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Ships Cruising From U.K. Ports in 2023

Kerry Spencer

Apr 21, 2023

Read time
9 min read

Recent years have seen a growing number of cruise lines homeport in U.K. ports. These include popular British lines, European favourites and the major U.S. cruise lines, including P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Viking Ocean Cruises.

The majority of cruise lines homeport from Southampton, the U.K.'s largest homeport with five dedicated terminals. There's also Dover, London Tilbury and Newcastle among the U.K.’s homeports.

In preparation for a bumper season ahead, with a mix of new ships and returning favourites, here’s a comprehensive guide to the ships cruising from U.K. ports in 2023.

Cruise From Southampton in 2023 Range from Celebrity Cruises to Cunard

If you want to cruise from Southampton in 2023, you're in luck, with 22 ships homeporting from Southampton, plus a selection of one-off departures and 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.

Celebrity Cruises

Ship: Celebrity Silhouette

From: May 3 – October 22

Highlights: The 2,800-passenger Celebrity Silhouette is one of the line's popular Solstice-class ships and this year will mark its 6th 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, Baltic Sea, Spain, Portugal and France and Iceland and Ireland towards the end of the summer.

Cunard Line

Ships: Queen Mary 2Queen Victoria

From: April 23  for both ships

Highlights: Both 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 (Balcony cabin passengers dine in the Britannia dining room, Queens Grill suite guests in the Queens Grill etc).

Itineraries: 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 a mix of mini-cruises from Southampton, plus Norwegian fjords, Baltic Sea, British Isles, Iceland, Spain, France and Portugal and Mediterranean sailings.

Disney Cruises

ShipDisney Dream

From: July 22 – September 17

Highlights: Disney Cruise Line celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with special programming onboard its ships, including Disney Dream.

Itineraries: Norwegian fjords, Iceland, Norway and Denmark, British Isles and Spain.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

ShipBolette, Balmoral

From: August 13 – 19 November (Bolette) and April 6 – May 31 (Balmoral)

Highlights: The former Holland America Line ship is the line's flagship, carrying 1,338 passengers, with six restaurants and 11 bars and lounges.

Itineraries: Fred. will offer a wide variety of cruises from Southampton, including Norwegian fjords and Northern Lights during winter, British Isles, Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

MSC Cruises

ShipsMSC Virtuosa and MSC Euribia

From: Year-round (Virtuosa); Oct 12-December 30 (MSC Euribia).

Highlights: With MSC Cruises ramping up its U.K. presence in recent years, MSC Virtuosa is permanently based in Southampton, while new ship, MSC Euribia will sail a short season later in the year.

Itineraries: MSC Euribia will offer a series of seven-night Northern Europe sailings to France, Belgium and Germany. MSC Virtuosa sails a mix of short (some just one-night to Zeebrugge, Belgium) and longer sailings to the Norwegian fjords, Iceland, France & Spain, Western Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Ships: Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Star

From: May 4 – October 14 (Norwegian Dawn); August 8 October 24 (Norwegian Getaway);

June 4 – October 1 (Norwegian Prima) and May 11 – 31 & September 23 – October 23 (Norwegian Star)

Highlights: NCL's ships are action-packed with West End-style shows, race tracks and multiple drinking and dining venues. Norwegian Prima, the line's dazzling newest ship, will  spend a mini season in Southampton this year.

Itineraries: Norwegian Dawn will offer British Isles, Northern Europe and France, Spain and Portugal sailings. Norwegian Star will offer a mix of Ireland, Norway, Spain and France cruises during May, September and October. Norwegian Prima will offer Iceland, Norway and Belgium and Western Med voyages. Norwegian Getaway will offer a mix of Northern Europe, Iceland and Norway cruises.

P&O Cruises

Ships: Arcadia, Aurora, Britannia, Iona, Ventura, Arvia

From: April 7 (Britannia); year-round (Ventura, Iona, Arcadia & Aurora) and April 2- October 19 (Arvia)

Highlights: The line's latest ship, the 5,200-passenger Arvia, that debuted in December 2023, will spend its maiden summer season sailing from Southampton, along with sister vessel Iona.

Arcadia and Aurora are adults-only ships; Britannia, Arvia. Iona and Ventura are child-friendly and are packed with kids' facilities and popular British cuisine. 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 and Nicole Scherzinger, the godmother of Arvia, is the line's entertainment partner who will music and dance shows to be performed onboard P&O Cruises ships.

Itineraries: Northern Europe, Norwegian fjords, Baltic Sea, Spain & France, Western Med and the Canary Islands.

Princess Cruises

ShipsSky Princess, Island PrincessRegal Princess

From: April 1 (Sky); April 30 (Regal Princess) and June 28 (Island)

Highlights: Strong emphasis on food; excellent kids' facilities, immersive shore excursion options.

Itineraries: The ships will offer a mix of British Isles, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Baltic Sea, Scandinavia, Norway and Iceland and Transatlantic sailings.

Royal Caribbean

Ship: Anthem of the Seas

From: May 12 - October 15

HighlightsAnthem 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.

Dover to Host Ambassador Cruise Line, Carnival, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hurtigruten & Saga Cruises

Carnival Cruise Line

Ship: Carnival Pride

From: June 9 – September 10

Highlights: Carnival Cruise Line brings its brand of fun with venues such as Guy's Burger Joint, Bonsai Sushi, Alchemy Bar and RedFrog Pub to Dover.

Itineraries: British Isles, Iceland, Western Med, Baltic Sea and Norwegian fjords.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Ship: Balmoral, Bolette

From: September - 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.

