How To Cruise Your Way To Olympic Host Cities

August 4, 2016

With the approach of the Rio 2016 Olympics drawing closer and closer, everyone here in the office just can’t wait to watch them! It’s also got us thinking about all the Olympics of the past and reminiscing on watching the games that took place all over the globe.

It’s easy enough just to pop over to London and have a quick glance at the Olympic stadium, but have you ever considered visiting any of the other host cities? Think romantic Paris in the 1920’s, or Greece, the classical home of the Olympic Games!

Interested? Read on to discover why Beijing was the best Olympics yet, the best thing to see in the host cities and how you can cruise there yourself!


USA, 1984

The USA last held the Olympics in 1996 when the games were held in Atlanta, but in 1984 the event was held in Los Angeles, California. The games were believed to have shaped future Olympics, despite an attempted boycott by the Soviet Union. The number of events available for women grew considerably and saw the introduction of the all-women’s marathon!

Did you know? Women used to be excluded from long distance running due to a belief that it would damage their health!

Cruise There: If you want to visit the site that shaped the future of women for the better, take a Princess cruise there. Cruise down the California and West Coast, visiting amazing beaches and some of the best cities in the west… You’ll even be treated to wine tasting at Catalina Island!

What to See: Whilst you’re there go to Yosemite National Park. It’s a world heritage site filled with breath-taking waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and so much more. It’s the perfect place for hikers, or those just wanting a breath of fresh air.

Yosemite National Park in California

France, 1924

During the roaring 20’s Paris was the heart of all things style, whether it be fashion, food or art. It was the place everyone wanted to be, and the Olympics of 1924 were no different, which is why they picked this city to host. This Olympics was one of firsts, as it was the first time the raising of 3 flags closing ceremony was introduced, and the athletes also stayed in the Olympic village for the first time!

Cruise There: Explore the incredible city that remains as relevant as ever with Cunard. They’ll take you on an adventure to Paris, where you can amble through the gothic quarter, dine on macaroons at a quaint café and see that iconic tower!

What to See: For those of you wanting to see something a little different whilst in Paris, visit the cities best kept secret… The Catacombs! Go for a creepy stroll underneath Paris through a network of winding tunnels that holds the remains of millions of people. Skeletons even form parts of the walls! *Gulp*.

Catacombs in Paris, France

Japan, 1964

In the 1960’s Japan became the second largest economy (USA being the first), making it one of the richest countries in the world at the time. Therefore, it was only natural that Tokyo played host in 1964. It was the first games to be held in Asia and it saw the installation of new technologies, including a cinder running track and the debut of Judo and Volleyball.

Cruise There: Experience the city of modern technology and bright lights with P&O. They’ll immerse you into the Japanese culture, you’ll visit the all-important temples and shrines of one of the most incredible cities in the world.

What to See: Anime fans should definitely visit the Studio Ghibli Museum, where a giant Totoro will greet you and invite you inside one of the most visually appealing museums yet. Once inside you’ll get to browse mesmerising scenes and artwork by the country’s biggest animation studio.

Tokyo host city of the 1964 Olympics

Canada, 1976

Montreal became the first Canadian city to host the Olympics in 1976. The games are well known due to the fact that no African athletes took part, 22 countries withdrew due to protesting the fact that the New Zealand rugby team had toured South Africa during the apartheid. Despite this, the games still remained successful and even saw the perfect 10.0 performance of 14-year-old Gymnast Nadia Comaneci of Romania on the uneven bars.

Cruise There: Cruise to Montreal and other incredible Canadian destinations with Holland America. Stroll down Montreal’s Parisian style streets filled with the city’s history and beautiful architecture, you won’t believe you’re not in Paris!

What to See: Visit the Botanical gardens, a series of themed gardens with each one looking fresh out of a different country. See China with a breath-taking garden filled with pools, stunning blossoms and awe inspiring architecture. There’s even gardens for toxic plants and tropical fruits, be careful not to get them mixed up though!

chinese botanical gardens in Montreal canada

China, 2008

The 2008 games in Beijing is considered to be one of the most successful and lavish games yet, a whopping 204 committees took part and we saw world records set in a huge number of events. China’s capital brought us an incredible Olympics, with a mix of modern and historical style. The highlight of the games was the cycling race, as we watched the athletes follow the great wall and pass the monuments of the forbidden city!

Cruise There: Visit Beijing with Princess Cruises, see the highlights of the incredible city, including the amazing Temple of Heaven, and see where the athletes of 2008 cycled in the Forbidden City!

What to See: While you’re around the Forbidden City hop on over to the Emperor Hotel Bar. Have a drink at the Yin Bar whilst looking out at the rooftops of the emperor’s former home… The view is unlike anything you’ve ever seen!

The Forbidden City in Beijing where athletes cycled in 2008 Olympic Games

Greece, 2004

In 2004, the Olympics went back to the place where it all started, Greece. Most events were held in Athens, however the shot put events took place in the iconic Olympia, where the ancient games were hosted, and Archery competitions were held in the Panathenaic Stadium, the place which housed the 1896 Olympics. The Athens Games also saw the debut of women’s wrestling!

Cruise There: See Athens in style with Cunard. Cruise the city that should be on everyone’s bucket list… Walk the same streets as some of the world’s best philosophers’ and see the city of art and ancient architecture.

What to See: The Plaka district is a must see for anyone visiting Athens. Walk down narrow streets filled with shops, then stop off at a quaint café for a coffee. Want to know what else to do whilst in Athens? Click here to read our guide!

The Plaka in Athens, Greece

Mexico, 1968

The choice to host the 1968 Olympics in Mexico was a controversial one due to the high altitude, as the city is 2,250m above sea level. Believe it or not, this actually proved to be a huge advantage in short distance races, and world records were set in all men’s races!

Cruise There: Experience Mexico with Carnival, with each port offering something new and exciting, it’s guaranteed to be the most fun holiday you’ll ever have. You’ll visit amazing beaches, eat incredible food… Sounds like the dream doesn’t it?

What to See: When you’re visiting Mexico, we recommend taking a city food tour that’ll take you to the cities best kept secrets. Sample the most delicious tacos, burritos and so much more. It’s definitely Mexico’s most appetising walking tour!

Mexico eating tour

Antwerp, 1920

Due to a cancellation from Berlin because of World War 1, Antwerp stepped up to the plate to host the 1920 games. This Olympics is probably most known for the introduction for the 5 ring flag as we know it today, displaying the union of five continents!

Cruise There: See the city of charm with a cruise from Fred Olsen. Explore Antwerp’s history and tour the old diamond district, and visit the cities museums.

What to See: Whilst in Antwerp the Café De Muze is a must see for locals and tourists alike. Once inside you’ll meet the most incredible people you’ll never forget, writers, musicians and artists all as unique as the city! If you’re lucky you may even get to see one of the local jazz bands that play a few times a week!

Antwerp, hosted the 1920 olympics

So now you know why you should visit these Olympic countries! What do you think? Are you excited for the upcoming Rio Olympics? Which was your favourite games? Let us know in the comments!