Unforgettable, Yet Uncommon, Cruise Ports – taken from our Travel Tips Quarterly. Just like every cruise line is different (just ask, and we’ll gladly illustrate), every itinerary is different also. Some include the conventional ports of call that are popular due to their preferred location, tourist-pleasing infrastructure and range of excursions. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with an itinerary filled entirely with these popular ports, sometimes a smaller docking destination is needed as a change of pace. Here’s a list of lesser-known, lesser-called upon cruise ports that would instantly refresh any itinerary:
Cartagena, Colombia – Even though two incredible beaches, Bocagranda and Playa Blanca, will call your name, escape to the fortified section of town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—to navigate the maze of alleyways and find well-preserved colonial architecture.
Victoria, British Columbia – Alaska cruises too often rush past this English gem on their way to the glaciers. Passengers who are fortunate enough to stop here could spend days alone in Butchart Gardens, a collection of cultivated landscapes that includes a Sunken Garden built from a limestone quarry, an impeccable Japanese Garden and the sweetest-smelling Rose Garden.
Kralendijk (Bonaire), Antilles – This Dutch island municipality is home to colorful shops, a wide range of multi-cultural residents, some of the best diving in the world, and a flamingo sanctuary that will make you tickled pink.
Varna, Bulgaria – A Black Sea port, Varna is a historically-rich city filled with architectural gems. Visitors here enjoy the Roman Baths, the Varna Archeological Museum and the waterfront promenade.
Raiatea, French Polynesia – Once the capital of the Polynesian empire, Raiatea now is an island paradise with a proud history and some of the most photogenic beaches in the world.
Wellington, New Zealand – Often overlooked for sister city Auckland or nearby Sydney, Wellington is a secret worth exploring, especially to walk the windy paths of the hillside Botanic Gardens and to take the funicular down to Lambton Quay.