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Your cruise vacation does not have to end when you step off the ship, nor does it have to wait until you board the ship to begin. Cruises embark and disembark in some of the most interesting cities in the world. Sadly, a majority of cruise enthusiasts simply fly into these cities, rush to the ship and never get to experience these amazing destinations.

Over the past several years, our editorial assignments have taken us to some of the most exotic locations around the world. We always try to schedule a few days at the beginning or end of a cruise so that we can experience the cities of embarkation/disembarkation. Here are a few of the hotels we can highly recommend when you visit these cities.


ACAPULCO, MEXICO
We recommend: 3 nights

Forget everything you have heard about Mexico. Acapulco is still one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.


  • Book a romantic resort property and enjoy the views!

Our Luxury Hotel Pick: Las Brisas Acapulco



BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
We recommend: 2 to 3 nights

A popular city for river cruises on the Danube, Budapest is a city with a lot of history and some amazing sites.

  • Take a Segway city tour
  • Walk across the famous Chain Bridge
  • Spend a day shopping the famous Váci Utca shopping district
  • Take a scenic dinner cruise on the Danube

Our Luxury Hotel Pick: Hotel InterContinental - Budapest


CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
We recommend: 2 to 3 nights

You will be amazed at how much there is to see and do in and around Cape Town. The Cape Grace Hotel is a 5-star hotel located within walking distance from the cruise ship pier with a nice shopping area nearby with lots of great restaurants and nightlife. However, for something really special, head 45 minutes outside of Cape Town to the Winelands for a stay at La Residence.

Our Ultra-Luxury Resort Pick: La Residence Hotel - Franschhoek

Our 5-Star Hotel Pick: Cape Grace Hotel - Cape Town


DUBAI, U.A.E.
We recommend: 3 to 4 nights

Dubai is a city that you simply have to experience. Words alone cannot describe it. This oasis in the desert is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with construction projects that will boggle your mind. Everyone in Dubai speaks English, in fact, probably better than folks in Texas! This makes Dubai a very easy city for Americans and Canadians to visit.

  • Visit the Mall of the Emirates, the largest and most modern in the world!
  • Schedule a Dunes Safari
  • Visit the Souk Madinat
  • Enjoy the beach!
  • Visit Wild Wadi waterpark

Our Hotel Pick: Madinat Jumeirah - Dubai


Fort LauderdaleFORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, USA
We recommend: 2 nights

Fort Lauderdale is the second busiest cruise port in the USA and offers a lot to see and do before or after a cruise.

  • Visit Ft. Lauderdale Beach
  • Take a water taxi tour of Ft. Lauderdale's extensive system of waterways
  • Check out famous Las Olas Boulevard for dining and shopping
  • Visit the Hugh Taylor Birch State park

Our Luxury Hotel Pick: The Atlantic Hotel


Our Ultra-Luxury Hotel Pick: The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale



MIAMI, FLORIDA
We recommend: 2 nights

Nothing compares to the nightlife on Miami Beach. With so many cruises embarking and disembarking from Miami, it is a shame so few people extend their cruise vacations to include visit to Miami Beach. Some of the best restaurants in the USA are located here and the selection of interesting boutique hotels is seemingly endless. The sandy beach front stretches along the Atlantic and is filled with some of the world's most beautiful people soaking up the sun. If you are sailing out of Miami, plan on at least 2 extra days in Miami Beach/South Beach.

  • Visit South Beach
  • Soak up some sun
  • Walk along Ocean Drive
  • Enjoy the nightlife that is Miami!

Our luxury hotel pick: The Palms Hotel and Spa



NEW YORK CITY

We recommend: 3 nights



This city needs no introduction. Unquestionably this is the financial and entertainment capital of the world. Anyone sailing into or out of NYC must spend at least three days to even get a taste of this great city.

