What are the best UK cruises for exploring art deco architecture in coastal towns?

Cruising has always been a favourite pastime for those looking to explore the world in style and comfort. There's something incredibly romantic about sailing across the vast seas, discovering new cities and cultures, and enjoying the serenity of the open water. But, have you ever considered turning a cruise into a full-blown architectural excursion?

Imagine this: You set sail from the bustling port of Miami, leaving the vibrant South Beach behind as you start your journey towards Norway, Europe, and eventually, the United Kingdom. On your voyage, you don't just visit beautiful cities and idyllic isles, but you also get a chance to explore some of the finest examples of art deco architecture in the world, found in the most unexpected places.

Cruise through the Historical South

First, let's talk about your departure. One of the best places to start your journey is in the city of Miami. Known for its vibrant nightlife and pristine beaches, Miami is also home to a treasure trove of art deco architecture.

Before you embark on your cruise, take a day or two to explore the city. Miami's historic Art Deco district, concentrated in South Beach, is the first 20th-century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. With its pastel-colored buildings, neon signs, and distinctive geometric designs, it's like a step back in time to the 1920s and 30s.

From Miami, you can find many cruises that will take you to Norway, a land of majestic fjords and charming coastal towns. But don't be fooled by its rustic exterior, Norway also hosts some hidden gems of art deco architecture.

Norway's Hidden Gems

Norway, known for its dramatic landscapes and natural beauty, may not be the first place you think of when it comes to art deco architecture. However, amid its rugged mountains and deep fjords, you'll find stunning examples of this style in its cities and towns.

One must-visit city is Ålesund, rebuilt in the art deco style after a fire in 1904 destroyed much of it. Today, the city is filled with turrets, spires and beautiful ornamentation that reflect the distinctive style of the era. Stroll through the city’s streets, and marvel at the colourful facades that line the port. Ålesund is a living testament to Norway's resilience and its embrace of art deco's hopeful, forward-looking ethos.

Sailing to the British Isles

From Norway, many cruises sail to the British Isles, a region rich in history, culture, and of course, architecture. You'll visit cities like Liverpool, Belfast, and Glasgow, each offering its own unique architectural treasures.

In Liverpool, the Royal Liver Building, built in 1911, is a standout example of art deco style. With its imposing dual clock towers and the mythical Liver Birds perched on top, it's a must-see for any architecture enthusiast.

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is home to the Grand Opera House, another gem. Completed in 1895, it features a mix of styles, including art deco elements added in the 1920s.

Finally, Glasgow is renowned for its art nouveau architecture, but it also boasts several notable art deco buildings. The Beresford Hotel, for example, was built in 1938 for the Empire Exhibition and is now a listed building.

Discovering Europe's Coastal Towns

The UK isn't the only place in Europe where art deco flourishes. As your cruise continues, you'll find that many coastal towns throughout the continent offer surprising discoveries.

In Portugal, the city of Porto, known for its port wine, also boasts a wealth of art deco buildings. One of the most striking is the Eden Cinema, a former movie theater now converted into a hotel.

Meanwhile, in Spain, the city of Asturias offers the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura, a vast cultural complex built in the 1950s that combines elements of art deco with classical and modern styles.

With each port of call, you'll be able to immerse yourself in the local culture, sample the cuisine, and of course, discover the unique blends of art deco architecture that make each city unique.

Making the Most of Your Art Deco Cruise

An art deco architecture cruise isn't just about sightseeing – it's about immersing yourself in the history and culture of the places you visit.

Make sure to bring a good camera to capture the unique architectural details you'll encounter. A pair of comfortable shoes is also a must for those long city walks.

Consider hiring a local guide who can provide in-depth knowledge about the buildings you'll be visiting. It's one thing to admire a beautiful facade; it's another to understand the history and craftsmanship that went into it.

In the end, the beauty of an art deco cruise lies not just in the architecture, but in the chance to explore new places, learn about different cultures, and see the world from a unique perspective. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and prepare for an unforgettable journey.

Continuing the Voyage with P&O Cruises and Fred Olsen

P&O Cruises and Fred Olsen are two of the leading cruise lines offering art deco architecture cruises in the UK and beyond. These cruise lines provide a comprehensive itinerary covering some of the most fascinating and intricate art deco treasures dotted in the British Isles and across the European coastlines.

For example, a P&O cruise might begin its voyage from the famous Miami cruise port to Norway. After exploring the Norwegian art deco marvels, it's time to set sail for the heart of the United Kingdom, the British Isles. P&O Cruises ensures its passengers experience the art deco heritage across Liverpool, Belfast, and Glasgow, as well as the UNESCO heritage sites, a testament to the architectural grandeur of the past.

Fred Olsen, another favourite among architecture enthusiasts, is well known for its alluring routes that cover not only the British Isles but also the aesthetic coastal towns of Europe. Imagine docking at the cruise port of Porto in Portugal or Asturias in Spain, each town a treasure chest of art deco brilliance, waiting to be discovered by the enthusiastic traveller.

Both P&O and Fred Olsen ensure a full board experience which means you have ample time to soak in the art deco culture of every port of call. You're not just cruising; you are travelling through time, experiencing historical narratives unfold with each architectural marvel.

Wrapping Up the Art Deco Journey with the Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise

The Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise offer an entirely different experience for art deco enthusiasts. These cruise lines add an element of modernity to the traditional art deco exploration by incorporating contemporary interpretations of the style in their onboard design.

For instance, the Disney Cruise Line's ships, like the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, showcase a beautiful blend of art deco elements in their interiors, from the grandeur of the three-deck atrium to the intricate designs in the dining rooms.

Meanwhile, the Royal Caribbean's Radiance-class ships, such as the Brilliance of the Seas and the Jewel of the Seas, feature art deco elements in their public spaces and staterooms. They provide a fitting conclusion to an art deco cruise, allowing travellers to continue their architectural exploration even while at sea.

Cruising with either Disney Cruise or Royal Caribbean doesn't just mean an end to the journey; instead, it opens a new door to appreciate how the historical style of art deco has seamlessly evolved and integrated into contemporary architectural designs.


An art deco architecture themed cruise is much more than merely a trip; it's an immersive journey through time and history. As you set sail from the United States to the Pacific Ocean, and onto the coastal towns of the UK and Europe, you are tracing a path of architectural evolution.

Each stop, each port of call, unfurls a new chapter in the narrative that art deco weaves, from the lively streets of Miami to the UNESCO heritage sites in the British Isles and beyond. The aesthetic voyage with notable cruise lines like P&O Cruises, Fred Olsen, Royal Caribbean, and Disney Cruise further enhances the experience, making it an unforgettable exploration.

So whether you're an art deco enthusiast, a history buff, or a seasoned traveller eager to try something new, an art deco architecture cruise promises an enriching, enlightening, and exciting journey like no other. Remember, it's not just about getting from one place to another; it's about relishing the journey itself. So as you read sail, don't forget to soak in every moment, every detail, and every story that the art deco world offers.