Make your staycation a seacation: The best cruises around the UK to book this summer


Those who love a cruise have spent a year wondering when they will once again be able to swap the view of their living room for that of a sparkling sea — and now it’s about to happen.

Cruise lines have announced dozens of round-Britain summer sailings to coincide with the May 17 relaxation of travel rules. Some are even offering ‘seacations’ with no ports of call at all. The focus will be on simply relaxing and enjoying both the scenery and the entertainment, including West End-style shows, guest speakers and kids’ clubs.

Even better? With reduced passenger numbers to meet social distancing requirements there is going to be much more room on the sundeck. So put your feet up, slip on your shades and start planning for May 17 with our pick of the best.

VIKING

Spectacular: Cromwell’s Castle on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, overlooking Bryher

Ship: Viking Venus.

Capacity: 465 down from 930.

Departs: Portsmouth with calls to Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland.

When? June 19 and 26.

What to expect? Fine dining and four free shore excursions.

Highlights: From Falmouth, visit Tregothnan, Britain’s first tea plantation.

Vaccine required? Yes.

Book it: Eight-day sailings cost from £1,690 pp, wine and beer included at mealtimes (vikingcruises.co.uk, 0800 458 6900).

MSC CRUISES

Ship: MSC Virtuosa.

Capacity: 1,000, down from 6,300 passengers.

Departs: Southampton, Liverpool and Greenock, in Glasgow.

When? From May 20.

What to expect? Shopping in the largest retail space at sea, with 11 boutiques.

Highlights: Rob, the robotic bartender, serving ‘cosmic cocktails’, five swimming pools and a Lego play area.

Vaccine required? No, but pre-boarding tests are mandatory.

Book it: A four-night, all-inclusive round-trip from Southampton on May 20 costs from £499 pp, drinks and tips included (msccruises.co.uk, 0203 426 3010).

SAGA

Travel in style: Saga’s Spirit of Discovery has all-balcony cabins, a spa and entertainment including talks and nightly shows

Travel in style: Saga’s Spirit of Discovery has all-balcony cabins, a spa and entertainment including talks and nightly shows

Ship: Spirit of Discovery.

Capacity: 800 down from 999.

Departs: London Tilbury.

When? From July 11.

What to expect? All-balcony cabins, a spa and entertainment including talks and nightly shows.

Highlights: Tours of Belfast, Kirkwall, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Vaccine required? Yes, you must supply proof of your double vaccine 14 days before sailing.

Book it: The 14-night, all-inclusive Great British Isles Adventure sailing on July 11 costs from £3,899 pp, including tips and a chauffeur service to the port, within 250 miles (travel.saga.co.uk, 0808 278 3157).

P&O

P&O Cruises is offering adults-only cruises around the UK on its new ship Iona, pictured

P&O Cruises is offering adults-only cruises around the UK on its new ship Iona, pictured

Ships: Britannia and Iona.

Capacity: ‘Reduced numbers’ (exact figure not yet revealed) on the 3,600-guest Britannia and 5,200-guest Iona.

Departs: Southampton.

When? From June 27 for Britannia and August 7 for Iona.

What to expect? Adults only and no ports of call. Explore restaurants, bars and an on-board gin distillery.

Highlights: Live music on Iona and spas on both.

Vaccine required? Yes, proof of a double vaccine is needed.

Book it: Britannia from £249 pp on three-night sailings, and Iona’s seven-night cruise from £1,049 pp (pocruises.com, 03453 555 111).

FRED OLSEN

Ships: Borealis and Bolette.

Capacity: Reduced numbers on both ships, which can each carry around 1,400 passengers.

Departs: Liverpool and Dover.

When? From July 5 for Borealis and August 16 for Bolette.

What to expect? Plenty of deck space to savour views.

Highlights: Experts on hand to help spot sealife on Borealis, and sailing past the Isles of Scilly on Bolette.

Vaccine required? No, but this remains under review. Pre-embarkation tests will need to be taken.

