The second of the major cruise ports serving London, Dover is located approximately 75 miles southeast of London on the Straits of Dover at the northern end of the English Channel.
Dover is an ancient port, mentioned in the writings of Julius Caesar. Since it is located at the closest point between England and continental Europe it has played an important role in English history with various monarchs setting forth on campaigns or arriving back home via Dover. In fact, it is so close to France that the Germans were able to shell Dover with cannon from occupied France during World War II.
Because of its historic importance, there are some tourist attractions in and around Dover. Dover Castle, begun by Henry II, looms over the city. There is also an ancient Roman villa dating from 200 A.D called the Roman Painted House. On both sides of the city are the White Cliffs of Dover. These vertical chalk cliffs rise some 320 feet above the sea and were the first sight of home for sailors and later airmen returning home from Europe for centuries.
Dover's natural harbor was quite small so it has been artificially enlarged over the years. Sea walls extend out into the water on either side with another sea wall (with openings) across the mouth of the harbor.
Prior to the opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994, people traveling to or from France usually took a ferry from Dover. Anticipating that the tunnel would end the ferry trade, the authorities in Dover decided to diversify by encouraging cruise ship calls. Surprisingly, the ferry trade has continued despite the tunnel and so now Dover has both ferries and cruise ships.
The cruise ship season in Dover runs from April through October. Most of the ships calling at Dover tend to be small or medium-sized cruise ships.
Dover has three cruise ship berths all of which are located along the Western Docks. There are two cruise terminals. Terminal 1 was once the Marine Railway Station and is a listed historic building. Terminal 2 was built in 1999 and is a modern structure.
There are a number of ways to get to Dover from London. A scheduled bus service operates from Victoria Bus Station. However, beware that there are luggage limitations. Independent operators also provide shuttle or coach service. There are also parking facilities near the terminals.
Although there is train service to Dover from several London train stations, the best is the trains from St. Pancras station. These are fast trains that operate on the same tracks used by the Eurostar trains. The station in Dover is called Dover Priory. From there, you can take a taxi for the short ride to the cruise terminals.
Dover's two most famous attractions are Dover Castle (above) and the White Cliffs (below).
Above: Cruise Terminal 2.
Below: Saga Ruby docked by Cruise Terminal 1.
Cruise destination - England - Dover Cruise Port