Germany

Cruises around Europe are by far one of the most popular choices for UK cruisers. Europe is a fantastic holiday destination with so much to do and see for cruisers of all ages – whether you are heading to the blissful Mediterranean, breath-taking Norway and Northern Europe or the Scandinavian delights of the Baltics, a cruise is by far the best mode of transport. With no other holiday do you get to explore so much in one trip!

With all that being said, it can be difficult to know exactly what you want from a European cruise – after all, with so much on offer it can be hard to choose. Inevitably, there will be better options for families at some destinations and couples at others – so it is important to know what you are looking for. That is where we come in. This guide to European cruises will cover everything you need to know – from the best time to go on a European cruise, to the must-see destinations and cruise lines.

When is the Best Time for a European Cruise?

Barcelona

The best time for a European cruise will of course vary depending on which part of Europe you intend to travel to. Luckily each destination tends to have its peak season which helps to guide you on the best time to travel.

For Mediterranean cruises, the peak travel time – the weather is warm, the water is pristine, and the cities are bustling. For families, this is likely the best time to travel as there is ample time off school to take advantage of. However, for couples or families with children not at school we recommend travelling in spring or autumn to avoid the rush.

For Baltic cruises, you again should aim for slightly warmer months. Baltic cruises run all year-round however the poor weather in winter is less desirable. Therefore, the best travel months are July, August and September. For Northern Europe, such as Iceland and Norway the best travel time is again June through August – if you are looking for sun that is. If you are looking to see the northern lights, the best time is between October and March.

Best European Cruise Lines

We work with a variety of cruise lines that operate in Europe, and they are all special in their own way. The best cruise line for you will depend on different factors, but we have rounded them up below.

Best for Families

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Carnival Cruises
  • P&O Cruises

Best for Couples

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • NCL
  • Princess Cruises
  • MSC Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Fred. Olsen
  • Cunard Cruises
  • Holland America Line

Best for Solo Travellers

  • Fred. Olsen
  • Holland America Line
  • NCL

Departure Ports for European Cruises

We offer a variety of departure ports for our European cruises with a great deal of them departing from and arriving in Southampton or Portsmouth– for those who want the ease of starting and ending their trip in the UK.

If you would prefer to depart from another European country, and perhaps enjoy some time there, we also depart from ports such as Barcelona, Copenhagen and Gran Canaria.

Top European Cruise Destinations

Europe is vast and offers completely unique experiences depending on where you travel – from the sandy coasts of the Mediterranean to the snowy fjords of Norway.

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean

It won’t shock you that the Mediterranean is by far one of the most popular cruising destinations. It is incredibly vast and offers a range of different experiences – from historical sites across Greece and Rome, to the shopping destinations of Barcelona, Milan and Paris. You can sun yourself in France, Spain, Italy right across to Turkey on a Mediterranean Cruise.

Mediterranean cruises make a great choice for families, couples and solo travellers alike as there really is something for everyone.

Northern Europe

Norway

Further north you will find the stunning landscape that is Norway. Sail through the famous fjords and take in the spectacular views of natural beauty. Even better, on these trips Iceland will often be included so you can admire the majestic towns and cities formed by volcanic eruptions.

Northern Europe cruises are fantastic for couples and solo travellers as they offer the perfect chance to see some new sights.

The Baltics

Russia

Cruises to the Baltics offer rich culture and history in some of the most beautiful towns and cities. On these trips you will be able to visit the likes of Russia, Latvia, Denmark. Sweden and Estonia. These trips are great experiences for all and can be a chance to take the family somewhere new or explore as a couple.

Booking a European Cruise

Booking a European cruise is simple, you can browse our range of European cruise deals on our site and take a look at the best options for you. Or, if you want a little help to put together the perfect package you can give us a call and our cruise concierge are on hand to help plan every aspect of your trip and advise you.

What to Pack for a European Cruise?

What you need to pack for a European cruise will of course vary depending on your destination. But as a guide we would recommend the following:

  • Casual clothing
  • Formal clothing
  • Swimwear
  • Footwear including casual and formal
  • Accessories such as jewellery, sunglasses, umbrellas
  • Bags including plastic bags
  • Toiletries
  • Hair and makeup products
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Painkillers
  • First-aid kit
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Medications
  • Money
  • Travel documents
  • Maps, travel guides, important phone numbers and addresses
  • Technology such as phones, cameras, tablets and headphones
  • Water bottle
  • Reading/entertainment

For Warmer Destinations:

  • Beachwear
  • Shorts
  • Sandals
  • Extra Swimwear

For Cooler Destinations

  • Coats
  • Scarf, Gloves and a Hat
  • Thermal Layers
  • Thick Socks
  • Boots

Preparing for a European Cruise

With all of the above information we hope that you feel prepared for your cruise. However, there may be some other things you want to do to prepare for your trip.

Read up on Destinations

One of the best things about going to so many places is seeing all the sites. So, we recommend reading up on the places you will be visiting and deciding exactly what you want to do and see whilst you’re there – so you don’t feel like you have missed anything. You can of course join excursions with your cruise line and take tours at each destination or you can do your own thing if there is something specific you want to do.

We would recommend thinking about this in advance so that you are prepared.

Prepare your Documents

One of the most important aspects of preparing for any holiday, but specifically a cruise, is making sure you have all of your documents to hand, and they are all in date. These will now include Covid-19 documentation. Make sure you have:

  • Passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • Covid-19 Travel Pass/Vaccine Certification
  • Cruise Boarding Passes
  • Any Airline Tickets
  • Luggage Tags

You can check with your specific cruise line about any additional, and specific documentation (and Covid-19 documentation) you might need.

With all that in mind, you will have the best adventure on a European cruise, and we hope that this guide has helped you in your preparations. We have a variety of European cruise deals for 2022 and 2023, or you can give us a call to discuss your next adventure!

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Bethany Ward

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