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DamianG

One-off, Replacement or Unusual Ports

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Posted (edited)

On other threads Selborne mentioned Ceuta and Andy talked about Santander which both sound fantastic and just the sort of places we would love to visit. That got me thinking about a couple of times we've been rerouted to ports which are not usually in the brochure itineraries and I'd love to hear any other experiences good or bad.

 

We've been diverted to different ports a couple of times:

 

2009 Christmas Markets cruise: There was some kind of climate conference in Copenhagen and P&O were belatedly advised to avoid the port due to potential demonstrations so we ended up in Aarhus. We're always interested in new ports so we eagerly went ashore but it was a mucky old day, gloomy and sleeting. We spent the morning at the folk museum then bailed out and headed back Arcadia completely soaked.

 

2010 Mediterranean: We were supposed to go to Livorno but the weather forecast was really bad and we diverted to La Spezia. It was pouring down but as it was a new port we tendered ashore and we managed to catch the end of Sunday mass at the Cathedral. We were hoping for some lunch but gave up trying to find somewhere in the pouring rain and then endured the worst ride on a tender ever to get back on board. Once again we were wet through and tendering was temporarily suspended as soon as we got back. 

 

So not a lot of luck with our diversions but at least we've been to some different ports.

Edited by DamianG

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, DamianG said:

On other threads Selborne mentioned Ceuta and Andy talked about Santander which both sound fantastic and just the sort of places we would love to visit. That got me thinking about a couple of times we've been rerouted to ports which are not usually in the brochure itineraries and I'd love to hear any other experiences good or bad.

 

We've been diverted to different ports a couple of times:

 

2009 Christmas Markets cruise: There was some kind of climate conference in Copenhagen and P&O were belatedly advised to avoid the port due to potential demonstrations so we ended up in Aarhus. We're always interested in new ports so we eagerly went ashore but it was a mucky old day, gloomy and sleeting. We spent the morning at the folk museum then bailed out and headed back Arcadia completely soaked.

 

2010 Mediterranean: We were supposed to go to Livorno but the weather forecast was really bad and we diverted to La Spezia. It was pouring down but as it was a new port we tendered ashore and we managed to catch the end of Sunday mass at the Cathedral. We were hoping for some lunch but gave up trying to find somewhere in the pouring rain and then endured the worst ride on a tender ever to get back on board. Once again we were wet through and tendering was temporarily suspended as soon as we got back. 

 

So not a lot of luck with our diversions but at least we've been to some different ports.

 

The weather wouldn't have helped to save the day.......but another time take advantage of your proximity to the Cinque Terre from La Spezia. 

Last year we chose an itinerary specifically because it included La Spezia.  We'd been a couple of times before so were fairly confident in planning our own DIY excursion to include our favourite town on the Cinque Terre and the spectacular ferry ride to Porto Venere which was a new place to visit for us.

Sounds a bit complicated but with the necessary train/bus/ferry timetables to hand, very doable.  (Even managed to find a route for the bus so we could tell where we were all the way back.)

We had an early start (we were docked) and went to the train station, got a ticket for Vernazza which is the prettiest of the five towns in our opinion, spent a little time there then got the ferry to Porto Venere.   The views of the Cinque Terre from the water are fabulous.   

We spent a few hours exploring Porto Venere then took the local bus back to La Spezia - interesting and good views as you travel along the coast.  We were never more than half an hour away from La Spezia so if all else failed, (no bus!) we knew we could get a taxi back.  A full day but very interesting, varied and most enjoyable. 

Given good weather and the opportunity to plan ahead, I'd urge you not to dismiss La Spezia as a port if you see it on a future itinerary.  One of the best in the Med for us! (At least for where you can visit from there.)

 

This is Vernazza

Vernazza's picturesque harbour, with boats moored to the pier on the right and historic brown buildings surrounding the water.

 

 

And Porto Venere

image.jpeg.c75ac0ff5549da440451934344d7a2fa.jpeg

 

Sorry about the different sizes, I'm not very good at inserting pics - but it gives you an idea of the towns along the coast line here. 

Edited by kruzseeka

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1 hour ago, DamianG said:

On other threads Selborne mentioned Ceuta and Andy talked about Santander which both sound fantastic and just the sort of places we would love to visit. That got me thinking about a couple of times we've been rerouted to ports which are not usually in the brochure itineraries and I'd love to hear any other experiences good or bad.

