One of the big growth areas in cruising recently has been in cruises around the British Isles. While this might come as a bit of a surprise to some, the obvious attractions of such a cruise are a lot more numerous than you might think.
Firstly, there are no worries about culture, currency or language. There is more than enough of the familiar- and no flying involved either- to be reassuring. But it is the unexpected sights that really make these voyages so very different. Sailing up the Mersey into Liverpool for the first time is thrilling and invigorating, showing the real sinews of a city that can only be truly appreciated by approaching it from the sea.
The taut, majestic Liver Building dominates what is easily one of the most famous and iconic waterfronts in the world. And, with many cruises now sailing from and returning here, the truly lucky get to experience this twice over. Across the river in Birkenhead, you can see one of the few captured German U-boats still in existence, via the famous Mersey ferry.
Belfast is enjoying a major resurgence as a cruise port of call. The city’s links to the White Star Line- and the Titanic in particular- give it an immense emotional resonance for anyone even vaguely interested in ships and the sea. You can now stand on the exact spot where the ill fated giant was launched from in the new, much applauded Titanic quarter.
Many cruises also feature an overnight stay in Edinburgh during August, allowing the lucky ones to experience the full stunning spectacle of the Tattoo. At any time of year, the former royal yacht Britannia and Holyrood, the former residence of the ill fated Mary, Queen of Scots, make this grand, sprawling city worth seeing.
More cruises are now calling in at Newcastle, with its stunning series of bridges vaulting the Tyne. The Angel of the North is an immense, wondrous spectacle, and the nearby city of Durham, with its Norman castle and stunning Romanesque cathedral has arguably the most impressive stance of any mainland city in the United Kingdom. Further afield, Stockton was the birthplace of the railways, and is now renowned for its own August Riverside Festival.
A cruise around Britain can be full of pleasantly surprising twists and turns every day. And with many ships now sailing from ports such as Harwich, Dover and Glasgow, the ease and convenience is now almost on your doorstep.
Suggested ‘British Isles Voyages’ 2012/13:
4th November 2012 (7nts): P&O Cruises on Adonia View this cruise
13th May 2013 (10nts): Silversea Cruises on Silver Explorer View this cruise
3rd June 2013 (11nts): Celebrity Cruises on Infinity View this cruise
29th July 2013 (12nts): Cunard on Queen Elizabeth View this cruise