If there is one person in the know about the best ports, sites and dining destinations, it’s the ship’s captain. Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises captains reveal their favourite European ports and insider tips.
Magnus Davidson, Azamara Jounrey
Favourite port: Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland
A favourite port of mine would have to be my home town of Leith, Edinburgh. Our ship docks right next to the Queen's former Royal Yacht Britannia and from the port, it's a short distance to the centre of Edinburgh.
Do: Walk up the Royal Mile and you’ll see a whole range of wonderful, historical sights - like the Palace of Holyrood House and the new Scottish Parliament buildings. At the top of the mile sits Edinburgh Castle – an absolute must-see, offering incredible views over the city.
Eat: The area of Leith, known as The Shore, is a five minute walk from where the ship docks and is one of the most vibrant areas of Edinburgh, with a large number of restaurants and bars lining the river. Options include Michelin-starred The Kitchen and Wishart's to other less opulent but equally delicious choices, like seafood restaurant The Ship on the Shore.
Tip: Prepare yourself for the one o' clock gun fired from the castle each afternoon - it has been known to scare the daylights out of visitors (and occasionally longtime residents)!
Carl Smith, Azamara Quest
Favourite Port: Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor has been my favourite port ever since I visited for the first time some 15 years ago. There’s nothing quite like sailing into the stunningly beautiful fjord-like Bay of Kotor on a cruise ship; and the old-world atmosphere of the town is breathtaking.
Do: I love the hike up to St John's Fortress at the top of the hill. Dotted with old churches and war-time ruins, the walk is rich in history as well as beauty. And the view at the top looking out upon Kotor Bay is out of this world.
Eat: I love the pizza with Njegušk prosciutto.
Tip: Visit The Lady of the Rock opposite Perast – this beautiful church sitting atop a man-made island is teeming with maritime history and mythology, and is considered a guardian angel to all sailors – and cruise ships - that pass by.
Michael Katzas, Celebrity Constellation
Favourite port: Gibraltar
The Gibraltar Straits connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and at their narrowest point, separate Gibraltar from Africa by only seven nautical miles – making the tiny British territory a curious melting pot of languages and customs.
Do: The Rock at over 4000m high…it offers breathtaking views including the Moroccan coast on a clear day, and of course, the famous Barbary Macaque monkeys, who call the Rock of Gibraltar home.
Eat: Rosto, a delicious pasta dish with meat sauce, and Torta De Acelga, a spinach pie which is actually of Italian origin but very popular in Gibraltar.
Tip: For anyone planning a trip to the top of the rock be sure to make it back onboard with all your belongings – those monkeys like to take souvenirs from tourists!
Panagiotis Skylogiannis, Celebrity Reflection
Favourite Port: Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos is a medley of modernity and tradition and its allure is hard to resist. I love the blue skies, the vibrant fishing boats peppering its shores, the bursting purple bougainvilleas and whitewashed cube houses and the white-sand beaches – combined, they all create a picture of enormous beauty.
Do: I love going to the beach, and if you are a first time visitor, I’d recommend discovering its rich history by visiting the small island of Delos, which features prominently in Greek mythology.
Eat: Seafood – of course!
Tip: Excursion Ancient Delos gives incredible views of the Cyclades Archipelago during a scenic boat ride on the Aegean Sea and a chance to discover spectacular floor and wall mosaics at the Hellenistic mansions of Delos.
- Until November 1 Celebrity Cruises is offering $US300 onboard credit and two free beverage packages per stateroom to guests who book an oceanview or above on selected 2018 Europe sailings.
- Guests who book a selected Europe 2018 voyage with Azamara Club Cruises before November 30 can book a veranda stateroom for the price of an interior stateroom.
- Fares start from $9229 per person twin share for a 15-night Journey to the North Cape cruise on Azamara Journey, departing Edinburgh (Leith) on July 24, 2018.
- A 10-night Adriatic and Med Treasures voyage on Azamara Quest, departing Venice on July 16, costs from $5429 per person twin share.
- Fares start from $2869 per person twin share for an oceanview stateroom on a 10-night Italy and Spain voyage on Celebrity Constellation, departing Rome on May 7, 2018.
- A balcony stateroom on a 10-night Italy and Greek Isles voyage on Celebrity Reflection, departing Rome on June 8 next year, costs from $4229 per person twin share.
- For more information and bookings see azamaraclubcruises.com or celebritycruises.com.au.