Book it: Borealis’s three-night voyage from Liverpool costs from £599 pp, while Bolette’s three-night Dover sailing is from £469 pp (fredolsencruises.com, 0800 787 0733).

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Ship: Anthem of the Seas.

Capacity: Usually 4,900, but there will be a reduced number.

Departs: Southampton.

When? From July 7.

What to expect? Roller skating, bumper cars, skydiving simulator, rock climbing, four swimming pools, a surf machine and kids’ clubs.

Highlights: Visits to Liverpool, Kirkwall in Scotland and Belfast.

Vaccine required? Yes, for adults. Under-18s will need to present proof of a negative PCR test.

Book it: Four nights departing July 7 costs from £687 pp (royalcaribbean.co.uk, 0344 4934005).

CELEBRITY CRUISES

Revamped resort ship Celebrity Silhouette by Celebrity Cruises. Expect stylish cabins and bars with Kelly Hoppen designs

Revamped resort ship Celebrity Silhouette by Celebrity Cruises. Expect stylish cabins and bars with Kelly Hoppen designs

One of the outdoor lounges on Celebrity Silhouette. Eight nights from July 9 costs from £1,449 pp

One of the outdoor lounges on Celebrity Silhouette. Eight nights from July 9 costs from £1,449 pp

Ship: Celebrity Silhouette.

Capacity: Usually 2,900, but with reduced numbers.

Departs: Southampton.

When? From July 9.

What to expect? Stylish cabins, a spa, restaurants and bars with Kelly Hoppen designs.

Highlights: Stops at Portland, Inverness and Belfast.

Vaccine required? Yes for adults, and under-18s will need a negative PCR test.

Book it: Eight nights from July 9 costs from £1,449 pp. Wifi, drinks and tips included (celebritycruises.co.uk, 0330 057 3826).

PRINCESS

Ships: Regal Princess, Sky Princess.

Capacity: 3,560 and 3,660, but numbers will be reduced.

Departs: Southampton.

When? Regal Princess on July 31 and Sky Princess on August 30.

What to expect? Three to seven-night all-inclusive cruises from Southampton, with stops including Liverpool, Portland, Belfast and Greenock.

Highlights: Theatre shows.

Vaccine required? Yes.

Book it: Three-night sailings cost from £539 pp (princess.com, 0344 338 8663).

CUNARD

Cunard’s majestic Queen Elizabeth will call at Liverpool, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle and Holyhead

Cunard’s majestic Queen Elizabeth will call at Liverpool, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle and Holyhead

Ship: Queen Elizabeth.

Capacity: Usually around 2,090, but numbers will be reduced.

Departs: Southampton.

When? From July 9.

What to expect? Calls such as Liverpool, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle and Holyhead.

Highlights: Guest speakers including cricket commentator Henry Blofeld, the royal correspondent Jennie Bond and actor Robert Powell.

Vaccine required? Yes.

Book it: Four-night sailing departing July 19 costs from £649 pp (cunard.com, 0344 3388 641).

VIRGIN VOYAGES

Ship: Scarlet Lady.

Capacity: 65 per cent of the usual 2,770-passenger capacity.

Departs: Portsmouth.

When? From August 6.

What to expect? Michelin-inspired fine dining.

Highlights: Entertainment featuring local British talent and festival-style music.

Vaccine required? Yes.

Book it: Three nights from £499 pp and four nights from £599 pp (virginvoyages.com).

MARELLA CRUISES

Ships: Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2.

Capacity: 1,924 and 1,800, but both will sail with reduced numbers.

Departs: Southampton and Newcastle.

When? From June 25.

What to expect? Seven new itineraries of three to 13-night all-inclusive sailings with calls including Belfast, Dublin, Dover, Portland and Liverpool.

Highlights: Champneys spa and cinema.

Vaccine required? Yes. Under-18s must take a lateral flow test.

Book it: Three nights departing June 25 cost from £439 pp (tui.co.uk, 0800 975 4477).



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