Last year turned out to be a bumper one for cruises from the U.K., with a total of 18 lines operating 23 ships out of a number of U.K. ports, the majority from Southampton.
However, it was (as we all know), a highly unusual year and none of those ships went further than the British Isles for most of the season.
This year, with COVID-19 restrictions scrapped, cruise lines including P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Virgin Voyages will be offering cruises from U.K. ports to northern Europe, France, Spain, Norway, Iceland, the Western Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.
And if you want to book any of these itineraries, check out our Deals page has some great offers.
Cruise From Southampton in 2022
If you want to cruise from Southampton in 2022, you're in luck, with 20 ships homeporting from Southampton and with many more calling in.
The ships are offering a wide range of itineraries including a Norwegian fjords cruise from Southampton, mini-cruises from Southampton and a Northern Lights cruise from Southampton.
Ship: Celebrity Silhouette
From: April 21-October 20, 2022.
Highlights: The 2,800-passenger Celebrity Silhouette is one of the line's popular Solstice-class ships and this year will mark its 5th year based in the U.K.
Itineraries: Silhouette will mix it up with short-break cruises to Bruges and longer itineraries to the Norwegian fjords, Spain, Portugal and France and Iceland and Ireland towards the end of the summer.
From: March 6 (Queen Elizabeth); March 20 (QM2); June 5 (Queen Victoria).
Highlights: All three ships offer a throwback to the Golden Age of cruising, with formal nights de rigueur and even a class system, depending which cabin you are in.
Itineraries: Queen Elizabeth starts the season with a 12-night cruise to Spain and Portugal itinerary; Queen Mary 2 will be recommencing the iconic Transatlantic to New York and back as well as a few mini-cruises; and Queen Victoria will offer primarily Western Med itineraries.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
From: Currently sailing, until August 22 (when it moves to Dover).
Highlights: The former Holland America Line ship is the line's flagship, carrying 1,338 passengers. After enjoying a significant refit, the ship has six restaurants and 11 bars and lounges.
Itineraries: Bolette will offer a wide variety of cruises including Northern Lights cruises from Southampton; Iceland, The Netherlands and Italy.
Ships: MSC Virtuosa, MSC Magnifica, MSC Preziosa
From: March 8-April 12 (MSC Magnifica); April 29-November 4 (Virtuosa); Oct 8-December 30 (MSC Preziosa).
Highlights: MSC Cruises is operating its longest-ever cruise season this year, offering 23 cruises from April to November on MSC Virtuosa.
Itineraries: Channel Islands, the Baltic; 14-night sailings to the Western Mediterranean; north west Spain and the Canary Islands.
MSC Magnifica will operate 7-night Northern European cruises, calling in at ports in France, Belgium and Germany.
MSC Preziosa will also operate 7-night Northern Europe cruises, calling in at Hamburg, Bruges, Le Havre.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Ships: Norwegian Star, Norwegian Prima
From: August 12 (Prima); May 22 (Star)
Highlights: Norwegian Prima is NCL's newest ship and will make its debut in Southampton. The 3,250-passenger ship is smaller than its Breakaway (4,000+ passengers) predecessors and boasts a number of new-to-the-line features including two new infinity pools, a sculpture garden and a 10-storey dry slide.
Itineraries: Norwegian Prima is scheduled to set sail from Amsterdam on an eight-night cruise to Reyjkavik, Iceland on August 17, 2022.
Norwegian Star will offer cruises until October to the British Isles, Iceland, Norway, Italy, France and Spain.
Ships: Arcadia, Aurora, Britannia, Iona, Ventura
From: April 8 (Britannia); April 1 (Ventura); Arcadia (April 12); Aurora (April 13); Ventura (April 4); Iona is here.
Highlights: Arcadia and Aurora are adults-only ships; Britannia, Iona and Ventura are kid-friendly and are packed with kids' facilities, including a recent link up with Aardman Animations (of Wallace & Gromit fame).
There is a strong emphasis on food across the fleet (with P&O Cruises associations with name chefs such as Marco Pierre White and wine expert Olly Smith).
P&O Cruises also has recruited ex-Take That frontman Gary Barlow to oversee the entertainment in Iona's 710 Club.
Itineraries: Norwegian fjords, Baltic and the Western Med.
