In the first of a new feature, we take a look at the iconic Tower Bridge cruise port in London.
Tower Bridge (HMS Belfast) is one of the most exclusive cruise ports in the world and is open to only a select number of cruise ships. The majority of vessels that berth here are often from the ultra-luxury market and they really are a lucky few that can take full advantage of this prime berthing location.
So why is it so exclusive? Unlike a normal cruise port, at Tower Bridge you will find yourself berthed right alongside HMS Belfast. There is no pier or big fancy cruise terminal, just a warship that will offer you a completely different experience when it comes to berthing. Even the entrance is one that will stay with you forever. As Tower Bridge opens up and welcomes you into the heart of the bustling English capital you can tell yourself you have officially arrived and you have certainly arrived in style. Size of the visiting vessel also plays an important part, after all HMS Belfast cannot host a vessel larger than she is and at just 186.99-metres there are only a select number of cruise ships that meet the specific 158-metres or less in length requirement for berthing alongside – thus making Tower Bridge fully exclusive.
Accessing your berthed vessel is incredibly easy too. At Tower Millennium Pier at the Tower of London you board a water taxi that takes you across the River Thames to a jetty located just off HMS Belfast. Walk up a few steps and you shall find yourself aboard the largest preserved warship in Europe. Take a short walk along her deck before accessing your ship, which is berthed right alongside. Our Managing Director recently had the pleasure of embarking on this exact journey and in his words “the experience from shore to ship is an exciting journey in its own right!” After all, there are not many cruise ports in the world where one can say they boarded their vessel via a 1930’s Royal Navy cruiser.
Tower Bridge Visiting Cruise Ships
The cruise port at Tower Bridge is for a small ‘club’ of ships, only those that are the right size can be accommodated and as mentioned earlier these vessels are often found within the luxury cruise market.
Compagnie du Ponant’s luxury cruise ship, Le Boreal visited London on May 15th and we managed to obtain some incredible footage of her entrance courtesy of Ponant (which you can view in the video below) but she is not the only impressive luxury ship that has paid a visit to this exclusive cruise port. SeaDream Yacht Club, SeaDream I was also alongside HMS Belfast just a few weeks ago on May 10th and 2014/2015 shall see. Seabourn Legend and Silver Cloud visit the capital several times during their cruise seasons.
Other cruise ships to have been moored alongside HMS Belfast include, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Hanseatic, a 5-star expedition vessel, FTI Berlin, a traditional and elegant vessel with space aboard for just 412-passengers and MV Hamburg which is operated by Plantours Kreuzfahrten
HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge
HMS Belfast originally entered service as a Royal Navy light cruiser in 1938 and is the only surviving cruiser that was built in the 1930’s – she is also the largest preserved warship in Europe. She was decommissioned in 1963 but during her time she was active in the Second World War, D-Day and the Korean War. A branch of the Imperial War Museum since 1978, HMS Belfast is permanently moored next to Tower Bridge right in the very heart of London.
Tower Bridge was built between 1886 – 1894 and is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name. The closest Underground station is Tower Hill so if you visit and want to head further into the city or even venture into the surrounding suburbs, you can do so with great ease.
Voyage Options Including Tower Bridge
Below is a selection of voyages departing in 2014 and 2015 that visit London’t Tower Bridge cruise port.
Baltic Gems and British Isles aboard Seabourn Legend. Departing August 15 2014 for 27-nights
British Isles and Atlantic Harbors aboard Seabourn Legend. Departing August 27 2014 for 27-nights
Tower Bridge to Reykjavik aboard Silver Cloud. Departing August 4 2014 for 9-nights
Lisbon to Tower Bridge aboard Silver Cloud. Departing May 29 2015 for 10-nights
Baltic no-fly aboard Silver Cloud. Departing August 3 2015 for 15-nights
For more information on Tower Bridge cruise itineraries please contact one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677