Extend your sense of wonder at sea and explore the world’s most iconic cities. Delight in pristine beaches, discover ancient ruins and feast your eyes on awe-inspiring views.
Best Cruise Destinations
Every year, a greater number of people embark on a worldwide cruise, with endless extraordinary routes to discover. This year, Aquotic, a popular search engine, asked their users what their favourite ports were, marked by the sensational experiences that can be found. Among those that were selected, European ports triumphed with the internationally renowned Palma de Mallorca listed as a firm favourite.
1. Palma de Mallorca
Spain is one of the European countries that receives the most cruise passengers, estimated at more than 10 million in 2018. The Canary and Balearic ports are indeed the most frequented, with Palma de Mallorca as the preferred choice.
Photos by Yulia Altukhova
With the cathedral as a point of reference and the entire labyrinthine of the old town next door, the port of Palma extends across a stunning palm-tree lined promenade of more than 5 kilometres. Around the Port of Palma de Mallorca, much of the city’s nightlife in concentrated, with ample choice in restaurants, cafes and bars.
2. New York, USA
For many, the entrance to New York by cruise is the most spectacular in the world, under the watchful eye of the Statue of Liberty. This was once an icon of hope for the millions of emigrants who came to Ellis Island in the 19th and 20th century to start a new life.
Although there is a lot to visit in the city, it is worth taking a stroll through southeast Manhattan, very close to the Brooklyn Bridge, where the South St Seaport neighbourhood is located. This is one of the favourite areas of tourists, where many historic buildings and warehouses can be found, home to restaurants, shops and recreation areas.
3. Bergen, Norway
The row of brightly coloured houses that surround the port of Bergen, the gateway to the Norwegian fjords, is one of the main cities of the powerful Hanseatic League. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 1980 and some date back more than 900 years. Some of them house museums, such as Bryggen, the Theta Museum and Hansa Museum.
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Without a doubt, the best way to get to this Croatian city is by sea, which will allow you to enjoy the experience of docking at one of the oldest and most emblematic ports of the Adriatic. It is not always possible to dock in the old port and sometimes you have to do it in the port of Gruz, which has grown in popularity thanks to the Game of Thrones.
5. Marseille, France
In addition to being the largest commercial port in France, the Old Port of Marseille is one of the most beautiful in the world. With spectacular surrounding panoramas, witness the two impressive forts of San Nicolás and San Jean. The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde dominates the port and city from the top of a hill. Not far away is the Castle of If, a 16th-century fortress that stands on a small island in the heart of Marseille and where much of the action in the renowned novel ‘The Count of Montecristo’ by Alexandre Dumas took place.
6. San Juan, Puerto Rico
The arrival to San Juan in Puerto Rico is defined by a vision of the San Felipe del Morro castle, one of the main military vestiges of the Spanish colonial era. From here, you can access the old quarters of San Juan, a historic district which has been declared a World Heritage Site. Enjoy cobbled streets, colourful houses and a visit to the cathedral of San Juan Bautista and Plaza de Armas.
7. Sydney, Australia
Few images are more iconic than that of the Sydney Harbour in Australia, home to the spectacular Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens. Set in the background of skyscrapers, it is possible to climb the bridge of the port to contemplate an impressive view of the city and its surroundings.
Closely located is the Circular Quay, a ferry terminal located on the edge of downtown Sydney and the city’s vibrant centre. Also here are the buildings that housed prisoners who arrived from the United Kingdom, the first settlers in Australia. Today the old cells have been replaced with fancy restaurants and art galleries.
8. Valletta, Malta
The best way to appreciate the capital of Malta is, without a doubt, from the sea. That is why the arrival at the port of Valletta is a truly unique spectacle, where the sun gives a special glow to the walls and fortresses that surround the city. Built in the second half of the 16th century by the Frenchman Jean de la Valette, you will find more than 300 monuments that characterise Valetta with beauty and splendour.
9. Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
Cartagena de Indias takes its visitors back to the 16th century, when the city was the main port of the Spanish crown and epicentre of regular attacks by English pirates and French buccaneers. The current entrance to the bay is a magnificent example of those memorable times, with charming colourful buildings and cobbled streets.
The forts of San José and San Fernando welcome tourists who arrive by cruise from somewhere in the Caribbean. Declared by UNESCO as a Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Cartagena has become a desirable tourist destination, where many consider it as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Although the cruise port of Singapore is far from its main centre, its profile of huge skyscrapers create a striking panorama of the city. However, between concrete and steel walls, Singapore is also an island of nature, where its botanical gardens showcase bio-domes, artificial trees and extravagant sculptures. Right next door is Orchard Rd, a torrent of shopping centres and department stores.
Information courtesy of Aquotic