When it comes to cruising from the UK, over 90% of passengers cruise from Southampton. It's the cruise capital of the UK and has been since 1840 when the first P&O passenger vessel set sail. The port handled over 1.7 million passengers in 2015.
Southampton has four dedicated cruise terminals, which play host to all the major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess, Celebrity, MSC, Carnival and Fred.Olsen.
The port of Tilbury, also known as the London Cruise Terminal, is the second most popular choice for UK cruisers, handling 5% of passengers. It's located on the Thames Estuary in Essex, 22 miles downstream from Tower Bridge.
Tilbury has become increasingly popular for cruises to Northern Europe. It can't handle the larger ships, which have to dock at Southampton. The cruise lines with ships small enough to depart from Tilbury are Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Fred.Olsen and Crystal Cruises.
Newcastle International Cruise Terminal, also known as the Port of Tyne, is the third most popular choice for UK cruisers, but handles only 1% of passengers.
This port is handy for sailings to Northern Europe, the Baltics and the Norwegian Fjords as you can save a day's sailing each way compared to travelling from the southern ports such as Southampton. Cruise lines available from here are Fred.Olsen, Thomson Cruises and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
These can provide handy options for people who don't want to travel too far from home to begin their cruise. However, your choice of destinations and cruise lines will be limited.
If you'd like more information on cruising from a particular port, or any help in booking your next cruise, our dedicated cruise concierge team will be happy to help. Just give us a call on 0207 980 2847.