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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines vs. Ambassador Cruise Line
Cruise Ports Near Me: Find the Closest Homeport for No-Fly Cruises (Photo: Mia2you/Shutterstock.com)

Top 9 Reasons to Take a No-Fly Cruise

Cruise Ports Near Me: Find the Closest Homeport for No-Fly Cruises (Photo: Mia2you/Shutterstock.com)
Roxanne Wells

While many cruises mean having to catch a flight for at least part of your journey, no-fly cruises offer a hassle-free straight-onto-the-ship alternative that appeals to many. With hundreds of cruises sailing from British shores every year, including no-fly Northern Lights cruises from the UK, cruising makes dream holidays a possibility without ever having to step foot on an aircraft.

P&O Cruises, Cunard, Saga Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Ambassador Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Hebridean Island Cruises are among the lines to offer UK departures from a large number of ports. Although the majority depart from Southampton, you can also get onboard at ports up and down the UK including Newcastle, Liverpool, Greenock, Dover and Tilbury (see 6. Cruise From Your Local Port, below).

Here is our list of the top nine reasons to take a no-fly cruise.

1. No-fly Cruises Mean You Can Skip the Airport

No one enjoys spending time at the airport -- and it's usually a fair bit of time, too, once you factor in those extra hours 'just in case' of heavy traffic or long queues at check-in. With a no-fly cruise, once checked in you can get straight onto your floating hotel and start your holiday. Even better, you'll usually have many of the ship's facilities and eateries available for you to use while you wait to set sail. A quick dip in the swimming pool followed by a bite to eat from the inclusive buffet sounds much more appealing than hanging around at an airport gate with an overpriced Pret panini.

2. Forget About Fearful Flying

Unless you’ve booked a no-fly cruise, chances are you’ll spend the build up to your getaway feeling more apprehensive than excited for your cruise holiday. For aviophobics (the official name given to those with a fear of flying), no-fly cruises could mean the difference between going on that dream holiday or missing out. It also means that those who endure flying anxiously don't have to begin or end their holiday in fear. 

3. Pack and Unpack Once

Stay organized when packing for your cruise (Photo: Diego Cervo/Shutterstock)

While airlines have strict rules when it comes to baggage weight, size and contents, you'll find yourself far less restricted on a no-fly cruise -- which is just as well with all that fancy evening wear to fit in. The allowances vary from line to line, so check before you pack. For example, Royal Caribbean doesn't restrict passengers' luggage (other than to suggest bringing a 'reasonable' amount), while P&O Cruises says each bag must weigh no more than 23kg for safe handling, though passengers are permitted multiple bags. Keep in mind that what you take needs to fit into your cabin, though -- it's no fun having to clamber over a stack of cases to get into bed. 

4. No-fly Cruises Are Great for Kids

Friends in a cruise pool (Photo: pio3/Shutterstock.com)

Kids and flying don't always mix well, especially if you've got young children who don't like to sit still for longer than two minutes, let alone two or more hours. Waiting around at airports is super boring for kids of all ages, but add on flights and transfers and it's likely that mum and dad's nerves are going to be well and truly frayed by the time they reach their destination. With a no-fly cruise you can cut the potential for tantrums considerably, and start your happy family holiday in true Brady-Bunch style (maybe).

5. No Worries About Delays or Cancelled Flights

Relying on a flight to get you to your cruise on time can sometimes feel like a risk, especially if you have to make your own arrangements. Delayed, cancelled or missed flights can throw a massive spanner into the works when it comes to catching your cruise ship connection, and just the possibility of a problem can be stressful. Eliminate all flight-related issues that could throw your cruise off course by taking air travel out of the equation.

6. Cruise from Your Local Port


While it's true that the majority of cruises from the UK sail from Southampton, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, there are more options if you’re looking for a regional departure. 

Saga Cruises, Seabourn, Carnival and Disney Cruise Line sail from Dover; Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines also sails from Dover, as well as Liverpool, Newcastle, and Belfast. Ambassador Cruise Line’s first ship Ambience sets sail from London Tilbury and when the line’s second ship, Ambition, launches in March 2023, the line will also offer departures from Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol and Falmouth.  Viking and Silversea also sail out of Tilbury. 

7. No-Hassle Holidays

Aquatic Club (Deck 15) on Valiant Lady (Photo: Katherine Alex Beaven)

One of the main reasons no-fly cruises prove popular is that they offer the ultimate no-hassle holiday. Once you're on the ship it's your home for the duration, with no connections to catch, hotels to check into, bags to drag from A to B or transfers to trouble you. You will also have great leisure facilities on your cabin doorstep, from relaxing spas and swimming pools to casinos and kids' clubs, plus great places to eat and drink -- all available for use from the moment you check-in.

8. Enjoy a Repositioning Cruise

Tenerife (Photo:Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock)

Every spring and autumn, Europe and Caribbean ships do a transatlantic ship swap, with those ships based in the Caribbean for our winter heading over to the Mediterranean in March and April. They stay here for the summer and then head back in the autumn -- often half full as they usually only stop in the Canary Islands or Cape Verde islands and are relatively long journeys to Miami and South America. As a result, fares are deeply discounted -- often with a return flight thrown in.

9. You Can Take a Northern Lights Cruise from the UK

Northern Lights Option 1

You can even plump for no-fly Northern Lights cruises from the UK, with a number of lines now offering winter sailings (the best time to see the Northern Lights on a cruise is between November and March). Witness the luminous green and purple lights dancing through the sky as you sail north, skirting the Norwegian coastline. Hurtigruten, Cunard and P&O Cruises are among the lines offering no-fly Northern Lights cruises from the UK.

Updated January 08, 2020

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