Wanting to go on a cruise but not sure where? Well, I have asked the cruise experts, and they have reported back with the top 30 most beautiful and fascinating ports for cruises in the world!
Whether looking for one of the top Caribbean cruise ports or are searching for one of the most special European cruise ports, I am sure you are going to find a couple of ports for cruises that you will absolutely love. So stick around, because we are going to go through the top cruise ports around the world for you to explore your next time at sea!
But first, make sure to grab your completely free cruise planner to outline and plan your next amazing cruise! Equipped with helpful budgeting tools, daily itineraries, shore excursion trackers, packing lists, and more-- this cruise planner is the perfect way to plan your dream vacation to the best ports for cruises in the world!
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Best Ports for Cruises in the World
Wondering where to travel to on your next fantastic cruise? From the best African cruise ports to the most underrated South American ports for cruises, you will get to know what each of these remarkable ports for cruises have to offer! Various cruise and travel experts have outlined the top ports for cruises from nearly every continent, with the best activities and shore excursions to enjoy during your visit.
Best African Cruise Ports
Funchal, Madeira Islands Cruise Port
Recommended by Nichola from Globalmouse Travel
Funchal is wonderful as a cruise stop off and best of all it’s an easy walk from the port in to the center of the city. The capital of Madeira is full of lovely things to do from taking a trip on a replica of Christopher Columbus’s shop to taking afternoon tea at the iconic Reids hotel.
One of the top things to do here is to take the cable car up to the tropical gardens of Monte Palace and then whizzing back down the hill on a toboggan! It is mildly terrifying but great fun, especially when you’re safely at the bottom. Stop for some pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) or some lovely bola de caco, a local often stuffed bread.
Whether you’re a solo cruiser interested in Madeira or cruising Portugal with kids and seeing the capital city of this island, there is so much to do here. As one of the top ports for cruises in the world, you definitely need to add Funchal to your cruise bucket list!
Mahe, Seychelles Cruise Port
Recommended by Ellie
For those looking to cruise the Indian Ocean during their all-inclusive cruise, make sure to watch for Mahe, Seychelles in the cruise itinerary. This small piece of paradise offers a remote tropical escape-- with the nearest land located nearly 1,000 miles away!
As one of the top ports for cruises, you will most likely dock at the country's capital city of Victoria. From here, you can enjoy strolling the colorful streets where you will find plenty of local shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, and markets.
If you consider yourself a beach bum, Mahe is the cruise port for you! Along this island's coastline you will find over 50 breathtaking and relaxing beaches to explore. With all of these options, the best beach has to be Beau Vallon. This remarkable beach is not only a great place to relax on your African cruise, but is lined with local market stalls and tasty tropical fruit to enjoy.
If you are looking to try out the highly-sought-after Seychelles cuisine, head on over to Bazar Labrin-- one of the most famous Mahe street marks filled with a variety of unique foods.
Nosy Be, Madagascar Cruise Port
Recommended by Ellie
As the fourth largest on planet Earth, it is no wonder why Nosy Be is one of the top ports for cruises in the world. Nosy Be offers a wide array of natural wonders and wildlife-- attracting thousands of eager travelers on Africa cruises every year.
While this African cruise port is pretty popular, it is definitely not overrun by crazy tourists. In fact, most of the attractions found in the beautiful cruise port are outdoor adventures and shore excursions offering plenty of individualized experiences.
Nature-lovers should try and book a cruise shore excursion to Lokobe National Park, where they can navigate through the breathtaking nature reserve on a wooden boat. Here, you will notice they vast amount of unique wildlife of Madagascar, including the remaining vegatation of ylang-ylang, vanilla orchids, and ravenala.
If you prefer to meet the oh-so-popular Lemurs during your time in one of the best ports for cruises, head over the Lemuria Land. Here, you will learn about the importance of natural preservation on the island and the influx of lemurs in Madagascar.
Best Asian Cruise Ports
Doha, Qatar Cruise Port
Recommended by Julianna from Letters From a Traveling Girl
While you might not expect it, Doha, the capital of Qatar, is one of the most perfect ports for cruises. While European cities feel unsatisfactory since you feel like you have not seen enough, in Doha you will have the perfect amount of time. It is small and compact which makes it ideal. Further the cruise port is located close to some of the main attractions. The food is typical for the Middle East.
