Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass
Looking for a way to make a vacation last just a little longer? Cruise enthusiasts will be happy to know that their point of embarkation doubles as the perfect weekend getaway. The U.S. is home to so many wonderful port cities that make for the perfect family, couple or solo travel vacation-within-a-vacation, so stay an extra day or two in the cities on our list.
1. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is a city worthy of any traveler’s bucket list, and it also happens to be the perfect port city for cruisers looking to visit Alaska. According to cruisecritic.com, seven cruise lines sail from Seattle to Alaska each season so there are plenty of options to choose from. While in the Emerald City, travelers won’t want to miss a visit to the Space Needle, a stop at The Museum of Flight and of course lunch at the famous Pike Place Market. Those lucky enough to spend a few days in this fabulous city may also want to make arrangements to see Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park or Snoqualmie Falls. Don’t know where to stay the night? Check out the Seattle Downtown Hampton Inn Suites or Hilton Seattle for a good night’s sleep.
2. Boston, Massachusetts
With historic sites, cobblestone streets and seafood that can’t be beat, Boston, Massachusetts is one of the most charming port cities in the U.S. From this port of embarkation, travelers can sail the east coast or venture to Canada. While exploring Beantown (a nickname lovingly bestowed upon this city in honor of its famed regional dish Boston baked beans), travelers can explore the city streets by trolley, take part in an immersive American history tour and even hop on a boat in hopes of becoming BFFs with some local whales, aka whale watching. History buffs will also enjoy the opportunity to walk America’s Freedom Trail and the chance to visit the legendary Boston Tea Party ships which have been converted into a museum. After all that exploration, travelers can rest their heads at Hyatt Regency Boston, a Trip-Advisor-approved lodging option.
3. Savannah, Georgia
Ocean cruises and river cruises, the city of Savannah plays host to both. Nestled in the Deep South, cruisers can beat the sizzling heat with a glass of sweet tea, but don’t forget to be polite – Georgians take their manners very seriously. The city of Savannah is small yet mighty with good food, fabulous museums and plenty of haunts. An old pirate’s home, battle grounds forever stained by blood spilled during the Civil War and a dark history with slavery make Savannah one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. Locals have embraced the city’s spookiness and cruisers can enjoy one of the many macabre walking tours or pub crawls any day of the week. If they aren’t too freaked out after all those ghost stories, travelers can catch some shut-eye at the Homewood Suites located in the city’s Historic Riverfront District.
4. San Francisco, California
Located in the heart of the city, the Port of San Francisco is the perfect gateway to exploring this fantastic destination. A city filled with many notable attractions, travelers won’t want to miss an afternoon in Fisherman’s Wharf (home to one of our favorite San Fran hotels, the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf), a walk or ride along the wacky Lombard Street and a visit to the infamous Alcatraz Island. Families will enjoy local museums and attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the Walt Disney Family Museum and Exploratorium. When it comes to day trips, nature lovers must take some time to visit Yosemite National Park or Redwood National State Park for a vacation they won’t forget.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
South Carolina might not be the first place to come to mind when travelers think cruising, but Charleston is home to a busy cruise ship terminal that acts as a home base for many of the world’s top cruise liners. Charleston was named Travel + Leisure’s “Top US City” of 2018 for its natural beauty, rich history and southern charm. Favorite attractions in the area include historical walking tours and carriage rides, a stop at the South Carolina Aquarium and a visit to Middleton Place, an 18th century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark with impressive terraces, reflection ponds and wildlife. When it comes to making it to the cruise terminal on time, travelers can ensure an easy commute with a stay at Hampton Inn Suites Charleston West Ashley, located just minutes from the waterfront.
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