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Guide To Dover Cruise Port

Updated on November 29, 2012
Dover Cruise Port
Dover Cruise Port

Dover, Key To England

The town of Dover is located at the outflow of the River Dour, which gives the town its name, on the southern coast of the county of Kent in the UK. On a day of good visibility you can gaze southwards from Dover and easily spot France, which is only 22 miles away. Due to its tactically important position on the Channel coast, Dover has the nickname the Key to England. Dover is also proud of its White Cliffs, which form seven miles of the region’s dramatic coastline.

Dover was established as early as the Bronze Age - the recent find of an ancient boat beneath the town dated to around 1500BC, indicating the harbor was used even in early times. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Dover turned into an army base heavily reinforced against the threat of a French invasion. Batteries were constructed on the sea front and across the Western Heights of the town. During World War II the town became a place of major military value. In May 1940, over two-thirds troops evacuated from Dunkirk passed through Dover.

Today Dover’s role as a major ferry port continues, and over 50% of the 18 million people who cross the Channel every year do so from the town. The town’s well-managed cruise port is growing rapidly in popularity, due to its fantastic range of cruise vacations, and its closeness to the well-off population of south east England.

Interior of Cruise Terminal 1
Interior of Cruise Terminal 1
Carnival Splendor at Cruise Terminal 2
Carnival Splendor at Cruise Terminal 2

Cruise Ship Facilities At Dover

Dover possesses two efficient cruise terminals, each with its own dock and terminal-to-ship passenger bridge. There is also a third berth for cruise ships making port calls.

Cruise Terminal 1

In 1994 the former Marine Railway Station at the Western docks was transformed into cruise terminal 1. Lots of the Edwardian features are still in place and provide a flavor of a bygone time. There’s an airy departure area, along with luggage porters, toilets, a baby room, a cafe-bar and an information desk.

Cruise Terminal 2

Increasing demand from the cruise lines led to the building of cruise terminal 2, just along from cruise terminal 1, in 2000.The cruise terminal offers the basic facilities such as security screening, vending machines, restrooms and pay phones.

Ample on-site parking for both cruise terminals is available next to terminal 1.

For the Port Authority website see Dover Port.

St Petersburg, a popular destination for Dover cruises
St Petersburg, a popular destination for Dover cruises

Itineraries On Offer

Itineraries from Dover go to the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, the Canary Islands and Norwegian Fjords. Transatlantic and even longer cruises are sometimes available. If you live in southern England, Dover cruises are easily accessible, thanks to its good rail and road links.

See cruises from Dover for a Dover cruise calendar.

The White Cliffs of Dover
The White Cliffs of Dover

Things To Do In Dover

Dover Castle

Dover Castle ranks among the largest castles in England. It stands solidly on top of the White Cliffs, defending the busy port below. A considerable section of the castle is 12th century, when Henry II commissioned the construction of a massive keep circled by thick walls and fortified towers. Close to the castle stands well preserved Roman era lighthouse, which is amongst the oldest Roman structures anywhere in England.

Roman Painted House

Originally uncovered in 1970, the Roman Painted House is now sheltered from the weather by a specially built steel building. The house boasts extensive mostly undamaged wall paintings and an intricate under-floor heating system. During summer the house is open daily except Mondays.

White Cliffs Of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover are six miles of magnificent coast now owned by the National Trust. If you follow the path along the cliff tops you’ll see lots of beautiful fauna and flora, such as birds, insects and wildflowers. The Gateway to the White Cliffs National Trust visitor information center on the Saxon Shore way makes a great place for a stop as it has a cafe serving homemade sandwiches and biscuits.

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