Written by on Monday February 16, 2015
We always like to keep our customers up to date with the most desirable cruise destinations, so we dug deep into our data from 2014 to find out the 30 most popular ports of departure for cruise voyages. The United States is proving to be a popular destination and with East Coast ports being close to the Caribbean and the West Coast offering access to the Mexican Riviera, it's easy to see why. Asia is proving to be a big growth area in the cruise industry too, but of course the old world cities of the Mediterranean still hold plenty of appeal. These ports are so much more than just a stopover with each offering plenty to enrich, enthral and entertain.
Venice is a small city but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in culture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the North East of Italy and remains an important port on the Adriatic Sea. The city is geographically unique as it is located on an archipelago comprising 117 small islands connected by bridges over canals. There’s so much to see during a stay in Venice that you’ll be left wishing the ship would remain docked for longer. San Marco’s square offers some incredible sights, not least is St Mark’s Basilica. Of course, the ultimate Venice experience is a gondola trip down the canals where you can enjoy the water and appreciate the incredible architecture.
Step off the boat and walk into a city full of fine food, great shopping and incredible architecture. Las Ramblas is a street with a vibrant atmosphere and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions featuring plenty of shops, eateries and hotels along its 1.2 kilometres. As you wander through the city you’ll be treated to the extraordinary architecture of Antoni Gaudi including the Park Güell, La Pedrera and Sagrada Família. There’s also plenty of historical buildings too like the Roman Sant Pau del Camp, and if that gives you a taste for history then there’s plenty to learn at the Museu d'Historia de Barcelona.
When you think of Barbados, you imagine clear, blue skies; white, sandy beaches; and azure oceans. All of that is perfectly true but there’s more to discover in this island country. The capital city of Bridgetown and its Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This 17th century British Colonial City served as the headquarters of the British Navy in the region and was a vital port in the trade of slaves and goods, including sugar. There's also plenty for sports' fans to enjoy with kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing available on the water, and golf and cricket on land.
While Miami and Orlando might grab all the headlines as the top tourist destinations in Florida, the coastal city of Fort Lauderdale has a wealth of charm. The area has miles of perfect palm-lined beaches acting as the perfect accompaniment to the all-year-round sunshine. The city itself is lined with canals and visitors can enjoy a gondola trip to see the sites of the town. There’s plenty of historical interest here too with the perfectly preserved 1900s home - Stranaham House. This is a city with lots of luxury so savour the top hotels, restaurants and even the mansions on Millionaires Row.
Italy’s capital city provides an alluring mix of the ancient and modern with something to captivate around every corner. Get lost in history with a visit to the Pantheon, the near perfectly preserved temple of the gods; experience where the Gladiators once fought in the Colosseum; discover the largest church in the world as designed by Michelangelo at St. Peter’s Basilica; see the spectacle at fountain square including the renowned Trevi Fountain; and of course there’s the opulence of the world’s smallest state in the Vatican City. After a single excursion, you’ll definitely make plans to return to Rome.
In Singapore you’ll find an incredible blend of cultures where Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western influences meet. This cosmopolitan mega-city offers a stunning variety of food to challenge even the most refined pallet. For those looking for a bit of retail therapy, there’s some incredible shopping to be found on Orchard Road with every designer label available. If you’re looking for green space then explore the National Orchid Gardens which features more than 1,000 species of Orchid, or visit the middle of the island and get close to nature in the lush rainforest.
Istanbul lies between two continents and offers a unique travel experience where East meets West. The historic sites can be found in the Sultanahmet district including the incredible Church of the Holy Wisdom and the Ottoman Topkapı Palace. The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest covered markets in the world and spans 61 streets. Spend a day browsing the stalls and haggling with the vendors to find the perfect souvenirs to take home to friends and family. If time allows, then make sure to take a trip across the Bosphorus Strait and move from Europe to explore the sites on the Asian shore.
