Despite its small size, the UK is able to boast one of the world's largest and strongest cruise industries. It may be our island status, or our proud maritime past, or even the fact that other countries get countless more hours of sun — but Britons can't seem to get enough of holidaying out on the open ocean.
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With that in mind, we worked with Cruise1st to bring you the best cruise holidays from the UK so you won't have to step foot on a plane.
Exploring the world aboard some of the world's best-loved and most cutting-edge cruise ships, these cruises take UK holidaymakers everywhere - from the sun-soaked Mediterranean to the paradise islands of the Caribbean Sea.
Discover seven of the best cruises from the UK for 2017...
Cunard's 14-night transatlantic voyage
Perhaps the most celebrated and mythical cruise route of them all, Southampton to New York has long been Cunard's flagship course. Heading east across the Atlantic, this voyage may not have the daily port visits offered by other entries on this list, but Cunard has packed the Queen Mary 2 with luxurious features and amenities to ensure a fortnight at sea is always enriching and intriguing. As one of the few liners offering this route, the QM2 sails this itinerary regularly in both directions, giving you the freedom to select one leg of the journey or both. By booking individual legs, you can give yourself some time to spend in the Big Apple, exploring everything that New York has to offer. From £1,749 per person for the 8 May 2017 round-trip voyage.
P&O Cruises' 14-night Iberian adventure
Criss-crossing between Europe and Northern Africa, this fortnight Iberia cruise aboard P&O Cruises' Ventura is a chance to explore the very best of this charming part of the world. With stops in Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco and the Portuguese island of Madeira, the cruise provides a great blend of culture, beauty and opportunities to soak up the sun's rays on a beautiful beach. Following two days at sea, this cruise will take you straight to the Portuguese capital Lisbon, where you'll be able to explore one of the oldest cities on the continent. Then it's on to Cadiz, Cartagena and Malaga, three beautiful Spanish cities all offering unique cultural experiences and intrigue, before venturing into Morocco's enigmatic city, Casablanca. From £859 per person for the 7 March 2017 sailing.
Royal Caribbean's 14-night Canaries cruise
The Canary Islands have long been a winter sun getaway of choice for Britons. As the dark nights close in around much of the northern hemisphere, the southerly position of the Spanish islands provide a wonderful respite from the wind, rain, snow and chills suffered by the rest of the continent. Royal Caribbean's Southampton-based Independence of the Seas sails to Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote to give you the best of the islands' beaches and chilled-out vibes. The itinerary also offers stops in Portugal's capital Lisbon, the volcanic island of Madeira and a couple of Spanish cities. As with all Royal Caribbean cruises, this is ideal for families, from the fun destinations to the huge range of on-board activities for all ages. From £1,249 per person for the 16 September 2017 sailing.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' 32-night Caribbean tour
Who'd have thought that it would be possible to journey from the UK to the tropical islands of the Caribbean without even stepping foot on a plane? Quintessentially British line Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers one of the most amazing itineraries departing from the UK's capital of cruising, Southampton. The 32-night Caribbean Discovery takes you from our humble shores across the Atlantic Ocean (stopping off in beautiful Madeira along the way) to the likes of Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis aboard the Balmoral. With white sandy beaches, deep blue seas, lines of palm trees and rum-based cocktails aplenty, you'll be amazed how quickly you can get into the Caribbean spirit. From £3,199 per person for the 29 October 2017 voyage.
Norwegian Cruise Line's eight-night tour of Northern Europe's cities
From the Celts to the Vikings, the Germanic Tribes to the Anglo Saxons, Northern Europe has long been defined by nomadic civilisations travelling across waters to settle new lands and conquer old foes. This has led to a unique and eclectic selection of culture dotting the coastal regions of countries in the north of the continent. Norwegian Cruise Line's Northern Cities of Europe cruise aboard Norwegian Jade allows you to explore some of the most beautiful and enigmatic cities which are practically on our doorstep. From Southampton, a short cruise across the North Sea will take you to Scandinavian capitals and centres of European culture. Explore the likes of Rotterdam, Oslo and Copenhagen, before heading to Hamburg. From £789 per person for a 3 September 2017 sailing.
Celebrity Cruises' eight-night Norwegian fjords discovery
The beauty of Norway's fjords defies superlatives, offering some of Europe's most breathtaking views and experiences. Dramatic, ice-capped mountains flank winding waterways with row upon row of indigenous ferns looking out over your ship protectively. Celebrity Eclipse's tour of the fjords takes you through the very heart of the region, visiting many of Norway's most charming coastal towns. From the fairytale city of Ålesund to the sleepy village of Flåm, Celebrity Cruises' Norwegian fjords cruise plots a course which allows you to experience the rich personality of Norway. And if you're lucky enough to book passage during the colder months with a clear night's sky overhead, you may be treated to a top-deck performance by the Northern Lights. From £1,699 per person for a 29 April or 26 August 2017 sailing.
Princess Cruises' 14-night Mediterranean voyage
Always one of the most popular routes from Britain, the Mediterranean is blessed with beautiful cities and regions that are ripe for exploration. The best of Spain, France and Italy can be enjoyed following just a short cruise journey from the UK's south coast. One of the best routes is traversed by Princess Cruises' Crown Princess on a Mediterranean Adventurer cruise, which takes in Barcelona, Corsica, Rome, Florence, Genoa and Marseilles. There's even a chance to explore the unique island of Gibraltar on the return leg of this unforgettable cruise. The amazing itinerary is best enjoyed during the warmer months of the year, when you'll get long, sunny days to explore the best of the Mediterranean. From £1,099 per person for a 22 April, 13 May or 29 July 2017 sailing.