P&O's flagship Britannia, off Gibraltar with the iconic Rock in the background.
P&O’s flagship Britannia, off Gibraltar which is renowned for the Rock that is home to Europe’s only wild monkeys.

On a visit to Gibraltar recently took a tour of this British Overseas Territory, and reckoned it was the perfect cruise port call.

A morning arrival and evening departure from port allows time for Gibraltar – it is tiny size-wise – and its iconic Rock to be thoroughly covered that day. There is even time for duty-free shopping along Main Street with its swag of English shops from Marks and Spencer and British Home Stores (BHS) to the Wallis fashion chain.

The instant a cruise passenger steps ashore they realise that Gibraltar is British to the core. It is even possible to post mail in one of those familiar red Mail Boxes, and make a call from a distinctive red telephone booth.

When it comes to lunch, the menu always runs to fish ‘n chips or a roast with Yorkshire pudding, and all can be washed down with a pint of bitter.

A cable car tour takes passengers up the Rock to see the resident monkeys and it gives great views across to the Sierra Nevada peaks in Spain, as well as 20km across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco in Africa.

There is also time to go deep into St Michael’s Caves where the stalactites and stalagmites are bathed in multi-coloured lights, and where regular concerts are held as the acoustics are so good. Underground, too, it is possible to explore military tunnels built to house guns and cannons that have protected Gibraltar from invasion through the centuries.

Cruise lines have rapidly discovered the easy joys of this port, and next month alone Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas; Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess and Royal Princess; P&0’s Oriana, Ventura, Aurora and Britannia; and Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony will all spend a day in Gibraltar.







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