There are two parts of this city and the things to do also get decided by that. There is a part of the city where they conserved the traditions and another which is one of the most modern in the world. In the traditional part, which is only about 20 minutes walking from the cruise port, you can visit the Museum of Islamic Art for the gorgeous art and the amazing architecture.
It also gives you the best view of the modern city. The entrance if completely free. You can then walk across the street and spend some time walking around the old market (souk). Here you can try the food or buy some traditional products or souvenirs. The modern part is about 20 minutes by bus from the port and usually cruise lines offer shuttle buses to the center.
You can walk around the area and admire the extravagant new architecture. Further you can make your way to the Pearl (about 1 hour away) to enjoy the more typical living area of Doha before leaving one of the best ports for cruises in the world.
Muscat, Oman Cruise Port
Recommended by Nichola from Globalmouse Travels
Muscat is one of the most fascinating ports for cruises as you dock so close to the center of everything in the city. It’s an easy stroll from the ship to the souks of the city which are so evocative. Wander through the trinket lined stalls breathing in the heavily Frankincense scented air.
There are some great restaurants near the waterfront here which are perfect for a taste of Oman - Bait al Luban is particularly well recommended. If you are interested in history then visit the Bait Al Zubair museum which tells the story of Oman’s history in a really interactive and interesting way.
At any time of year Muscat is a beautiful place to visit but it can get stifling hot in summer. If you’re visiting with kids then the long October half term holidays is the perfect time to visit when the temperature in Oman is just right.
One way to cool off is to take a boat trip out in to the bay to see wild dolphins which is a breathtaking experience. This is one port stop you won't want to miss.
Best Caribbean Cruise Ports
Bridgetown, Barbados Cruise Port
Recommended by Leticia from Chic Travel Around the World
Bridgetown port is one of the best ports for cruises in the world, located on the island of Barbados. Barbados is a small island located in the southeast Caribbean. The port is such a great cruise port as its located less than 1 miles from the capital of the country, Bridgetown.
This is super convenient as the city is vibrant with lots to see and do. Bridgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage site and here you will find many historic buildings including the Parliament of Barbados which is the third oldest legislature in the Americas.
There is also plenty of shops including large retailer, Cave Shepherd where you can buy duty free (tax free) goods. Additionally, if you want to try local foods there are plenty of restaurants to experience Barbadian cuisine. Local favorites are flying fish, macaroni pie, fish cakes and pudding and souse just to name a few.
The cruise port is also so close to many beaches such as Brandon’s Beach and Browne’s Beach with turquoise water and pink soft sand. There are so many ways to spend your day when stopping at the Bridgetown Port, one of the best ports for cruises in the Caribbean.
Cozumel, Mexico Cruise Port
Recommended by Michelle from Wander Eat Write
Cozumel is one of the best ports for cruises in the world for both guests and crew members alike. From beach clubs to delicious food and exciting excursions, you’ll never want to leave the island.
You’ll be able to find most things downtown, but if you’re interested in exploring Cozumel more, you can rent a scooter or bike. You can also spend part of the day checking out nearby Playa del Carmen which is easily accessible via ferry.
For the top things to do in Cozumel itself, there’s no shortage of activities both in and out of the turquoise waters. Most of the beaches are perfect for snorkeling and checking out schools of colorful fish, but you can also swim with stingrays at Stingray Beach or explore more of the underwater marine life on a sea trek.
If staying above water is more your speed, be sure to go to the Punta Sur Ecological Park, where you’ll be surrounded by tropical plants, exotic birds, sea turtles, iguanas, crocodiles, and more. The park offers a little something for everyone, from both beach and nature lovers to historical enthusiasts.
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Cruise Port
Recommended by Chantelle from Flannels or FlipFlops
Grand Turk is the largest of the Turks & Caicos Islands and one of the top ports for cruises in the world! The island itself is very small, so you can actually see the entire island during one cruise stop if you want to! There are great tours with quad riding or buses.
You can also see all of Grand Turk on your own by renting a golf cart. It is easy to navigate, and you can drive to isolated beaches, historical sites, and the lighthouse.
There are fantastic beaches at Grand Turk, and the best part is the best beaches are right when you get off the boat! The cruise lines have spent a lot of money building up the port area, so if you aren’t feeling adventurous you don’t even need to leave the area. When you get off the boat, there is shopping, a beach with free chairs and music.
