Which UK cruises have the best onboard observatories for astronomy enthusiasts?

As astronomy enthusiasts, you know that stargazing is not just a hobby. It's a passion, a fascination with the vastness of the universe that surrounds us. But did you know, you can indulge in your love for the night sky even when you are on a cruise? Yes, you heard it right. Many UK cruises offer onboard observatories that allow you to enjoy the stunning view of the starry sky amid the tranquil sea. Let's take a look at which of these cruises give you the best opportunities for stargazing.

Royal Caribbean Cruise: Stargazing at Its Best

Royal Caribbean is widely known for its luxurious cruise ships and premium services. But what sets it apart for astronomy lovers is its onboard observatory. The ship offers an unrivalled view of the night sky free from the city's light pollution.

Onboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise, you will have access to high-tech telescopes that will bring the stars within your reach. Especially on a clear, dark night, the view from the ship's observatory is nothing short of spectacular. And when the northern lights decide to put on a show, the sight will be simply breathtaking.

As an added bonus, Royal Caribbean often arranges for guest astronomers to join the cruise. These experts conduct workshops during the day and lead stargazing sessions at night. The price of such enriching experiences is included in the cruise package, making it a great deal for astronomy enthusiasts.

P&O Cruises: Combining Comfort with Astronomy

P&O Cruises is another great choice for those looking to combine the comfort of a holiday with their love for stargazing. The cruise line offers an onboard observatory which, although slightly smaller than Royal Caribbean's, provides an equally mesmerising view of the night sky.

What's more, P&O Cruises also has a partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society. This means that you will get the chance to attend lectures by professional astronomers. These workshops are designed to cater to all levels of astronomy enthusiasts. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned stargazer, you will find these sessions informative and interesting.

The price of the cruise includes access to these lectures, the observatory, and of course, the standard amenities P&O Cruises is known for. So if you are looking for a cruise that gives you science, luxury, and a stunning night sky, P&O Cruises is the one for you.

Cunard Cruises: Taking Stargazing to a New Level

If you want to take your love for astronomy to a new level, Cunard Cruises is the perfect choice. Their Queen Mary 2 ship boasts one of the largest floating planetariums, where you can explore the universe in a whole new way.

Apart from the planetarium, Cunard offers stargazing sessions on the deck, where you can use high-quality telescopes to gaze at the stars. The ship sails far from city lights, so the dark skies offer an unobstructed view of the heavenly bodies.

Cunard also arranges for guest lecturers from the field of science and astronomy to join the cruise. These experts will guide you through the night sky and share fascinating insights about the universe.

Viking Ocean Cruises: A Treat for Northern Lights Seekers

For those of you who dream of witnessing the northern lights, Viking Ocean Cruises offers the perfect opportunity. Their winter voyages to Norway are planned to coincide with the peak aurora borealis season. The dark, clear skies offer the perfect backdrop for the northern lights to weave their magic.

While the cruise does not have a dedicated observatory, they have open deck spaces that are kept dark at night for stargazing. Viking also arranges for resident astronomers who guide passengers through the night sky.

Keep in mind, though, that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and their visibility cannot be guaranteed. However, witnessing the magical lights dancing in the sky is a sight that is well worth the uncertainty.

Fred Olsen Cruises: A Cruise for Space Enthusiasts

Fred Olsen's Boudicca ship offers a unique experience for space enthusiasts. The ship hosts a "Stars at Sea" cruise, especially dedicated to astronomy lovers. The journey includes a visit to Tenerife's Teide Observatory, one of the world's best observatories.

The ship's deck is designed for optimal stargazing, and you can even rent binoculars onboard. The cruise also features lectures by guest astronomers, teaching you more about the universe and its various mysteries.

While this cruise might be slightly pricier than the others, the unique experiences it offers, make it well worth the cost. So if you want to fully immerse yourself in the world of astronomy, this is the cruise for you.

Whether you're an astronomy enthusiast or a budding stargazer, UK cruises offer a unique way to explore the night sky. So next time you plan a holiday, consider one of these cruises for an unforgettable celestial experience.

Celestyal Cruises: For an Intimate Stargazing Experience

Celestyal Cruises stands out among UK cruises for offering a more intimate stargazing experience. With smaller ship sizes and a dedicated astronomy programme, Celestyal Cruises provide a unique opportunity for astronomy enthusiasts to connect with the night sky.

The smaller ships of Celestyal Cruises bring a distinct advantage. They can travel further away from city lights, allowing passengers to enjoy a clearer, darker view of the night sky. Their onboard observatories come equipped with high-quality telescopes, perfect for spotting distant stars and galaxies.

Apart from the observatory, Celestyal Cruises have an astronomy programme that includes lectures and interactive sessions. These sessions are led by experienced astronomers who will guide you through the constellations and share fascinating insights about the cosmos.

During spring (Apr-Jun) and autumn (Sep-Oct), when the skies are particularly clear, Celestyal Cruises often organise special stargazing voyages. These voyages are timed to coincide with meteor showers or other astronomical events, ensuring an unforgettable experience for passengers.

The price of these voyages includes the astronomy programme, access to the observatory, and all standard amenities onboard. The duration of these voyages varies, but you can expect to spend several blissful hours each night gazing at the stars.

Hurtigruten Cruises: Chasing the Northern Lights

Hurtigruten Cruises is renowned for their winter voyages (Nov-Mar) to Norway, the capital of Northern Lights sightings. If witnessing the northern lights is on your bucket list, then Hurtigruten Cruises is an excellent option.

Unlike other cruises, Hurtigruten does not have a dedicated observatory. Instead, they have large, open decks that are perfect for admiring the night sky. During the hours of darkness, the decks are kept free of artificial lights to improve the view of the stars and northern lights.

Hurtigruten Cruises have a Northern Lights Promise, which offers another voyage free of charge if the northern lights don’t appear during your 12-day voyage. This promise highlights their confidence in providing passengers with an opportunity to witness this natural spectacle.

Complementing the northern lights viewing, Hurtigruten Cruises offer lectures and presentations about the aurora borealis. These sessions are highly informative and add to the overall northern lights experience.

The price of the cruise includes all standard amenities, northern lights presentations, and the Northern Lights Promise. The duration of the cruise is 12 days, giving you plenty of opportunities to witness the northern lights and soak in the beauty of the Norwegian coast.


For astronomy enthusiasts, the combination of cruising and stargazing offers a vacation like no other. The UK cruises mentioned in this article, each with their unique offerings, make for a memorable celestial experience. Whether it's Royal Caribbean's high-tech onboard observatory, P&O's partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society, Cunard's floating planetarium, Viking Ocean Cruises' northern lights voyages, Fred Olsen's "Stars at Sea" cruise, Celestyal's intimate stargazing experience, or Hurtigruten's northern lights viewing, there's something for everyone.

The prices of these cruises include access to observatories, astronomy lectures, and all standard amenities, making them excellent value for money. So, whether you're a seasoned stargazer or an amateur, these cruises offer you the chance to indulge in your passion for the night sky amidst the tranquil sea. With different durations throughout the seasons, you can choose the one that best fits your schedule and interests.

Despite the advancement of technology, nothing can replace the awe-inspiring experience of gazing at the stars from the middle of the ocean. So, go ahead, pack your bags, and embark on a celestial journey that will leave you starstruck!