Taking a cruise around the British and Irish archipelago as well as Western Europe gives you the opportunity to see more capitals of world culture, great historical cities, than almost any other cruise possible. Furthermore, it’s not just good for city trips; and as every Briton knows, the country is also home to a diverse selection of natural eco-systems and landscapes for the nature buffs and hill walkers amongst us.
Could a cruise around Britain & Western Europe be cheaper than other transport?
By travelling around these countries on a cruise ship instead of by train, plane or automobile you stand to save hundreds of pounds in travelling costs to see exactly the same sites. The public transport in Western Europe is some of the most expensive in the world and few cruises can provide as economical an experience when compared to other ways of getting around between the same areas.
The most common itineraries are between 10 and 14 days long and really it takes this much to see everything you want to see in this region. However, 3-5 day cruises are becoming increasingly popular as a way of having a long-weekend-break departing from the UK.
Where do these cruises typically embark from?
The largest ports in the region are in the UK and either Dover or Southampton are the most common ports of embarkation and disembarkation. Smaller ships may leave from other less common ports although this does not necessarily mean that those ports will be less well known. The smallest ships, for instance, may be able to leave from a spot on the river Thames in London. Many cruises, when starting or ending on Continental Europe, will do so from either Copenhagen or Lisbon.
What sorts of itineraries are available?
One of the more popular types of sea cruise would be cruises that tout the Scottish Islands, particularly the Hebrides which include the islands of Skye, Islay, Jura and Lewis. Many of these are famous for their whiskies making this a perfect trip for a whiskey lover. The main operator of these is Hebridean Princess Cruises.
Then there are the river cruises which tour continental Western Europe which offer the ability to visit a far greater variety of countries in a shorter period of time. The boats, however, are a little bit smaller and this may not suit everyone. Even smaller are the many canal barges which offer cruises in the region which are particularly famous for their tours of French towns and villages.