How to avoid planes on your next cruise
If you’re looking for a stress-free getaway this year, a no-fly cruise could be the way to go. Here are six of the best no-fly cruises to book right now.
Picture the scene: you've packed your bags, arrived at the airport in plenty of time to fly out on the holiday you’ve been planning since pre-pandemic – only to find that your flight has been cancelled or, at best, delayed due to the travel chaos at Britain’s airports.
Want to avoid airport delays and cancellations? A flight-free cruise is the answer. Not only do you get to swerve the lengthy queues we’ve all seen snaking around the UK’s airports, but you’ll skip the security checks and packed flights while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint.
What’s more, departing from the UK doesn’t mean you have to stay close to home. While the British Isles does feature on itineraries, it’s also perfectly possible to sail further afield: Norway’s spectacular fjords, the Northern Lights, the sunny Mediterranean, South America and Caribbean are all viable options.
Little wonder then that the demand for no-fly cruises is on the rise. Here’s our pick of the flight-free cruises to book right now.
Departing from Southampton, highlights of P&O Cruises’ seven-night, no-fly cruise to the Norwegian Fjords aboard Iona include Stavanger, a former European Capital of Culture and Norway’s fourth largest city, and Olden. This postcard-perfect village is blessed with a beautiful fjordic coastline, towering mountains and the biggest glacier on mainland Europe, Jostedalsbreen.
Meanwhile, two days at sea give passengers plenty of time to explore the 1,132-foot, 5,200-passenger Iona – the biggest ship that P&O Cruises has ever built and the first to be powered by liquefied natural gas. Gin fans won’t want to miss the Gin distillery – the world’s first at sea – where craft individual gins are the order of the day.
A seven-night round trip from Southampton, leaving on April 15, 2023 on board Iona and sailing around the Norwegian Fjords, costs from £564pp (pocruises.com).
Winter warmth in the Canaries
When the UK is under a dark blanket, in the Canary Islands it’s all blue skies and sunshine so why not start the new year in style with a no-fly cruise to the Canaries?
Fred Olsen has a 14-night cruise aboard Borealis, which joined the family-run cruise line’s fleet (along with sister ship Bolette) in 2020. Sailing from Southampton, the voyage calls at no fewer than five Canary Islands: step forward La Palma, Gran Canaria, La Gomera and Tenerife.
- READ MORE: Discover the Canary Islands with Fred. Olsen -
Standouts include scaling Mount Teide and exploring lunar style landscapes in Lanzarote before soaking up the sun on one of Gran Canaria’s golden, sandy beaches.
Fred Olsen’s 14-night ‘Winter Warmth in the Canaries’ cruise departs from Liverpool aboard Borealis on January 20, 2023, and costs from £1,899pp (fredolsencruises.com).
Brand new British cruise operator, Ambassador Cruise Line, has announced a range of no-fly, adult-focused mini cruises – perfect if you are time-poor or new to cruising and want to dip your toes in the water – for 2023.
Departing from London Tilbury, Ambassador’s two-night ‘Amsterdam Tulip and Tunes’ cruise will take you to the delightful Dutch capital. Here you can cycle along the canals, pay your respects to Anne Frank at the Anne Frank House (where the legendary Jewish girl and her family hid in a bid to escape the Nazis before being mysteriously betrayed to the Gestapo in August 1944) or enjoy a drink in one of Amsterdam’s famous bruin cafés (brown cafes) with their dark timber and tobacco-stained walls.
- READ MORE: Ocean cruising in Amsterdam -
Ambassador’s short cruises will take place aboard Ambition, sister to Ambience.
Ambassador Cruise Line’s two-night ‘Tulip and Tunes’ cruise sails from London Tilbury on April 20,2023 and costs from £139pp. (ambassadorcruiseline.com).
White sand beaches, verdant rainforests, rushing waterfalls, rum, reggae, and friendly locals – yes, there’s a lot to love about the Caribbean but reaching the sun-drenched islands usually involves a long, arduous flight.
All hail P&O Cruises. The British cruise operator, frequently voted Britain's favourite cruise line, offers a 24-night, no-fly cruise from Southampton. Ports of call include Bridgetown – Barbados’ bustling capital that’s the gateway to golden beaches such as Brownes, Miami and Accra – and the lush island of St Lucia.
P&O’s Caribbean odyssey takes place aboard Aurora, an adult-only ship sure to suit those after a child-free cruise that’s tailored to grown-ups.
- READ MORE: 6 of the best no-fly cruises -
P&O Cruises’ 24-night Caribbean cruise on board Aurora departs from Southampton on October 29, 2024 and costs from £1,779pp. (pocruises.com).
Best of Britain
Boutique cruise line, Saga Cruises, has introduced a brand-new British cruise, which offers the perfect opportunity to explore the scenery closer to home.
Departing from Dover aboard Spirit of Discovery, you’ll visit an array of gems from the Scottish Highlands to Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular rock formation and Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- READ MORE: Top staycation cruises with Oceania Cruises -
Even better? Because the cruise is all-inclusive (meaning all meals and drinks are included) you’ll be able to enjoy your nine-night voyage without worrying about the damage to your wallet.
Saga Cruises’ nine-night ‘British Isles’ cruise sails from Dover on September 25, 2022 and costs from £2,081pp. (travel.saga.co.uk).
Ancient ruins, white-washed fishing villages, blindingly blue skies, even bluer waters, incredible food… as travel destinations go, the Mediterranean never disappoints.
Experience the Med for yourself on Princess Cruises’ 14-Day ‘Mediterranean Adventurer’ aboard the 3,660-passenger Sky Princess – one of the newest additions to the American line’s fleet where the centrepiece is the stylish piazza-style Atrium.
- READ MORE: Your guide to cruising the Mediterranean -
Highlights of the itinerary include gritty yet glam Marseille, buzzy Barcelona and the charismatic Italian capital of Rome. If you’ve missed the magic of the Med, then this cruise is a winner.
A 14-day ‘Mediterranean Adventurer’ aboard Sky Princess sails from Southampton on July 29, 2023 and costs from £1,959pp. (princess.com)
- READ MORE: No-Fly cruises -