After testing the water by basing a ship seasonally in Southampton since 2005, Royal Caribbean has taken the plunge and will homeport one of their largest vessels, Independence of the Seas, in the UK year-round beginning in 2010. While it's the first time the Miami-headquartered line has positioned a ship there in winter as well as summer, Royal Caribbean's "Crown & Anchor" logo is no stranger to Southampton. In past years Royal Caribbean has offered cruises on increasingly larger ships sailing from there—first Legend of the Seas, followed by Navigator of the Seas.
When cruising from the UK the on board product is altered somewhat for British tastes, but North Americans (especially Anglophiles who don't mind paying in British pounds) can certainly book the voyages departing from Southampton. Winter cruises in 2010 and 2011—ranging from 11- to 18-nights in duration—will include destinations along the Italian Riviera, island visits in the Sorrentine Peninsula on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, as well as the Balearic Islands.
Closer to home, Celebrity Cruises has announced that beginning in May of 2010, Celebrity Century will offer its popular 4- and 5-night Caribbean itineraries year-round from Miami instead of limiting them to the winter season. Since 2005, Celebrity Century has sailed in Europe in the summer, and in the Caribbean in the winter. A new port of call for Celebrity Century is Roatan, Honduras.
For more information and itinerary details (as well as other cruise news), check CruiseDiva.com's Cruise News.