If you haven’t heard about the term “bucket list”, it’s a list of all the dreams you want to make happen, ambition’s you want to realise and life experiences you wish to experience before your time is up.
As you might expect, going on a cruise is a popular entry. But when you think of a cruise, the first things to come to mind are usually blue Caribbean oceans, European cities of culture or Balearic Islands. What most people don’t realise is that there are some terrific routes available much closer to home.
The British Isles have a huge number of picturesque and remarkable destinations, particularly along the coast. Many of these are out-of-bounds for the gigantic passenger ships which are typically linked with cruises. ‘Boutique’ cruises are an amazing holiday option for those wanting to dodge the crowds and experience what our home isles have to offer; here are four stirring examples.
1. Blooms and birds of Britain
If you’re someone with an appreciation for nature, you could take a springtime cruise with Noble Caledonia from Plymouth to the Isles of Scilly, Lundy, Skomer, Llandudno, Peel, Holy Loch and Fairlie. With trips into the Botanical Gardens of the Cowal Peninsula and the Abbey Gardens of the Island of Tresco, any keen gardener on board will be delighted. Not to mention the razorbills, puffins and guillemots around Lundy and Skomer for the birdwatcher passengers.
2. A royal voyage
If exclusivity and opulence appeal, you could get on board the Hebridean Princess. The vessel holds only 50 passengers, and the Queen herself chartered the ship in 2006 for a break to celebrate her 80th birthday. Departing from Oban, the voyage explores the Outer Isles and visits islands, lochs and remote mainland sites and allows you to be surrounded by luxury.
3. The scenic route
If you’re travelling to Dublin but don’t like the thought of flying, Le Boreal is a 264 passenger mega-yacht which features interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, as well as serving the finest French cuisine. Leaving from London and stopping off in Dover, it takes in the wonderful views of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and the historic coves of the Scilly Isles. Before it berths in Dublin, you’ll have the chance to visit Kinsale and Glengarriff over the course of a seven night trip.
4. London to London
Departing from Tower Bridge, London, there is a voyage by Silversea, which will take you all the way around Britain and Ireland before taking you back to where you started. A 12 day cruise allows you to enjoy a range of experiences, from a traditional Cornish pub lunch in Falmouth to Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen or a trip from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway.
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