 

We've been diverted to different ports a couple of times:

 

2009 Christmas Markets cruise: There was some kind of climate conference in Copenhagen and P&O were belatedly advised to avoid the port due to potential demonstrations so we ended up in Aarhus. We're always interested in new ports so we eagerly went ashore but it was a mucky old day, gloomy and sleeting. We spent the morning at the folk museum then bailed out and headed back Arcadia completely soaked.

 

2010 Mediterranean: We were supposed to go to Livorno but the weather forecast was really bad and we diverted to La Spezia. It was pouring down but as it was a new port we tendered ashore and we managed to catch the end of Sunday mass at the Cathedral. We were hoping for some lunch but gave up trying to find somewhere in the pouring rain and then endured the worst ride on a tender ever to get back on board. Once again we were wet through and tendering was temporarily suspended as soon as we got back. 

 

So not a lot of luck with our diversions but at least we've been to some different ports.

On our first ever cruise, on Island Escape we tendered into Monte Carlo. After a wander around I said " do you fancy a drink before we go back to the ship?" Why is Michael Schumacher on TV. I think it's the Italian Gran Prix today dear ( sneaky of me ). After the race we went back to the tender point. The ship has gone. Too rough so it went to Cannes. We had a nice little coach trip around the South of France and a Couple of hours in Cannes. Quite a good result.

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2 hours ago, kruzseeka said:

 

The weather wouldn't have helped to save the day.......but another time take advantage of your proximity to the Cinque Terre from La Spezia. 

Last year we chose an itinerary specifically because it included La Spezia.  We'd been a couple of times before so were fairly confident in planning our own DIY excursion to include our favourite town on the Cinque Terre and the spectacular ferry ride to Porto Venere which was a new place to visit for us.

Sounds a bit complicated but with the necessary train/bus/ferry timetables to hand, very doable.  (Even managed to find a route for the bus so we could tell where we were all the way back.)

We had an early start (we were docked) and went to the train station, got a ticket for Vernazza which is the prettiest of the five towns in our opinion, spent a little time there then got the ferry to Porto Venere.   The views of the Cinque Terre from the water are fabulous.   

We spent a few hours exploring Porto Venere then took the local bus back to La Spezia - interesting and good views as you travel along the coast.  We were never more than half an hour away from La Spezia so if all else failed, (no bus!) we knew we could get a taxi back.  A full day but very interesting, varied and most enjoyable. 

Given good weather and the opportunity to plan ahead, I'd urge you not to dismiss La Spezia as a port if you see it on a future itinerary.  One of the best in the Med for us! (At least for where you can visit from there.)

 

This is Vernazza

Vernazza's picturesque harbour, with boats moored to the pier on the right and historic brown buildings surrounding the water.

 

 

And Porto Venere

image.jpeg.c75ac0ff5549da440451934344d7a2fa.jpeg

 

Sorry about the different sizes, I'm not very good at inserting pics - but it gives you an idea of the towns along the coast line here. 

 

Fabulous, detailed response, thanks so much! If we ever get there again that's a definite plan for us.

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We intended to visit the Cinque Terre when we docked in La Spezia and walked to the rail station to find that there were no trains as there was a danger of a landslide.Similarly no boats either.Definitely one of our 'must see' in the future places.

On the same cruise we had been disappointed that Naples had been replaced with Salerno a few weeks before we were due to visit.However after some research I discovered that it was possible to catch a ferry from Salerno to Positano which we did.We then caught a bus back to Salerno taking in all the stunning scenery along the way.It was a very enjoyable day out

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We had quite a lot of itinerary changes on our 2011 Oceana cruise because of the Arab spring. Lybia changed to Malta which we enjoyed.  We went to Alexandria strangely enough,  to replace Egypt. A lovely place but you could sense the tension. Haifa in Israel was  fine  but Ashdod was cancelled so we did two days one night in Haifa. Two days one night docked in a busy , noisy, smelly container port. The tours were interesting though but the armed soldiers everywhere were a little unnerving. The tour coaches left the port in a convoy with escorts and the traffic was stopped until the coaches had gone past. Don't want to do that again. 

Avril

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Does flying to Toronto and being diverted to Quebec for the night  count ?

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10 hours ago, wowzz said:

Does flying to Toronto and being diverted to Quebec for the night  count ?

 

Don't know what Toronto is like, or if you got the chance to see anything of Quebec but Quebec is lovely and definitely the kind of place i like to explore!  

