London is well-known as a tourist destination and every summer a number of cruise ships pay a visit and whilst the ships are at the smaller end of the scale catering for in the region of 500 passengers (the largest cruise liners can hold over 10x that amount!) they all help boost the image and accessibility of the capital.
Fortunately for me, they all pass through Gallions Reach on the way to their mooring points.
Many of the cruises just have London as a calling point but a few do use it as a departure or embarkation point.
When visiting London the two main mooring locations are at Greenwich ship tier (just up river from Greenwich river pier) and alongside HMS Belfast in the upper pool (just up river from Tower Bridge).
Less frequently used is the St George’s Stairs Tier in the Upper Pool and on one occasion the King George V lock in the Royal Docks was used for an overnight stay.
The main drawback of the current mooring locations (apart from KGV) is that they require passengers and stores to be transferred by boat as there is no land access. Whilst the tender transfer concept is not unique to London it does limit access.
Partly to help alleviate this issue and partly in the hopes of attracting slightly larger vessels there are plans for a new, purpose-built, cruise terminal on the Greenwich peninsula that will have full land access via a pier. Originally hoped to be available for the 2012 Olympics progress has been slow despite planning permission being in place. Something might happen in the next few years but who knows…..
Other blog posts about visiting cruise ships are listed below:
and lots more photos of Cruise Ships can be seen here.