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Everything you need to know about booking a UK Cruise

an image of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Dorset

If you’ve ever been curious about cruising, now’s the time to take the plunge! Since starting up again in May, domestic cruising has made a serious comeback, with new itineraries that visit some of the most beautiful spots in the UK.

With most popular holiday destinations currently a no-go, there’s never been a better opportunity to see ‘home’ from a completely new perspective. And without the need to quarantine.

Here’s everything you need to know about booking a UK cruise in 2021.

How do I choose a cruise itinerary?

Cruises have something for everyone, there are endless itineraries to choose from. Travel along the Jurassic coastline of Dorset, visit Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony on Rathlin Island, or explore the historic harbour town of Fowey in Cornwall. But, before you book here’s a few things to think about.

First up, it’s always a good idea to work out where your nearest port is. If you’re limited on time, you may not want to spend a day travelling to a port when there’s another one only an hour or two away from home.

Next up, you should think about how long you want to be on board — there’s a big difference between a three-day cruise and a seven-day cruise. Three days gives you a taste of cruise life and allows you to enjoy all the must-dos and must-sees, while seven days will give you more time to settle in and make yourself at home.

And lastly, you need to decide what you want from your cruise. Maybe you want to relax and take in the UK’s dramatic coastlines from afar, or you might prefer to stop off at different destinations like the remote Orkney Islands or the pretty seaside town of Tenby.

What can I do onboard?

The real question should be what can’t you do onboard?

Dine in a different restaurant every night or finally give ballroom dancing a go. Treat yourself to a pedicure at the beauty spa or re-read your favourite book in the library. Sip cocktails by the pool or see a comedy show. You might even hit the casino… the list goes on.

Which cruise line is right for you?

Every cruise is unique. Even cruises by the same cruise line are different. So ultimately, it all comes down to how you like to go on holiday.

If you’re travelling with children, the obvious choices are Disney Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean for family fun that’s actually fun.

If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury and a lot of relaxation, on the other hand, take a look at Viking Cruises and Cunard. While one may offer the best in onboard entertainment, the other may serve up Michelin star-worthy food, so do your research rather than book spontaneously.

Which cruise lines can I book a UK cruise with?

The following cruise lines are either already sailing or expected to restart in the UK in the next month or so:

What Covid restrictions will I need to follow on a UK cruise?

As of May 2021, all cruise lines must operate at a reduced capacity. Most companies now require proof of full Covid vaccination for adults over 18, and those under 18 may need to provide a negative test before setting sail.

All the same coronavirus rules and restrictions that we’ve become accustomed to will also apply, including wearing masks indoors and social distancing.

Before you book

Before booking a UK cruise, check the current government guidelines for travel advice to avoid any unwanted surprises.

You should also book specialist cruise travel insurance to keep you covered. After the year that was 2020, we now know that you should always be prepared for the unexpected.

Some cruise lines, including P&O and Cunard, now require passengers to have UK travel insurance that protects them for Covid-related emergency medical and repatriation expenses for £2 million. Speak to our customer service team about an endorsement certificate if this affects you.

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