If you’d like to sail to some of the world’s quieter cruise ports, here are some that – at least for now – are visited by just a few cruise lines. These emerging ports are usually called on by smaller ships operated by luxury cruise lines (which is a wonderful way to travel, of course).
Dingle, Ireland, is on a County Kerry peninsula that stretches about 30
miles into the North Atlantic. The scenery is stunning, with pristine beaches
backed by rugged cliffs and mountains. There are pre-historic and early
medieval ruins to explore, including the remains of Dunbeg Fort. The Dingle Oceanworld
Aquarium highlights the area’s abundant marine life. There are also some sweet memorials
to Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who lived in close contact with the people of
Dingle for more than 35 years.
Crotone, in Italy’s Calabria region, looks out over the blue Ionian Sea.
A castle from the 16th century houses a municipal museum, and a National
Archaeological Museum displays significant finds from dig sites around the area.
Fires and earthquakes have caused the Cathedral of Crotone to be rebuilt a few
times, but it has artifacts that are centuries old. Crotone also has wonderful restaurants,
including some that have earned Michelin stars.
Asau, on the Samoan island of Savai’i, has a surprisingly turbulent history.
It was partially destroyed by volcanic activity in the mid-1700s; hosted U.S.
Marines during World War II; and survived a huge explosion when the New Zealand
Navy tried to blast a deep-water channel through a coral reef. Today, reefs are
a prized feature of Asau’s pretty harbor. The island also has lava tubes, caves,
blowholes, waterfalls, rainforests, and cloud forests to explore.
Kotor, Montenegro, lies along a stunning bay where impressive mountains
rise directly from the water. It takes more than an hour for a cruise ship to
sail up the bay and into the city, and the scenery is breathtaking the entire
way. The city’s Old Town is one of the region’s best-preserved medieval town
centers and includes a cathedral from 1166. Wear good walking shoes to explore
the ancient city walls, narrow streets, and charming squares. You’ll notice that
cats are beloved here because they’re thought to bring good luck; the Old Town
even has a cat museum.
Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about cruising to
these and other ports that are a little off the usual cruise ship routes.
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