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5 Ports That Demand a Pre-Cruise Stay

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While I always prefer to head to my port of embarkation a night prior to sailing,  there are some are some ports of embarkation/disembarkation where more than an overnight visit is a must.

#1 on my list of incredible cities which scream out for a visit of more than just a few hours is New York City.  The capitol of the world offers so much to see and do it’s the extended vacation destination of many.  But, there’s not a more spectacular feeling than standing on deck or your balcony while sailing in or out of New York’s Manhattan pier; sailing close to the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.

I highly recommend booking yourself into a hotel close to Time Square, where you are in the center of the heart of the city.  You can easily spend a full day on your own walking tour, with your neck on swivel to catch and feel the life of the city.  Then you spend your evening catching live theatre in a Broadway show,  followed by dinner in any number of superb and world class restaurants.

Do you often take extra time to see special places before or after a cruise? Tell us about it.

For those less inclined or unable to do a lot of walking, it’s very simple to do a tour of the various wonderfully flavored  neighborhoods of New York using the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Certainly a visit to Ground Zero is mandatory, to stop for a moment and remember the horror and  atrocity of 9/11, and witness the growth and return to life that has come to stand as a beacon against the evil that occurred.

Of course the shopping in New York City is unrivaled anywhere in the world.

For those visiting New York I have my own secret spot for a wonderful Italian Dinner; Becco,  located just outside the theater district, occupying the basement and upper floor of a walk up, serves up delicious Italian food, at remarkably affordable prices.

#2 is Istanbul, my personal favorite city in the world.  The city is simply a spectacular blend of centuries old history and modern life.  While the ruins of Kusadasi, Turkey might be better known as a tour destination for cruisers, the city of Istanbul is a marvel.

Along the length of one street in the Sultanahmet neighboorhood,  and thus easy to tour,  are the three most important structures in the city demonstrating the incredible history of the city;  The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and the Hagia Sophia.

I highly recommend staying in this area for ease of access.  As well, both the world famous Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are near enough to walk to.

In the evenings take a taxi to Taksim Square to get a taste of the modern night life of Istanbul; a large pedestrian mall area, filled with modern shops, restaurants, and street vendors.

#3 on my list is Barcelona. Barcelona is a, perhaps unexpected, very romantic city, with plenty of unusual sites to visit, highlighted by the odd and eccentric works of artichitectural visionary,  Antoni Gaudi.  The Bari Gotic neighborhood, the famous still uncomplete La Sagrada Familia Cathedral can easily eat up a ful day.  Spend the evening strolling the La Ramblas pedestrian mall, and choose an intimate restaurant in the area for dinner.  In your travels the next day be sure to take in the Picasso Museum to see the world’s largest collection of this magnificently bizarre artist’s works.

#4 is New Orleans. One doesn’t have to say any more about New Orleans than just saying The French Quarter. There’s not a cruiser on earth that doesn’t know the French Quarter, or haven’t heard of Cafe du Monde.

What places would you put on this list? Give us your special experiences or ideas.

This is a city whose heart and soul is always on display. Great jazz and blues clubs, incredible restaurants with all variety of creative and decisively local cuisine make  this city a must visit for at least a few days. And don’t forget about touring the plantation architecture, and a night time graveyard tour.

#5, Venice is probably considered the most romantic city on earth.  Surely everyone remembers at least one of the multitude of romantic movies featuring an evening ride through the canals of Venice in a gondola.

Venice is a wonderful city to walk through. The bustling narrow alleyway like streets filled with shops and restaurants make this floating city strollers perfection.  Just start off in the marvelous St. Marks Square, and walk of through one of the many alleway appendages leading off the square and you’ll be immersed in the feel of Venice and it’s history. Though, without a map, it is easy to get a bit lost, if you just keep walking, eventually you find yourself dining at a delightful waterfront cafe, and finding your way back to a landmark you know and recognize.

Also compulsory during a visit is a water bus or taxi to Murano, to visit the home of the delicate yet incredibly beautiful Murano glass.

Spend the extra Euros and book a hotel in the city itself. Hotels there are generally more expensive, but you are able to immerse yourself in the feeling of the city, without worrying about wasting time on transportation getting you to and from.

There are many cities throughout the world, that are port cities, which no doubt also demand at least a few nights to experience.  However, I have only listed the cities I have personally visited.

I can’t imagine sailing from Rio, without spending a few days there; or Sydney, Australia, or Hong Kong, or Singapore, or Dubai. It’s a huge wonderful world we live in, always giving us new opportunities of adventure, to explore, experience, and learn.  It’s a shame to not take advantage of those opportunities when a cruise takes you there.

We do invite our readers to post tidbits of their favorite embarkation cities, along with a few highlights that made them “must visit” cities to them. Join us here!

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time April 25, 2012 at 5:19 am

Kuki I agree with your cities for pondering a pre or post cruise visit, and there are many others to select from worldwide as well.

One that could be considered, not for any cultural reason is, if one does not want to go to NYC, is Bayonne, NJ, yes, old tired Bayonne, next to Newark, actually, right at the airport.

If one flies, great, if one takes Amtrak, also great. The nice Renaissance Hotel, recently upgraded, offers nice digs, a fine indoor pool and a surprisingly excellent reataurant. AND an exellent bar!!! One night to rest up is enough. We stayed pre and post cruise.

Access into the Big Apple is a breeze, via train – or taxi – taxi is around $65.00 each way, the train is the bargain.

Of course, this does not replace the wonderful experience of actually being in NYC, it is just less expensive. We save NYC for our Cunard sailings.

Also, it helps if your ship sails from Bayonne!!!

Just a tip, we did it after an 8 hour train trip prior to sailing on the CELEBRITY SIHOUETTE, and would do it again, IF Celebrity decides to sail again from Bayonne.
(RCI sails from there).

We bought transfers to the ship from Celebrity, and had our travel agent book the cruise and hotel, we booked Amtrak ourselves.

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