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10 Most Beautiful Harbors in the World for a Cruise Sailaway

Silver Muse in Sydney
Silver Muse in Sydney

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There's a reason every "Love Boat" episode featured a sailaway scene with cruisers waving and streamers flying. Few cruise experiences are as emotional as sailing away from a port, feeling the wind in your hair and watching the scenery go by then recede into the distance. Whether it's the excitement surrounding the start of your journey or a sense of serenity and gratitude for your wonderful vacation, sailaway can bring on all the feelings.

Now add in some of the most beautiful harbors in the world, and a cruise ship sailaway can be among the most memorable vacation experiences you'll have.

Here are 10 spots we've deemed the most beautiful harbors in the world for a cruise sailaway. 

1. New York City

Aerial view of lower Manhattan New York City
Manhattan offers one of the most beautiful -- and iconic -- harbors in the world for a cruise sailaway. Every minute offers a feast for the eyes, from the New York City skyline to the incomparable Statue of Liberty. Make sure to look up when sailing underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.

2. Sydney

Sydney, Australia (Photo:Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock)
Equally as iconic is a sailaway from Australia's beautiful Sydney Harbor and Circular Quay. Cruisers can get postcard-perfect pictures of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge, both with the city's skyline in the background.

3. Geiranger

Geiranger (Photo:Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock)
For one of the most naturally beautiful harbors in the world for a cruise sailaway, you'll want to visit the Norwegian fjords. While just about any port on a fjord voyage will offer gorgeous scenery, the views when leaving Geiranger, located at the very tip of the 9-mile-long Geirangerfjord (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), are almost unparalleled in the world. See how many waterfalls you can spot; not all are as breathtaking as the Seven Sisters waterfall, but they all add to the serene beauty of the fjord.

4. Venice

The Giudecca Canal During Early Morning Summer Day (Photo: Nikolay Antonov/Shutterstock)
Ask almost any experienced cruiser if they've sailed out of Venice, Italy and they'll tell you how it was the most spectacular sailaway they've ever had. With views of Venice from both sides of the Grand Canal, including of St. Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace, a cruise ship is the perfect spot for taking in the cityscape.

5. Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Photo:zhu difeng/Shutterstock)
Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor is stunning and sparkly at night, with one of the most impressive skylines in the world. As most ships leave Hong Kong after the sun has gone down, cruisers get the full nighttime effect with buildings lit up in different colors. Depending on when your ship is heading out, you might catch a bit of the nightly "Symphony of Lights" laser show.

6. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro (Photo:Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock)
Sailing away from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil offers a mix of manmade and natural beauty, making it another of the world's most beautiful harbors to see by cruise ship. Be sure to snap your photos of the Christ the Redeemer statue first as it will fade from sight long before Sugarloaf Mountain does.

7. Miami

Miami (Photo:Patricia Marroquin/Shutterstock)
For crystal-blue water and golden sand beaches that stretch for miles as you pull away, look no further than Miami, Florida, the cruise capital of the world. On a lovely sunny day, the beautiful Miami harbor makes for one of the nicest sailaways you can ask for.

8. Santorini

Image: Norwegian Jade in Santorini, Greece (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)
The Greek island of Santorini is just as pretty from afar as it is up close, with whitewashed cottages dotting the sheer cliffs and crystalline blue-green water everywhere you look. Make sure you have plenty of memory in your camera or phones because you'll want to take lots of photos as you pull away.

9. Moorea

Cruise ship in Moorea, French Polynesia Photo Crystal Cruises
The South Pacific is one of the most beautiful places in the world, so it's no surprise a port in the region makes it onto our list of the most beautiful harbors for a cruise sailaway. Moorea, one of the Society Islands, offers some of the lushest tropical scenery, with most ships dropping anchor in the turquoise waters of Cook's Bay. When sailing out, keep your eyes open for the island's famous black-sand beaches and green, craggy mountain peaks.

10. Icy Strait Point

View of Icy Strait Point, Alaska from a cruise ship on a sunny day
Similar to the South Pacific, most ports in Alaska provide enough natural beauty during sailaway to take your breath away, but we've chosen Icy Strait Point as our choice for most beautiful. The tiny port fades quickly into the background as you depart from Icy Strait Point, but keep your eyes open for humpback whales that often linger in the harbor or gaze up to the snow-tipped mountains that surround the channel.

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