As they crisscross the globe, extended sailings lay dozens of port destinations at cruisers’ gangways. With insider recommendations in hand, you can take full advantage of each and every exploration ashore. Below, Virtuoso travel advisors who participate in the Virtuoso Voyages cruise program share their best tips on how to dive deeper.
Virtuoso advisors connect travelers with guides who have deep knowledge of port destinations around the world, but cruise lines familiarize passengers with destinations well before arrival. “Listen to the seminars on board regarding the ports – their history, environment, wildlife, and more – they’re very enriching,” says travel advisor Libby Orrock of Willoughby, Australia. “On an expedition cruise from Cairns to Darwin, I went to a lecture by a Great Barrier Reef pilot. It gave me real insight into the area.”
Balance tech savviness with on-the-ground practicality. For example, “Download offline maps and walking tours on your phone or tablet, so it’s easier to find your way around,” encourages Chicago-based travel advisor Rob Clabbers. But don’t rely solely on gadgets: “Take a copy of your ship’s daily newsletter with the port’s name and address – in local language/script – and check all-aboard times, so you don’t miss the departure.” And remember, in some countries, “Cash is king. Not all ATMs will accept international cards, so get money at major banks or onboard ATMs before you set off,” he adds.
Popular port destinations draw tourists with highlights and attractions, but don’t be afraid to go your own way. “Try something different, especially if you’ve been there before. Ride a bike or take a hike,” says travel advisor Paola Prieto of Mexico City. “Local art galleries and little restaurants are always a good idea.”