Compare: UK's 10 Most Popular Cruise Ships

Britannia's maiden voyage

Everyone has a favourite. Our goal with this chart is to outline the key distinctions among the 10 most popular ships for UK passengers -- accounting for more than 22,000 berths -- in an easily digestible way. The ships' popularity is determined by the number of page views accrued since the start of the year.

If you want more information about a particular ship or to see photos of the ship, just click on the vessel name for a comprehensive expert review and hundreds of reader-submitted critiques.

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Britannia

Britannia

P&O Cruises' newest and largest ship specifically built for the U.K. debuted in March 2015 -- with HM The Queen presiding over the naming ceremony -- and claims the top place in our chart. The 3,647-passenger vessel combines all the most popular aspects of the rest of the fleet -- Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant, Olly Smith's The Glass House and the Strictly Come Dancing tie-up -- and adds some brand new features such as the Cookery Club and a TV Studio.

Deployment: Based in Barbados during winter for Caribbean cruises, Southampton in summer for the Mediterranean.

Sleep

  • First purpose-built single cabins with balconies
  • All outside cabins have balconies
  • All suites are butler-serviced

Eat

  • High-end molecular gastronomy in The Epicurean
  • Dine with the celebrity chefs in the Cookery Club
  • Atul Kochhar's Sindhu for high-end Indian cuisine

Fun

  • Limelight Club: A chance to see celebrity performers up close and personal
  • Crystal Room showcases ballroom dancing and Strictly dance offs
  • The biggest Crow's Nest bar in the fleet -- with 20 different type of British-distilled gins to choose from

Harmony of the Seas

The Biggest Ship in the World made its stunning debut in Southampton in May. The third in the ground-breaking Oasis class of ships features all the most popular aspects of those ships -- inside cabins with balconies, distinct neighbourhoods, a vast amount of entertainment and dining options -- with a few extras such as a Jamie's Italian, "virtual balconies" and the longest (and scariest) slide at sea, the Ultimate Abyss. Although the 5,479-passenger ship only hung around these shores for a couple of weeks, it still makes its debut at number two in our charts.

Deployment: Barcelona until the end of the cruise season in October offering Western Mediterranean itineraries; Fort Lauderdale from November 2016.

Sleep

  • Inside virtual balcony cabins, which debuted on sister ship Quantum of the Seas
  • Inside balcony cabins, made possible due to the ship's unique "hollowed out" centre
  • Some of the most stunning suites at sea, from the Sky Loft Suite to the breathtaking Royal Suite
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Wonderland -- a trip down the rabbit hole with molecular gastronomy on the menu
  • Jamie's Italian -- making its third appearance on a Royal Caribbean ship
  • Brazilian, Japanese, Chinese, burger bars, hot dog stands, tapas, steak house -- and everything inbetween

Fun

  • Simulated surfing on two FlowRiders, zip-lining and The Ultimate Abyss
  • One of the best shows at sea: Grease; ice-skating and the Aqua Theater
  • 15 bars including the Bionic Bar -- where robots serve your drinks

Photo Tour of Harmony of the Seas


TUI Discovery

TUI Discovery

TUI Discovery only made its debut in June 2016, but has already claimed the third spot in our chart. The 1,830-passenger ship is not new, in fact it's 20-years old this year and up until May sailed as Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas. However, it's had a complete makeover and boats a number of popular new features including Kora La Asian restaurant, a puzzle room, a virtual band, revamped kids' facilities and redesigned public spaces. It's the first of two "new ships" for Thomson: sister ship TUI Discovery 2 (the former Legend of the Seas) -- enters service in 2017.

Deployment: Palma de Mallorca until the end of the cruise season in October, before spending the winter in Barbados.

Sleep

  • The largest number of balcony cabins of any Thomson ship
  • All cabins have been completely refurbished
  • Suites have access to the Executive Lounge

Eat

  • The upper level of the main dining room has been turned into a (free) Italian restaurant, Gallery 47°
  • Two popular for-fee dining options: Asian restaurant Kora La and Surf & Turf Steakhouse
  • Plenty of free options including Snack Shack and The Glass House for tapas

Fun

  • Debut of the first Puzzle Room on a Thomson ship
  • Climbing wall and mini-golf
  • West End-quality shows and entertainment

Thomson Majesty

Thomson Majesty

Majesty joined the Thomson line in May 2012 as part of a ship swap. In 2014 it went through a refit to add 28 balconies -- until the refit, it had none -- and take it up to Thomson's inhouse Platinum Status, which is akin to a four star rating. The 1,462-passenger ship is small by modern standards, and old (it was built in 1992) but that doesn't detract from its popularity amongst U.K. cruisers.

