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En español | The island's sheer volcanic cliffs, topped by sparkling white houses, make this among the most beautiful spots on earth. Take the cable car up and back from the dock (it's nicer and less smelly than the donkey ride). The crowds clot around the upper terminus — but blessed solitude awaits just a short stroll in either direction.
It's just a brief walk from the pier to 1,700-year-old Hagia Sophia, once the largest church building on earth. Its spacious interior offers lots of quiet nooks for solitary reflection.
The bustling ancient city sprawls on one side of the Danube River; a quiet climb up Castle Hill, on the opposite shore, leads to a Disneyesque castle with an unforgettable view.
Get off the ship and head straight up the hill, past the mobbed shops and restaurants of Old Town. There you'll find the 400-year-old fortress of El Morro, a European citadel above an impossibly blue sea.
Richard I'Anson/Lonely Planet/Getty Images
From your ship, take a ferry directly to the Caribbean's most awesome sight, the towering Pitons. At 2,461 and 2,619 feet, these remote peaks rival any volcanic pillars in the world.
The Big Easy's riverboat pier is a 10-minute walk from the raucous French Quarter. But don't wedge yourself into Bourbon Street's rock-and-roll-infused melee; follow the sounds of the city's quiet side streets for some authentic jazz.
Cruise ships line up like white stretch limos below the ice cliffs of Glacier Bay National Park. Try to book a cruise that instead goes to this less-crowded but equally awesome ice-festooned fjord south of Juneau.
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Few ports are more striking than this one, with the billowing Opera House dominating the skyline. But beware: Mega cruise ships are often too tall to fit under the dramatic Harbour Bridge, and they must dock away from downtown.
Some of the world's most exclusive hotels cluster around this South Pacific island's famous lagoon, but your cruise ship docks right offshore. We dare you to take a dip in these warm, unspoiled waters and not resurface singing "Bali Ha'i."
Diane Cook and Len Jenshel/Getty Images
Chances are you'll view this city's most awesome sight right from your deck: A low, cottony cloud pouring over the top of Table Mountain. If there's no cloud that day, take the 10-minute cable car ride to the summit for a dramatic view of the city ... and your ship lying beyond.
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