Cruising around the U.K . -- as opposed to exploring more distant lands -- is increasingly popular, according to a couple of cruise lines offering trips to shores close to home. Just recently, both Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Voyages of Discovery have announced they will be adding U.K. cruises to their 2008 and 2009 lineups.
For Fred. Olsen, the line has managed to squeeze in an extra itinerary on the recently launched Balmoral. The plan is for the ship to sail on a 12-night cruise around Britain from Dover on 7 October. Balmoral will visit ports including Falmouth, St Peter Port, Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Leith Newcastle and Amsterdam -- so there is a real mix from having a Guinness in Ireland to seeing what Liverpool's 'City of Culture' has to offer.
This round U.K. cruise costs £975 per person which works out at £76 per person per day, which is a pretty good deal. Driving around the country with the current cost of fuel would cost a whole lot more and accommodation in U.K. cities do not come cheap either.
Fred Olsen's Wendy Hooper-Greenhill tells us that over the past year or so the round Britain cruises have sold out quickly -- not just with foreign folk, but also with U.K. cruisers wanting to "see" their country.
She said: "This year we have Black Prince and Balmoral doing U.K. cruises, but we decided to add another on Balmoral as well.
"I would say it is great value for money and you don't lose out on the exchange rate or paying for airfare."
Another traditional cruise line, Voyages of Discovery, is bringing its ship, Discovery, back to sail U.K. waters (it already sails from Harwich to Northern Europe and Scotland this year).
In 2009 the line will position its ship on a round-Britain trip. This 12-night 2 August, 2009, voyage includes stops at the Isles of Scilly, Dublin, Belfast, Oban and Dundee. It is in tune with Voyage's pricing and costs £1,298 per person.
Commercial manager Jos Dewing said this cruise would be great for people who prefer to stay closer to home and don't fancy the hassle of flying.
"The British Isles are coming back -- I am sure this will be popular with our past passengers," he said.
So maybe seeing Edinburgh Castle or visiting Belfast's Ulster Folk & Transport Museum wasn't top of your list, but perhaps it is time to rethink and take a trip home.
--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor
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Cruise Closer to Home
July 8, 2008