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10 Unfamiliar Ports To Visit In 2017

Last month, we revealed the most popular cruise port in each region, according to how many different cruise lines were sailing there in 2017. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Those ports may be visited the most, but what about those more exclusive destinations that there are fewer opportunities to see. Here are 10 unfamiliar ports which are hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Gdnyia, Poland


Poland may not be the most exotic cruise destination but it is slowly starting to appear on more Baltic itineraries. Gdnyia was once a small fishing village but has grown much larger thanks to the influx of tourists and locals since the country gained its independence. On arrival, you can either discover the 13th-century churches, enjoy the open-air events that regularly take place or travel to nearby Gdansk to explore this beautiful Hanseatic city.

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  • Departure: 13 May 2017 for 16 nights
  • Destination:

    11 Ports - Baltic, Northern Europe, Norway & Fjords, Scandinavia

  • Itinerary:

    Southampton - Gdynia - Klaipeda - St Petersburg - Tallinn - Riga - Travemunde - Copenhagen - Oslo - Skagen - Southampton

Ilha Das Flores, Azores

Ilha Das Flores

Most cruises to the Azores stop in popular ports such as Ponta Delgada and Horta but Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines can offer a stop at Ilha Das Flores. With a name that means ‘Island of Flowers’, it’s no surprise that it is considered by many to be the most breathtaking part of the Azores. Captivating natural landscapes await, featuring crater lakes, dense forests, waterfalls, hot springs and dramatic rock formations.

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  • Departure: 9 Jun 2017 for 26 nights
  • Destination:

    10 Ports - Caribbean, Iberia, North America, Transatlantic

  • Itinerary:

    Liverpool - Leixoes - Funchal - Ponta Delgada - Horta - St George Island - Hamilton - Lajes das Flores - Praia da Vitoria - Liverpool

Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands

Turtle Saint Croix

The most popular port in the US Virgin Islands is Charlotte Amalie, but cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean will also take you to the lesser-visited destination of Saint Croix. As well as the duty free shops, the island is best known for its crystal clear waters that beckon you to dive in. A snorkelling excursion may help you get to know the turtles, octopuses, sea horses and other creatures of the deep that live here.

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Jewel of the Seas
  • Departure: 26 Nov 2017 for 7 nights
  • Destination:

    7 Ports - Caribbean

  • Itinerary:

    San Juan - St Croix - Philipsburg - Roseau - Bridgetown - St George's - San Juan

Mazatlán, Mexico

Mazatlan Cathedral

Popular Mexican ports include Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Ensenada, but Mazatlán is a little more difficult to find on itineraries. The city has two distinct areas, which will appeal to different travellers and help show the diverse appeal of this destination. The Zona Dorada is home to beaches, shops and a wide range of hotels, whilst El Centro is where you will find history in abundance. There’s the archaeological museum, a beautiful basilica and the 19th-century opera house.

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Ruby Princess
  • Departure: 28 Oct 2017 for 7 nights
  • Destination:

    5 Ports - South America

  • Itinerary:

    Los Angeles - Puerto Vallarta - Mazatlan - Cabo San Lucas - Los Angeles

Penneshaw, Australia

Kangaroo Island

Australia is growing as a cruise destination but, whilst many operators will take you to Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, few have itineraries that feature Penneshaw. Located on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of Adelaide, it is a key ferry port for the mainland and a growing docking point for cruise ships. With rugged landscapes and endemic animals roaming free, it feels like time has stood still, preserving the environment. As well as the kangaroos, the island is home to koalas, echidnas and even a colony of penguins.