There is also a Margaritaville there with a large pool, cabanas to rent, and a Flo rider. You can get great food drinks and atmosphere here. There is a large barrier reef off of Grand Turk's coast, so there is phenomenal snorkeling, and the water is warm and clear.
The BEST thing to do at Grand Turk though is to visit Jack's Shack! When you leave the port area, just start walking down the beach, and you’ll find it! Jacks Shack is a great (fun and inexpensive) bar and restaurant. You can get delicious drinks and food, with a great atmosphere. You eat right on the beach, and it's an excellent way to spend the day!
Montego Bay, Jamaica Cruise Port
Recommended by Kristin from Snorkel and Hike
Montego Bay, Jamaica is one of the most popular ports for cruises in the Caribbean with plenty of relaxing or adventurous excursions to check out while in port. From coffee plantation tours to waterfall hiking, Jamaica has something for everyone- not to mention it’s world famous food!
For the thrill seekers, head to the iconic Dunn’s River Falls to climb through the waterfalls and relax in the natural pools. Or, fly through the lush tropical forest on a zipline tour and float down the Martha Brae River on a hand-crafted bamboo raft.
If you’re looking to enjoy the beach without sacrificing on service and amenities, many of the best resorts in Montego Bay like Sandals offer day passes allowing access to amazing pools, dining, and beaches even on a cruise stop over. Check out some of the best snorkeling in the area at Doctor’s Cave Beach- just be prepared to get hassled a bit by local vendors.
Before you leave port, make sure to stop off for some of the world famous Jamaican Jerk Chicken at Scotchies or The Pork Pit, and finish the meal off with a rum punch or bottle of Red Stripe.
Nassau, Bahamas Cruise Port
Recommended by Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
Nassau is one of the most popular ports for cruises in the Caribbean because it is close to South Florida and has so much to offer its visitors. It's more than an island with beautiful beaches.
While your ship is in port, you can spend the day at Atlantis on nearby Paradise Island. It's a resort with a waterpark, casino, aquarium, gourmet restaurants, and more. Alternatively, learn more about the culture by taking a rum tour, cigar tour, or island history tour. You might also want to check out some of the outdoor markets.
If you prefer to spend time at the beach, you have lots of options. Junkaroo Beach is within walking distance of the port. You could also take a boat ride to nearby Rose or Pearl Islands if you want something quieter. Additionally, there are some good snorkeling spots.
While you are in Nassau, you can also try some of the local cuisine. Bahamian food is like a mix of southern American food and Caribbean spice. Some of the dishes to try include cracked conch, rock lobsters, fish stew, and pigeons peas and rice.
As you can see, you won't be bored here - there are plenty of things to do in Nassau on a cruise. Just be sure to plan ahead as popular tours will book up in advance.
Perfect Day at Cococay, Bahamas Cruise Port
Recommended by Jenni from Cruise Mummy
Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at Cococay, is without a doubt the best cruise port I’ve ever visited. Located in the Bahamas, this small paradise island is a popular call on cruises from Florida. We were lucky enough to visit in December 2019 and I will certainly be returning one day.
Whether you want to chill out on the soft white sands or enjoy thrilling attractions, Perfect Day at CocoCay has something for everyone. There’s a waterpark featuring the tallest waterslide in North America, a 1,600-foot long zipline and a helium balloon that offers spectacular views over the whole island.
While these attractions all have an extra fee, there’s lots that you can do on CocoCay for free. The kids’ splash park is incredible and we loved the Oasis Lagoon which is the biggest swimming pool in the Caribbean.
Your Royal Caribbean drinks package works on the island which is a huge bonus and the food is incredible too. If it’s not already, Perfect Day at CocoCay needs to be on your list for when you next take a cruise.
Progreso, Mexico Cruise Port
Recommended by Daphna from A Tiny Trip
As one of the most underrated ports for cruises, the port of Progreso in Yucatan, Mexico, has the longest pier in the world! The pier juts out into the Gulf of Mexico for over 6 kilometers, due to the shallow waters around the Yucatan peninsula.
Cruise passengers that dock here, can go on a variety of organized tours to see Mayan ruins, or go to beach clubs. However, you can easily explore so much of the Yucatan on your own!
