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6 Things To Look Out For On Cruise Itineraries

Whether you regard it as the most important aspect of a cruise or not, there is no doubting that the itinerary is a key consideration when booking your cruise. Most people planning a holiday on the ocean waves will be looking out for a combination of ports that they have never visited before and those that they always enjoy going back to, but here are a few other things to be aware of.

Overnight Stays

Ovation of the Seas in Port At Night

The fact that a certain itinerary includes an overnight stay in a destination is likely to be enough for you to choose it over a cruise that merely visits said port for a few hours. An overnight stay is where the ship stays in port until the following morning, allowing you to spend more time exploring and to see what the destination is like when the sun goes down. These usually take place in the most popular cities and there are even some cruises which will feature two consecutive overnight stays in the same location.

Scenic Cruising

Cunard Ship Norwegian Fjords

You may think that scenic cruising is the same as a sea day and therefore look for itineraries that don’t include too many days when this is on the itinerary. However, scenic cruising will offer far more to see that your regular sea day and, although you the ship won’t stop, you will get to witness some amazing sights from the bow. This is most common in places like the Norwegian Fjords, where scenic cruising will provide you with some great photo opportunities and unforgettable views.

Maiden Calls

A maiden call is a destination that the ship has never visited before. Sometimes it can even be a destination that’s a first for the entire cruise line. These often provide an exclusive look at somewhere where few cruisers have been before and are, therefore, exiting stops on the itinerary. The chances are that a maiden call will be somewhere you have never set foot either, giving you opportunity to explore somewhere new.

Private Islands

Disney's Castaway Cay

Many cruise lines have their own private islands, usually in the Caribbean or Bahamas, where their guests can enjoy an exclusive resort packed full of fun. There will be no overcrowding from passengers sailing with other operators and the onshore activities are often included in your cruise fair. Examples of private islands include Disney’s Castaway Cay, Royal Caribbean’s Labadee and Norwegian’s Great Stirrup Cay.

Gateway Ports


Gateway ports may take you by surprise as they might seem like places you have never heard of. In these cases, the name of the port listed on the itinerary will not be the name of the city you will actually be visiting. For example Civitavecchia is actually the cruise terminal for Rome and the port of Piraeus will allow you to travel inland to Athens. It’s worth looking out for these as certain itineraries could include somewhere you would love to visit without you even knowing. Incidentally, to test your knowledge of gateway ports, you can take our fun quiz.

Late Departures

Aurora In Sydney

Late departures are a kind of middle ground between a normal day in port and an overnight stay. They give you more time to look around the city in question but the ship still sails onto the next destination overnight so that you wake up somewhere new in the morning. Late departures may give you the chance to enjoy a local evening meal, check out some of the night life or simply explore further inland without worry that you only have a few hours before the ship departs.

All of these are worth looking out for on a cruise itinerary as they can help sway your decision between different options. If you need some more help with choosing the perfect holiday, don’t be afraid to ask our team any questions. Call us on the number at the top of the page or get in touch via our online contact form.

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