Sailing from the UK
Setting sail from Southampton
Southampton is the UK's leading port. Bustling modern cruise terminals, as well as wharfs and commercial harbours, line the waterfront, whilst the city itself is a fascinating mix of ancient and modern, with a picturesque old town, the original city walls still standing, and super-modern shopping centres and office complexes. On all corners you will see tributes to the city's rich history and maritime heritage. Henry V marched his troops through the Westgate on his way to the battle of Agincourt, The Mayflower sailed from here with a cargo of settlers to the New World, and the Titanic started her fateful voyage here.
Just a short drive from Southampton is the magical New Forest with its quaint hamlets, historic towns and seaside villages. Look out for the ponies too.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon’s colourful cityscape includes Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums. But for many the best times will be had wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets, with their great local food, wine and music.
Funchal, Madeira’s bustling capital, tumbles down a dramatic hillside towards a beautiful sweeping bay. Highlights include colourful markets, wine lodges and the spectacular cable car ride up to the village of Monte, home of the famous toboggan run.
Antigua and Barbuda: St John's
Antigua is famously home to 365 beaches - one for every day of the year - and there is an undeniable allure to the many white sand coves dotted along the coast. The capital, St John’s, is worth a look, but if you’ve got time to visit the south coast you’ll find historic Nelson’s Dockyard a lot more interesting.
The island of Dominica stands out from the rest of the Caribbean, a rugged natural paradise that remains blissfully free of mass market tourism. The capital, Roseau, is pleasant enough, but the island interior offers so much more, including thick jungle, bubbling hot springs, cascading waterfalls and abundant birdlife.
There’s more to Barbados than just beaches; the delightful colonial architecture of the old garrison in Bridgetown, the capital, is fully deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status, and the island interior is littered with old sugar plantations and natural wonders such as Harrison’s Cave.
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba: Kralendijk (Bonaire)
The quiet, cactus-covered Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is internationally renowned for its diving, ringed by spectacular coral reefs that teem with life. The capital, Kralendijk, is home to some pretty colonial architecture, and the island is also known for its flamingos and pink sand beaches.
Cartagena was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1533, and the beautifully preserved centre is a real highlight of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled old town, the Ciudad Amurallada, is a camera-friendly collection of cobbled streets and colourful, colonial-era buildings.
Costa Rica: Puntarenas
Situated on a peculiarly shaped peninsula on the Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas is a popular weekend beach destination for residents of Costa Rica’s capital, San José. The port itself is not pretty, but the beachfront Paseo de los Turistas is a nice place to relax with a drink or enjoy a seafood lunch.
Costa Rica: Puerto Caldera
French Polynesia: Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas, an island of towering basalt peaks, cliffs and canyons, carpeted with verdant jungle. From the pretty little capital, Taiohae, you can strike out into the unspoilt countryside in search of the island’s many archaeological sites.
French Polynesia: Rangiroa
The Rangiroa atoll is one of the biggest in the world, a ring of over 400 motu (islets) surrounding a vast lagoon. This stunning area is a popular destination for divers and snorkellers, and the waters are home to marine life including sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
French Polynesia: Papeete
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, situated on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The port is not the most magical spot, so we advise venturing forth to luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, and explore the rugged mountain peaks.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
Tonga: Nuku Alofa
Vanuatu: Mystery Island
31 December - 2 January
One or our favourite cities in the world, we love pretty much everything about Sydney. Offering outdoor living at its best, the city is known for the excellent beaches but offers so much more, including a thriving and varied food scene inspired by Asian and European flavours.
Australia: Newcastle (New South Wales)
Brisbane has plenty of shopping malls and, with great weather, a fantastic café culture. Amongst the steel and glass skyscrapers are some interesting historic buildings, and with plenty surrounding the city there’s enough on offer to make for an interesting short stay.
Cairns is a buzzing tourist hub, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. A snorkelling trip out to the reef is the most obvious excursion to take here, but other options include riding the Skyrail cableway over the rainforest canopy or swimming in the croc-free saltwater lagoon.
More of a large town than a city, Darwin is less about what’s contained within the city limits and more about the huge expanse of wild landscape that’s outside it. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, the city really does feel remote in its tropical perch.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
As well as a plethora of luxury resorts, Phuket has a charming old town replete with pretty Sino-Portuguese architecture, and acts as a jump-off point for exploring nearby islands and coastline. Koh Phing Pan, better known as James Bond Island, and Ko Phi Phi are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the limestone formations that surround Krabi.
The small, laid back city of Kochi is situated on the south coast of Shikoku island, an important place of pilgrimage for Japanese Buddhists. Three of the 88 temples on the pilgrimage route are in Kochi, and the city is also known for its elegant 17th century hilltop castle.
India: Marmagao (Goa)
Formerly known as Bombay, this amazing city is larger than life and packed to bursting with things to see and do. Here people of all religions and nationalities live cheek by jowl, thriving communities from all over the world with the foods, smells, languages and rituals maintained at top volume.
United Arab Emirates: Dubai
Amazing high rise buildings, extensive air-conditioned shopping malls and extraordinary man-made tourist attractions (such as indoor ski-slopes) abound in the glamorous city of Dubai, home to some of the most glitzy and expensive hotels in the world.
Oman’s capital is low-rise and laid back, a far cry from the towering bling of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Take a stroll along the waterfront Corniche promenade, soak up the sun on one of the excellent beaches, or explore the mosques and forts of the atmospheric old quarter.
Salalah is Oman’s second city, and the capital of the southern Dhofar region. Many visitors are surprised by the pleasant sub-tropical climate, which turns the city into an oasis of lush greenery during the ‘khareef’ (monsoon) season between June and September, and in many ways it’s more reminiscent of Zanzibar than Muscat.
Aqaba is Jordan’s principal beach resort, situated on the Red Sea coast close to the Israeli border. There is not an awful lot here in terms of sights; Aqaba's main attraction is the incredible diving, with crystal clear waters and some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs.
The Turkish port of Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and the remains constitute the most complete classical city in Europe.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre of Naples rewards exploration, and in addition to the many cultural treasures waiting to be unearthed Neapolitans are rightly proud of their food; this is where you’ll find the best pizza in Italy. The city also acts as a gateway to the fascinating remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the beautiful Amalfi coast.
Sovereignty of ‘The Rock’ has been a thorny issue ever since Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713, though on the ground it’s clear where most locals’ sympathies lie. Gibraltar is often described as ‘more British than Britain’, a curious enclave of red postboxes, double decker buses and chip shops.
Spain: La Coruña
La Coruña is the largest city in Galicia, a beautiful region of lush green countryside and wild, windswept beaches. Historical sights of note include the Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO-listed Roman lighthouse, and the city is also home to some great seafood restaurants.
Arriving in Southampton
Get a copy of the Old Town Walk map from the tourist information centre, a perfect (and free!) way to explore Southampton at a leisurely pace.
Your home from home
Black Watch is a cosy, intimate ship offering traditional British style cruising and personal, warm and friendly atmosphere.
What we love
Fred. Olsen offer a huge variety of sailings, many of which are excellent no fly cruise itineraries departing from a number of different regional UK ports. This comfortable ship has a British style with inviting public areas.
|Crew||350 International Staff|
|Style||Traditional British cruising with an informal, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.|
Tailor-make your trip
Overnight in Southampton
Stay at the Pig in the Wall, stylish with great food. Very small so book early.
Day trips from Southampton
Visit historic Winchester, home to King Arthur’s Round Table, the Great Hall and Winchester Cathedral.