Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises.
Cruisers like: Chennai, known as Gateway to South, is the capital state of Tamil Nadu. The city boasts a unique mixture of both the traditional and contemporary and is a must visit for its beaches and historical sites. Visit the Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple from the eighth century, the oldest museum and art gallery in the country and take a stroll along Marina Beach – an urban beach stretching 13 kilometres. Some of India’s best silk sarees come from Kanchipuram and can be bought in the city. Kanchipuram is also one of the seven most sacred Hindu pilgrim cities.
Best for: Beach lovers and history buffs.
Getting around: The Chennai Beach station is closest to port, but tourist cabs are the best choice to get around the city.
Who goes there: Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn.
Cruisers like: Mangalore is home to the Hindu Kadri Manjunath Temple and Catholic sites dating back to the 17th century. The Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and tourists flock here to celebrate the Mangalore Dasara festival. Nature lovers should visit the Sultan Battery watchtower for a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and keep a lookout for sea eagles by the port.
Best for: Culture and nature lovers.
Getting around: New Mangalore Port is one of India’s major ports and is about 10 kilometres from the city center. Shuttle services are sometimes provided, though t he best way to get around is to share a taxi. There are tuk-tuks for hire as well.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Cruisers like: Portuguese heritage is still evident in the architecture and local love for siestas throughout Goa. Mormugao, Goa’s main port, is 40 kilometres from Panjim, the Goan capital. The famous Mormugao Fort was built to protect the harbor near Vasco de Gama town. In the heart of Panjim, Church Square offers a wonderful view of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. Don’t miss out on the world famous Goa beaches fringed with popular restaurants and resorts. Marketplaces in Panjim are a good place to buy cashew nuts and handcrafted Portuguese ceramics.
Best for: Beach lovers, couples and families.
Getting around: Taxis are readily available at port. Be sure to agree on a fare before getting in. It is a 10-minute drive or 30-minute walk from New Mormugao Port to Mormugao Fort. It takes 45 minutes to drive from Mormugao to Panjim.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea.
Cruisers like: Previously known as Bombay, the financial and commercial hub of India is chaotic, culturally rich and has a fascinating history. Today, this vibrant city is a melting pot of cultures and home to some of India’s richest and most influential citizens. The Gateway of India is the symbol of Mumbai and a visit to the ornate Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station and University of Mumbai is a must for some of the best examples of British colonial architecture. The Taj Mahal Palace is a stunning hotel blending Islamic and Renaissance styles. Cruisers who enjoy the fast-paced city vibe will enjoy a stopover here.
Best for: Everyone, especially those interested in Indian culture, history and architecture.
Getting around: The port is a ten-minute drive from the town center. Opt for modern cabs with air conditioning and electric meters.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn.
Cruisers like: Kochi has been a harbour since the 14th century when Arab, Chinese and European merchants began to visit. Most of the scenic and heritage sites can be found in the Fort Kochi area. Cruisers can stroll along the waterfront to see Chinese fishing nets or visit Jew Town, famous for its antique shops. No trip to Kochi will be complete without a visit to the Portuguese Mattancherry Palace to see Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art and portraits of Kochi Rajas. Kochi is in the state of Kerala, which is renowned for its backwaters. Some 900 kilometres of waterways that can be explored by boat and offer a glimpse into a less hectic part of life in India.
Best for: History lovers and families.
Getting around: Plenty of taxis and tuk-tuks are available. Bring your best haggling skills to organise a private tour with the cab driver. Alternatively you can take one of the many ferries that travel between the port and the centre of town. The ferries operate all day, take around 20 minutes and only cost a few rupees.