Human Geographers On Board!

Stage 3 Human Geography students visit the Dover Terminal for a tour around the Viking Cruise ships.

What goes on behind the scenes of a cruise ship?

Have you ever looked at a cruise ship and thought about what goes on behind the scenes? Well, now you can ask our stage 3 Human Geographers!

Our Human Geography students had a unique opportunity for behind-the-scenes access at Viking Cruises. They had taste of life aboard a luxury cruise liner as part of a Third Year fieldtrip for our Geographies of Tourism and Development module.

The Port of Dover is ‘the busiest international roll-on roll-off ferry port in the UK’, being involved in 33% of the UK’s trade with the EU and processing £144bn in trade in goods annually ( The port is also the second busiest for cruise ships, welcoming over 200 000 guests each year. As we can see from these stats, the port is really a significant part of international trade and tourism.

Viking Cruise lines kindly hosted the field trip giving the students a detailed tour of the ship’s operation including many hidden parts that cruise ship passengers don’t ever normally see including the high-tech bridge, the huge ship’s stores, busy admin offices, crew areas and the massive on-board ship’s laundry. The field trip also included a fascinating talk by staff onshore on the hugely complex logistics operation of handling cruise liners at Dover and the months of preparations needed to safely dock the ships and see to the passengers’ visits around Kent.

“This was an outstanding fieldtrip and it opened up for our student a hidden and complex world of cruise ship operations onboard and in the port that is normally invisible to passengers” (Module convenor, Dr Mark Hampton)

A great experience this was for our students, and now being able to see this tourist attraction in a different light.

This module is optional in stage 3 on our Human Geography and Environment and Sustainability Degrees.

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