Travel insights from Jenna Buege, contributing editor of The Compass

5 Fantastic Port Cities

There are hundreds of fabulous cruise port cities around the world, but some stand out above the rest for their natural beauty, local attractions and stunning architecture. Here are five of our favorite port cities for making memories while at sea.

1. Amsterdam, Holland

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most popular up-and-coming port cities and is quickly becoming a favorite among modern vacationers. The city’s terminal, Passenger Terminal, stands out with its strikingly modern design and perfect location just a short, 10-minute walk from popular neighborhoods and attractions. Amsterdam’s luxury travel scene is on the rise, and visitors can enjoy five-star hotels, lavish spas and breathtaking engineering. Pair this with the city’s beautiful gardens, unique canal system, historic sites and fantastic nightlife, and there’s plenty to see and do in the Venice of the North.

2. Hong Kong, China

Asia is home to a number of stunning cruise terminals, one of which is Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Established in 2013, Kai Tak has become a seaside landmark with an abundance of open green space and a sleek design. Today over 20 cruise lines have established Kai Tak as their home embarkation point.  As for the city itself, Hong Kong is vibrant and bustling with a growing culinary scene, thriving street markets and world-class shopping. Send artsy travelers to the neighborhood of Sheung Wan for a bounty of galleries, artists in residence and trendy restaurants.

3. Valletta, Malta

Do you know of any Game of Thrones fans? This Mediterranean cruise destination is perfect for travelers waiting for their chance to claim the iron throne. Alright, alright, visitors can’t actually become the king or queen of the Seven Kingdoms, but they can visit filming sites and sets from the show in Valletta. Not into fantasy? No worries, Valletta has tons of European charm with its dramatic church steeples, ancient structures and impressive waterway. There’s something for everyone. Visitors will dock at one of the city’s two terminals, Pinto or the Forni-Magazino, where they can enjoy shopping, dining and a number of duty free outlets.

4. Miami, Florida

Hot new restaurants, picture-perfect beaches and luxury hotels, Miami is considered by some the cruise capital of the world. Travelers looking to travel to destinations like Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, South America and even Europe should consider PortMiami as their place of departure. Never one to be modest, the city spared no expense on the port’s $247 million renovation in recent years to welcome even larger cruise ships to this magnificent harbor and vibrant city. While in Miami, encourage travelers to experience the famous nightlife with a show and a few drinks at one of the city’s many bars or clubs before heading off to sea.

5. Vancouver, Canada

One of the most efficient and environmentally friendly cruise terminals in the world, Vancouver’s Canada Place is the award-winning gateway for Alaskan cruises. Many of the city’s most popular sights are just a ten minute walk or short ferry ride away from the cruise terminal such as Chinatown, False Creek, Granville Island and the historic Gastown. This destination is perfect for outdoorsy types; multiple tours combine a day trip to Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Bridge where visitors can hike and observe wildlife such as grizzly bears, grey wolves and even peregrine falcons from a safe distance.

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