Did you know there are over 1,200 cruise ports in the world? One would have to set off on a lot of voyages to visit them all! As a starting point, we’ve collated 10 of the world’s most popular cruise ports. From the crystal clear waters of Cozumel to the iconic skyline of New York, here’s a rundown of our favourites:
Bustling Barcelona features on so many of our blog posts for one simple reason, it is beautiful. Spain’s second-largest city and the capital of the Catalonia region, Barcelona attracts over 30 million tourists per year, 2.7 million of which arrive by cruise. It features as the starting point for many Mediterranean cruises and a highlight for lots of world cruises. It is a city that passengers often want to spend more than a day in largely thanks to its wealth of historical, cultural and artistic offerings as well as its popular UNESCO World Heritage sites. The port, which has a rich 2,000-year history, was developed by the Romans and has been a Mediterranean centre of commerce and passenger shipping for a long time.
The gateway to the Eternal City, Civitavecchia attracts 2.2 million passengers per year. Though it is a stunning city in its own right, with lots of incredible attractions including Forte Michelangelo and Terme Taurine baths, many choose to stop here for easy access to Rome and the Vatican City. Like Barcelona, it’s a staple port of call on almost every Mediterranean cruise and it’s so easy to see why. Rome is about an hour away from Civitavecchia but with early arrivals and late departures, you’ll have plenty of time to squeeze in some of the city’s most popular sites, such as the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.
An island with plenty to recommend, Cozumel welcomes over 3 million passengers per year, making it the fourth busiest cruise port in the world. Situated off the coast of Mexico’s mainland, Cozumel Island is famed for its crystal clear waters, pleasant tropical weather, glorious beaches and a plethora of water-based activities including snorkelling, fishing and diving. It is a stop that features heavily on Western Caribbean cruises with many major cruise lines including Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises including it in their sailing itineraries.
At the head of the awe-inspiring Aurlandsfjord lies a tiny, idyllic village of just 350 inhabitants, surrounded by colossal mountains draped in snow, green forestry, a myriad of magnificent waterfalls and babbling brooks at almost every turn. Flåm is one of the most beautiful ports in the world. Approximately 450,000 tourists visit the village each year. It is the only backdrop that can make vast cruise ships look teeny tiny, we urge you to be on deck as you sail into port!
Founded by the Greeks in 600 BC, Marseille has a rich history as an attractive destination for travellers. Not only is it France’s second-largest city, but it is also home to one of the largest cruise ports in the Mediterranean. The port welcomes 1.5 million cruise passengers per year. Most day-trippers opt to spend their time strolling the quaint streets of the Old Town, sampling sumptuous seafood from the beautiful tree-lined square and meandering around the city’s churches and museums. No wonder Marseille won Capital of Culture in 2013.
An overview of the world’s most popular cruise ports would be incomplete without featuring Miami. Famous for its shining golden sun, rolling waves and lazy days on the sand, Miami is all of this and so much more. Think rich cultural history, vintage vineyards and abundant wildlife attractions. As the second-busiest cruise port in the world and the largest cruise port in the US, Miami welcomes millions of passengers each and every year.
An idyllic, tropical paradise, Nassau is the Caribbean’s busiest cruise port. A family-friendly destination, Nassau’s main attractions are its natural beauty and tropical climate but delve a little deeper and you’ll find it has everything an ideal tourist destination should have. The capital of the Bahamas features as a popular port of call on almost every single Caribbean cruise, making it easy to see how the island welcomes 2 million passengers per year. Many of these passengers choose to visit downtown Nassau or surrounding islands in order to enjoy beach activities such as kayaking, snorkelling and mangrove exploring.
New York, USA
New York, New York. Home to one of the world’s most iconic skylines, this is America’s most well-known city. The Port of New York and New Jersey welcomes 1.5 million cruise passengers per year - transatlantic cruises from Southampton, UK to New York, USA made famous by ultra-luxury cruise line, Cunard, are big business. The Big Apple has been the envy and the fascination of the world for decades largely thanks to its fast-paced culture and fascinating history. It truly is impossible to unearth all of New York’s treasures in a single visit.
2.8 million cruise passengers travel to Shanghai each year. It’s deep-sea and river port serves as an important stop for most major cruises operating on Asia-Pacific route. Almost every cruise to China features Shanghai (which is the world’s second-largest city) as a port of call. It’s easy to see why it is so popular - a cruise here offers a far more adventurous experience largely due to its unique juxtaposition of old and new. Wherever you turn, you’ll see a modern twist on a glimpse of Old Shanghai - the city provides its visitors with days’ worth of things to see and do.
The Cruise Capital of the UK is certainly not short of hustle and bustle; 1.7 million cruise passengers wave ‘bon voyage’ each year. Since it began operating in 1843, Southampton has acted as a significant port for the UK. It was also the starting point for the Titanic who set off on her fateful sail in 1912. Southampton is a fantastic port for those who may be new to the world of cruising or those who prefer no-fly voyages.