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, ann141 said:

We intended to visit the Cinque Terre when we docked in La Spezia and walked to the rail station to find that there were no trains as there was a danger of a landslide.Similarly no boats either.Definitely one of our 'must see' in the future places.

On the same cruise we had been disappointed that Naples had been replaced with Salerno a few weeks before we were due to visit.However after some research I discovered that it was possible to catch a ferry from Salerno to Positano which we did.We then caught a bus back to Salerno taking in all the stunning scenery along the way.It was a very enjoyable day out

 

The Cinque Terre has suffered from landslides - the latest only a year or two ago.  It affected the section between Riomaggiore and Manarola.  There is a lovely easy, paved walk of less than a mile cut into the cliffs between the two villages called the Via dell'Amore.   We had considered including that last year as part of our day but it was still closed. 

You can buy a Cinque Terre Card at the station in La Spezia which allows you to use the train like a hop-on hop-off between the 5 Cinque Terre  'towns' (villages really).  Ask for a timetable when you buy your ticket (also gives you access to the Via dell'Amore).  They are quite frequent and it really is close to La Spezia.  From La Spezia, you're only looking at 8 minutes to Riomaggiore(#1) 12mins  to Manarola (#2) and 20 mins to Vernazza (#3).  Corniglia (#3) is up a hill.  You can get off there to explore the village but it's quite a haul up a lot of steps to the town and as it's not on the water's edge not quite as attractive from a photographic point of view. 

For a first visit to the area, a day's Cinque Terre Card to just use the train to go from village to village is very rewarding.  

I should say though that the 8 minute ride from La Spezia is predominantly through tunnels should that be an issue for anyone.  But a great Day excursion.

This site gives some info and also details of the train service and timetable.

https://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/en/

Edited by kruzseeka

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56 minutes ago, kruzseeka said:

 

The Cinque Terre has suffered from landslides - the latest only a year or two ago.  It affected the section between Riomaggiore and Manarola.  There is a lovely easy, paved walk of less than a mile cut into the cliffs between the two villages called the Via dell'Amore.   We had considered including that last year as part of our day but it was still closed. 

You can buy a Cinque Terre Card at the station in La Spezia which allows you to use the train like a hop-on hop-off between the 5 Cinque Terre  'towns' (villages really).  Ask for a timetable when you buy your ticket (also gives you access to the Via dell'Amore).  They are quite frequent and it really is close to La Spezia.  From La Spezia, you're only looking at 8 minutes to Riomaggiore(#1) 12mins  to Manarola (#2) and 20 mins to Vernazza (#3).  Corniglia (#3) is up a hill.  You can get off there to explore the village but it's quite a haul up a lot of steps to the town and as it's not on the water's edge not quite as attractive from a photographic point of view. 

For a first visit to the area, a day's Cinque Terre Card to just use the train to go from village to village is very rewarding.  

I should say though that the 8 minute ride from La Spezia is predominantly through tunnels should that be an issue for anyone.  But a great Day excursion.

This site gives some info and also details of the train service and timetable.

https://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/en/

Thank you.All very useful if we get the chance to visit again

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We have been to a couple of ports that only appeared in the brochure once and were never seen again. The first was Molde in Norway which was lovely and we would happily return and the other one was St Nazaire in France which was awful.

One port that we used to visit regularly but has now vanished is Eidfjord which we loved.

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27 minutes ago, ann141 said:

Thank you.All very useful if we get the chance to visit again

 

You're welcome.  I've just spotted an error in my previous post though.  Vernazza is village #4 (not #3).  If you do visit the Cinque Terre, I hope you have a lovely time. 🙂

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12 hours ago, wowzz said:

Does flying to Toronto and being diverted to Quebec for the night  count ?

Oh, go on then! 😀

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12 minutes ago, Twogreynomads said:

We have been to a couple of ports that only appeared in the brochure once and were never seen again. The first was Molde in Norway which was lovely and we would happily return and the other one was St Nazaire in France which was awful.

One port that we used to visit regularly but has now vanished is Eidfjord which we loved.

 

Love Eidford.  We went on Aurora in July last year - so I take it from your post that it's not appearing in future itineraries.  That's a shame.  

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We really liked St.Nazaire, we found it very interesting. Loved sailing in past the ship yard, I think MSC Meraviglia was being built, it looked huge. We wanted to do a tour of the shipyard but left it til we got on board and it was fully booked. Airbus are also assembled nearby and there were various bits of aeroplanes on the docks.  They don't get many ships in and we were  made so welcome with loads of information and tourism staff available. St.Naizare has a lovely beach which we walked along and looked at the memorial to the St.Naizare raids. And there was an interesting submarine which we visited and a really good museum about ocean lines which was very well done and we thoroughly enjoyed. Ok, so it's not a pretty place and you can't get away from the enormous u boat pens but they were very interesting. We had been in La Rochelle the day before so had lots of prettiness there. 