ItinerariesBolette 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.


ShipMS Maud

From: Maud has been based in Dover since winter 2021/2022.

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 bigger 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. Some voyages are extended to Iceland.

Saga Cruises

Ships: Spirit of AdventureSpirit of Discovery

From: May 7 – September 24 (Spirit of Adventure) May 21 – June 4 (Spirit of Discovery)

Highlights: The over-50s line's new-build ships combine luxury and style, with a strong emphasis on food with a music partnership with Jools Holland.

Itineraries: Norway, Baltic Sea British Isles, Iceland, Mediterranean and even the Caribbean.


Ship: Seabourn Ovation

From: April 23 – September 24

Highlights: Luxury cruise line Seabourn returns to Dover with its 600-passenger Seabourn Ovation and unlimited Champagne and caviar.

Itineraries: Sailings are fairly port-intensive, including the British Isles, British Isles & Western Europe, British Isles & Iceland, Greenland & Canada, Transatlantic to New York and Western Mediterranean.

Tilbury is the Homeport for Ambassador Cruise Line's Flagship Vessel

Ambassador Cruise Line

Ship: Ambience

From: April 2023

Highlights: Ambience has 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: Baltic Sea, British Isles, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, Western Med, Greenland, Canary Islands, Belgium and Germany

Saga Cruises

Ship: Spirit of Discovery

From: June 22 – August 6

Highlights: Spirit of Discovery, the first of Saga Cruises’ two new-build ships offers a luxury, all-inclusive cruise that is specifically geared towards the British over fifties market.

Itineraries: Norway, Baltic Sea British Isles, Iceland, Mediterranean and Greenland.

Newcastle Will Host Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Ambassador

Ambassador Cruise Line

Ship: Ambition

From: May 12

Highlights: Ambition, the line’s newest ship, will alternate between Newcastle, Dundee, Belfast and Liverpool for a series of departures in summer 2023.

Itineraries: Britain, Spain and France, Norwegian fjords, Iceland,

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Ships: Balmoral & Bolette

From: April – July 25 (Bolette), August-September (Balmoral)

Highlights: Stylish and friendly vessels with high levels of personal service geared toward mature British travellers.

Itineraries: Balmoral will offer cruises to Iceland, the Baltic Sea, Scotland, Northern Europe and Western Med.

(Rosyth) Edinburgh also Hosts Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Balmoral

Ship: Balmoral

From: June-August

Highlights: Brit friendly ship with exceptionally friendly crew.

Itineraries: Balmoral will offer cruises to Iceland, the Baltic Sea, Scotland, Northern Europe and Western Med.

Liverpool Will Host Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Ambassador Cruise Line

Ambassador Cruise Line

Ship: Ambition

From: July 7 - September 3

HighlightsAmbition launches in May 2023 as Ambassador Cruise Line’s second ship following the debut of Ambience in 2022.

Itineraries: Iceland, France & Guernsey, Norway, British Isles

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Ship: Borealis

From: May 22 – July 27

HighlightsBorealis, the second of the two HAL ships bought and refurbished in 2020, is near identical to Bolette. Borealis will offer a series of sailings from Liverpool and Belfast.

Itineraries: Iceland, Greenland, Norwegian fjords, Western Mediterranean.

Portsmouth Will Host Both Saga Cruises' Ships this Summer

Saga Cruises

Ship: Spirit of Discovery, Spirit of Adventure

From: April – may & August – end of year (Spirit of Discovery), October 9 – through to 2024 (Spirit of Adventure).

Highlights: These 999-passenger ship offers plush, all-balcony cabins, a selection of included speciality dining venues, and door-to-door transfers.

Itineraries: Western Europe, Western Med and Transatlantic to Canada and New York. Spirit of Adventure will offer a range of wintertime Canary Islands sailings.

London (Greenwich Pier, Central London) Will See a Return of Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Ocean Cruises

Ship: Viking Venus

From: April – September

Highlights: The plush 999-passenger Viking Venus will offer six cruises from central London, departing from the city’s Greenwich Pier.

Itineraries: British Isles, Norway and Northern Europe

Highlights of 2023 U.K. Cruise Calls & Departures

A slew of exciting cruise calls is set to liven cruise ports in the U.K. alongside ships homeporting here. Here are some of the highlights:

Glasgow Will Welcome MSC Group’s First Luxury Ship by Explora Journeys

Launching in July 2023, the 922-passenger Explora I will mark cruise giant MSC Group's move into the luxury market. On September 2, the ship will depart Greenock (Glasgow) on a seven-night Scottish Highlands & Icelandic Geysers voyage.

Guernsey is Set to Welcome 12 Maiden Cruise Calls in Summer 2023

Beginning with the new 148-passenger National Geographic Resolution on April 21 through to MSC Cruises' new 6,327-passenger MSC Euribia on October 22, this beautiful Channel Island will welcome 12 maiden cruise calls among its summer 2023 progamme.

Portsmouth is Set to Welcome two Oceania Cruises’ Ships & Noble Caledonia this Season

Portsmouth will see Oceania Cruises Marina and Riviera four sailings from Portsmouth.

Riviera departs on August 23 and September 2 on the 22-night British Isles and Baltic Sea voyages; while Marina departs on September 5 and September 17 on a Northern Europe and a Western Europe and Mediterranean voyage, respectively.

Portsmouth will also welcome Noble Caledonia’s Hebridean Sky on a one-off 14-night British Isles voyage, departing August 24.

Updated April 21, 2023
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