Four Favorite Cities In The World Visited By Cruise Ship
Written by: Kuki
#1 Istanbul, Turkey – Prior to my first visit to Turkey I had what proved to be a very distorted view of what the city and area would be like. For reasons unknown I expected I’d find a “ 3rd world” style country, where tourists were tolerated, but unwelcome.
What I found was a friendly and helpful population, and certainly one of the most magnificent cities in the world. During a pre-cruise and post-cruise stay we found we felt perfectly safe just walking the streets, traveling from one awesome site to the next. We also found a populace which was quite proud of their secular society, though the majority of the population are Muslims.
A nice thing in Istanbul is many of the sites you want to visit are located in close proximity. If you have no mobility problems you can quite easily walk from one to the next.
Just down the street is another magnificent structure, The Church of the Holy Wisdom or Hagia Sophia. It dates back to the 6th century and was constructed for the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. It was turned from a church to a mosque in the 15th century when the minarets were added. In 1930 it was made a museum.
A bit further along the same stretch of road is The Topkapi Palace, built in the says of the Ottoman empire and is lavishly decorated. There is so much to see here, and get a glimpse of the life of the Sultans. The former imperial residence is a spectacular museum that has one of the largest collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
The central area of Florence has streets to narrow for large tour buses, so much of it serves as a pedestrian walkway. Seeing Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece statue of David, at the Galleria Dell’ Accademia, will take your breath away. Follow that with a visit with the masters of Renaissance painting at the Uffizi Gallery. (Pre-purchase admissions to both to avoid the long lines). Then spend the rest of your time simply strolling the streets with a must-do walk across the Ponte Vechhio bridge, where you can be blinded by the bling from the windows of all the jewellery stores.
There’s certainly much more to see in Florence as well, but I’m happy to repeat the day I described above over and over again.
New York is generally a starting or ending point for cruises, not a port of call, and as such a pre or post cruise stay of several nights should be a must when you’re scheduling your trips.
I’m no expert on the city, and a quick Google search will certainly describe all the highlights you have to choose from. But there’s some things I’ve really enjoyed on my visits, that I can give personal recommendations too.
Many of the sights and neighbourhoods of Manhattan can best be seen and visited using the Hop On- Hop Off buses.
As I described above, in Istanbul and Florence, I truly enjoy walking in cities I don’t really know when I am visiting. I find it gives me a more intimate feeling of my surroundings, and the people I encounter. And New York is certainly no different. For a visitor, though there’s thousands of taxis available, it’s a great walking city.
I love walking along Broadway from Time Square up to Central Park, and coming back, weaving my way through the streets between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway. A walk during the day has to include a lunch stop at the famed Carnegie Deli for the mountainous sandwiches, crisp pickles, and the biggest knishes I’ve ever seen.
Then stroll back towards Broadway to attend an evening play. Then dinner either before or afterwards in the Theatre District, at my favorite restaurant, Becco (355 West 46th Street),
255 West 43rd Street) is a high priority on my list, for the best and biggest hot dog lunch plates. I’m a “good eater” and I have a tough time getting through it. I know many people view having a hot dog from the street vendors in Manhattan as a right of passage, but for me it’s the Brooklyn Diner!
The thing about St. Petersburg that draws me in is the drastic contrasts between the opulence of it’s aristocratic history, and the “grey” feel of many of it’s present day buildings.
The most well known spot to visit is of course The Hermitage; the world’s second largest art museum. The art collection was begun by Catherine the Great, and that collection grew to the point, that today it is housed in four buildings, and palaces,, collectively called The Hermitage. An informed guide is as essential as a visit to this incredible art museum.
Then there are the two must see Palaces - Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin and Peter the Great’s Peterhof. Peterhof was founded at the very beginning of the 18th century by Emperor Peter the Great.
A visa is required to disembark the ship in St. Petersburg. However the licensed tour operators, as well as ship’s tour operators provide the visas. You only have to apply for visas yourself if you plan to get off the ship and tour entirely on your own, which is not admissible if you don’t speak and read Russian.
I invite our readers to share your favorite cities to my list, along with a brief explanation of what it is that makes them special to you.
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Posted: August 24th, 2010 under Kuki.