  • Visit the Statue of Liberty
  • Ride to the top of the Empire State Building
  • Visit the 9/11 Memorial (reservations required well in advance)
  • Shop 5th Avenue
  • Eat at the best restaurants in the world
  • Spend a day walking through Central Park
  • Take in a Broadway show

Our luxury hotel recommendation: Intercontinental Hotel New York Times Square



The Ritz-Carlton, SantiagoSANTIAGO, CHILE (VALPARAISO)

We recommend: 3 nights

Santiago is the capital city of Chile and is only 75 miles from the port of Valparaiso. With incredible historic churches and architecture as well as a famous wine region, Santiago is one of the "must-see" cities in South America.

  • Visit the artisan mall at Los Dominicos
  • Arrange a wine country excursion
  • Take the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus
  • Visit downtown Santiago

Our Luxury Hotel Pick: The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago


SHANGHAI, CHINA
We recommend: 2-3 nights



How often do you get the opportunity to visit an exotic location 1/2 way around the world? Shanghai is one of the most exciting cruise destinations you will ever have the opportunity to visit. You will need at least 2 days to overcome the jet lag and we recommend a 3rd day just for good measure.

  • Visit the old town in the French Concession
  • Have a drink at the highest bar in the world in the Park Hyatt hotel
  • Enjoy lunch or dinner in a traditional, local Chinese restaurant
  • Visit a local park in the morning
  • Walk the Nanjing Road pedestrian shopping area
  • Check out the Bund

Our 5-star Hotel Pick: The Fairmont Peace Hotel

For a guided city tour of Shanghai, we recommend: SAT Tours


S
YDNEY, AUSTRALIA
We recommend: 4 nights

You cannot experience Sydney in a couple of days. Plan on at least 4 nights in this cosmopolitan city before or after your cruise.
  • Take the train to the Blue Mountains
  • Walk across the harbor bridge
  • Spend a day on the Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus
  • Take an evening harbor boat excursion
  • Tour the famous Sydney Opera House
  • Take the ferry to Manly Island to check out the beach and eat fish and chips

Our 5-Star Hotel Pick: The Observatory Hotel - Sydney


HONG KONG, CHINA
We recommend: 3 nights 

Hong Kong is truly the city where East meets West. This center of Capitalism is famous for shopping, sightseeing and dining.

  • Ride the Star Ferry to/from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island
  • Take a walk down the famed Nathan Road for shopping and restaurants
  • Visit the Ladies Market
  • Ride the 2600 foot escalator to the Mid Levels
  • Check out the Temple Street Night Market, Jade Market, and Goldfish Market
  • Take the cable car to Victoria Peak for the panoramic view of the harbor
  • Visit Stanley Market for souvenirs and gifts
  • Check out Repulse Bay, a beautiful beach resort area popular with Chinese tourists
  • Take a sampan ride in Aberdeen to see how the fishermen live onboard their boats (about $10pp U.S.)


Our luxury hotel pick: The Peninsula Hotel - Hong Kong (see sidebar)


MAHE, SEYCHELLES
We recommend: 3 to 4 nights 

The Seychelles is truly one of the most beautiful island destinations in the world. This is a popular embarkation/disembarkation point for ships sailing from Africa to the Middle East. To travel this far and not spend at least a few days in this tropical paradise would be a shame. Plan on sleeping one day as the jet lag from this long flight will wipe you out.

Take an island tour
Just relax and enjoy all the island has to offer

Our luxury resort pick: The Banyan Tree



MASAI MARA, KENYA, AFRICA
We recommend: 4 to 7 nights

The Masai Mara is one of the most famous African safari destinations in the world, and for good reason. This is a popular safari destination for cruises that begin or end in Mombassa or Mahe. If you are anywhere near this part of the world you should consider extending your vacation to include as many days as possible. Few places on Earth are life-changing and the Masai Mara is one such place. It is a MUST-SEE.

