The experienced cruisers amongst you will probably already have an idea of where we’re going with this, and it’s a trap a lot of people new to cruising can fall into it and is something even experienced cruisers can get wrong if they’re looking at unfamiliar ports.
We are, of course, talking about the way in which certain ports are advertised on a cruise itinerary. “But what’s wrong with how the ports are advertised?” you may ask.
Well, the problem is that you might not actually be going to the port or place you think you are.
For instance…have you ever seen a cruise from the UK advertised on an American ship? Quite often the departure port will be advertised as London with Southampton added in in brackets. Now we know London to Southampton is a good two hour journey (assuming good traffic), but to an American looking at that itinerary it’d be easy to assume they’re cruising from London.
This trick of advertising one destination but arriving at a port miles away is a lot more common than you might think. Just take a look…
Civitavecchia to Rome – Distance to port 71.7km
Who hasn’t seen Rome on a Mediterranean itinerary? The thing is though, if you look at it on a map you’ll see it’s pretty far in land! In reality you’ll dock at the port of Civitavecchia and face over an hour’s journey to get to your destination.
Le Harve to Paris – Distance to port 197km
This is one of the big ones that constantly trips people up. Remember; with a five hour round trip you probably won’t get the chance to see more than one or two of the sights in Paris so make sure you decide what’s important to you ahead of time.
Livorno to Florence – Distance to Port 122km
Livorno to Pisa – Distance to port 31km
You may, from time to time, have noticed a cruise itinerary with Florence/Pisa on it and you may then have wondered which of the two you actually dock in. In truth you don’t dock at either as neither of them are on the coast. You will in fact, dock in Livorno and then have to choose between one or the other.
Again… this is where some advanced planning will pay off. Whilst Pisa is certainly closer it could be argued that there’s more to do in Florence! You’ll need to take a look at what’s on offer and decide for yourself.
Toulon to Marseilles – Distance to port 65.8km
Marseilles is a weird one. Located in France, it looks like it should have it’s own port when you look at a map when in fact anyone wanting to visit will often have to dock fifty minutes down the coast in Toulon.
Kusadasi to Ephesus – Distance from port 23km
Ephesus, which apart from Istanbul, is the main cruise destination in Turkey is another city located quite a ways inland. To reach it you’ll need to dock at Kusadasi and make your way there.
Laem Chabang to Bangkok – Distance from port 125km
It’s not just the Mediterranean that this happens in either! If you decide to head further afield, maybe to somewhere like Bangkok in the Far East, even after a long journey to the other side of the world you’ll still find yourself 125km from your port!
Tel Aviv to Haifa – Distance from port 110km
Ashdod to Jerusalem – Distance from port 68km
Whilst an hour to an hour and a half is probably a little short to consider an actual pilgrimage, make sure you’ve taken these travel times into account when visiting the Holy Land as they will cut into your time in Israel.
Tianjin Port to Beijing – Distance from port 180km
Our penultimate port, Beijing (well… Tianjin), is nearly one of the longest journeys at 180km and it’s a pity as it’s also one of the ports with the most to do. The only advice we can give is to again plan ahead and make sure you tick off your bucket list everything you really had to see!
Warnemunde to Berlin – Distance from port 240km
Berlin is a common port of call on many Northern European itineraries but at 240km and a possible six hour round trip you’ll have to really want to see it to make the journey worthwhile!
So what’s your thoughts on itineraries? Are they misleading? Were you surprised when you discovered this information on your first cruise? Or is it just part and parcel of the Cruise Itinerary experience? Let us know in the comments below…
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