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Europe / Northern Europe Cruises / United Kingdom

Cruises to London

Cruises timetable and data for this port of call

Picture by www.linguacentre.co.uk

London main data and map

London is an ancient city whose history greets you at every turn. To gain a sense of its continuity, stand on Waterloo Bridge at sunset. To the east, the great globe of St. Paul's Cathedral glows golden in the fading sunlight as it has since the 17th century, still majestic amid the towers of glass and steel that hem it in. To the west stand the mock-medieval ramparts of Westminster, home to the «Mother of Parliaments,» which has met here or hereabouts since the 1250s. Past them both snakes the swift, dark Thames, as it flowed past the first Roman settlement here nearly 2,000 years ago. For much of its history, innumerable epigrams have been coined about London by both her enthusiasts and detractors. The great 18th-century writer and wit Samuel Johnson said that a man who is tired of London is tired of life. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, «No person can be said to know London. The most that anyone can claim is that he knows something of it.» Simply stated, London is one of the most interesting places on earth. There is no other place like it in its agglomeration of architectural sins and sudden intervention of almost rural sights, in its medley of styles, in its mixture of the green loveliness of parks and the modern gleam of neon. Thankfully, the old London of Queen Anne and Georgian architecture can still be discovered under the hasty routine of later additions. Today, that sense of modernity is stronger than ever. Everyone is talking about swinging-again London. It is still, as Vanity Fair proclaimed, «the coolest, hottest city in the world.» Millennium fever left its trophies - a panoply of new buildings. The boom economy of the mid-'90s helped the city's art, style, fashion, and dining scenes make headlines around the world. London's chefs have become superstars; its fashion designers have conquered Paris; avant-garde artists have made waves;the city's raging after-hours scene is packed; and the theater continues its tradition of radical, shocking productions, which barely seem to turn most hairs. Even Shakespeare embraces cool: the Bard's own, reborn Globe - the fabled «wooden O» - is functioning brilliantly on the bank of the Thames just 200 yards from where it stood in the 16th century; when the troupe here presented Two Gentlemen of Verona, cast members were costumed in Ray-Ban sunglasses and sneakers. On the other hand, the bedrock of London's character and tradition remains the same. Deep down, Britons have a sense of the continuity of history. Even in the modern metropolis, some things rarely change. The British bobby is alive and well. The tall, red, double-decker buses still lumber from stop to stop. And teatime is still a hallowed part of the day, with, if you search hard enough, toasted crumpets still laced with sweet butter. Then, of course, there is that greatest living link with the past - the Royal Family. Don't let the tag «typical tourist» stop you from enjoying the pageantry of the Windsors, one of the greatest free shows in the world. Line up for the Changing of the Guard and poke into the Royal Mews for a look at the Coronation Coach, which will be polished brilliantly for the queen's Golden Jubilee state occasions in 2002. Pomp reaches its zenith in mid-June when the queen celebrates her official birthday with a parade called Trooping the Colour. In the end, the London you'll discover will surely include some of our enthusiastic recommendations, but be prepared to be taken by surprise as well. The best that a great city has to offer often comes in unexpected ways. Armed with energy and curiosity, you can be sure of one thing: to quote Dr. Johnson again, you'll be able to find «in London all that life can afford.»

Schedule for the upcoming cruises to London

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