Sitka, on the Pacific Coast of Barenof Island in Alaska, is one of the more unusual Cruise ports to visit featured on an Alaskan itinerary. Originally built by Russian traders in the early 1800’s, when it was known as the city of ‘New Archangel’, Sitka has a very different feel to the wild west, gold rush, mining towns that form most of the other ports of call in Alaska. It is definitely worth a visit if you get the chance!!
“Would you like to pay in local currency or the currency of your card?” – it seems such a simple question doesn’t it? When you use a card to pay for something abroad, whether it is a currency, credit or debit card, you are normally given the option of paying either in the local currency or in your own currency. There is DEFINITELY a correct answer! But do you know for sure what it is?
Warnemünde, a popular cruise port on Baltic itineraries I’d often labelled ‘for’ Berlin. Situated on the mouth of the river Warnow, it is a both a busy port and an elegant ‘fin de siecle’ seaside town. Warnemünde increasingly features on the Baltic Cruise circuit and its large modern terminal, which has two berths, is home port for AIDAdiva and AIDAmar. The entrance to the harbour is guarded by a new lighthouse – it is a very deep channel but it does look a dramatically tight entrance, especially from the shore!
Villefranche-sur-Mer is the main cruise anchorage for Nice. Passengers come ashore by tender and head for Monaco, Cannes, Grasse or the mountain villages. Another option is to spend the day in Villefranche itself, which climbs up the steep hill behind the bay. It is a warren of shops, art galleries, museums, bars and restaurants, so there is plenty to see and do without losing sight of the ship! Look for the Rue Obscure, an atmospheric passage behind the seafront, originally a cobbled lane for troops defending the town to move supplies and ammunition, but now covered in and hidden by subsequent buildings!
The iconic image of Nice is its wide sweeping bay and beach, overlooked by large imposing hotels. Although some smaller ships dock nearby at the Port de Nice, most cruise ships will dock further along the coast towards Italy. Villefranche-sur-Mer in the next bay, is the main cruise anchorage, where passengers come ashore by tender. From there the ships tours visit Monaco, Cannes, Grasse or the mountain villages but to be honest you really could spend a lovely day without heading far from the ship at all – there are so many things to see and do in the area that you will probably want to come back on another cruise or maybe four!
The island of Madeira is volcanic and rises sharply out of the sea – making for a good deepwater port close in to the main town, Funchal, and dramatic views of the cliffs, the airport and the mountains above when arriving and departing. The harbour is quite small with only a single cruise ship docking at one time. There is a very small Cruise Terminal with little in the way of facilities except a taxi rank.
We only had a short time in port because we were on a Repositioning Cruise from Civittavechia to Abu Dhabi and this was our last stop in Europe! Celebrity Constellation was leaving for Suez at 15.30 and the next port was Aquaba, Jordan three days away, so this was definitely not the day to get too foolhardy and be late back for the ship!! Constellation berthed in Piraeus the morning at Dock 12. Its a big port and Dock 12 is quite a way out so we took the free port shuttle as far as the Cruise terminal and then walked round to the station which is at the far side of the port. The walk took about forty minutes, and the station is easy to find, it is right by a large pedestrian bridge across the busy road – look for the big M for Metro.
Staying close to the ship you have one of the biggest tourist attractions in Kent right above you! The word Iconic gets a bit over used but the views of Dover Castle on top of the White Cliffs probably can claim that description!
It has two thousand years of history as the first line of defence for England so it really is the best thing to visit when you’re in Dover and you could easily spend all day there. The port shuttle buses run there direct or you could get a local bus or taxi. If you want to walk one way I suggest you walk down!
Cadiz is last Atlantic port that you reach before entering the Mediterranean, the old town sits neatly on a small peninsular and its mix of Spanish, Moorish, Greek, Roman and Phoenician history makes it a fascinating place to explore. Even if the weather is a little rough, one of its coasts will be sheltered and the medieval cobbled streets and grand tiled 19th century walkways will give shelter from sun or wind.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates It is a very popular cruise port, both as a hub for itineraries in the Persian Gulf and as a stop on repositioning routes. One of the worlds richest cities, it has grown very rapidly over the last ten years from a small, low level fishing port to a modern metropolis of towering skyscrapers and ultra modern buildings. Some of the best tourist attractions are further out of town and of these the most important is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is truly unmissable.