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  • Departure: 15 Oct 2017 for 50 nights
  • Destination:

    15 Ports - Australasia, Caribbean, Iberia, Pacific, Panama Canal, South America, Transatlantic

  • Itinerary:

    Tilbury - Funchal - St John's - Castries - Bridgetown - Transit Panama Canal - Acapulco - Nuku Hiva - Papeete - Moorea - Cross International Dateline - Auckland - Sydney - Penneshaw - Adelaide

Volos, Greece

Meteora Greece

Greek islands are a popular part of Eastern Mediterranean cruises, but the mainland port of Volos remains a relatively unexplored area for most cruise lines. Cunard’s Queen Victoria can take you there in 2017, though, showcasing the modern waterfront promenade and traditional villages in the area. With Mount Pelion as its backdrop, Volos is also the starting point for excursions to the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Metéora. These awe-inspiring natural rock towers are a major tourist attraction and feature intricate monasteries perched atop the monoliths.

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Queen Victoria
  • Departure: 19 Aug 2017 for 14 nights
  • Destination:

    11 Ports - Mediterranean

  • Itinerary:

    Trieste - Corfu - Katakolon - Santorini - Volos - Piraeus - Sarande - Heraklion - Rhodes - Mykonos - Piraeus

Paamiut, Greenland

Greenland Village

Paamiut is an excellent example of the charming fishing villages that can be found all along the coast of Greenland. It is thought to have been occupied since 1500 BC and so there is plenty of history just waiting to be discovered. Away from the main tourist spots of Greenland, it is a place for adventurers who want to stray from the beaten path. You’ll learn how the women in the community make beautifully adorned dresses from sealskin and be welcomed by the warm-hearted locals. Keep your eyes on the sky too, as residents of Paamiut say it’s good luck to spot a white-tailed eagle in flight.

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  • Departure: 26 Jul 2017 for 15 nights
  • Destination:

    9 Ports - Canada, Iceland & Greenland, North America

  • Itinerary:

    Reykjavik - Isafjordur - Qaqortoq - Paamiut - Nuuk - Sydney - Halifax - Boston - New York

Khasab, Oman


The Middle East is another cruise region that seems to be going from strength to strength, with more ports in the UAE, Qatar and Oman appearing on itineraries. Khasab is located within the latter on that list and is often referred to as ‘the Norway of Arabia’. As you sail into this charming port town, you will see the rugged ‘fjords’ along the coastline that have helped it earn this nickname.

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Celebrity Constellation
  • Departure: 12 Nov 2017 for 15 nights
  • Destination:

    7 Ports - Egypt & Red Sea, Mediterranean, Middle East

  • Itinerary:

    Civitavecchia - Catania - Piraeus - Suez Canal - Aqaba - Muscat - Abu Dhabi

Rockland, USA

Lighthouse Rockland Maine

Rockland is one of the many ports in the American state of Maine which offer a chance to see the stunning fall foliage along the New England coast. This picturesque town is not only known for being the lobster capital of the world but also for offering a wide range of adventure opportunities. These include sailing, hiking along the beaches and climbing to the summit of Mount Battie.

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Norwegian Gem
  • Departure: 14 Oct 2017 for 7 nights
  • Destination:

    6 Ports - Canada, North America

  • Itinerary:

    New York - Halifax - St John - Portland - Rockland - New York

Koper, Slovenia

Skocjan Caves Slovenia

Slovenia only has a small section of coastline, but Koper is slowly establishing itself as a must-visit destination during Eastern Mediterranean cruises. Just like in Dubrovnik and Kotor, you’ll notice the striking red-roofed houses dotted amongst this charming seaside city. As a former territory of the Venetian Empire, there’ll be a familiar feel to the various squares and palaces for anyone who has visited Italy’s floating city. Koper is also where you can head off on excursions to Slovenia’s capital and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Skocjan Caves.

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Seven Seas Explorer
  • Departure: 4 Oct 2017 for 10 nights
  • Destination:

    9 Ports - Mediterranean

  • Itinerary:

    Barcelona - Marseille - Monte Carlo - Livorno - Civitavecchia - Sorrento - Dubrovnik - Koper - Venice

Because of the exclusive nature of these ports, cruises that take you there are likely to sell out quickly, so it’s important to book early. If you would like us to find you an itinerary that features any of these destinations, or anywhere else you would like to visit, give our team a call on 0808 250 8098.

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