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The 5 Best Ports From Which To Cruise

Updated on May 3, 2017

Millions of people choose cruise ships for their vacation every year. They pick a cruise line, and they decide where they want to go. One of the most important aspect of the whole decision making process should be a knowledge of which cruise ports are the best to start your cruise.

Often when you cruise you will have many other costs associated with the cruise that are based on what city you are leaving from and returning too, so it is best to make an informed decision that gets the vacation started on the right foot. Whether you are having to pay to fly into the port's nearest airport, or you have to pay to park your vehicle for an extended stay, extra costs prior to leaving can mean less money and fun on the boat and at destinations.

This list will give you some great port cities that can make your travel cost less, give you more destinations from which to choose, and give you some great vacation opportunities to enjoy before or after the cruise. Take a look and pick out the spot to start your next cruise!

Tampa, Florida


Tampa Port Authority

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Located on the west coast of Florida, this port is perfectly located for one of the largest cruise markets in the world: the Caribbean. This port has cruises headed to the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean destinations. These stops include Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, St. Thomas, Jamaica, and many more. With both short and long cruises ranging from around $350 and up, anyone can afford to cruise from Tampa.

  • Other Attractions: The Tampa Port Authority is located just off Tampa Bay and is surrounded by downtown, the Tampa Bay Times Forum (formerly known as the Ice Palace), the Florida Acquarium, and is near to the historic shopping and night-life district, Ybor City. Some other attractions of the Tampa Bay area are amusement parks including Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, the Lowry Park Zoo, and both the Florida Aquarium and Channelside Shopping and Entertainment Complex that are next door to the Port Authority. There are also the great beaches of nearby St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
  • Accomodations: With two international airports in the region, Tampa is easily accessed from other areas of the world. The Tampa International Airport is just minutes from the port, and the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is just a short drive on the other side of Tampa Bay. There are also many hotels near the Port Authority that range from affordable to deluxe.
  • Parking: The parking at the Port Authority is large and can accomodate more than enough vehicles. Parking at the Tampa Port Authority garage is also one of the cheapest long term parking costs of all cruise ports at $15 per day in a covered garage, or you can add single $20 charge for valet parking.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Port Everglades

With destinations including the Eastern Caribbean, South and Central America, and even cross-canal (Panama Canal) cruises to the West Coast of North America, Ft. Lauderdale has the western hemisphere covered. Located on the East Coast of the Florida peninsula, just north of Miami, Florida, Ft. Lauderdale is the main port of two of the largest cruise ships in the world, the Allure and the Oasis of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. With cruises from a 4 night range on up, there are price points for every cruise shopper here.

  • Other Attractions: Ft. Lauderdale is loaded with outdoor attractions. There are great Florida beaches, fishing, surfing, and more. The Florida Marlins (Major Leage Baseball) play just south of town, there is Butterfly World, and even Swamp Safaris. The South Beach Park and John U. Lloyd Beach State Park are both within a short drive from Port Everglades.
  • Accommodations: Travelling in and out of Ft. Lauderdale is easy. The Ft. Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport is a few miles away from the port, where you can get competitive priced international flights. Between the airport and the port there are plenty of nearby hotels, including 5 star resorts on the Florida coast. These accommodations will start your vacation with a bang.
  • Parking: Leaving your vehicle at Port Everglades during your cruise will cost you $15/day for a standard vehicle or $19/day for an oversized vehicle. There are multiple lots, so you will want to do some research prior to arrival to see which lot is closest to the terminal your ship is leaving from.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Port

Any list of ports from which to cruise has to have a port on the Mediteranean Sea. This cruise theater has year round sights where both beauty and history abound. Barcelona is located on the North West area of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea, just south of France. Barcelona cruises include destinations in North Africa, the Spanish/French/Itialian Riviera, Greece, and Mideastern stops as well. Cruise lines include Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, MSC, Royal Carribean, Holland America and more.

  • Other Attractions: Barcelona has been well known for its architecture and art for centuries in Europe. There are many museums and historical buildings to visit. Barcelona also has plenty of other sites to visit such as beautiful beaches, sports complexes such as the Olympic stadium, and both historic and amusement parks. Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe.
  • Accomodations: Known worldwide as a place for conferences, trade shows and international get togethers, Barcelona has everything to accomodate you as you arrive to start your cruise and when you return. The Barcelona-El Prat Airport is located south of the city and is just a short travel from the port area. There are buses, trams, and other modes of transportation to take you to the port or show you the city, as well as a high-speed rail that can take you to other Spanish cities such as Madrid.
  • Parking: Long term parking is available at the World Trade Center, in the northern area of the port, for 87.5 Euro/week (see current exchange rates). You are unlikely to need long term parking, however, as there are plenty of public transportation routes of which to take advantage.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Waterfront

For any cruising that includes Canada, Alaska, and even California, a smart traveler will seek out cruises leaving from Seattle, Washington. Seattle's port offers long and short cruises visiting the western coast of Canada and Alaska which can include trips to the interior of Alaska via rail as well. The cruises from Seattle range from $700 and up and include travel on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess and other cruise lines.

  • Other Attractions: Since the port is located near downtown Seattle, on the Puget Sound, there are plenty of nearby attractions to visit. Just a few miles away are Century Link Field and Safeco Field where the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners play (NFL and MLB). There is also a Waterfront Park located between port areas on Alaskan Way. For longer stays, you will want to visit the Seattle Acquarium, Golden Gardens Park, and some of the other museums and parks in the Seattle area.
  • Accomodations: Because the port area is located adjacent to Downtown Seattle, hotel rooms should not be a problem to locate. There are a few on Puget Sound next to the port such as Seattle Marriott Waterfront and the Edgewater. Any travel in or out of Seattle by air will go through the Boeing Field-King County International Airport which is about 5 miles south of the port area or the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport which is 8-10 miles south of the Port area.
  • Parking: Due to the location of the port and the shortage of real estate in a waterfront area, parking is definitely a problem here. The port website simply gives a person's phone number to inquire about parking, not a plethora of information. However, with several hotels near the port, many of them offer free parking with your stay which can be used for the length of your cruise.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Port

One of the oldest port cities to cruise from, Copenhagen, Denmark has all of the central Europe/Baltic Sea history to experience as you begin or end your cruise experience. Cruises from this port include destinations such as Amsterdam, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Oslo, Lisbon, Kiel and even Miami, Florida. You can see the fjords of Norway, visit the Arctic Circle, or even enjoy a transatlantic cruise.

  • Other Attractions: Visitors to Copenhagen can experience art, history, beaches, amusement parks, great shopping and local cuisine. The Danish royal palace, Amalienborg, is a beautiful site to see for any tourist. The Danish National Gallery is home to works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse. Bakken is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world and has one of the oldest roller coasters.
  • Accommodations: Hotels in Copenhagen can be quite pricy, so you will want to get the most for your money. Flakfortet is a castle on an island in the sound in which you can make a once-in-a-lifetime memory. Most of the traffic into Copenhagen will come through the Kastrup Airport. The airport is located just a few minute from downtown by train.
  • Parking: Due to the amount of transportation available in Copenhagen, you should not need parking information. There are multiple rail lines to every area of town, buses, boats/ferries, and even taxis. Should you need parking during the duration of your cruise it would probably be best to work with the hotel you are staying in due to the amount of parking available.


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