid-back cruising experience with a British feel.

Departure Ports: While Marella is more known for fly-cruises, it also offers departures from UK ports such as Southampton and Newcastle during the summer months.

Itineraries: Marella’s ships sail to a variety of destinations including the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Canary Islands, with an emphasis on offering an inclusive experience.

Price Range: Offering good value, Marella’s all-inclusive pricing means that drinks, dining, and, on many cruises, flights are included. Prices are competitive, especially for family bookings.

Marella Explorer Cruise Ship - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Marella Explorer Cruise Ship / Sail Away Magazine

Ambassador Cruise Line – Britain’s Newest Cruise Experience

Target Passengers: Ambassador Cruise Line, the first new British cruise line to launch in a decade, positions itself towards the more mature market, focusing on passengers aged 50 and above. It aims to provide a traditional cruising experience with a contemporary touch, emphasizing community, sustainability, and a friendly atmosphere.

Departure Ports: Ambassador primarily departs from London Tilbury, offering easy access for passengers from the London area and the southeast of England. This choice of homeport differentiates it from other lines, providing a unique starting point for its itineraries.

Itineraries: Ambassador Cruise Line offers a diverse range of itineraries, including the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, the British Isles, and Iceland. They also offer more far-flung destinations such as the Caribbean and South America. The line focuses on providing enriching experiences with themed cruises that cater to a variety of interests, such as wildlife, history, and culture.

Price Range: Prices are aimed at offering value to the mature market. Cruise fares are competitive and reflect the line’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity. While exact prices vary depending on the length and destination of the cruise, Ambassador strives to keep fares affordable. Many itineraries are available at mid-range prices that include a selection of onboard amenities and activities.

Ambassador Ambience Cruise Ship - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Ambassador Ambience Cruise Ship / Sail Away Magazine

Ambassador Cruise Line brings a fresh approach to the UK cruising scene, blending traditional values with a focus on modern-day concerns such as environmental responsibility and social connection. Its launch is a testament to the growing demand for cruise experiences tailored to the preferences and values of mature British passengers. Ambassador offers passengers new adventures and opportunities to explore from the convenience of a UK departure port.