Check out the Yucatan beaches, for bathing in the emerald green waters of the Gulf. By law, all beaches in Mexico are public, so you can easily access many of the beaches by sitting at a restaurant on the shore! Just make sure to keep ordering food or drinks if you are taking up prime beach chairs.
You could also grab a taxi or shuttle bus into Merida, the capital of Yucatan state, with museums and a bustling downtown and historic center. To see the flamingoes you will want to go to Celestun or Rio Lagartos, depending on the time of the year, as the population migrates between these two areas.
Depending on how long your ship is docked, you may want to explore Mayan ruins. Do take into account travel time and note that the mid-day sun can be quite hot!
San Juan, Puerto Rico Cruise Port
Recommended by Annick from The Common Traveler
A Caribbean cruise should include a stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the best ports for cruises in the world. This US Territory is a popular stop with most major cruise lines and with good reason -- ships can pull up directly next to Old San Juan, one of the most picturesque destinations in the Caribbean. There are so many fun things to do in San Juan!
Wear your best walking shoes since the area is mostly cobblestone. Within a few blocks from the port, visitors to San Juan will find the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Sites such as Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
Stop by the El Convento Hotel to admire this former convent. A great way to enjoy the atmosphere in this iconic setting is to go to the bar and enjoy a beverage in the open inner courtyard.
Most visitors to San Juan just want to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere. Houses of every color line cobblestone streets and make the perfect setting for vacation photos. Fortaleza Street features charming stores, bars, and restaurants. Avoid the beaches, though, you’ll find much prettier ones along your Caribbean cruise itinerary.
Before you get back on the ship, leave enough time to have your photo taken with the I ♥ PR sign!
Best European Cruise Ports
Cagliari, Italy Cruise Port
Recommended by Claudia from Strictly Sardinia
Cagliari, the beautiful capital of Sardinia, is often overlooked for more famous destinations in Italy, but as it's actually one of the greatest ports for cruises, it's now more often on the itinerary of cruises around the Mediterranean. People get there knowing very little about it, and leave wishing to return, for they discover a city that has a lot to offer.
The historic center of town, with La Marina and Stampace districts, is right in front of the harbor and gives access to two other beautiful historic quarters - Villanova and Castello. The latter is home to some of the best museums in town, as well as the Cathedral and the two watchtowers. You will find several viewpoints to admire the city - the best one is by far in Via Santa Croce. Not far from it, the Roman Amphitheater is one of the best kept archeological sites in the city.
If you'd like a nature getaway, you don't have to go far from the city center. Poetto beach, Cagliari's main urban beach, is a quick bus ride. This is a long, sandy beach with clear waters. If you fancy a hike, head to Calamosca beach nearby and you'll find the trail to Sella del Diavolo, one of the most important landmarks in town from where you can admire Poetto Beach and Molentargius Nature Reserve, home of various species of birds including pink flamingos.
While in town, make sure to try one of the many specialties. La Marina district is where you'll find the best fish and seafood restaurants. For a truly local dish, opt for fregola con le arselle - a small Sardinian pasta resembling Israeli couscous that is cooked with clams. Pair it with a glass of vermentino - one of the best Sardinian wines - for perfection.
Copenhagen, Denmark Cruise Port
Recommended by Stacey from One Trip at a Time
Copenhagen began as a tiny fishing village called Havn, and as trade increased the settlement grew and it became known as København, meaning “merchants’ harbor”. Today Copenhagen is one of the primary ports for cruises on the Baltic, either as a departure port or a port of call.
Cruisers will find a relaxed and welcoming city that is easy to get around. Most of the main sights are within walking (or biking) distance of each other so you can visit several of Copenhagen’s great attractions during your time in port.
Start with a canal cruise which will show you corners of the city you might otherwise miss, including the Little Mermaid statue (so you don’t have to spend time walking to it). You can join a cruise at Nyavn canal, which really is as pretty and colorful as you see in photos. It’s also a great place to see the old sailing ships or grab a bite to eat at one of the market stalls or restaurants.
At noon be in the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace to experience the “Changing the Guard” ceremony, and then head to Rosenborg Palace to see amber chandeliers, old Venetian glass, and the crown jewels. Or spend a few hours at the popular Tivoli Gardens where you can enjoy the fairground rides, take in a concert, or simply stroll through the grounds.
