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Cruises from Southampton: a History

By JoFriday 14th March 2014

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Southampton’s port is as much a part of cruise history as the ships themselves. From its commercial use in ancient history, to the modern luxury cruise ships we now know and love, Southampton has seen it all. Here we give you a brief history on cruising from Southampton, and what you’ll to have to look forward to when Anthem of the Seas comes to the city in 2015.


Let’s go back in time

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From the Roman occupation of Britain to the launching of modern naval warships, Southampton’s port has played a crucial part in the progression of the UK for thousands of years.  During the city’s Saxon reign, the port traded throughout Europe and even reached the livestock and alcohol, to pottery and textiles. Since then, Southampton’s port has continued to develop and is still used as a mode of transport when looking at importing and exporting goods.
But, since the rise of extravagant travel in the 19th century, luxury cruising has become what the city’s waters are now most known for and here’s why.

The start of luxury cruising

Southampton’s luxury cruising began in 1840, with Southampton’s ports seen as a gateway to the rest of the world. With staterooms, fine dining and first-class service, cruising around the world became the best way to travel. From simple trips to and from the cities of Europe, to travelling further afield to magnificent North Africa and the US, cruises were the perfect luxury holiday for many people.
It took some years to perfect and develop, but in 1970 Royal Caribbean’s first ship, the Song of Norway, set sail. This amazing ship sailed around the gorgeous shores of the Caribbean, becoming the first of Royal’s cruise ships to call at the sun-soaked resort of Labadee in 1986.
The start of luxury cruising

Getting to grips with cruise history

Before you hop aboard your cruise, why not take a look around Southampton and discover more of this historical maritime city. A great place to start is the Sea City Museum in Southampton’s cultural quarter, an interactive centre which explores the city’s cruise history. Sea City is currently home to 2 main attractions, the permanent exhibitions of Southampton’s Titanic Story and Gateway to the World.
Take your kids along to the museum’s Leaning Deck where they can get involved with group classes, fun activities and workshops, as well as getting to grips with details ship models, fascinating artefacts and even an original ship’s wheel!
If your interest in cruising goes further, then you should definitely take the time to enjoy Southampton’s annual Maritime Festival, which returns on the weekend of the 22nd August 2014. With dressing up, hard hat diving demonstrations and a chance for your kids to explore the docks, it’s one of the best ways to discover Southampton’s impressive nautical history.

Anthem of the Seas is coming to Southampton!

Coming back to modern day, our most innovative and musical ship will be sailing from Southampton in 2015! Take a look at all of Anthem of the Sea’s fantastic features, and book your next cruise holiday now.

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