With all of the decisions that you have to make before taking a cruise, you may think that picking a cruise destination is the least of your worries. Four, seven, twenty-nine days on a luxurious cruise ship with nothing to do but while away the hours and absorb the scenery, who cares when and where you port? It’s all bound to be good, right?
Not necessarily. Many popular ports of call are visited by numerous cruise ships belonging to different cruise lines each and every day. These ports are often crowded and so touristy in nature that it is hard to enjoy or even discern the cultural allure that made these ports popular in the first place. For this reason, you should always research the ports of call offered in your cruise package as well as the ship that you book passage on.
Sapphire Princess: Ports of Call North And South Pacific
In this article we will look at just one of Princess Cruise Line’s ships, the Sapphire Princess, which visits numerous ports of call each year. In the summer months, she tours the waters of Alaska bypassing scenic glacier formations and during the rest of the year she can be found touring Mexico, Australia, and the South Pacific. Below is a brief review of two of the most popular cruises offered aboard the Sapphire Princess and just a few of her ports of call.
Hawaii, Tahiti, and the South Pacific
This amazing 29-day cruise begins in Sydney, Australia and takes a leisurely tour of the South Pacific making numerous stops before landing at Los Angeles nearly a full month later. The pricing for this cruise starts at $3,499 for an inside stateroom but is well worth the cost. On day 17 of this cruise, passengers are able to enjoy a full day in Bora Bora, French Polynesia. On day 23, the ship ports at Honolulu, Hawaii.
Bora Bora’s main attraction is its multi-colored crystal clear lagoon and the many water-based activities that it offers. Some of the most popular activities include shark feeding, snorkeling, and scuba diving. If you need to get away from the ocean for a little while and test your sea legs on dry ground, Bora Bora offers scenic tours to see WWII cannons and breathtaking views of the lagoon from the hills above.
In addition to these attractions, there are numerous fine restaurants and shops to be found in Bora Bora. Unfortunately, transportation is a bit complicated on the island with only one public bus. Bicycles are the recommended mode of transportation for tourists to this area.
Honolulu is the most popular destination in Hawaii and for good reason. No matter what you desire to do, Honolulu can deliver. Its premier beach, Waikiki, is reputedly one of the best beaches in the world. Aside from lounging on the beach, you can also enjoy scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and snorkeling. Land-based attractions include numerous golf courses, the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Aquarium.
If you’re a history buff, you might want to visit Pearl Harbor while you are in Honolulu. Here you will find the USS Arizona Memorial which is dedicated to those who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Voyage of the Glaciers, Alaska
This seven-day cruise is quite a deal with pricing starting at $599 for an inside stateroom. Guests are treated to leisurely days filled with scenic glacier cruising as well as several stops as the ship travels from Whittier to Vancouver. On day three of this excursion, the cruise passes through Glacier Bay National Park. On day six, the Sapphire Princess makes port at Ketchikan, Alaska.
Glacier Bay National Park
Some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world can be seen from the rails of a cruise ship on a leisurely trek through the Glacier Bay National Park. For a full day, passengers aboard the Sapphire Princess’s Voyage of the Glacier Cruise can sit spellbound as awe-inspiring images of ice shelves and beautiful glaciers pass slowly by.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve features 16 tidewater glaciers and 12 icebergs. Here you can also catch a glimpse of the abundant wildlife that calls the glaciers home. Creatures that call this region home include bears, deer, mountain goats, whales, and numerous types of waterfowl.
More than 800,000 cruise passengers make port at Ketchikan, Alaska each year. What they find is a mind-boggling array of activities that makes this back-woods, sparsely-populated wilderness one of the most adventurous ports of call in the world.
While many activities in Ketchikan require more time than an average cruise port will allow, there are several activities that can be done during a short stay. Some of these activities include exploring the historic downtown area; visiting Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Historical Park, or the Totem Heritage Center and Tribal Fish Hatchery to look at totem poles; going hiking in the Tongass National Forest; going kayaking; taking one of the many boat or air tours offered in the area; visiting historical exhibits; or chartering a fishing boat to test your skills against the teeming population of halibut and salmon.
Remember; this is only a glimpse at a couple of ports of call on two of the Sapphire Princess’s cruises. All the major cruise lines will have many different cruise packages and that will make multiple ports of call on each voyage. So be sure to research the cruise thoroughly before you make your final destination decision.