Four Stylish Cruising Capitals

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Copenhagen Harbour and The Standard.

Cruising’s Style Capitals

Here's what to do with a day ashore in Copenhagen, Sydney, Porto, and Hong Kong.

Old and new in Porto, Portugal.
Sydney's Infinity Bakery.

By Tanvi Chheda
Originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Virtuoso Life.
From Sydney’s colorful boutiques to Copenhagen’s legendary contemporary design, some of the world’s best style experiences are steps from the gangway. Here’s what to do with a day ashore in each of these ports – and the cruises that will get you there.

Old World Renewal
Porto, Portugal


The dinner scene at Cantinho do Avillez.
  • Fuel up with a coffee and rabanadas (Portuguese French toast) at Majestic Café (Rua Santa Catarina 112), open since the 1920s in a stunning art nouveau building.
  • Browse the extensive collection and ornate art nouveau decor at Livraria Lello & Irmão (Rua das Carmelitas 144), a bookstore in central Porto.
  • At the Serralves Museum (Rua Dom João de Castro 210), designed by Porto native and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza, a pink granite-and-plaster exterior gives way to 14 galleries of contemporary art.
  • Celebrated Lisbon chef José Avillez enters the emerging Porto dining scene with a branch of his Cantinho do Avillez (Rua de Mouzinho da Silveira 166). Try marinated scallops with avocado and bacalhau em lascas, cod cooked with eggs and served with olives.
  • Flamenco, centuries-old riverside villages, and traditional port tastings are highlights of Uniworld’s 11-day Lisbon-to-Porto tour and Douro River sailing aboard the 118-passenger Queen Isabel.
  • Excursions on AmaWaterways’ 11-day Lisbon-to-Porto tour and river sailing on the 106-passenger AmaVida include port tastings in Régua and baroque and Gothic cathedrals in Salamanca, Spain.

Design Down Under 
Sydney, Australia 

Scanlan Theodore in Sydney's Paddington neighborhood.

  • In Chippendale, drop by White Rabbit Gallery (30 Balfour Street), home to a tearoom and 1,400-piece collection of contemporary Chinese art. Nearby, open-kitchen Silvereye (20 Broadway), from former Noma chef Sam Miller, is the table to book.
  • A quick taxi ride away is the leafy neighborhood of Paddington, where bakeries, cafés, and boutiques stand between Victorian-style terraced houses. Visit Bassike (26 Glenmore Road) for durable cotton knits, Ellery (2-16 Glenmore Road) for sleek separates, and, for modern dresses, Scanlan Theodore (122 Oxford Street).
  • Follow the scent of fresh bread to the whitewashed Infinity Bakery (178 Oxford Street) for an afternoon coffee break and a lemon meringue tart.
  • Head below the Sydney Opera House’s iconic sails for fine dining, harbor views, and plenty of Aussine wine at Bennelong (Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point).


  • Journey to the South Pacific on a nine-day, round-trip-from-Sydney cruise aboard Royal Caribbean International’s 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas. Between stops in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and the Loyalty Islands, passengers stay busy at the ship’s wave simulator, ice-skating rink, and Vitality Spa.
  • The Instagram-worthy natural wonders along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Bali’s lush coastline serve as the backdrop for Crystal Cruises’ 13-day Sydney-to-Bali journey on the 922-passenger Crystal Symphony.

Contemporary Cool
Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen's Mikkeller & Friends microbrewery. 

  • Grab breakfast at Torvehallerne (Frederiksborggade 21), a pair of expansive, greenhouselike food halls in central Copenhagen, a 20-minute cab ride from the port.
  • Along Copenhagen Harbour, culinary entrepreneur Claus Meyer’s mint-green, art deco The Standard (Havnegade 44), is home to three restaurants and a jazz club. Try a modern version of the smorrebrod – a classic Danish open-faced sandwich – at Almanak
  • From modular sofas to salt-and- pepper mills, Danish brand Normann Copenhagen (Oesterbrogade 70) is known for its bold take on contemporary design. Housed in a former cinema, the 18,000- square-foot flagship store feels like a gallery, with armchairs, whiskey glasses, and geometric-motif cushions on display.
  • Copenhagen’s fondness for aesthetically pleasing spaces extends to its neighborhood watering holes. In the Norrebro district, a ten-minute cab ride from downtown, microbrewery Mikkeller & Friends (Stefansgade 35) welcomes drinkers with 40 beers on tap, white lacquered picnic tables, and pale-blue walls for sipping ales in style.


  • Stroll through Helsinki’s open-air Market Square and peek inside a thirteenth-century Estonian castle on Norwegian Cruise Line’s nine-day, round-trip-from-Copenhagen sailing aboard the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star.
  • Slip past colorful villages and Norwegian fjords on an eight-day Lindblad Expeditions cruise aboard the 102-passenger National Geographic Orion. The Bergen-to-Copenhagen sailing calls on Oslo, Sweden’s Weather Islands, and more.

Island Glamour
Hong Kong

Ibility boutique in Hong Kong's PMQ shopping complex.

  • Map out your day over a single-origin brew and almond croissant at The Cupping Room (Shop LG/F, 299 Queen’s Road Central), in the hip Sheung Wan neighborhood.
  • Locals and travelers alike line up for wholesome and organic plant-based dishes at the light-filled Grassroots Pantry (108 Hollywood Road). Sample kimchi pancakes, Thai green curry, and palak paneer – an Indian dish of cheese and spinach curry.
  • Once dormitories for Hong Kong’s police force, PMQ (35 Aberdeen Street) is now a multistory complex that houses several design shops, art galleries, and boutiques. Pop into Goods of Desire for everything from a rainbow array of chopsticks to bed linens and panda-motif eye masks, Ibility for women’s and kids’ modern crocheted clothing and accessories, and lifestyle shop Kapok for tailored pieces, fun jewelry, and locally made ceramics.
  • At The Woods (17 Hollywood Road), a dimly lit lounge specializing in creative cocktails, bartenders incorporate everything from snow peas to toasted cumin syrup into house-made elixirs.


  • Beach-hop in Koh Samui, Thailand, and take a cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City on a 14-day Singapore-to-Hong Kong cruise aboard Holland America Line’s 1,432-passenger Volendam.
  • Complement posh staterooms and winetastings aboard the 684-passenger Nautica with private excursions to Japan’s temples, gardens, and shrines (plus port calls in Taiwan, South Korea, and China) on Oceania Cruises’ 15-day Hong Kong-to-Shanghai sailing.

Photo Credits: (Porto) Ana Nance, (Sydney) George Fetting, (Hong Kong) Philipp Engelhorn, (Copenhagen) Ulf Svane

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