Whether you’re heading out on an expedition or luxury cruise, there are myriad cruise packages that offer pre-voyage stays before setting sail. So, whether you’re enjoying a pre-cruise stay for one night or one week, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the top sights and attractions in the city for your pre-cruise downtime.
With various tips and advice from travel bloggers, we’ve put together a guide on how to make the most of the world’s top port cities.
Intriguing architecture and vibrant cuisine make Barcelona an impressive city to explore during your pre-voyage stay. Hit the beach or roam around the city’s main strip, Las Ramblas, and see what direction this colourful and compelling city pulls you in.
When visiting Barcelona, even for a short period, Laurence from Finding The Universe tells us how to make the most of this lively city.
Marvel at the Sagrada Familia
“The first thing I'd suggest for any visitor to Barcelona to do is to visit the Sagrada Familia. This Basilica, which has been over 100 years in the making, is the masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi, one of Barcelona's most famous architects. It's a truly incredible construction that seems almost organic in its design, and a visit here is a must for any trip to Barcelona.”
Explore the Gothic Quarter
Whether you’re a lover of architecture or not, Laurence also suggests exploring Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and marvelling at the age-old buildings and structures that line the streets.
“When visiting Barcelona, I'd also suggest spending time exploring the Gothic Quarter. This is the oldest part of the city, and it still contains artefacts from Roman times. It's a maze of largely pedestrian-only twisting narrow streets, filled with beautiful old buildings, small squares, cafes, shops and restaurants and is a wonderful place to explore.”
The largest city in Alaska, Anchorage has plenty to offer unsuspecting guests, from unearthing the city’s rich cultural heritage, browsing the quaint local shops or getting lost in the vast wilderness and mountainous terrain nearby.
Discover Alaska at The Anchorage Museum
Exploring Alaska’s unique heritage is just too captivating to pass by during a pre-voyage stay. As the largest museum in the whole state, the quirky art and history collections here will take you on a journey through time, telling all there is to know about Alaska’s fascinating history.
Enjoy traditional Anchorage cuisine
Although you may not think it, Anchorage is home to some truly one-of-a-kind delicacies that are worth trying during your fleeting visit to the city. From reindeer sausage to Matanuska Valley-grown veggies, make sure you get a chance to sample the local fare before visiting one of the town’s many breweries.
Known for its futuristic architecture and stunning gardens, Singapore is a melting pot of cultural treasures and innovative experiences that are sure to both delight and inspire you.
Michelle from Full Time Explorer told us what she recommends getting up to in the city while on a pre-cruise stay.
Wander the streets of Chinatown
“One of my favourite things to do in Singapore is to explore Chinatown. Considering how Singapore is one of the most modern cities in the world, Chinatown takes you back to simpler times. The traditional architecture and brightly-coloured buildings offer the perfect photo opportunity.
“There are myriad famous food stalls including Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle which is famous for being the cheapest Michelin star food in the world! You can also take in the local culture by visiting the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum which features thousands of Buddha statues and holds a tooth from Buddha himself inside. The best thing to do in Chinatown, however, is to simply wander the streets and get lost in cute little alleyways and stalls selling souvenirs.”
Take in the sights at the Gardens by the Bay
“If you only have one day in Singapore, then you have to visit Gardens by the Bay. This is one of the most unique places I’ve seen in all of my travels. What other city in the world has a boat on top of a building, a dome filled with waterfalls, and giant metal trees?
“My favourite part of the gardens is the Cloud Forest which features a giant waterfall inside a glass building. There are pathways throughout the dome that wrap around the gardens inside. The Supertree Grove is another modern marvel. It’s best to see the trees at night when there’s a light show that is coordinated to Broadway musical hits. There’s a restaurant in one tree and a walkway connecting two others together.”
A fascinating city no less, a visit to Rome is something everyone should do at least once. With incredible architecture around every corner and a tumultuous Roman history just waiting to be explored, there is plenty to see and do ‘when in Rome’.
Gaze at St Peter’s Basilica
If you don’t have time to visit the Colosseum but want to do some exploring of Rome’s ancient architecture, a visit to St Peter’s Basilica is certainly a must. This iconic dome-roofed church is technically not in Rome or Italy at all, but is actually in Vatican City, and is one of the most famous religious sites in the world. The basilica is free entry and the perfect start or finish to your day.
Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
Often featured in film, this majestic fountain is one of the most famous in the world and certainly worth visiting during a short stay in Rome. Even if you only have a few hours to spare, the fountain is perfect for sitting with a cold drink and taking in the sights around you – after you’ve made your wish of course!
The biggest cruise port in the world, Miami is a wonderful destination to enjoy a few days of sun, sea and shopping before departing on your cruise. This vibrant city is full of colour from its sky-high buildings all the way down to its cultural arts scene. After a day exploring the tropical gardens and white, sandy beaches, a diverse and glitzy nightlife awaits after the sun goes down.
“If you're visiting Miami on a pre-cruise stay, then I'd recommend taking some time to explore the Wynwood Walls,” says Chloe. “They were created in 2009 as a giant open-air art gallery with the hope of revitalising the neighbourhood. It's definitely worked! It's the most colourful spot in the city, with huge murals, inspirational designs and some big-name artists creating large scale artworks. It covers an area several blocks wide, so take time to really explore it.”
“Another favourite spot of mine is Little Havana,” says Chloe. “From watching guys playing dominoes in the park, to seeing cigars being rolled and enjoying a cocktail and live music in The Ball and Chain, it's a neighbourhood filled with Cuban charm.”
Violet also recommends visiting Little Havana, especially for the foodie delights. “For me, no trip is complete to Miami without a trip to Little Havana. If you’re a fan of Latin American Art and the hustle and bustle of busy restaurants, then this is a must-see for you. I recommend stopping at La Ventanita, which serves the most delicious cortadito con leche evaporada (think super sweet coffee) and empanadas. One bite of flavour and you’ll think you’re in Cuba.”
Millionaire’s Row Cruise
“Now this is a firm favourite of my husband’s,” says Violet. “The Millionaire’s Row Cruise navigates around Biscayne Bay to showcase the celebrity houses, Fisher Island and the Port of Miami. As cruises depart throughout the day it’s relatively easy to fit into your schedule whether you’re there a couple of days or a week. Funnily enough, the best part for me is the end of the cruise as you sail back viewing the full Miami skyline.”
Have you been inspired to book a cruise with a pre-voyage stay? Check out our wealth of pre-voyage cruise packages including luxury cruises. Talk to a member of the Azamara Club Cruises team today.
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