No matter how you spend your time in Copenhagen, you’re sure to enjoy your visit to this vibrant Scandinavian city as one of the top ports for cruises in the world!
Dubrovnik, Croatia Cruise Port
Recommended by Martina and Jürgen from Places of Juma
The city Dubrovnik in Croatia is actually a really popular destination for visiting the top ports for cruises in Europe. A historical old town and the old harbor are surrounded by mighty city walls and the alleyways of the city Centre form a kind of labyrinth in which one simply wants to get lost. But not only the famous old town of Dubrovnik is popular, the so-called "Pearl of the Adriatic" has a lot more to offer!
There is a wide range of activities on offer during a visit, and families with children also get their money's worth. Whether city trip, action or beach holiday, this town meets all requirements. The beaches are beautiful, the water is wonderfully clear and glows in the most beautiful colors.
If you like, you can grab a kayak with the kids and paddle down the beautiful coast on your own. You will discover beautiful sea caves and hidden bays. Or you go on a boat trip and explore the beautiful island pearls like Lokrum, Lovran, Korcula or Mlijet.
A cool highlight for children is a Game of Thrones tour, where you explore the original locations of the popular series with a trained guide during your time in one of best ports for cruises. Another highlight is the ride on the Dubrovnik cable car, where your family will enjoy an exciting ride with a wonderful view of the city, the harbor and the Riviera.
Thanks to its own international airport (Čilipi Airport) and the many cheap flight offers, Dubrovnik is ideal for a weekend trip or short trip from nearly anywhere in Europe!
Genoa, Italy Cruise Port
Recommended by Sarah from A Social Nomad
As one of the largest harbors in the Mediterranean, Genoa is one of the top ports for cruises in the world. As Genoa is well connected on land she’s also a great port for joining or leaving a ship too – and for taking some awesome day trips from Genoa too.
Much of the city is based around the port area, so it's easy to navigate and explore independently or to take a walking tour. Genoa was Christopher Colombus’s childhood home and you can still visit the house where he grew up while you’re exploring the city.
Foodies will be in heaven in Genoa – it’s the birthplace of focaccia bread and pesto and there are lots of places to eat, pavement cafes and atmosphere coffee shops to explore too.
The aquarium is the biggest in Europe and the UNESCO World heritage palazzos of old Genoa are glorious architecturally and full of fascinating stories. To explore Genoa further take an audio walking tour, or use the Hop on Hop off bus service.
Make sure to check out these top shore excursions in Genoa, one of the best ports for cruises, during your ultimate cruising vacation!
Malaga, Spain Cruise Port
Recommended by Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Malaga, as one of the top ports for cruises, is a beautiful port in the south of Spain where cruisers that enjoy Mediterranean cruises often visit. The advantage of visiting Malaga during a cruise stop is that the city is very close to the cruising terminal. If you are sailing on a smaller ship, you might be lucky to anchor just opposite the old town itself.
Malaga is not a large city, which can be explored on foot in just a few hours. The area alongside and leading to the passenger harbor is filled some of the best restaurants that serve traditional tapas in Malaga.
Just a stone away from the harbor you will find the Alcazaba, which can be visited for just a few euros. At its foothills are the remains of an old roman theatre which can be seen free of charge.
If you fancy a bit of beach time during your stop, you should know that Malaga has two beautiful beaches, both in the city. Here you can enjoy the traditional espetos at a chiringiuto. In translation: grilled sardines oven an open fire, at a local beach bar which has tables and chairs directly on the sand.
As one of the best ports for cruises, you are not going to want to miss adding Malaga to your dream cruise ports list!
Marseille, France Cruise Port
Recommended by Elisa from Travel France Bucket List
The port of Marseille (Marseille Fos) is the main passenger port in France and also the biggest as one of the best ports for cruises in Europe. With more than 3 million passengers per year, Marseille Fos is the starting point (or a scale) of many Mediterranean cruises. From here, it is also possible to sail to Corsica, Sardinia in Italy, or other minor islands in France.
Marseille, as one of the original ports for cruises in Europe, is the oldest city in France, and its port is more than 2,600 years old. However, Marseille Fos dates from the 19th century, built when the Old Port became too small for the increasing number of passengers.
