You probably recognize it… the sail-away after a day of spending time with your cruise ship in a port. A glass of champagne on deck and a last wistful look at the cruise port you visited that day. From the speakers, you can hear “Time to say Goodbye” by Andrea Boccelli and Sarah Brightman. You immediately feel a lump in your throat and intend to come back soon.
What are the most beautiful cruise ports for a sail-away? We asked our Facebook group Cruise Port Tips and they came up with this wonderful list.
The most beautiful and impressive sail-away cruise ports in random order.
1 – VENICE
Venice is the city of the famous canals, gondolas, and above all romance. The Italian city is on the bucket list of many romantic souls and we think that is completely justified! Venice is (and floats) full of sights that you can explore on foot or by gondola.
Unfortunately, since August 2021, most cruise ships are no longer allowed to dock here and this is only reserved for a few smaller boutique cruise ships. But those who have experienced a sail-away agree; It couldn’t get much more magical than a sail-away from Venice and the fading into the horizon of St Mark’s Square.
2 – KOTOR
It is without a doubt one of the highlights of your Montenegro cruise: the Bay of Kotor. This bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is definitely one of the most beautiful bays in the world. You can easily spend days here without getting bored. Visit small towns, climb fortresses, discover beaches and enjoy nature. Unfortunately, you usually only get 1 day in this beautiful port of call. And to see Kotor slowly disappear into the distance can be quite an emotional moment.
Stockholm is a sparkling city of greenery and water, built on fourteen islands. Stockholm is charming and peaceful. In summer it hardly gets dark at night and you can enjoy the midnight sun. The city can be described as a wonderful combination of colorful historic charm and casual modernity. In summer especially, Stockholm is one big relaxation paradise. Everyone wants to go outside, terraces are pleasantly full and people swim everywhere in the clean, clear water around the islands. On the outskirts of Stockholm, countless islands form the special archipelago, and the sail-away from Stockholm can really be added to your bucket list. Stockholm is the refreshing, charming Swedish capital that you must visit once in a lifetime.
4 – RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro is a colorful metropolis, known for its beautiful beaches, of course, the festive carnival, and the impressive statue of Christ the Redeemer on the mountain.
The symbol of Rio de Janeiro is the statue of Cristo Redentor. This snow-white figure of ‘Christ the Redeemer is 38 meters high and overlooks Rio from a high mountain top. An impressive statue that can be seen from all over the city, and takes on a mysterious appearance especially after sunset at your sail-away thanks to lighting from below. The view from the ship towards the city is phenomenal, but be sure to look up for an unforgettable encounter with this world wonder.
5 – SYDNEY
Sydney is Australia’s largest and oldest city and has one of its most iconic and impressive ports. The symbol of Sydney is of course the famous Opera House building. This cutting-edge artwork and theater is the city’s signature building and is probably Sydney’s biggest tourist attraction. The Opera House has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is today open to visitors for performances and guided tours. Below the opera house is a nice bar, where you can have a drink for not too much money and have a nice view of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera house.
The starting point for a traveler visiting Sydney is Circular Quay. It is the gateway to Sydney Harbour. Your cruise ship is often located here and ferries depart from here in different directions. To have the view of Sydney from the water and from your ship at the sail-away is amazing!
6 – MONTE CARLO
Monte-Carlo is known worldwide for the casino and its wealth and of course its beautiful location on the Mediterranean Sea. Many famous people live there and of course the Royal family of Monaco. The most luxurious yachts are located in the marina. The city was built by Prince Charles the Third to show off his wealth, and it still does today!
In addition to the well-known casino, the city is also known for the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Monte-Carlo Rally. Many movies are shot, such as James Bond, and many events take place there. Next to the casino is Hotel de Paris, which is on the list of the world’s most exclusive hotels. Order a cocktail on this terrace where you can sit nice and cool. The Yacht Club of Monaco is also well worth a visit. With your champagne in hand, look up at the palace at the sail-away and imagine that you are also a Grimaldi….
7 – SANTORINI
Santorini is one of the islands of the Cyclades and is also qualified by the Greeks themselves as one of the most beautiful and romantic Greek islands. Santorini is picturesque Greece as we know it from the photos of white churches with blue domes, donkeys, and authentic Greek villages.
Your cruise ship is anchored on the so-called Caldera side of the island and from here you also have a beautiful view of the volcano itself, which is about 15 minutes away by boat and is definitely worth a visit. Take the cable car up or walk up the many steps. Santorini is a unique, fairytale island known for its beautiful sunsets from the village of Oia, views, rich history, and of course Greek cuisine and wine. Enjoy the beautiful view at the sail-away and look up to the top of the Caldera and swoon once more…
8 – ST. BARTS
The Caribbean island has many names, popularly it is called St. Barth. St. Barth belongs to France. The French good life is combined here with the relaxed nature of the Caribbean. A delicious combination! At times it seems a bit like the Cote d’Azur of the Caribbean. The island, like the other islands, was created by a volcanic eruption. The landscape is hilly and green. You have fantastically beautiful bays, breathtaking views, and particularly beautiful hidden spots. And this is what makes the rich and famous come to the island… privacy and the good life under the Caribbean sun. And as unfortunate as it is to leave this beautiful island at the end of your day in port, the view from your ship at the sunset sail-away is truly amazing and unforgettable.
8 – PORTOFINO
Portofino is the Saint-Tropez of Italy, but much more beautiful. Here you will find the Italian and worldwide jet-set on snow-white luxury yachts. The elite from industry, politics and the entertainment world come here to sit on a terrace and enjoy good Italian food and drinks.
