Dover cruise port (part of Port Dover) is ranked UK's second largest passenger seaport (ferry and cruise) - after Southampton. Dover is also homeport of the British shipping company P&O Ferries (23 daily crossings to Calais). Another major passenger shipping company from Dover is the Danish DFDS Seaways with several daily crossings to France (15 to Calais and 12 to Dunkerque).
Calais offers quick road and rail access to Paris City. Dunkerque (Dunkirk) is just 10 km (6 mi) away from the border with Belgium (1-hour drive distance from Bruges). Ferry travel times are 1,5 hours (to Calais) and 2 hours (to Dunkirk). The Dover-Dunkirk route is served with 3 ships - DELFT SEAWAYS, DOVER SEAWAYS and DUNKERQUE SEAWAYS.
Occasionally, Fred Olsen and Saga UK offer "Mystery Cruise" deals on roundtrips from Dover. The itinerary is unique as its ports of call are not officially announced by the company prior the voyage. For 2021, Hurtigruten scheduled roundtrip cruise departures from the UK with homeporting in Dover (embarkation port).
Port Dover UK
The seaport was established in 1606 by a Royal Charter and is currently operated by "Dover Harbor Board". Along with its 2 cruise terminals, Port Dover also has passenger ferry terminals, 2 cargo terminals, 1 boating (yacht) marina, its own police force. Located at English Channel's narrowest point, Dover has world's busiest shipping lanes with ferries constantly crossing between UK and France. Channel's width here is approx 30 km (20 mi).
The port is located on England's southern coast. It is approx 65 mi (105 km) from London and approx 21 mi (34 km) from Calais France. The cruise port schedule shows itineraries mainly during the summer months (April through late October). Passenger ships leave out of Dover on 4-day short breaks, as well as 7-day or 14-day cruises to the Canary Islands, Around Britain (British Isles), also to mainland Europe (Baltic, Norway Fjords, Atlantic Coast), Mediterranean, Iceland and Greenland. Due to the port's strategic position on the English Channel, it was nicknamed “the Lock and Key of England”.
Port Dover handles annually shipping trade valued at around GBP 122 billion, which is roughly 17% of the UK's trade in goods.
Dover is one of the 3 UK cruise ports used for visiting London City - together with London docks and Tilbury.
- On May 11, 2012, the port welcomed the inaugural visit of the Royal Caribbean ship Brilliance of the Seas.
- On July 18, 2012, the port hosted the Olympic Torch Relay event. It consisted of the Torch Relay, followed by a stage show and a fireworks display.
- On September 8, 2014, the port's tugboats performed a farewell salute (with water cannons) for the Holland America ship MS Ryndam. The ship departed Dover for the very last time. In November 2015, the ship joined the P&O Australia's fleet under the name Pacific Aria.
- On June 5, 2016, the Disney Magic ship departed from Dover on its first-ever British Isles cruise. The 12-night itinerary had scheduled ports of call Invergordon, Kirkwall, Greenock-Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Dublin, Le Havre-Paris and Guernsey (Channel Islands). The ship also did two 12-night cruises to Iceland with included overnight stays in Reykjavik plus stopping in Akureyri. The May 29 itinerary from Dover was a 7-day round-trip to the Norwegian Fjords visiting Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen.
In mid-March 2018, the company Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd was awarded a GBP 15 million contract to build a Refrigerated Cargo Terminal.
- The new multi-purpose facility is sized 9630 m2 (103,650 ft2) and is part of the "Dover Western Docks Revival" (port development project).
- The building consists of 8 individually temperature-controlled chambers with 20 dock levellers. It was required to produce quick turnaround for the port's cargo customers, thus increasing the overall volumes of the shipping trade.
- Opened in December 2019, the new cargo terminal has a new infrastructure with 2 dedicated berths and "Gottwald 5" mobile harbour cranes.
Following the COVID crisis, in 2022 the cruise port reported a record year with booked 130 ship calls, including 73 turnarounds/roundtrips and 11 inaugurals/maiden visits. Among the inaugurals was Carnival Pride (June 10th) which was CCL-Carnival Cruise Line’s first port call since 2013.
Cruise itineraries to and from Dover England
Follows a list of destinations visited by cruise ships leaving out of Dover:
- World Cruises - around the world voyages leaving from Dover offer westbound Transatlantic crossings with either Panama Canal transition or around South America routes. Itinerary segments may end up in Canada, USA (Florida, East Coast or West Coast / California ports), Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne) and even in New Zealand (Auckland).
- Iceland and Greenland are often included in "British Isles" themed cruise itineraries around Britain, visiting island ports in England, Scotland, Ireland (Northern Ireland) and Wales.
- Baltic Sea cruises to Norway from Dover are 7- to 9-night round-trips and visit Norwegian Fjords ports. North Pole itineraries additionally visit Haugesund, Leknes-Gravdal, Spitsbergen Island, Tromso, Alta, Molde, Trondheim, Skjolden.