Cruise passengers leaving from Marseille or just on a scale like to spend their free time in the city sightseeing. The list of best things to do in Marseille near the port includes the historic neighborhood of Le Panier, the Fort-Saint Jean, and the cathedral. A scale in Marseille is also an excellent opportunity to taste the regional cuisine, with typical dishes like the bouillabaisse.
Naples, Italy Cruise Port
Recommended by Danila from Traveling Dany
The most important port for cruises in Southern Italy is actually strategically located. You can easily spend one day in Naples without having to pay for expensive tours or for a taxi ride!
Naples cruise port, as one of the best ports for cruises, is known as Molo Beverello, where all the biggest cruise ships dock. Inside the port of Naples there’s a particularly nice shopping center, Galleria del Mare, that cruisers can get to just by walking for less than 5 minutes, according to where their ship is docked.
Molo Beverello is located in the heart of the city: cruisers can easily see Castel Nuovo, also known as “Maschio Angioino” from their ship. On the other side, the mighty Mount Vesuvius, one of the most popular postcards of Naples!
An easy walk is all that is needed to explore Naples, in just a few hours.
Visitors might enjoy an Italian granita or gelato inside Molo Beverello. Yet by crossing the street they will be surrounded by baroque buildings and gorgeous statues. The view is much better and it'll make them feel part of our city.
Piazza del Municipio is less than 10 minutes away from Molo Beverello by foot, with its Fontana del Tritone. Every cruiser should make sure to see the best sights in Naples: Galleria Umberto I, the Royal Palace and Piazza del Plebiscito.
They are all within walking distance from the cruise port, so it's an absolutely easy day trip on a budget that they can plan on their own. Those looking for souvenirs can buy them at Via Toledo, on the way back to their cruise ship: it’s the most famous shopping street in Naples!
Port Hercules, Monaco Cruise Port
Recommended by Dymphe from Dymabroad
As one of the top ports for cruises in the world, Port Hercules in Monaco will not disappoint. It is the main port of the city-state of Monaco and the only port where cruises can go if you want to visit this country. Monaco is an amazing place to visit with lots of things to do and see. When you arrive here you can expect a lot of luxury.
There are huge yachts, glamorous events, expensive stores, and many other expensive things. Furthermore, there are beautiful viewpoints in Monaco. One of the best viewpoints is the one from the Rock of Monaco from where you have a view of the whole country, including Port Hercules.
This place is also one of the best places for photography in Monaco. Another one of the best things to do in Monaco is going to the Monte Carlo Casino, one of the most famous casinos in the world and a great place to visit!
Rome, Italy Cruise Port
Recommended by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
One of the best ports for cruises in the world is the eternal city of Rome! Located in the heart of Europe, Rome is easy to get to from most major cities. Rome is a gateway to the Meditteranean but also has plenty to offer visitors right on land to enjoy before embarking.
You can see a lot of Rome in three days - from the Colosseum to Vatican City! Marvel at the history of the Eternal City by walking in the steps of gladiators or visiting the burial site of Julius Caesar at the Roman Forum.
Get your fill of fresh pasta and gelato in the city. Before you leave, be sure to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Legend has it, that if you toss a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder, you’re guaranteed you’ll return to Rome in the future!
The mixture of history and delicious food make Rome one of the best ports for cruises in the world!
Santorini, Greece Cruise Port
Recommended by Chrysoula from Greece Travel Ideas
Arriving at the Old Port of Santorini is spectacular and one of the most beautiful ports for cruises in the world. Santorini is an old volcanic island and its capital town, Fira, clings to the edge of the crater which is sea-filled and known as the caldera. The cruise ships moor close to the port, which is at the foot of the crater cliff.
Cruise passengers are transported by smaller boats to the port. From there, you can join a boat trip to explore the caldera and to enjoy a swim in the sulfur springs or enjoy sailing out of the caldera aboard a catamaran.
Most cruise guests head up to Fira. The easiest way is to hop on the cable car, which takes a few minutes to reach the top, the energetic, or walk up the zig-zag of 587 steps. Fira is a pretty town with narrow streets, white-washed buildings, and churches with blue domes. It is fun to wander along the street and do some shopping, but if you want to enjoy the beauty of the caldera, a walk along its rim is memorable.
