The best no-fly cruise destinations
Posted on: 19 July 2019 by Dawn Richard
One of the best things about going on a cruise is that you get to see a whole host of fascinating destinations in just one trip – all from the comfort of your luxurious floating hotel – and you only have to unpack once! However, factoring in flights can be unappealing to some, so if you want an undiluted cruise experience, you may prefer to go for options that don’t involve an initial air transfer.
Ian Crawford, a representative of Cruise Deals, offers the following advice: 'No-fly cruises are a great option, because by departing from the UK, your holiday will begin that little bit earlier. Also, there'll be no time spent in departure lounges waiting for flights or luggage. For many people, no-fly cruises are the quickest way of setting sail and relaxing.'
Here’s the lowdown on the best no-fly cruise destinations and what you can expect from your experience.
St Petersburg, Russia
Russia is definitely a wish-list destination and many Baltic cruise itineraries from the UK stop off in St Petersburg. Once the capital city, this is a metropolis which radiates grandeur and history. Whether you choose to explore independently or book a shore excursion, there’s plenty of scope for cultural exploration. You’ll discover gold-domed cathedrals and palaces at every turn.
Hermitage is a definite must-see with three million artworks housed across five buildings, each as impressive as the wonders contained within. Walking through the opulent and high-ceilinged Winter Palace will transport you back to imperial Russia, as you imagine what would taken place in its expansive state rooms. If you’re lucky enough to have two days to explore, you could factor in an evening performance at the world-famous Russian ballet.
If modern architecture, geothermal pools and exciting gastronomy are your thing, make sure Reykjavik is on your no-fly cruise itinerary. This relatively small capital city is packed with attractions from the kaleidoscope of colours at Laugardalur Park botanical gardens to the modernist splendour of the Hallgrímskirkja Church. Now one of Reykjavik’s most iconic landmarks and visible from almost every angle of the city, its viewing platform offers outstanding 360° views.
It’s an easy city to explore on foot, so independent cruisers can soak up the local culture in the main shopping streets of Austurstraeti, Laugavegur and Bankastraeti. Foodies will be in their element with Reykjavik offering a worldwide line-up of international fare as well as local favourites such as matur og drykkur, cod’s head cooked in chicken stock, which tastes a lot better than it sounds!
Many cruises from Southampton will feature Stockholm in their city line-up. This beautiful Scandinavian hub doesn't disappoint. Even the cruise-port approach is a wonderfully scenic experience as you navigate the 14 islands and islets which make up this intriguing city. Its old medieval quarter, Gamla Stan, offers up the obligatory maze of cobbled streets and you’ll find these lined with welcoming cafes and independent shops brimming with Swedish appeal.
There's plenty for culture enthusiasts to explore, too, such as the Gothic cathedral of Storkyrkan and Sweden’s oldest museum: Livrustkammaren. It houses impressive collections of royal carriages and weaponry. If you’re not water-weary, hop on a sightseeing boat to explore Stockholm’s atmospheric waterways.
Estonia’s capital Tallinn is a historic jewel in any European itinerary. It’s an alluring mix of old-world charm, which can be felt during immersive walks through its tangled medieval old quarter. Throw in some inviting cafes, imaginative cuisine and a handful of museums and galleries and a visit here promises to be memorable. Highlights include the Baroque Castle at Toompea and the black-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The nearby seaside district of Kadriorg offers an escape from the city hustle with time spent at its splendid palace, now a world-class art museum. Those with confident calves can climb to the top of St Olaf’s Church, which offers impressive city views.
Cruise from Newcastle and you could enjoy a fabulous Fjords cruise taking in icy mountains, glacial lakes and emerald scenery as you navigate the waterways of Norway. If showstopping scenery, culture-packed cities and natural wonders are your thing, Norway is sure to be a big hit. Cruises to this part of the world offer an ever-changing landscapes of wonders, from the impossibly still lakes of Nordfjordeid to the impressive mountains and waterfalls of Geiranger, your days in port and at sea will be packed with stunning views. Norwegian destinations such as Tromso also offer the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of gazing at the Northern Lights, generally visible from mid-September to mid-April.
If you’re about to book a cruise, forget the stress of flying and lugging your suitcase around a hectic airport terminal and opt for a no-fly cruise instead. Just turn up at the port, breeze through the departure lounge onto your ship and It’ll be plain sailing…without the plane. No fly-cruises are ideal if you’re looking for a no-hassle holiday – all UK ports offer parking facilities, so find the one that’s most convenient for you and set sail for adventure.