Deployment: Cruises in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

Sleep

  • Standard cabins are assigned by the cruise line -- passengers can pay a fee to upgrade.
  • Only 28 balcony cabins onboard
  • Suites feature flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations

Eat

  • The ship features two main dining rooms, Seven Seas and Four Seasons
  • Three alternative eateries, including a 24-hour buffet venue
  • Room service and French alternative restaurant, Le Bistro, are for-fee

Fun

  • Jubilee Lounge offers production shows, guest acts and late-night discos
  • Royal Observatory bar boasts views from ship's highest point
  • Small casino, Monte Carlo, has games tables and slot machines

Thomson Dream

Thomson Dream

Thomson Dream is the newest, biggest and most luxurious ship in Thomson's fleet of five ships. Thomson took over the vessel from Costa Cruises in April 2010, and the ship underwent a multimillion-pound refit in 2012 and 2014. It's featured on a TV programme (Showboaters), and in two popular YouTube videos involving free running, or parkour, which showcases the ship. The 2014 refit saw a general refurbishment as well as a new speciality Asian restaurant.

Deployment: Mediterranean cruises out of Palma, Mallorca, in the summer; Jamaica throughout the winter.

Sleep

  • 764 cabins in categories ranging from insides to suites
  • Only six cabins -- grand suites -- have balconies
  • 19 single cabins and four wheelchair-accessible cabins
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Asian-themed a la carte restaurant Kora La, specializing in Indian and Chinese cuisine
  • The Explorers Lounge & The Coffee Port offers speciality coffees
  • Speciality restaurant allows you to grill your own food on super-heated volcanic rocks

Fun

  • High-ceilinged Broadway Theatre hosts musical reviews
  • A headlining entertainer performs twice each week
  • Daily enrichment limited to lectures and port talks

Magellan

Magellan

Following a refurbishment and re-livery, this ship joined the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in March 2015 as the line's new flagship. The 1,250-passenger ship is based in Tilbury, Essex, and offers unusual itineraries to the Norwegian fjords and beyond. It's an old ship -- 32 years old this year -- and has not been refurbished since 2010, when it enjoyed a €55 million upgrade. Design-wise it harks back to the 1970s, with a lovely retro feel, lots of teak decking and wide corridors. Magellan, as with the other ships in the CMV fleet, is adults only.

Deployment: Magellan is based in Tilbury year-round and offers Northern Europe itineraries.

Sleep

  • 150 twin cabins allocated for sole occupancy
  • 6 Royal Suites, 4 Deluxe Suites and 4 Junior Suites
  • 15 grades of accommodation

Eat

  • Two classic dining rooms, the Waldorf and the Kensington
  • No speciality restaurants
  • Poolside grill open at lunch for burgers and hot dogs

Fun

  • Drinking holes include Captain's Club, for a pre-dinner cocktail
  • Evening shows held in the Magellan Main Show Lounge
  • Fabulous retro-design Scott's Nightclub

Azura

Azura

The 3,100-passenger Azura is Ventura's younger sister (by two years), and has the same vibe and feel as her older sibling: family friendly, superb dining options, a new adults-only area, plus one or two extra features, including SeaScreen, the new outdoor cinema.

Deployment: Azura spends the winter in the Caribbean in Barbados; and the summer in Southampton cruising to Northern Europe and the Baltic.

Sleep

  • Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabins come with Champagne, fruit and chocolates on arrival.
  • The Suites have butler service, daily canapes, a coffee machine, newspapers and exclusive use of Seventeen for breakfast.
  • Families can be accommodated in all cabin grades except those for singles.
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Dozen-plus dining options focus on casual eats
  • Main dining room, Crimson, is one of most vibrant at sea
  • Surprisingly good for-fee steakhouse

Fun

  • Adults-only areas including The Retreat
  • Great kids' facilities including appearances from Mr. Men and Little Miss Sunshine
  • There are 12 bars, including Brodies, a cross between a sports bar and traditional pub but with a small casino attached

Independence of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

The perennially popular Independence of the Seas, claims the number eight spot in our chart. Indie (as the ship is fondly known), went through a $7 million refurbishment in 2013, and was one of the first U.S. megaship to grace our shores, introducing British passengers to the delights of an ice rink, "street festivals" in the Royal Promenade, big Broadway-style shows, a rock climbing wall and simulated surfing. Though these can be found on all the more modern Royal ships (Indie is almost eight years old), Brits still love this 3,600-passenger, family-friendly ship.

