Experience legendary American hospitality on a cruise ship sailing from the UK.
American cruise line Royal Caribbean International offers a wide range of itineraries across the globe each year, but also offers a convenient selection of short taster mini cruise breaks sailing from the port of Southampton.
Why choose a Royal Caribbean mini cruise break?
The cruise line was founded in Norway and is now based in Miami, Florida, United States of America. The company operates a large fleet of vessels ranging in size right up to Harmony of the Seas, the world's biggest cruise ship.
The company is highly regarded for its fun and active holidays with something for everyone on-board. Their family-friendly ships are loved by children, parents and grandparents across the world, making them ideal for multi-generational holidays. Whether you will be travelling on your own, as a couple, as a family or as a large group there will be something to keep even the fussiest traveller happy.
There's always something going on but there's also plenty of opportunities to enjoy some romantic downtime too. Each ship is equipped with a luxurious spa, a swimming pool, a gym and a range of restaurants including a range of intimate, speciality options.
The crew help make the ships come alive and the American-style service has to be experienced to be believed. Nothing is ever too much trouble.
The good and not so good
- A fun way to try a cruise ship holiday without committing to a week or more.
- Conveniently sail direct from the port of Southampton.
- A massive choice of cabins are available: value Inside cabins, Outside cabins with a sea view, Balcony cabins with a private outdoor space, and plush Suites for extra luxury.
- Your sailing is full board meaning your main meals and snacks are included in the price.
The not so good
- There won't be enough time on a short mini cruise break to fully explore and experience the ship, leaving you wanting more.
- Drinks cost extra, as do speciality dining choices and some snacks. Complimentary tea, coffee, water and fruit juice (during breakfast hours) is available from the buffet restaurant and room service though. Drinks packages are available which may represent better value for money than paying as you go.
Royal Caribbean fleet
Royal Caribbean has a massive fleet in excess of 20 ships spanning a variety of sizes and based right across the globe.
Each year the cruise line bases at least one ship in Southampton and several in Europe.
For mini cruise sailings from Southampton the ships on offer in 2017 and 2018 are Independence of the Seas, a British favourite, and Navigator of the Seas. Independence of the Seas, or "Indy" as she is affectionately nicknamed, is the larger of the two and can carry a mind-boggling 4,370 passengers. Don't let that fool you as the size of the ship means that it will rarely feel crowded and there's always a quiet sanctuary somewhere. Navigator of the Seas is a smaller ship and typically carries 3,276 passengers.
With lots of passengers to keep happy Royal Caribbean goes to town with everything it does. The standard of food is impeccable - adventurous diners can choose from a wide range of dishes while fussy eaters will always find something delicious on the 'regulars' menu. Entertainment is American style - glitzy Broadway-style shows, top quality guest entertainers and live musicians to name but a few. The crew are a friendly bunch and you'll always find a smile.
Royal Caribbean Mini Cruise itineraries for 2017/2018
You can find the very latest list of mini cruise itineraries here °, together with current pricing and live availability.
I've listed them below, split by ship. If you want to dip your toe into the world of cruise ship holidays then a two-night cruise is ideal. If you've been on a cruise ship holiday before, perhaps not with Royal Caribbean, then a five-night sailing would give you more time to explore the ship.
In April and May 2016, Royal Caribbean offered mini cruises from Southampton aboard two of its newest ships, Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. These were rare opportunities to sail on a brand new ship from the UK. Hopefully we'll get brand new ships in the UK again soon.
|Date||Ship||Nights||Ports of Call||More Details|
|21 October 2017||Independence of the Seas||3||Le Havre (Paris); Zeebrugge (Bruges)||Prices °|
|24 October 2017||Independence of the Seas||5||Rotterdam; Zeebrugge (Bruges); Cherbourg; Le Havre (Paris)||Prices °|
|22 October 2017||Navigator of the Seas||5||Bilbao; Le Havre (Paris)||Prices °|
|28 May 2018||Independence of the Seas||5||Cherbourg; Cork (Cobh)||Prices °|
|25 August 2018||Independence of the Seas||3||Le Havre (Paris); Zeebrugge (Bruges)||Prices °|
|28 August 2018||Independence of the Seas||3||Rotterdam; Zeebrugge (Bruges)||Prices °|
|20 October 2018||Independence of the Seas||5||Rotterdam; Zeebrugge (Bruges); Cherbourg; Le Havre (Paris)||Prices °|
|25 October 2018||Independence of the Seas||3||Le Havre (Paris); Zeebrugge (Bruges)||Prices °|
The dull-but-necessary small print
All deals are subject to availability and can be withdrawn by the operator without prior notice. The lead-in prices (otherwise known as the 'from' prices) are, unless otherwise stated above, based on two adults sharing the cheapest available cabin on the cheapest available date. Typically the best prices are available at the start of any promotion period so the earlier you book the better choice of sailing dates and cabin availability you should have. Mid-week sail dates are likely to be cheaper than weekend sail dates.