Britain: A world-class cruise destination

James Stangroom, chair of Cruise Britain, tells Jacqui Griffiths what makes the British Isles compelling for record numbers of cruise guests

Britain: A world-class cruise destination
Britain’s cruise ports are located within easy reach of many tourist attractions, such as the Roman Baths in the city of Bath

From the rich heritage of the Orkney Islands off the north-east coast of Scotland, to the historic castles of Wales or the cities and countryside of England’s coastline, Britain offers a diverse and compelling range of world-class cruise destinations. As well as packing a wealth of unique experiences into its own small group of islands also has an excellent geographical location within Northern Europe, giving plenty of scope for scheduling calls to neighbouring countries too.

For 10 years, Cruise Britain has provided a network of cruise ports, destinations and service providers to make sure ships, passengers and crews get the best from their visit. A joint initiative between British cruise ports and service providers such as ground handlers and port agents, the organisation brings together essential itinerary planning information including activities, attraction ideas and key contacts so that operators can deliver a seamless experience for guests.

James Stangroom, chair of Cruise Britain, advises that as with any cruise location, there are some key considerations for operators to bear in mind when planning the best itinerary for their guests. “Cruise lines’ forward plans can be impacted by events and decisions made by ports outside UK waters,” he says. “Therefore, it’s important to keep communication lines open with fellow ports, other cruise associations and the cruise lines, and to retain as much flexibility as possible.”

Green issues and infrastructure are also top of mind as the cruise industry evolves to accommodate growing demand with minimal environmental impact. “Environmental concerns, such as emissions, are significant and ports require information on the ships that are calling in order to be better placed to address local concerns,” says Stangroom. “In addition, with the majority of ship capacities on the increase, there is a need for constant revaluation of infrastructure and capabilities. This includes the provision of shore excursions and supplies, as well as port facilities.”

Britain’s geography offers unique opportunities for operators to create rich, innovative itineraries without the need for extensive mileage. “Short sailing distances and a diverse national product offer great opportunities for cruise lines,” says Stangroom. “Britain has an astonishing range of ports for a country our size and each has a distinct personality and local flavour. This means fuel economies can be achieved without compromising on port content, while the region’s enchanting mix of icon ports and undiscovered gems allow itineraries to remain fresh and enticing.”

As the mix of attractions continues to grow, so does the potential for memorable guest experiences. “There is significant development of product ashore with an increasing range of shore excursions,” says Stangroom. “These range from the ‘must-see’ to active adventures, many of them off-the-beaten track, and local and regional artisan explorations.”

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Jacqui Griffiths
By Jacqui Griffiths
22 January 2020

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