- Baltic Sea cruises to Scandinavia and Russia are usually 2-week long and visit ports in Holland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia (Sankt Petersburg overnight stay).
- One-ways from Dover to the Mediterranean usually end up in Italy (Civitavecchia-Rome or Venice).
- Iberia (voyages to Portugal and Spain ports located on Europe's Atlantic Coast) are often combined with Gibraltar (UK) and ports in France.
- Western Europe cruise itineraries from Dover go to the Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera), the Azores islands (Terceira, Faial, Sao Miguel) and Madeira Island.
- Mediterranean Sea - Western Med itineraries (roundtrips from Dover) visit Spain, France (also French Riviera ports) and Italy.
Dover cruise terminal
Port Dover cruise ship terminal is at the old Dover Marine railway station. The building houses a passenger terminal and has a dedicated car parking. The second (new passenger terminal) is further out along the pier.
The cruise port is easy to access from Folkestone (M20/A20), Canterbury (M2/A2) and by train from Ramsgate, London Charing Cross, London Victoria and London St Pancras.
Dover Passenger Terminal serves the ferry traffic to France. P&O Ferries is currently the only company serving foot passengers (daily service between 6 am and 7.30 pm). This means travel to Dunkerque is not possible unless passengers are in vehicles. The P&O's desk (located at the building's rear) is for purchasing tickets and check-in. Checked-in passengers wait in the terminal building until their sailing is announced, then board a shuttle bus taking them directly to the ferry ship.
Dover Marina (member of TransEurope Marinas) is very convenient for English Channel crossing sailings from England to France. The Marina features a sheltered harbour location and a total of 3 berthing areas (total capacity 400 berths).
Inner Harbour cruise terminals 1 & 2
Dover has 2 cruise ship terminals located in the Inner Harbour area (Western Docks). The former railway station building "Dover Marine" was transformed into Terminal 1 in the period 1994-96. This terminal also offers a secured on-site parking. The second (Terminal 2) building was inaugurated in 1999 and is located further out along the Admiralty Pier. Terminal 2 serves passengers on the largest cruise liners in Dover.
Dover port offers a direct high-speed train connection to London, plus two motorways and international airports located close to the terminals.
The UK's Kent county (called "the garden of England") has numerous historical attractions making the region an unique destination and an excellent choice for pre- and post cruise vacation.
Night at Dover Cruise Port, secure with regular Harbour Police patrol and porters.
Cruise Terminal 1
Terminal 1 is on the place of the ex Marine Railway Station. It is located at the Western docks and was transformed in the period 1994 – 1996. A lot of the original features are kept and the atmosphere resembles the bygone era. Dover Cruise Port Terminal 1 offers snackbar, waiting area, check-in desk, telephone booths, luggage handling and toilets.
Cruise Terminal 2
The largest ships are served by Terminal 2 (1999-opened). It offers all kind of amenities and services for passengers, including an information kiosk, ATM, vending (snack) machines, public restrooms, payphones.
- port address - "Port of Dover, Harbour House, Marine Parade, Dover England"
- UN-LOCODE (United Nations location code) - GBDVR
- Port Authority is the Dover Harbour Board.
- two dedicated cruise terminals
- capability to accommodate 3 vessels at a time
- supported by excellent road, rail and air infrastructure
- deep water channel and berths
- no restrictions on length and GT tonnage of cruise ships
- sheltered harbor area
The cruise port is accessible the whole year round - 24/7, 365 days a tear. However, the Baltic Sea cruising season runs between late March and late September.
Cruise ships usually arrive in Dover in early morning (5, 6 am) and depart from Dover in early afternoon (3, 4 pm).
(statistics) Dover is visited annually by over 200000 cruise passengers served by 20+ different line companies. Known as the "Gateway to Europe", Dover's ferry shipping lines transport each year millions of passengers and vehicles (cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles).
Ferry crossings from Dover to France are offered 24 hours a day, the whole year round, with departures on every 30 min (taken across both operators' shipping schedules).
Dover tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Dover Castle: walk or take a bus to see the the King’s Hall, the Outer Bailey, the King’s Chamber, the King’s Brewery, the Guest Hall, the Guest Chamber, the castle walls and the medieval tunnels of the castle with central part in the history of England.
- Roman Painted House: the Roman Painted house, dating from AD 200. Open from June to September.
- White Cliffs Of Dover: enjoy adorable English Channel views from 320ft. Enjoy a walk along the Langdon cliffs or see the South Foreland Lighthouse – open for tourists during the summer.
- Dover Museum: visit the famous museum and enjoy original historical exhibitions. The most popular thing to see there is the Bronze Age Boat, 3500-year aged.
- St. Margaret’s Bay: charming, sunny place with delightful beach, benches for sitting, a kiosk for ice cream and plenty of parking area. It is located 4 miles from Dover, direction East.
Port Dover cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Dover, England. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|6 January, 2024|
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