Genoa may not be the first place tourists think of when visiting Italy but this Mediterranean port has plenty to offer from medieval bell towers to beautiful beaches. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fascinating city to explore with an array of alleyways winding around the 15th Century Palaces. If you’re looking for some culture then there are plenty of museums to delve into including the Galata Museo del Mare where you can learn all about the port’s ocean heritage. There are plenty of delightful eateries to be found where you can enjoy delightful fresh seafood or a classic Italian pizza.
The City of Angels is a destination offering never-ending entertainment. If you like live music, then there are an array of world class venues including the opulent Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Dolby Theatre and the legendary Hollywood Bowl as well as smaller clubs like the Conga room for a more intimate music experience. There are a plethora of museums, many of which can be found on Museum Row on Miracle Mile including the Craft and Folk Art Museum, and the LA County Museum of Art. Los Angeles is home to the movie magic of Hollywood and there are tours available exploring the world famous movie studios and to some of the most iconic destinations in film.
San Francisco is a city full of famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the infamous Alcatraz prison. Crissy Field is a beautiful park where visitors can enjoy picnics and walk along the front, look at historic buildings and take in the finest views of iconic bridge over the bay. The San Francisco Zoo is home to 1,000 endangered or rescued animals and also provides tranquil nature gardens as the perfect place to relax. If you've ever wanted to know more about the city’s Cable Cars then you can learn at the Cable Car Museum which is home to the huge engines and winding wheels which power the cables.
People visit Miami for the beaches but stay for incredible array of attractions. There are some stunning historical sites to be found, perhaps most notably the Ancient Spanish Monastery located in North Miami Beach. This 700 year old building was transported from its original location in Spain in 1925 by William Randolph Hearst. If you’re looking for more culture then there’s plenty on offer in the Art Deco History District which features the world’s largest collection of Art Deco Architecture. There’s also plenty of native wildlife to enjoy from the alligators of the Everglades to the underwater wonders of the Biscane National Park.
New York is one of the greatest cities in the world with attractions to enjoy 24 hours a day. Whether you want to take in the bright lights on Times Square, or the sprawling green space of Central Park, there’s something in this cultural capital to keep anyone entertained. For cultural connoisseurs there’s an array of museums including the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the out of this world Hayden Planetarium. Fans of the arts can take a trip to the Theater District and see a show on Broadway. Then there are the many architectural gems found throughout the Big Apple including the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the epochal Empire State Building.
Tokyo is a vast cosmopolitan metropolis and Japan’s capital is one of the most populous areas in the world. There are plenty of places to savour delicious Japanese cuisine and enjoy a shopping experience unlike anywhere on Earth, where you’ll always be sure to find the gadgets and technology on the cutting edge. To get an awe-inspiring view of the skyline, then climb up one of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices towers and look out from the observation deck on the 45th floor. There is respite from the bright lights with a visit to Shinjuku Gyoen which features an array of picturesque ornate gardens which look particularly stunning in the Cherry Blossom season of March and April.
Malaga is the largest city on the Costa del Sol but it has more to offer than sun soaked beaches. Gibralfaro is a 14th Century castle which offers amazing views of the city. This landmark is just a short walk away from Alcazaba de Malaga, the best preserved Arabic citadel in Spain, built by the Hammudid dynasty in the 11th Century. Malaga was the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and at the Picasso museum is a must visit location featuring more than 200 paintings from one of the 20th century’s most important artists. To enjoy the sunshine away from the beaches then take a walk in the Conception Botanical Garden and see the beautiful plants and ornate fountains.
The Urban, maritime and rural combine to create one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and from the moment you step off your cruise ship you’ll be in awe of the magnificent harbour. Get a different view of the city with the Symphony of Lights, where the illuminations of the city, from search lights to neon signs, come to life for a free show accompanied by Asian pop music. If you want to look at the city from the outside then take a trip up the Peak and look down on the great metropolis. Or if you can’t get enough of travelling by boat then step on board the Star Ferry and do some island hopping.