One of the things I love about cruising is waking up in a new port every day. One of the things that leaves me yearning is waking up in a new port every day. Certain ports just deserve more time to explore.
The picture above of the Sydney Opera House is just one example. If you left port at the normal 5 pm sailing time, you'd miss this amazing icon so beautifully lit up . So much action starts after the sun sets!
Azamara Club Cruises is the cruise line that brought longer stays and overnights to the forefront. Their tagline "Seize the Night" is spot on. More cruise lines are now doing the same, giving you greater opportunities to really explore and immerse yourself into local culture.
Even river cruises are jumping on board. While many overnights in the iconic cities are already included, some itineraries have been shortened to include new ports of call and longer stays to allow for new/additional activities, including meals with locals, cooking classes, painting lessons and walking/hiking beautiful trails. Avalon's Active Discovery cruises is one example.
Late departures or overnight stays - longer port stays bring a number of benefits. Here are a few.
CITIES COME ALIVE AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN
Exploring places during the day is a given. It's hard to see much of what the area has to offer in the dark. And some places you shouldn't be after dark, at least not on your own. HOWEVER...... cities do come alive after the sun goes down. The locals are out and about after a day at work. It's a decidedly different vibe than what the day brings. It's exciting, and for anyone who thrives on new experiences and insights into different cultures, this is it!
Photos courtesy of Azamara Club - Ephesus and Hong Kong
CULINARY AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCES ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE EVENING
Shows, operas, concerts, dining experiences, especially those that cater more to the locals, may only be available in the evenings. Take advantage of overnight stays to take in one of these venues. Linger, soak it in, with no fear of missing the boat!
LESS CROWDED WITH TOURISTS
While I try to plan trips focused on places less crowded, if your visit coincides with other cruises in town at the same time, certain venues can be more crowded than others. As you wave goodbye to that "other line" leaving port, go the venues that generally get crowded during the day. Doesn't work all the time, but some venues, like museums, stay open late, and offer a better, quieter, more serene experience.
MORE TIME TO EXPLORE, ENJOY, SIMPLY "GET LOST"
Longer stays or overnights - either way - just plain and simple are less rushed. They give you more time to explore, to linger, to "get lost" as I like to describe it. Being able to just wander, with no specific destination in mind, can be the best medicine!
Some experiences require more time and may simply not be logistically feasible if in town on a normal cruise stop. Added time in port expands the possibilities - more venues that can be fit in, additional venues not normally available.
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