As I have written in other posts cruising is my families favorite way to see the world and that means I have been to a cruise port or two. It seems these days that any country that touches the ocean or sea has at least one cruise port. This means that you have the ability to see a continent in a week!
While that might be a bit of an exaggeration thanks to cruise ships you now have the world and your feet without having to worry about expensive hotels or planning out your every meal. With the amount of port options available I have gone through my top favorites to help give you a push off point to plan a dream vacation on the sea of your own.
Civitavecchia is a city not may travelers have heard of but getting off in this port is the best way to get to Rome (which is not a port city). Civitavecchia itself is a very cute town with it’s own history and sites but the real reason to jump ship for the day is to take the 45-minute train ride to The Eternal City (Rome).
Rome is a city where there is a historical monument on almost every street corner and amazing food every few feet. I have to recommend a stop in Vatican City (dressed appropriately though. Cover those knees and shoulders!) or if you don’t have time for that you can view the small country from the outside and enjoy some of the best gelato in the world. It can be incredibly easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of places to see and it is absolutely to see all of Rome in a day so my best recommendation is plan out a few points of interest that you must see or book a tour with the cruise.
Located in the very south of France is the second-largest city in the country. A city with delicious fresh seafood, homegrown wine just a cab ride away, and the cobblestone streets of your Instagram dreams.
Since Paris is not near an ocean or sea port (the closest is Le Havre which is about 2 1/2 hours away) I have to say Marseilles is the best way to absorb all that is French culture and food without the crowds and hustling city life. Marseilles may be a city but the attitudes of the residents and visitors is much more relaxed. Every thing from lunch to your tours are at a slowed down pace meaning maximum relaxation and it gives you the ability to really appreciate and be present with what you’re experiencing. My favorite at this stop was hopping on the small train tour in the city center and driving up the hill to a beautiful old cathedral that overlooked the entire city. Though the wine tasting was pretty phenomenal as well.
Another gem in the Mediterranean is the beautiful acropolis itself. The water around this city is the most brilliant blue and the people are some of the friendliest I have ever met. In no other city have I been personally invited into a restaurant and after our meal given free shots of ouzo (their local liquor) just because.
Athens is another port where there are a number of things you can do with your time. The beaches and city are both gorgeous in their own right so there is something for everyone with some time budgeting. My favorites from this port was an amazing traditional Greek dinner with traditional dancing (and plate throwing) and visiting the Poet Sandal maker. I love all things shoes so I jumped at the chance to have real leather shoes customs made for my feet. There was a bit of a wait but the shoes are incredible, fit my feet like a glove, and last for a long time (I bought mine two years ago and they are still in amazing condition).
Off the coast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean lies this desert island paradise (and my sister’s favorite place on Earth!). This island has anything you could want in an island getaway perfect beaches with crystal clear water, a fun history, and a delicious mix of Caribbean and dutch food.
This is the a port where you can easily hop of the boat with no plan and still have the most relaxing day. All beaches are public and free for anyone to use so you can spend your days beach hopping from Eagle Beach to the the beaches behind the large hotels. Oranjestad also offers a myriad of restaurants ranging from true Caribbean flavors to foods reaching back to the islands Dutch roots. If casinos or pools are more your thing the island’s larger hotels offer a few small casinos and picture perfect pools (The Marriott even has a swim up bar! Read all about my experience at that hotel HERE!)
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
If you love to scuba and snorkel then St. Thomas is the cruise destination for you. This Rock City has some wonderful mountains to hike but there are also a number of boats and tours ready to show you the best hidden gems of the island and the sea. While there isn’t much close to port just a cab ride away are beautiful beaches and delicious restaurants. There are also a number of tours associated with the cruise and free standing ready to show you the island.
I have always been a lover of sea life and snorkeling and St. Thomas has become one of my favorite sites to snorkel and if you want to see big beautiful sea turtles out in the wild this is the place to snorkel and dive. The water is also crystal clear so you can easily see every bit of underwater sea life.