UK Port Anticipates Busy 2024 Cruise Season

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2023 proved to be an exceptional year for the Port of Dover, and 2024 looks exciting in its own right! With several inaugural visits and increased calls by multiple cruise lines on the horizon, it’s going to be a busy cruise season for the UK port. 

The Port of Dover Anticipates Busy Year For Cruises

The Port of Dover, located in the South East of England, is one of the busiest cruise ports in Britain and Northern Europe, welcoming an estimated 250,000 cruise passengers each year. 

Located just over an hour from London by train, Port of Dover offers the quickest and most convenient route to the capital of England and offers the quickest sea crossing to Europe, earning it the nickname of the Gateway to Europe. 

Each year, the UK port services over 20 different cruise lines between two berths, which are capable of docking up to three ships at a time. It also serves as a busy ferry port out of a separate terminal.

After a successful 2023, the popular cruise port is expecting another busy year, including six inaugural visits, increased visits from returning cruise lines, and multiple days where the port will be at cruise ship capacity.

“There is no doubt that 2024 will be an unforgettable year for us. We eagerly await the return of all our cruise lines and can’t wait to welcome those that are visiting us for the first time,says Peter Wright, head of Cruise at the Port of Dover.

“The stunning view of the White Cliffs and Dover Castle is a highlight of any cruise, and our excellent customer service and unrivalled location ensures a seamless and unforgettable holiday for all,” adds Wright.

Cruise Ships in Dover
Cruise Ships in Dover (Photo Credit: Port of Dover)

Of the cruise lines returning to the UK port in 2024, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines will be offering five cruises embarking from Dover in the summer of 2024. 

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“We are delighted to be returning to Dover once again, with five cruises setting sail to beautiful destinations including Norway, Iceland, Portugal and the Azores this summer,” says Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Service at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. 

The first of the Fred. Olsen voyages will embark on a round-trip, 14-day cruise from Dover on June 27, 2024, sailing to Germany, Poland, and Finland on Borealis, the cruise line’s 1,353 passenger ship

Other familiar faces calling at the UK port this year will be AIDA Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Saga Cruises, Viking Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises. 

The Port of Dover Rides The Wave Of Success From 2023 

The Port of Dover’s success in 2024 comes after an extraordinary year for cruising in 2023, complete with inaugural cruise calls from major cruise lines and around 11 million visitors, counting both cruise and ferry passengers. 

On July 26, 2023, Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess called on the Port of Dover for the first time. The 2,000-guest ship visited the UK port as part of a 107-night world cruise. Her arrival was celebrated by locals with entertainment in the cruise terminal, including a storyteller who gave a behind-the-scenes look at Dover’s history and heritage.

Coral Princess in Dover
Coral Princess in Dover (Photo Courtesy: Port of Dover)

Later, on September 8, 2023, the Gateway to Europe celebrated the inaugural visit of Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. Similar to Coral Princess, the 2,666-passenger vessel was met with festive fanfare, including water canons, dancers, music, and local delicacies. 

Dover will become Nieuw Statendam’s homeport in the UK next year, with the ten port calls scheduled for her 2025 season. 

Meanwhile, the Port of Dover celebrated its most successful cruise season with Carnival Cruise Lines thus far. Carnival Pride completed 10 total sailings from the port throughout the summer – which is the largest number of calls by the cruise line to date. 

Carnival Pride will be offering 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises during the upcoming cruise season, but her sister ship, Carnival Legend, will take her place, sailing from Dover beginning June of 2024. 

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