There’s a saying “I’ve not been everywhere, but it’s on my list” and strangely enough, my travel list looks and sounds a lot like that. There are various online articles across the internet that talk about the best sailaway ports, but I’ve not been to all of them (yet), so how can I make comment on places such as Sydney or Singapore? I can’t, so I decided to go off in my own direction and comprise a list of my favourite sailaway ports. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t forget to share your favourites with me in the comments section!
New York City, New York
New York City, one of the most famous places in the world and one that offers a spectacular way to arrive and depart. I arrived at dusk and the Statue of Liberty was glowing in the distance. It’s a sight that I will never forget. The Manhattan skyline looked incredible with a wash of orange behind it. For those that arrived many years ago, it meant freedom and the beginning of a new and better life. The view is iconic and it could NEVER become boring.
Big cruise ships visiting the port is still a delicate topic for many, but one thing everyone would agree on is that the arrival and departure from Venice is one of the most unique on the planet. There’s nothing else quite like it and the view of the city stays with you forever. You can clearly see Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs and the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark before you even leave the ship.
Miami had to make the list, it’s not only a great place to visit, but the sail in and out of the port is also quite spectacular, especially if you manage to do one in daylight and one at night. Sailing side-by-side with the highway, you glide into the very heart of this destination while being treated to magnificent views of the city’s skyline, Miami beach, South Beach, and the many privately-developed islands lined with luxurious mansions that dot Biscayne Bay. It’s incredible, to say the least.
I still remember the sail in and out of this port like it was yesterday. It was a blisteringly hot summers day, so hot in the morning that there was a thin haze for as far as the eye could see, which somewhat dimmed the view. However, when we left the port in the afternoon, the haze had vanished and the sun was blazing down on us. The scenery was magnificent. There were various little islands dotted here and there, the ocean was a glistening blue and the air smelled like sun lotion – it was just perfect. At that exact moment, there was nowhere else on earth that I wanted to be.
OK, I know some people are going to be reading this and screwing their faces up, but just hear me out. So, it might not be Sydney or Hong Kong, but what I loved about Kusadasi was the sound. I was out on deck and the call to prayer from the local mosque was flowing out across the city – it was hypnotising and incredibly beautiful. We also had a wonderful sunset on departure and it cast an impressive light show across the city.
Now, don’t mistake the port of Amsterdam for Ijmuiden, they’re very different. To reach the city of Amsterdam, the ship must go through a series of lock systems and it is so much fun to watch – it’s like the Panama Canal but on a MUCH smaller and far quicker scale. The climax is docking in the very heart of one of Europe’s best destinations.
I think all I need to say about this is ‘Stockholm Archipelago’ – it needs no further explanation.
New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s nothing quite like sailing the grand Mississippi river and arriving in NOLA (New Orleans), but having spent a few incredible days in this amazing city, there’s also nothing quite like a dusk departure. It’s a sad time, but also one that leaves you knowing it won’t be long before you’re right back for more. You wave goodbye to the glowing city, the American Queen steamboat (if you’re lucky), Natchez, the French Quarter and so much more before once again heading along the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Eidfjord reminded me of a toy town and that’s exactly why it has made my list. It’s probably not the best sailaway port in Norway, but I loved it. The small houses dotting the landscape, the snow-capped mountains with rivers of water flowing down them and the ships wake as she slowly makes her way back down the fjord. It really is an incredible experience and although there’s isn’t a huge array of things to do in this port, I’d go back again just for the arrival and departure.
Probably not on most lists, but I’m adding this to mine as in 2018, I’ll sail from Southampton on the trip of a lifetime: a 108-night cruise around the world, therefore this is about to be one of my favourite sailaway ports! 😉