From: March 28 (Sky); May 1 (Emerald); May 4 (Enchanted); June 13 (Island)
Highlights: Strong emphasis on food; excellent kids' facilities, immersive shore excursion options.
Itineraries: The ships will offer a mix of the following destinations: British Isles, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Scandinavia, Norway and Iceland and Transatlantics.
Ship: Anthem of the Seas
From: May 6-Oct 17, 2022.
Highlights: Anthem of the Seas boasts a huge range of entertainment options (virtual skydiving, virtual surfing, roller disco, dodgems), as well as incredible shows and a wide range of bars and restaurants. Kids facilities and programming is some of the best at sea.
Itineraries: Spain, France, Norwegian fjords and the Western Med.
Ships: Spirit of Adventure, Spirit of Discovery
From: The ships have been cruising throughout the winter, offering Canary Islands and Northern Lights cruises. Spirit of Adventure heads to (much) warmer climes from February 22, with a 35-night Caribbean spring cruise, returning here in late March.
Highlights: The over-50s line's brand new ships combine luxury and style, with a strong emphasis on food.
Itineraries: Norway, Ireland, the Baltic, British Isles, Mediterranean and even the Caribbean.
Dover Will Host Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Ships And Hurtigruten This Summer
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Ship: Bolette, Balmoral
From: From August 22 (Bolette); Sep-November (Balmoral)
Highlights: Bolette is a former Holland America Line ship, carrying 1,338 passengers. After enjoying a significant refit, the ship has six restaurants and 11 bars and lounges.
The 1,350-passenger Balmoral is one of the older ships in the fleet (1988), and has a wide variety of solo cabins.
Itineraries: Bolette will offer a combination of British Isles cruises, short breaks to Amsterdam and longer cruises to Madeira and the Azores, as well as the Norwegian fjords.
Balmoral repositions here from Rosyth in September, offering cruises to France and Norway.
Ship: MS Maud
From: Maud has been based in Dover since last November.
Highlights: The former Midnatsol has not been fully refurbished, but has had a spruce up with the addition of new restaurants: Fredheim, for casual bites; and Lindstrom for a la carte dining, ahead of its 2023 makeover.
Itineraries: Maud offers expedition cruises along the west coast of Britain, calling in at the Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Ireland and the Western Isles.
Liverpool Will be Homeport for Fred. Olsen's Borealis Cruise Ship
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Highlights: Borealis is the second of the two HAL ships bought and refurbished by Fred. In 2020 and is near identical to Bolette.
Itineraries: Iceland, Norwegian fjords, Western Mediterranean.
Virgin Voyages New Ship Valiant Lady Will be Based in Portsmouth
Ship: Valiant Lady
From: March 1-May 2, 2022
Highlights: The second of the line's new ships, the 2,700-passenger Valiant Lady will make its debut at the Port of Tilbury on March 11, offering an overnight showcase to select "sailors", before heading to Liverpool and then onto Portsmouth for its MerMaiden voyage the following Friday, a 3-night cruise to Bruges from Portsmouth.
Itineraries: 3-night, 11-night and 12-night voyages to Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and the Canary Islands.
(Portsmouth will also be home to Fred. Olsen's Balmoral in December and Swan hellenic's Minerva (pictured above), for one sailing only on May 9, 2022, which takes in the Northern French coast to Dublin.)
Tilbury Will Be the Homeport for the U.K.'s Newest Cruise Line, Ambassador Cruise Line
This London/Essex port will be the homeport for brand new U.K. cruise line, Ambassador, which debuts its new ship, Ambience here on April 6.
Ambassador Cruise Line
From: April 6, 2022-May 2023
Highlights: Ambience will have five restaurants including specialty dining options; two cafes, nine lounges, a swimming pool, spa, day and evening entertainment, fitness and leisure facilities complemented by enticing enrichment and lifestyle programmes.
Itineraries: The first full year programme operating until May 2023 will consist of 33 sailings visiting a total of 88 different ports, featuring the Baltics, Greenland, the Arctic, and Iceland, whilst for the winter months a range of expedition style voyages will sail to the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.
Newcastle and Rosyth Will Host Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Balmoral
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
From: May/June (Newcastle); July/August (Rosyth, Scotland)
Highlights: A stylish and friendly vessel with high levels of personal service geared toward mature British travellers.
Itineraries: Balmoral will offer cruises to the Canary Islands and Madeira, The Baltic, Scotland and Arctic.