After ships sat idle for what seemed like an eternity, cruising has returned with a race to establish homeport advantage. Straight out of the gate, favorites like St. Maarten and Athens are making strong bids for prominence, and Malta is nosing ahead of a crowded field of Mediterranean options.
Sailing the deep Caribbean has never been easier with Celebrity Millennium weighing anchor for 7-night cruises from St.Maarten. Athens has established itself as an appealing embarkation port for numerous cruise lines: Seabourn Ovation and the new Celebrity Apex, Windstar and SeaDream Yacht Club explore the Greek islands along with homegrown Variety Cruises and newcomer Elixir Cruises. An immensely popular port of call, Valletta, Malta, has become the home port for three ships of the Viking fleet, offering round-trip cruises to the Adriatic, Italy, and Greek islands.
The choppy seas of the past year have given way to smoother seas ahead and spending extra pre- or post-cruise time in these exciting destinations is a just reward for the wait.
Sint Maarten Maagic
At just 37 square miles, St. Maarten is one of the smaller parcels of land in the eastern Caribbean, but it’s just bursting with inimitable charm. The Caribbean vibe is tweaked with cosmopolitan Europe on a two-nation island (French St. Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten) defined by cultural combinations.
To fully appreciate the immense diversity of activities available on the island, one day won’t be enough. Renting a car is a wise option, and opting for an introductory tour is a great way to get the lay of the land.