Under the leafy trees above the idyllic terraces of bars and restaurants in the harbor and between the oleanders, palm trees, and bougainvilleas you doze off at a pricey Bellini with Italian gelato. Or completely in style with champagne and caviar. If your cruise ship is docked here, a visit to the village is perfectly unforgettable on this Italian coast at the Cinque Terre.
An unforgettable arrival and sail-away with the most beautiful part of the coast of Italy in the background. The sail-away is not only atmospheric and picturesque, it is also super romantic… So who knows, maybe you’ll get a proposal from your loved one here?
10 – BERGEN
Bergen is the heart of the Norwegian fjords. We have many names for the things we love, but there are few cities in Norway that have more nicknames than Bergen. This capital of Fjord Norway’ is one of them. Bergen is also often referred to as ‘the city between the 7 mountains’. And your cruise ship is actually docked in the city center.
Although Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city, it has a small-town atmosphere brimming with character and urban charm. Houses that seem to hang from the hills…the narrow cobbled alleys… The UNESCO-listed medieval Hanseatic Quay of Bryggen is the most famous remnant of the days when Bergen was the trading center between Norway and the rest of Europe.
Today, the wharf houses a museum, shops, galleries, and restaurants, and is a popular focal point for residents and visitors alike.
For great views, the Fløyen mountain peak is the most easily accessible, at 320 meters above sea level. The summit is connected to the city center via the Fløibanen Funicular, a 6-minute ride. And when you sail away from Bergen after a wonderful day, don’t forget the beautiful view of this city from your ship and all the picturesque islands that you sail between.
11 – DUBROVNIK
Dubrovnik, Croatia is not called the Pearl of the Adriatic for nothing. The historic center, or rather the completely walled fortress city of Dubrovnik, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This part is remarkably small. And still in remarkably good condition.
You can easily discover everything in Dubrovnik on foot, the historic center is not large but a special architecture. Here you can enjoy delicious (and cheap) food, such as a meal with, for example, seafood. It is a lovely city to visit.
The old, completely walled fortress town from the thirteenth century is located at the foot of the mountain Srdj. You can walk well on the city walls and you can go on them to various locations. From the immense city walls (called Gradske Zidine) and towers, you look out over the city and the sea and your ship. A sail-away at sunset is especially ideal for photographers.
12 – VALLETTA
Valletta is the capital of Malta and may call itself the smallest capital in Europe. But for Valletta it absolutely applies: small but beautiful. The city is a real must-see during your cruise in Malta and do get off the ship. Marvel at the beautifully colored and special balconies, visit one of the beautiful museums in the city, go to a festival and sit down on one of the many terraces.
Whoever visits cruise port Valletta should take into account that there are quite a few height differences that have to be bridged. Those with walking difficulties may have problems walking Valletta. But that is also an advantage with the sail-away. The view of Valletta is beautiful from your ship and definitely a photo opportunity!
13 – AMSTERDAM
Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations for sea and river cruises in Northwestern Europe. The Netherlands is a just small spot on the map. The fact that it nevertheless played an important role in world history is due to its geographical location. Large rivers flow into the sea here, making the country a hub of trade.
Amsterdam has occupied a special position in the Netherlands since the second half of the sixteenth century. Located in the mighty province of Holland, the city developed into a hub of trade and political lines. The canal belt, consisting of the Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List, dates from the first half of the 17th century. Visit the Anne Frank House or the many museums of de Keukenhof flower gardens in spring. Amsterdam is a vibrant and interesting city with an open and tolerant atmosphere: the Amsterdammer welcomes everyone who visits the city with open arms. Cruise Terminals are located right in the center and are close to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Amsterdam Central Station and you can walk straight into the bustling heart from here. When sailing away you will see Amsterdam, the central station and the canals.
14 – NEW YORK
From Amsterdam to New Amsterdam as New York was previously called. New York City (officially The City of New York) is the largest city in the United States of America and is located in the state of New York. The city is one of the world’s most important centers of trade and finance, thanks to its location on one of the best natural harbours.
The Statue of Liberty is a statue in New York Harbor and is fantastic at sunset sail-away. It symbolizes welcoming everyone: returning Americans, guests and immigrants. The 46-meter-high statue (93 meters if the pedestal is included) and weighing 225 tons was a gift from France, in honor of the centenary of the Declaration of Independence and as a sign of friendship. The plaque in her left hand reads “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” the date (July 4, 1776) of the Declaration of Independence. The Manhattan skyline is beautiful from the deck of your cruise ship!
15 – HONGKONG
You are actually in a separate country in Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong belongs to China, it has a different vibe. Mountains, temples and sea alternate in Hong Kong with lively markets, the most modern shopping centers and restaurants. So versatile!
Hong Kong means “fragrant harbor”, after the incense that was sold in the harbor. Although Hong Kong has been populated for some 5,000 years, the city has had a modest place in the Chinese empire for a long time. Hong Kong consists of the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories on the mainland. Hong Kong Island is located just off the coast here, along with about 200 more islands that are largely uninhabited.
If your ship stays overnight in Hong Kong, I have another tip for you. Every evening around 8pm there is a laser show from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island side. One of the most beautiful places to enjoy this is restaurant Aqua on Kowloon side. With floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll have the best view of the city’s stunning skyline and show here. And… the food is great. Make a reservation and ask for a table by the window for the best view. But if you don’t succeed, the sail-away from your ship is also great to say goodbye to this beautiful city and its special and unforgettable skylines.
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