Cruising from the UK

cruisingWith spring just a few weeks away, you may be thinking of booking a cruise. For those that reside outside of the UK you may find that the starting point for your ship is at a UK port.

The leading cruise ports in England are Southampton, famous for the home of the QE2 and now the Queen Mary, Dover, which of course is well known for its white cliffs, and Harwich which is often the starting point for many of the Baltic and Scandinavian cruises.

If you are coming from overseas then you may wonder exactly how far away these ports are from the airport you will be arriving into, so here is a brief guide as to distance and length of time it will take to get from A to B.

Gatwick Airport

For those of you coming into Gatwick this is the furthest South from London and is 105 miles from Harwich (2 ¾ hours), 90 miles from Southampton (2 hours), and 80 miles from Dover (2 ½ hours). The whole trip is on Freeways and the times are based on no traffic problems and travelling by car not bus. If you do travel by bus allow a minimum of 2 hours extra, as the bus will of course not travel as fast and you will have to wait for all the passengers to board before leaving. The amount of time it takes to get out of the airport with your luggage after landing does vary, but usually takes around 45 minutes.

Heathrow Airport

If you land at Heathrow, this is a much busier airport and with a selection of 5 different terminals the disembarking times differ. It’s best to allow a minimum of 1 hour unless you come into Terminal 5 which is a little faster than the others. The time to the ports going in a car, are Southampton 65 miles (1 ½ hours), Dover, which is approximately 102 miles (2 hours) and finally Harwich which is 117 miles (2 ½ hours). All these journeys are mostly done on the Freeways but Harwich does use some minor roads. Again all times are based on travelling with no traffic problems.

Luton Airport

Luton Airport is another popular airport, based north of London and is home to a lot of budget airlines (Easyjet, Monarch, Ryanair etc.) The airport is always busy and has only one terminal. Disembarking time is usually about 45 minutes. Southampton is approximately 97 miles away (1¾ hours), Harwich is 104 miles (2 1/4 hours) and finally Dover is 120 miles (2 ½ hours). Again, all these journeys are on the Freeways and the times are based on going by car not bus.

Stansted Airport

The final major London airport is Stansted, based East of London. Stansted has become very popular and has only one (very busy) terminal. Again it takes about 45 minutes from the time you land to the terminal hall. It has a direct main line rail link situated in the airport directly into London, however if you want to get to a major cruise port you will have to re route when you get to London as there are no rail links directly from the airport to these cruise terminals.
These are the distances and times of the ports from Stansted. Southampton is 126 miles (2 ½ hours), Dover is 102 miles (2 hours) and Harwich is only 53 miles (1 ½ hours). All these times are based on a car taking you directly from the airport to the cruise ship.

Please remember if you book a car in advance the driver will meet just you and your party when you arrive and you will start your journey straight away with no delays or complications. If there are 4 or more passengers you may find the difference in cost for a chauffeured car is not that much different than a bus or coach, so it’s well worth checking out the best chauffeur companies, and remember cheap is certainly not always best.

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