Northern Europe Cruises
Although it may not immediately spring to mind as a cruise destination, Northern Europe does offer a significant number and variety of cruise options. These include cruises around the United Kingdom, and mini cruises to French and Spanish ports on their Atlantic coastlines.
Northern European cruises, for reasons of geography, are extremely convenient for people in the UK. Indeed, because Great Britain is an island, there are cruises available around British coastline which offer much to see and experience.
Many of these cruises depart from Dover. This world famous port, with its white cliffs, has for centuries been the gateway to France and the rest of mainland Europe. It remains the leading seaport for passengers entering and exiting the UK.
Some departures sail up the east coast of the UK. The journey north takes in such places as Cromer, Farnborough Head, Whitby and Farnes Island off the Northumbrian coast. The Farnes are a delight for those interested in wildlife and give nature lovers great opportunities to view seabirds at close range. The Chapel of St Cuthbert is a draw card for visitors and there are also fine views of Northumberland over on the mainland.
As the cruise makes headway further north into Scottish waters, place visited include John O’Groats (the most northerly place in the British Isles), the Butt of Lewis and Tobermory. The trip down the west coast may even include a crossing of the Irish Sea to Dublin, the capital of the Irish Republic and much loved by British visitors.
Journeying further south will often include St David’s Head in Wales, Lands End with great views of the Lizard Peninsula, before sailing through the English Channel and arriving back in Dover.
Another North Europe cruise option for holidaymakers is the Atlantic ports of France and Spain. These mini-cruises depart from various UK ports, including Tilbury. They can also include something of a ‘home flavour’ by taking in such places as the Scilly Isles and the Channel Islands.
These cruises typically include stops at places such as Gijon in northern Spain. The climate there makes it an excellent place to visit in late summer or early autumn, with much to delight cruise passengers on a shore excursion to the Atlantic Botanical Gardens, the Campa Torres Archaeological Park, the Evaristo Valle Museum, Revillagigedo Palace and Museum, and the Gijon Aquarium.
Another favourite stopping point is the Basque city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, nestled on the French side of the border. Visitors will appreciate its sandy bay and its popularity among sea bathers. Renowned as a fishing port as well as a tourist spot, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is also famous for its local cuisine.
Should the itinerary take in Le Verdon-sur-Mer, passengers are probably likely to take an excursion through the vineyards in Bordeaux.
Returning closer to home, Northern European sailings may also take in the Scilly Isles and the Channel Islands. Guernsey is always a popular and delightful place to visit, close to the Normandy coast, but where Britons always feel at home.