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British Isles cruise tips: Everything you need to know about cruising the UK

Author: Susan Johnson

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What to see on a British Isle cruise? Or rather, what’s not to see on a British Isle cruise? From beautiful coastlines, castles, rolling green countryside, to dramatic mountain landscapes and traditional pubs, British Isle cruises exude culture and heritage.

British Isle cruises make an excellent holiday option for several reasons. To begin with, the UK and its islands are home to picturesque coastlines and diverse scenery. And what is a better way to experience it than from the sea and the waterways?

A cruise offers a perfect and enjoyable way to see the best features of the British Isles without lengthy and tiring road and rail journeys or short-haul flights.

What’s more, being small in size, you will never have to spend more than two sea days on longer cruises and one sea day on shorter itineraries. This gives you ample time to explore the ports you will be visiting.

This is everything you need to know about taking a UK cruise.

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What is the best time to cruise the British Isles?

The right time to be in Britain really depends on your preferences.

With four distinct seasons, it is a year-round destination. Spring (March, April, and May) is an ideal time to see the countryside in full bloom and explore the towns when they are less crowded.

- READ MORE: Complete guide to Guernsey cruises -

While summer (June, July, and August) is the peak holiday period with the warmest weather, autumn (September, October, and November) is when you can witness the countryside lit up with hues of orange, red, and yellow.

Winter (December, January, and February) is the coldest season, but it’s when the country radiates the Christmas spirit – and is maybe even dusted with snow!

Visit in the winter months to see the countryside with a dusting of snow! Credit: Shutterstock

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British Isles cruise tips

Pack for the weather

The weather in Britain can often be unpredictable. Regardless of the season, there’s always a chance of rain. So, make sure you include an umbrella in your packing list.

When it comes to the onboard dress codes, most cruise lines accept casual by day and more formal in the evening.

- READ MORE: Cruise packing list: What to pack for a cruise holiday -

Nevertheless, more traditional cruise lines like Cunard tend to give you guidelines.

Additionally, consider packing clothes that can be layered, an outdoor jacket and a pair of comfortable shoes.

Make sure to pack comfortable clothes and be ready for rain on your cruise to the British Isles. Credit: Shutterstock

Learn about the tipping culture

While you will have to follow onboard gratuities policy, tipping isn’t the same way as it is in other countries such as the US on dry land. For instance, you don’t necessarily have to pay a tip for fast food, takeaway meal, or self-service. Likewise, in coffee shops, tipping is rare. But you sure can leave £1 or your change to appreciate their service.

In almost all restaurants, 10 to 15 percent of the bill should be left in gratuities. Make sure you check your tab, as some restaurants tend to add a 12.5 to 15 percent service charge. If you don’t spot this, you will end up tipping twice.

It isn’t customary to tip bartenders in pubs and bars. Nonetheless, if you wish to show your appreciation, say “and one for yourself.” This means you are offering to buy him or her a drink. Typically, the bartender will deny pouring a drink and take the money.

- READ MORE: Internet on cruise ships: Which cruise lines have the best Wi-Fi? -

Know the onboard currency

Depending on the cruise line, the currency used onboard could be the US dollar or the British pound. For instance, if you cruise on a British line such as P&O, all your onboard charges will be calculated in British Pounds.

However, when sailing on American cruise lines like Silversea or Celebrity, you will pay all your bills in US dollars.

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