United Kingdom Cruises

Cruising in United Kingdom

The United Kingdom includes England, Wales, and Scotland - the island of Great Britain - and Northern Ireland, situated on a neighboring island. Although these countries all belong to the same sovereign state, they are culturally and geographically diverse, with different experiences to enjoy in each.

In England, you’ll stop at cities all along the south-eastern coast, including Dover and Southampton, which provide the opportunity for day-trips to London—or simply time exploring these seaside areas. At least one day in London is almost required, just to view historic landmarks such as Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, along with Big Ben, of course. There are many equally historic countryside locations to visit, from Canterbury—made famous by Chaucer’s tales—to the fairytale-esque Leeds Castle, not far west of Dover. From Southampton, the iconic standing stones of Stonehenge are a must-see, a compelling reminder of just how ancient this land is, and an awe-inspiring sight.

In the north of Great Britain, there are a number of mainland Scottish cities that serve as ports of call, as well as several island groups, including the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The Orkneys are a rugged group of islands with well-preserved ties to Neolithic history, with fascinating museums, and an entire reconstructed prehistoric village that will surprise you with what it reveals about the ancient people who lived here. North of the Orkneys, the Shetland Islands are simply beautiful, and a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, with its large and diverse bird populations. Wales, in the west of Great Britain, is similarly diverse, with half a dozen port cities competing for attention. Each serves as the gateway to endless stretches of incredible coastline and gorgeous beaches, while inland you can visit tiny villages or imposing castles, or view some of the most evocative scenery in the UK on one of Wales’ scenic railway routes.

Belfast and Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, are both very old cities—well-settled by the Middle Ages—but Londonderry is several hundred years older, and these cities have very different characters. The 400-year-old wall that encircles Londonderry is amazingly well preserved, having never been breached since it was built, and it contributes much to the feeling that the city is a living piece of history. Belfast is just as memorable in its own way, with a lively sense of optimism and energy that has emerged as the city’s political strife has eased.

Ports in United Kingdom

Cruise lines that visit United Kingdom

Popular countries in Europe

Cruise guides & features