Cruising is a great way to experience a wide variety of destinations and cultures in a single trip. Not all cruise ports are created equal, however. Below you’ll find a list of the best and most exciting cruise ports across the globe. These ports are easily accessible, serviced by multiple cruise lines, and have more onshore options for entertainment, adventures, shopping, and dining than you could possibly fit into a single cruise. Here are eight cruise ports you can get excited about visiting:
- Barcelona, Spain – The Barcelona Cruise Port put visitors conveniently located in proximity to some of the best Barcelona has to offer. You can opt for pre-booked excursions (which is never a bad idea) or you can wing it and hop on a shuttle or grab a taxi and head for the Gothic Quarter. The City of Barcelona is like none other in Europe and for that matter, the world. The architecture, the museums, and the food all combine to make Barcelona one of the most unique cities to visit. The Gothic Quarter will give you a comprehensive taste of what the city truly has to offer. You could take a stroll down La Rambla and buy some souvenirs, go down a side street and grab some delicious tapas and cava at a local restaurant, and tour the Picasso Museum (Museo Picasso) all with plenty of time to return to the trip in time for departure.
- Sydney, Australia – As the ship begins to dock in the cruise port of Sydney, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of the city and become giddy with excitement about getting off the boat and exploring this coastal city. A visit to Sydney via cruise begins in the harbor, which is both the birthplace of the city and its most iconic trademark. You’ll find the best of Sydney along the coast, including Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare running east from downtown to the best of the city’s beaches.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico – Along the coast of the center of the city and host to more than two million visitors annually, this port is one of the Caribbean’s busiest throughout the year. The strategic locations of the port’s four cruise ship piers give tourists easy walking access to Old San Juan and its many attractions. Disembark here and you’re a stone’s throw from the diverse dining, impressive shopping and colorful architecture of one of the region’s most vibrant capitals.
- Falmouth, Jamaica – The island’s newest port can accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world, and offers easy access to attractions westward in Montego Bay and eastward in Ocho Rios. The 32-acre port complex, inspired by the town’s Georgian architecture, features restaurants and duty-free and local shopping. Visitors can expect to be approached by vendors, hair-braiders, and people trying to sell all manners of goods. A quick and easy “no thank you” works well enough.
- Cozumel, Mexico – Cozumel is a 300-square-mile island off the Yucatan peninsula with three cruise piers, great bars and restaurants in proximity to the ports and lots of character. Stroll the town of San Miguel, snorkel the world’s second-largest barrier reef, or take a 45-minute fast-ferry jaunt to Playa Del Carmen, the popular beach town on the mainland.
- Dubrovnik, Croatia – Along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, Dubrovnik offers cruisers winding streets, stone architecture, cobblestone streets, cafes and shops, and much more. It’s a short walk from the pier to the old walled town. It’s one of the most beautiful coast lines in the world, so be sure to have your camera ready as you explore the city. If looking to do a shore excursion, cruisers can book walking tours of the old city, take part in sea kayaking, or even experience a Game of Thrones tour highlighting some of the show’s most famous sets.
- Venice, Italy – Venice is one of the most unique and enchanting cities in the world and the opportunity to visit via cruise shouldn’t be missed. Currently, many lines are able to sail into the Venetian Lagoon and cruise past the Piazza San Marco placing passengers in the heart of the city. However, in the future, large boats will no longer be able to take this route. Once docked, visitors can experience the city via water taxis (gondolas) public water buses or by foot.
- Kauai, Hawaii – As the oldest and most undeveloped island in the Hawaiian chain, Kauai is a breathtaking tropical marvel. Cruisers will approach the Na Pali coast and ships dock at the port by the town of Lihue which is the commercial center of the island. As a largely undeveloped island, shore excursions are highly recommended when visiting Kauai. Visitors can take part in sea kayaking, luaus, hiking, helicopter rides, and more.