We actually prefer to avoid busy ports. Our favourite cruise was a few years ago, from Istanbul to Athens, after Russia invaded Ukraine and the major cities and attractions there were cancelled. Ports like Mykonos and Kusadasi were already fully booked, I guess, so Azamara found tiny fishing villages along the southern coast of the Black Sea and a couple of luxurious Greek resort islands never really featured on typical routes. (My lips are sealed). We were often the only ship in port (except for Goldie Hawk and Kurt Russell’s impressive yacht) and had several charming places entirely to ourselves. I’ve watched, over the years, to see if any of those places reappeared on itineraries, but it looks like it was a unique cruise. Lucky us!
I was amazed by the bargain prices offered for the Alaskan cruises this summer but since I abhor crowds, I couldn’t be tempted. I’ve seen travel posters with aerial shots of pristine glacier bays with huge ships lined up like cars in a Costco parking lot. I’m very practical. How can a small coastal town offer adequate sanitary facilities to thousands of people a day? My sister did this voyage a few years back and said they had to line up outside a bar for ages and buy food and drinks for a fortune to use the bathroom. This does not sound like fun to me. Have you checked out the usurious prices for mundane hotels in Vancouver in the cruising season?
I do wish Azamara would take advantage of their small ship size and cruise more often to smaller, less typical ports in Europe. It’s so great to just walk off the ship into a lovely town, meet the locals and relax away from crowds.