Deployment: Independence of the Seas spends the summer based out of Southampton, offering a combination of Baltic and Mediterranean cruises, before deploying to Fort Lauderdale for the winter.

Sleep

  • Five types of cabins: insides, promenade views, outsides, balconies and suites. 
  • Four Royal Family Suites hold up to eight and feature a living area with a double sofa bed and two bedrooms with two twin beds.
  • Grand, Owner's and Royal Suite guests have access to the Concierge Club lounge
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Two newly-installed eating venues on Independence: Italian Trattoria, Giovanni's Table and The Cupcake Cupboard.
  • Triple-height main dining room, with two seating times.
  • Plenty of casual dining options, including two Promenade-based cafes: Sorrento's, serving pizza 24/7; and The Cafe Promenade.

Fun

  • FlowRider, rock climbing wall, full-size basketball court, a running track, mini-golf, a golf simulator and ice rink.
  • Evening parties with a street festival vibe
  • Late night, two-level disco, Labyrinth

Photo Tour of Independence of the Seas


Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse

The 2,850-passenger Eclipse is the third of Celebrity's sleek, sophisticated and extremely popular Solstice-class ships. Combining big-ship amenities such as a huge spa and gym, big-production shows and a number of high-end restaurants, with small ship service and sophistication, Eclipse regularly gets 90 per cent + approval ratings from Cruise Critic members. A recent (May 2015) refit saw a number of new features added, including: World Class Bar, Gastro Bar and a suites-only restaurant, Luminae.

Deployment: Southampton during the summer, offering Baltic and short-break cruises; and Fort Lauderdale during the winter for Caribbean cruises.

Sleep

  • 121 connecting staterooms and four Family Ocean View Staterooms with verandahs
  • AquaSpa cabins include spa-oriented cosmetics, gels and bath amenities; upgraded linens and access to an exclusive room service menu.
  • The 44 Sky Suites have a 79-square-foot verandah accessed through floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors.
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Brand new suites-only restaurant, with daily changing menu: Luminae
  • Tuscan Grille has the best view of any restaurant afloat, being situated all the way aft
  • Qsine is a blend of tapas-style tastes with gourmet interpretations of ethnic comfort food

Fun

  • New Gastro Bar showcases 45 different craft beers
  • New World Class Bar features craft cocktails and top mixologists
  • Real grass lawn on the top deck

Photo Tour of Celebrity Eclipse


Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian's one-off megaship, EPIC, divides opinion -- some love its, er, unorthodox shape; others regularly vote it the ugliest cruise ship in the world. Either way, it's a big hit with U.K. cruisers who have voted it into our Top 10. The Barcelona-based (seasonally) ship boasts a dizzying array of activities, including bowling, an aquapark, a ship-within-a-ship area, The Haven; a comedy club, a faithful recreation of The Cavern Club and arguably the best disco at sea, Bliss Ultra Lounge.

Deployment: Based in Barcelona during the summer and Orlando (Port Canaveral) during the winter.

Sleep

  • Dedicated solo cabins -- "Studios" -- with funky lighting and keycard access lounge
  • Ship-within-a-ship suites complex, The Haven, complete with pool, lounge and restaurant
  • Every outside cabin has a balcony -- an industry first at the time
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Teppanyaki -- delicious Asian cuisine -- with a side order of theatrics!
  • Moderno Churrascarisa -- Brazilian-themed all-you-can-eat meatfest
  • Le Bistro for high-end French cuisine
  • Norwegian's signature restaurant is Cagney's steakhouse, which serves up a mighty 10-oz rib eye

Fun

  • The recently-added (2015) faithful recreation of the Liverpool venue where The Beatles started out
  • Bliss Ultra Lounge -- the best nightclub at sea
  • The Spiegel Tent hosts the nightly Cirque Dreams and Dinner Show
  • Broadway show "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert plays nightly in the Epic Theater
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