Cruising is an excellent way to explore, as you’re able to visit multiple destinations on your journey. Some port cities warrant more than a day for exploration; here are three you’ll definitely want to add as a pre- or post-cruise adventure.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Both river and ocean cruises call on this 300-year-old vibrant and historic city, so it’s easy to get a head start on your vacation with eclectic music, cuisine and culture in the Big Easy.
The French Quarter is a perfect place to start. New Orleans’ oldest neighbourhood (established by the French in 1718) is a photographer’s delight – from ornamental ironwork woven into the French and Spanish architecture to the beautiful fountains, Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. You’ll also find what N’awlins is famous for – food and music. As you wander the cobblestone streets, the sounds of live jazz will beckon; make the legendary Preservation Hall (open to all ages) high on the list of must-do experiences.
You won’t go hungry with tons of food choices derived from Creole, Cajun and French roots. A few to sample include chicory coffee, beignets, po’boys, muffuletta, gumbo, jambalaya, andouille sausage and bread pudding with bourbon sauce.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
A favourite Pacific Northwest city because of its friendly people, diverse culture and incredible ocean and mountain scenery, Vancouver has many neighbourhoods and attractions to explore. In the same day you can stroll, bike or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Stanley Park or ride a gondola to the top of a snow-covered peak. Getting around is easy with ample public transportation.
Spanning 1,000 acres, Stanley Park is an extraordinary oasis in the middle of downtown. Here you’ll find beaches and playgrounds, gardens, trails and stunning trees. Enjoy incredible views of English Bay along the seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.
Just 15 minutes from downtown, Grouse Mountain is where the locals go for outdoor adventure. With spectacular views of downtown and the Pacific Ocean that start with the longest aerial tram in North America, you can enjoy ziplining, aerial ropes courses, skiing and snowboarding.
With so many distinct neighbourhoods – each with its own character – the best way to start your Miami adventure is by taking a hop-on/hop-off bus tour. In downtown, visit the urban campus known as Museum Park, including Perez Art Museum and Frost Museum of Science (one of the only museums worldwide with a planetarium and aquarium). Both museums offer stunning views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline.
Just across the causeway from downtown Miami and just a 15-minute drive to PortMiami, you’ll find Miami Beach, home to the famous South Beach, or “American Riviera.” With its art deco buildings, miles of inviting beaches and entertaining people watching, it’s a popular place to explore. Take a stroll on the oceanfront boardwalk, sunbathe at the beach and dine at the former Versace mansion, now a boutique luxury hotel. “SoBe,” as it’s called by the locals, is also a hot spot for shopping, dining and nightlife.