An English city rich in naval and maritime history, Portsmouth is a wonderful place to visit during a cruise vacation, especially if you’re into history! Not only is Portsmouth located on a beautiful waterfront, but it is also the birthplace of author Charles Dickens, home to one of King Henry VIII’s castles, and also the site of many distinguished events. This city is filled with just about something for everybody – museums, unique shops, cathedrals, parks, and highly-rated tourist attractions. Plus, you will discover a great variety of cafes and restaurants, featuring delicious local British cuisine, Indian cuisine, Chinese cuisine, pizzerias, steakhouses, seafood restaurants, and more! Best of all, Portsmouth is located within close proximity to Southampton (about a 45-minute drive by car) and London (about an hour-and-a-half by rail).
A great time to visit Portsmouth is between January and March, as well as November. August and September tend to be the rainiest time of year in Portsmouth.
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The following cruise destinations can be visited on a cruise that includes Portsmouth. Select a destination to view the upcoming cruises that are available:
The following cruise lines offer cruises sailing to Portsmouth. Select a cruise line to view the upcoming cruises that visit Portsmouth:
These cruise lines offer a truly unique vacation experience, with a wide range of possible amenities and itineraries. Some are expedition cruise lines, others have sailing yachts or are coastal ships.
On these types of cruise lines, there's usually a focus on a specific destination or theme. Itineraries are usually very destination intensive, aided by the fact that they're able to reach many ports of call that larger ships can't.
Expedition cruise lines are a great fit for adventure-seeking travelers, featuring exciting destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, and the Norwegian coast. During the cruise, there will usually be plenty of interesting lectures given by experts on the destination being visited. Often, shore excursions are included in the cost of the cruise. In fact, some of these cruise lines have all-inclusive pricing. There's a definite focus on the ship's surrounding scenery, as well as opportunities to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Small, but comfortable, ships are commonplace here, with anywhere from basic to very luxurious public spaces, cuisine, and accommodations (depending on the cruise line and ship).
Sailing Yachts, sail-assisted motor ships, offer a really unique vacation experience. Accommodations and cuisine on these intimate vessels can be anywhere from good to fantastic, depending on the cruise line. Destinations offered by these cruise lines may include the Caribbean, Europe, Panama Canal, Tahiti, and Costa Rica.
Value is a key feature of these popular cruise lines, as they offer lots of activities, entertainment and dining options, along with a variety of stateroom types. Some of the cruise lines in this category have ships with unique innovations like water slides, rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, surfing simulators, bowling alleys, and boardwalks.
Their ships are usually anywhere from mid-sized to very large "mega" ships, accommodating thousands of guests. These ships give the feel of being in a large resort.
Mainstream cruise lines are a great option for just about everyone (including multi-generation families, and first-time cruisers), and typically have great youth programs.
During the cruise, entertainment may include Broadway productions, Vegas-style shows, comedians, and music. Some of these lines have select formal nights during the cruise. Specialty restaurants are becoming more and more common (some which have a cover charge for this type enhanced dining experience). Buffets are usually available throughout the day, besides room service, and the main dining room(s).
These cruise lines fit (quality and, usually, price-wise) somewhere in between Premium and Luxury cruise lines.
A country club casual atmosphere can be expected on these lines, as can be elegant accommodations and gourmet cuisine. These cruise lines are a great option for adults looking for a upscale, yet laid back, vacation.
Unique itineraries are often available on these cruise lines, as their small-to-mid-sized ships can visit ports of call that large ones can't get to.
The pricing on Azamara Club Cruises includes select beverages and pre-paid gratuities, while the pricing of Viking Ocean Cruises includes shore excursions and select beverages.
When the finest cruise vacation is your top priority, this is the place to start.
On a luxury cruise line, guests experience highly personalized service, a more intimate (and usually formal) onboard experience, gourmet cuisine, well-appointed accommodations, and fantastic amenities. Many of these brands have smaller ships, allowing them to reach ports of call that the larger ships can't, which results in unique itineraries.
All of these brands feature a version of all-inclusive pricing, and some of them have ships with all-suite accommodations. Although these cruise lines are usually more expensive than the rest, they also provide their guests with so much more, resulting in a fantastic value when considering all that's included.
These are just a few of the more popular tourist attractions in Portsmouth, along with a brief description:
♦ Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Undoubtedly the most popular lure of Portsmouth is the Historic Dockyard, where you can discover a few historic ships and buildings! There are a few incredible attractions within this yard, including the HMS Victory (Horatio Nelson’s flagship), HMS Warrior (the first iron-hulled warship in the world), HMS M33 (used in World War 1), and the Mary Rose shipwreck remains (including many salvaged artifacts). The National Museum of the Royal Navy is also situated here, and is where you can view even more Naval-related relics, including those with ties to the Battle of Trafalgar.
♦ Spinnaker Tower
Standing right in Portsmouth Harbor, the Spinnaker Tower is a 557-foot observation tower that provides you with stunning views of the waterfront! The building is shaped like a sail to represent the city’s maritime roots, and shares the name of the type of sail it is shaped like. One nice feature of Spinnaker Tower is that your admission is good all day, so you can return several times of day to take in the ever-changing views! You will also be able to view a film about the tower’s history, cross the glass Sky Walk platform, and even take in the elements in the open-air Sky Garden. If you choose to book a guided tour, you can enjoy all amenities included with general admission, as well as learn even more about the tower from your guide.
♦ Southsea Castle
If you’ve ever wanted to visit one of King Henry VIII’s fortifications, you’ll have your chance when visiting Portsmouth! A visit to Southsea Castle will get you a tour of the fortress, where you can learn more about Tudor history, take in incredible views of the city and sea, and even enjoy a coffee or craft beer on site. You can even partake in Castle Tunnel Walks during the summer season, which are certain to appeal to history-lovers! During the winter season, Southsea Castle is closed, though the courtyard remains open, where you can take in the incredible scenery! As admission times can vary at this attraction, ensure that you verify all information prior to your visit.
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