There are numerous restaurants clinging to the edge of the caldera and these offer spectacular views as you dine and enjoy the island’s wine and beer. Alternatively, you can take the bus and visit Oia another beautiful small town hanging over the caldera famous for the blue-domed churches and the sunset. Passengers are requested to be back on board one hour before departure. Sitting on the deck watching the sunset over Santorini one of the most beautiful landscapes in Greece is very special.
Stavanger, Norway Cruise Port
Recommended by Bridget from The Flashpacker
Lovely Stavanger, best known for fish preservation and the discovery of the Ekovisk oil field, is one of Norway’s best cruise ports. Not only is it easy to explore independently, but there is more than enough things to do in Stavanger in one day when exploring one of the top ports for cruises in the world.
For all things fishy, there’s the unlikely charm of the Norwegian Canning Museum. Or for an in-depth exploration of Norway’s offshore oil industry, head to the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. As improbable as it may seem, this interactive museum is as fascinating as it is thought-provoking.
Alternatively, you can go hunting for statues by the renowned British sculptor Antony Gormley, or seek out some of Norway’s finest street art.
But Stavanger’s star turn is Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger), with its cobbled streets of 19th-century white wooden buildings, constructed to accommodate seafarers, craftsmen and cannery workers during the town’s boom.
Finally, when it’s time for a break, take a seat at one of the pretty cafes in Stavanger’s Skagen area. The local beer is highly recommended during your stop in Stavanger, one of the best ports for cruises.
Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Port
Recommended by Ann from The Platinum Line
Tallinn, the capital of the small Baltic state of Estonia is just fifty miles by ferry from Helsinki but has a completely different feel. As one of the top ports for cruises in Europe, Tallinn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a fairy tale quality with its thick city walls and cobblestone alleyways. The upper town is dominated by the thick towers of the medieval Toompea Castle. The largest known as tall Herman has become a symbol of the city.
Two alleyways known as short leg and long leg leg lead down to the lower town with its dark coffee bars and intriguing small shops. Estonia gained its independence from the USSR in 1989 and the locals seem intent on rejecting the drabness of the Soviet era.
They have been busy painting everything in bright colors. Rather surprisingly Tallinn has also become an internet hub and an Estonian invented skype.
You should take the chance to spend a few hours in Tallinn to visit the beautiful Russian orthodox cathedral (photo) which is free to enter. The inside is decorated with ikons, paintings and mosaics. Souvenirs to look out for include marzipan and Baltic amber. As one of the top ports for cruises in the world, you are not going to want to miss Tallinn, Estonia!
Tromso, Norway Cruise Port
Recommended by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Tromso, as one of the top ports for cruises in the world, is a lively city located in the Arctic Norway, 1700kms away from Oslo. In summer, the midnight sun shines all day long, while in winter, aurora borealis takes over the polar night skies. With plenty of interesting things to do in Tromso all year round, it is easy to see why Tromso is a compelling cruise holiday destination in the world.
There are two ports for cruises in Norway - Prostneset dock, which is located in the city centre, and Breivika dock, located 4kms north of Tromso. Huntigruten cruise ships use Prostneset dock, while the other cruise ships like MSC, Viking, Fred Oslen, Royal Caribbean uses Breivika dock.
Whatever time of the year you visit Tromso, be sure to take the cable car to Mount Storsteinen to get the best panoramic view of Tromso city. Visit Arctic Cathedral or hop over to Polar Museum to get a glimpse of interesting history of arctic explorers and lifestyle. Alternatively, visit Tromso Planetarium, northernmost planetarium the world and the largest in Norway.
If you are visiting in winter, it is best to book Northern lights tour and snow adventures in advance. For a delicious treat, head over to Storgata, one of the main streets in Tromso, that is peppered with myriad restaurants.
Best Oceania Cruise Ports
Sydney, Australia Cruise Port
Recommended by Josie from Josie Wanders
Sailing into Sydney Harbor is one of the most stunning ports for cruises found throughout the world. Pass between the harbor heads, enjoying the beautiful beaches, bays, bushland and suburbs as you go. Just before the ship docks, the Sydney skyline and icons come into view.
As you disembark, you are right in the center of the city, with the Sydney Harbor Bridge on one side of the ship, and the Sydney Opera House on the other. Spend your day ashore exploring these famous sites, perhaps even climb the bridge and enjoy views from there.
