Cruise Travelers Experiencing Less-Traveled Ports of the World

April 21, 2024

Greetings to all Travelers in a Cruise through History of Ports of the World. Find here a new and shorter newsletter format for CTH stories, discussions of issues facing cruise travelers, and input from the CTH Virtual Travel Group, where cruise travelers share experiences. 

Last session the CTH VTG pondered where to travel to enjoy ports not overrun by hordes of selfie-snappers, mindlessly checking off points on the globe. As size and number of cruise ships increase, and popular sites are visited by bus loads of land travelers, returning from cloister of epic pandemic closures, we appreciate still lovely, lesser-traveled places of wonder. If travel is to nourish our souls and broaden our minds, where do we look forward to shore excursions today?

Visby, Sweden
Lofoton Leknes Islands Norway

We may find attractive new ports, or go deeper in familiar ports. Of ports not frequently found or newly added to cruise itineraries, a suggestion was Visby in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Visby is a walled medieval era town, rich in Viking history, still vibrant with an organic population, not yet displaced by short-term rentals and commercial occupants. Visby streets are too small for tour buses. Wander and enjoy.

Stornoway Castle Outer Hebrides Britain
Stornaway Lews Chessmen
Jeju Island Haru

Other ports to seek on cruise itineraries are Jeju Island of South Korea, off the Busan coast and a cultural planet apart. Jeju is home to mermaid pearl divers, a vanishing group of matriarchs, holding communities together through tumultuous recent history. On Jeju look for Haru, basalt stone guardians of the Jeju sense of humor. On Stornoway, of the Outer Hebrides, enjoy the mystery of Ivory Chessmen, black houses witness to islander endurance, and the castle of an opium dealer, whose story takes us to Hong Kong. Or travel up the coast of Norway to Leknes Islands, a cluster of hamlets that played an outsize role during World War II, now artist havens.  

To experience depth of place in popular ports, wander through habitats of locals, away from tour groups. In Palma Mallorca, once you visit the Cathedral and wonder Gaudi’s art, walk streets, where locals shop, and pause in the Gran Melia Hotel designed by Barcelona Moderne architect Lluis Domenech Montaner. Once you have been to Santiago de Compostela, next time your ship ports in Vigo or A Coruna, enjoy local markets and narrow streets of the old ports. More suggestions are found in CTH blog archives on the website and in each CTH storybook.

Gran Hotel Palma Mallorca
A Corona Spain

When this question was posed to CTH VTG, there were further suggestions and a few photos. Steve and Ellie Coss found no crowds and much solace in Glendalough Ecclesiastical Settlement among lochs of Scotland.

Cruise Traveler Jerena Tobiasen in Lisbon

Award winning author of historical fiction, who researches material on cruise travel, Jerena Tobiasen made friends in Lisbon, near Bertrand bookshop, a likely spot for her. The Bertrand holds a record for the longest continually operating bookstore, in business since 1732.

Next CTH VTG May 13 – Certainly Wonderful Places to Cruise in an Uncertain World

As a perfect storm of weather, politics, and health concerns limit exploration of world ports, which wonderful itineraries are best to book cruise travel in the next 12-24 months? Share your thoughts with fellow cruise travers on a zoom conference May 13, 2024, at 1pm EST. A link to zoom will go to the CTH VTG list. To be added to the list, send a note to

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