Our pick for ultra-luxury safari camp: Fairmont Mara Safari Club

Our pick for luxury safari camp: Olonana



NAIROBI, KENYA 
We recommend: 1 to 2 nights
 
While not typically a pre-/post-cruise destination, Nairobi is a popular starting/ending point for an African Mara Reserve safari. Safaris are popular pre-/post-cruise trips.

Our luxury hotel pick: Fairmont Norfolk Hotel - Nairobi


ROME, ITALY (Civitavecchia)
We recommend: 3 to 5 nights
 
There is so much to see and do in Rome that you can easily fill 5 days and never see it all. Rome is a great "walking around" city. If you don't mind walking, you see most of the sights on foot. If not, taxis are readily available and reasonable and Rome has a great subway system. Most shop owners and restaurant personnel speak at least some English, so it is an easy city for Americans to visit.

Visit the Spanish Steps
Visit the Pantheon
Take a tour of the Vatican
Tour the Colosseum
Walk through the ruins at The Forum
Take a stroll through Borghese Park
Stroll down Via Vanetto
Don't miss the excellent gelato and pizza!
People-watch in one of many beautiful plazas

Our 5-star hotel pick: Hotel Lord Byron - Rome


VENICE, ITALY
We recommend: 2 to 3 nights

Unquestionably the most romantic city in the world, Venice is a city that is best enjoyed on foot. Don't be afraid to leave the map at the hotel and get "lost" in all the little narrow canal-lined streets. The city is not that big so you will eventually find your way home, or ask any of the friendly locals and they will guide you.

  • Visit St. Mark's Square
  • Take the water bus (not taxi) to Murano island to tour the glass-making factories
  • Tour the Doge's palace
  • Walk across the Bridge of Sighs
  • Definitely take a gondola ride down the canals
  • Have a drink at the world-famous Hotel Cipriani bar

Our 5-Star Hotel Pick in Venice: Hotel Bauer - Venezia



   
3 Comments
LEFT
Yes you can do that. The Cunard cruise lines has rluaegr weekly service between New York City and the UK. The trip is 6 or 7 days each way. If you want to go visit the UK, or visit Europe via cruise ship then Cunard is your best option as there are cruises leaving every week from both the US and Southampton, England. From Southampton you can take trains to visit other European cities without having to fly at all.This Cunard web site will let you look at the schedule of voyages: In addition to Cunard, some other cruise lines also have what they call repositioning cruises that cross the Atlantic to and from England and/or Spain. Royal Caribbean Cruise line actually has a cruise that leaves from Galveston Texas and goes to Spain (from there you can get a train to England). Here's that cruise: equals btn_findcruises.xequals34 btn_findcruises.yequals8 The cruise from Galveston to Spain is 14 days. The cruise date is May 2011 and right now you can get a great price on it. If you are not an experienced traveler you can get a travel agent to book the trip, and a return cruise, at no additional cost. Travel agents do not charge fees for their services as they are paid in commission by the cruise lines.If you had the time and money you could conceivably cruise from Galveston to Spain, take a train to London, and then take another cruise (6-7 days) back to the US to NY City and then take a train back to Texas.There are also some other options for cruising from the US to Europe next year. These cruises leave from ports in Florida and go to England, Spain and Italy: equals cSequalsEXPVSCH cruiseTourOnlyequalsfalse destequalsT.ATL durationequalsANY dateequalsANY portequalsFLL includeAdjascentPortsequalsY shipequalsANY selectedCurrencyCodeequalsUSD priceequalsANY stateequals xequals85 yequals7 As you look at the prices remember that all cruise cabins are sold based on double occupancy. So you would have to book for you and another person, or if you wanted to go alone you would have to pay a single supplement that is essentially a double fare.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 5:53 AM  
CAYLE
Unparalleled accuracy, unequivocal cliarty, and undeniable importance!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:47 PM  
BETTY LAVERY
Any suggestions for Istanbul?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 3:05 PM  
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