Explore “The Rocks”, the area adjacent to the terminal, and learn about the history of Sydney. Not only is it Australia’s largest city but the location of the first European settlement. Learn too about the traditional owners, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation during your visit to one of the top ports for cruises.
Wander down George Street to the impressive Queen Victoria Building to admire the beauty of times past and take a break at an old world tea house. Or cross the road to the new Black Star Pastry and try the world’s most Instagrammed cake - the innovative and beautiful Strawberry Watermelon Cake.
If it’s the beach you want, catch a bus right outside Circular Quay to the famous Bondi, or take a ferry to Manly and enjoy a day relaxing on the sand. Before jumping back on board your cruise ship, enjoy a drink at the Opera Bar, on the harbor front outside of the Opera House and relax as the sun goes down. The perfect end to a day in a great cruise port.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand Cruise Port
Recommended by Ellie
Another one of the best ports for cruises in the world is found on the north-west coast of North Island in New Zealand. The Bay of Islands is a remarkable natural area, featuring over 144 subtropical islands.
Often compared to Rio de Janeiro for having the second bluest sky in the world, the Bay of Islands offer plenty of natural and cultural experiences for you to enjoy on your New Zealand cruise.
A great way to start your time in port at the Bay of Islands cruise port is by checking out the Bay of Islands Maritime Park. Here, you will find a scenic lighthouse, Cape Brett, and the world-renowned and frequently-photographed Hole in the Rock formation. This magnificent natural wonder was carved over numerous years by the weather and sea-- ultimately creating a 240-foot-wide hole.
To learn about both the Bay of Islands and New Zealand's history, head over to the Te Kongahu Museum. A fun fact about the Bay of Islands is that it is the spot where the nation of New Zealand was formed with the signing of the Waitangi Treaty. You can learn more about the nation's fascinating past and enjoy Maori cultural performances at this remarkable museum.
As one of the top ports for cruises in the world, the Bay of Islands found on North Island, New Zealand is absolutely stunning.
Best South American Cruise Ports
Paracas, Peru Cruise Port
Recommended by Ellie
If you are looking for one of the most scenic ports for cruises in the world, Paracas, Peru may be for you!
As a small town nestled on the western coast of Peru, Paracas may not seem like much at first. However, once you dive in a little deeper, you will quickly realize how remarkable and beautiful the precious town truly is. The main streets of the village, El Chaco, is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat.
One of the top shore excursions when visiting Paracas is taking a nice boat ride out to Islas Ballestas. Here, you can find plenty of cute animals-- from sea lions and baby penguins, to dolphins and birds. This breathtaking spot was once referred to as "the poor man's Galapagos islands" and truly lives up to the hype.
If you do not mind venturing a little further out from the cruise port area, book a shore excursion to Huacachina Oasis! This tiny spot in the middle of sand is South America's only natural desert oasis, and offers plenty of adrenalin-rushing experiences. Book a ride through the surrounding sand dunes on one of the local carts. Most of these tours will let you get off part way through to try out sandboarding!
There are plenty of other attractions in Paracas you are bound to love, so make sure visit this cruise port, one of the top ports for cruises in the world, on your next cruising adventure.
Stanley, Falkland Islands Cruise Port
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As the last one of the best ports for cruises on this list, the Falkland Islands will not disappoint! This group of islands is located right off the eastern coast of Argentina and has a remarkable history.
Most cruise ships sailing into the Falkland Islands will dock in the capital city of Stanley. This beautiful city is located on East Island, the most populous city of the Falkland Islands with a population of slightly more than 2,000. Here, you can explore the picturesque Stanley Harbor which boasts traditional English décor.
Head over to the Historic Dockyard Museum also found in Stanley to learn about the island's deep maritime history. Here you will find plenty of immersive exhibits and displays illustrating the maritime lifestyle of the Falkland Islands' past.
The Falkland Islands are world-renown for their penguin populations. To see these majestic animals up close, head over to Volunteer Point-- a 2 hour car ride from Stanley. Here you can discover King penguins, Gentoo penguins, and Magellanic penguins.
As one of the top ports for cruises in the world, the attractions in the Falkland Islands are truly worth exploring on any South American cruise.