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15 minutes ago, Twogreynomads said:

We have been to a couple of ports that only appeared in the brochure once and were never seen again. The first was Molde in Norway which was lovely and we would happily return and the other one was St Nazaire in France which was awful.

One port that we used to visit regularly but has now vanished is Eidfjord which we loved.

 

We enjoyed Molde too, it was a very quiet Sunday and I completely fluked finding a church with mass about to start. The service was in Norwegian but the hymns were in English with the words on an overhead projector screen! We then followed a nature trail walk and finished with 2 beers in the port area which cost an absolute arm and leg.

Norway & The North Cape 2009 049.jpg

Norway & The North Cape 2009 053.jpg

Norway & The North Cape 2009 061.jpg

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Posted (edited)

We love Spanish ports, hopefully if cruising is back on track we're heading to Ibiza next year and we'd like to visit Almeria, Torrevieja and Menorca. Can anyone share their experience of these places?

 

Also Murmansk and Odessa have come to mind as unusual ports if anyone has been there (Jean - did you sail into Odessa once or have I mixed you up with someone else?).

Edited by DamianG

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Torrevieja is full of Brits and about as Spanish as Blackpool.  Can't think of a single reason why anyone would want to visit it.

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12 minutes ago, wowzz said:

Torrevieja is full of Brits and about as Spanish as Blackpool.  Can't think of a single reason why anyone would want to visit it.

 

Oh no! That wouldn't be for us then, what a shame.

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54 minutes ago, DamianG said:

We love Spanish ports, hopefully if cruising is back on track we're heading to Ibiza next year and we'd like to visit Almeria, Torrevieja and Menorca. Can anyone share their experience of these places?

 

Also Murmansk and Odessa have come to mind as unusual ports if anyone has been there (Jean - did you sail into Odessa once or have I mixed you up with someone else?).

If you get to Menorca, make sure you visit Cituadella.  Much nicer than Mahon in my opinion.

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In 2017 we were on Oriana when storms forecast for the Adriatic caused itinerary changes. Or visits to Venice, Ravenna and Kotor were cancelled and we diverted to Trieste. We had had no time to research what to do so just wandered around and had an enjoyable few hours. It has an elegant main square with nice cafes and plenty of upmarket shops. It doesn’t seem to get many cruise ship visits so was not very touristy. 
Unfortunately we then sailed on to Catania where we spent 2 days supposedly avoiding the storm. We had been there before and it is our least favourite port so we just stayed on board! 

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2 hours ago, DamianG said:

We love Spanish ports, hopefully if cruising is back on track we're heading to Ibiza next year and we'd like to visit Almeria, Torrevieja and Menorca. Can anyone share their experience of these places?

 

Also Murmansk and Odessa have come to mind as unusual ports if anyone has been there (Jean - did you sail into Odessa once or have I mixed you up with someone else?).

 

I went to Odessa on my first cruise way back in 1970's!  All I can remember are the famous steps.

 

I've missed a few ports but last year the weather was too bad to tender into Mykonos so we were sent to Katakolon.  I'd never heard of it.  It was great, pretty little town, nice waterfront.  It's about 10 miles from the ancient site of the Olympic Games.  I took a ramshackle local bus and got into the site for €6 as I was an EU pensioner (I guess that deal's gone now).  I had a wonderful Greek salad in the local town and had a great, if unexpected day.

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Katakolon is a lovely little port.  The dock is just a few step from the 3 streets and harbour which comprise the town.  As besberry says it’s no distance from Olympia (taxi, bus or train!) but if you’re feeling lazy and just want to enjoy an ouzo and lunch overlooking the water it’s a car-free environment to do that.

 

We’ve done one-offs at Cueto, Cannes and Genoa (only for embarkation that one, but it is a lovely “golden age of cruising” terminal - wood panelling etc).  The unusual ports seem to come up with repositioning, it seems.

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We love Katakolon too, although we've spoken to many that don't and only see it as a starting point for Olympia. It's a lovely old port to wander around and to have lunch in an authentic Greek restaurant, and as Eddie says, not far to the ship after one too many ouzo. 

Avril 

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