Two more cruise lines have joined the return to British Isles cruising this summer and MSC Cruises has announced that it will be bringing its new flagship to the UK.
Passengers will have the opportunity to join the maiden voyage on Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Adventure and Celebrity Cruises will be offering sailings from Southampton aboard the new-look Celebrity Silhouette which recently underwent a multi-million-pound refit.
Saga will begin sailing with a Scottish Highlands and Islands cruise on Spirit of Discovery on June 27th, followed by four more cruises with itineraries that include scenic Norwegian Fjords cruising. The round-trip Tilbury itineraries, ranging from six to 14 nights, will feature ports of call and include sightseeing tours at British ports including Lerwick, Invergordon, Belfast, Kirkwall, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Bristol. The inaugural cruise on Spirit of Adventure departs on July 26th for a 15-night sailing from Tilbury to Dover. All fares include private door-to-door chauffeur service to and from the port or the choice of car parking near the port, domestic flights, rail or coach travel.
Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said:
“We know how much our guests want to get travelling again so we are delighted to be launching our all-inclusive, round-Britain summer cruise itineraries taking in destinations from the Orkney Islands to the Norwegian Fjords.
“The inaugural cruise of our brand-new boutique ship, Spirit of Adventure, will be a real highlight. Like Spirit of Discovery, she has a spacious feel and every detail has been designed with our guests in mind, from the modern, contemporary feel to the fantastic range of facilities and our incredibly high service standards.
“I can confidently say that our guests are in for a really exceptional experience and they can board with peace of mind, knowing we take their health and well-being incredibly seriously. We are asking all our guests to have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to joining our cruises and, as they rightly expect, all necessary precautions and the highest standards of cleanliness will be observed on board.”
Celebrity Cruises will resume sailing on July 3rd with a series of six to eight-night round-trip cruises that will also include ports of call such as Liverpool, Portland, Inverness, Kirkwall and Glasgow. It will mark a return to British shores for the new-look Celebrity Silhouette following its makeover last year. The ship has modernised cabins and suites, reimagined restaurants, bars, lounges, spa and casino, plus new designer boutiques. The exclusive Retreat area, for suite passengers, has been redesigned by award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen.
Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said,
“We’re delighted to be returning to Southampton after over a year away. We are truly committed to the UK market and can’t wait to welcome guests back onboard. What could be better than a new luxury ship, ready to take guests on a journey around one of the world’s most beautiful and impressive coastlines? Not only is this extremely significant to us as a business but also to the local tourism industry.”
Jo Rzymowska, the line’s Vice President and Managing Director EMEA, added: “We are excited to offer guests the chance to reconnect at sea with family and friends and to make up for all those missed celebrations. We can’t wait to welcome guests onboard Celebrity Silhouette.”
MSC Cruises, which will be the first line to launch British Isles sailings on May 20th, has revealed the cruises will be aboard its brand new flagship MSC Virtuosa, which was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany. The ship will now be based in the UK for its inaugural season and sail on three to seven-night round-trip cruises from Southampton, Liverpool and Greenock and featuring various ports of call.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said:
“Following our recent announcement that we intend to offer cruises in the UK we have been overwhelmed by the response from MSC Cruises customers and avid cruisers eager to get back onboard and experience a cruise with us this summer. I am personally very proud to be able to bring our newest ship MSC Virtuosa to the UK so that our valued British guests are the first to officially come on board and the first to experience this incredible next generation ship. She is the latest, most innovative and environmentally advanced to join the MSC Cruises fleet and we couldn’t be more delighted to offer UK holidaymakers and their families the chance to discover her world class facilities. We have all been waiting for something exciting to look forward to and this ship has lots of new features for our guests to experience including new speciality restaurants and a brand-new immersive entertainment lounge with a humanoid robotic bartender and much more.”
“These special sailings not only represent a step towards the restart of the cruise industry in a safe and secure manner but also that of the local economies. Bringing a new ship to the different regional ports will enable our guests to discover the best of the UK this summer, showcasing different British ports around the country.”
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises and Saga Cruises