5 must-see cruise port destinations

There is no doubt about it, cruise holidays appeal to a much wider audience today than it has done in recent years. Some still hold preconceptions that it is an expensive form of travel, or that cruise ships have strict dress codes, but these are simply not true.

Cruising is a fantastic method of seeing several fantastic destinations on one holiday, and when you consider the fact that your board, food and drink (and sometimes flights) are included in the initial price, cruising really is quite reasonable!

During your cruise, you’ll dock in several different ports, and depending on what you want from your holiday, you can either ‘go it alone’, or choose to take an excursion provided by the Cruise Line.

There are some fantastic ports around the world that are just a stones-throw away from a great city. Here’s a round-up of some of the best:

1. New York, USA

In a recent poll, British cruisers voted New York to be their favourite cruise port destination. And it’s no surprise considering the massive number of iconic landmarks packed into one busy metropolis. In just one day, you can see the Statue of Liberty, climb the Empire State Building, visit Times Square, stroll through Central Park and go shopping on Fifth Avenue. There aren’t too many cities that can offer that! New York also boasts a host of fabulous restaurants, art galleries and museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One thing is for certain, if you plan your short stay in New York well, you will have plenty to talk about by the time you get back on your cruise ship!

2. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman is not a perfect port. For one, you can’t dock directly at the port and will therefore have to tender to shore. However, it’s from this port that you can enjoy one of the most unforgettable, once in a lifetime excursions – Stingray City. Situated about 2 miles off-shore is a shallow sandbar that is frequented by hundreds of stingrays looking for an easy meal. Visitors can enter the water and spend time with these amazingly friendly animals, feed them by hand and pet them as if they were little puppies. Although there isn’t a great deal to see on the rest of Grand Cayman, this excursion merits its place on this list all by its own.

3. Venice, Italy

Dubbed one of the most romantic cities in the World, Venice is a must-see whether you’re with a significant other, or not. The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy and features nearly 200 narrow waterways which can be navigated on one of the cities water taxis. Aside from the fact that Venice is a city like no other, there is also plenty to see. The city is visited by over 50,000 tourists each day, all keen to take in some of the sights on offer. Three of those can be seen from piazza San Marco, a square that Napolean once referred to as ‘the drawing-room of Europe’. From here you can view St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio, a clock tower built between 1496 and 1506. You must also take a ride down one of the cities waterways in a Gondola. Although this is an expensive form of getting around the city, you couldn’t possibly go home and tell your friends you went to Venice, and didn’t go in a Gondola, could you??

4. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a popular port on many a Mediterranean itinerary because there is plenty to see and do there, plus it can all be reached easily from the dock. Just a short walk from the dock, Las Ramblas is one of the most well-known streets in the world. During the day, it’s jam-packed with street artists and live-performers, as well as a host of cafés and restaurants. It’s highly recommended to venture further into the city to see the Sagrada Familia, a Giant Temple designed by the master architect Antonio Gaudi. The structure stands out against its surroundings for its unique style of architecture which looks more like some sort of gothic castle! It’s still not complete, and has at least 30 years worth of work left until it will be. If you’re travelling with your family, there is a fantastic aquarium in Barcelona, and also, if time allows a visit to the famous Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona (Spain’s most successful football team) can be a special treat for sports fanatics.

5. Sydney, Australia

You’re spoiled for choice of things to do in Australia’s biggest city, but the two landmarks that you literally can’t miss are the world-famous Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Circular Quay (where your cruise ship docks) is very central to some of the most popular tourist destinations, although there are plenty of transfer options. Be sure to take one of the Sydney Opera House tours, and also the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb (if you dare!). The trek across the bridge takes around 3 and a half hours, but the view of the harbour area from the top is magnificent. There is also plenty to see and do for tourist in Darling Harbour. Among these attractions is the Sydney Aquarium, the IMAX theatre, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum (which focuses on creativity, whether through art, design or technology. This is only really touching the surface of what Sydney has to offer, which is why Sydney is a popular starting or ending point for cruises around the region, so you can spend a few more days there.

You can explore the some of the best spots on earth when you travel on a cruise, and with a little planning beforehand, you can get the most out of them in just a few hours.

Neil Page is the Online Manager at CruiseNation.com.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Mark S says:

    Great article but would like to add as these are great places to see on a cruise I like to use the day in the pot to decide if the city we are in for that day is worth coming back for a much longer stay. As for your list of cities I have been to 4 out of the five and all of them have way too many things to see in one day. I have also been back to 3 out of the 5 cities on other vacations for much longer stays.

  2. The is a interesting list I think grand cayman is a interesting port and am glad to see it made the list I think as cruising become popular in the Asian markets they will make grand port and diversify there offerings . what I have noticed that port of call that private interest owns either by long lease agreements seem to get better promoted hence investments roll into the other components .
    All in all good list .

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