Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Finding the Less Crowded Cruise Ports

Though the brochure photos will show idyllic, deserted beaches, one rarely encounters those on cruises. Instead, these mammoth ships dump out thousands of visitors, who flood the streets and sands, changing the character of whatever area they visit.

That's a given. But visiting a port when yours is the only ship in town is infinitely more preferable than getting there when three or more other mega-ships are in port. And now a new online tool can help you avoid the cruises that will be going to crowded ports.

Its called the CruiseWise Port Calculator and its initial page is a map of the world, with bullets for cruise ports. Click on one, and you'll see the average the port gets yearly, as well as the ships that visit that port. The program also allows travelers to key in dates and itineraries, allowing them to see just how many other travelers will be in the ports during the time of his or her proposed cruise. I typed in a sailing of the Celebrity Solstice for mid-February and found that if I were to take that cruise of Australian, I'd encounter no tourists beyond those on my boat. Good to know!

The site has some downsides. It only deals with the 6 largest cruise lines in its itinerary search (so customers of Crystal, Azamara and the other small, luxury brands will be out of luck). And in order to use the tool, you have to agree to receive deals from I have yet to see how much of a flood that will unleash on my inbox!


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