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Cruises to Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada (Photo:De Visu/Shutterstock)

About Ponta Delgada

The Azores form an archipelago of nine beautiful mountainous islands, located well out in the Atlantic Ocean, significantly closer to Europe than North America. Ponta Delgada, the chief port and administrative center on the island of Sao Miguel, lies 900 miles west of Lisbon. Cruise ships on repositioning voyages between North America and Europe often call there.



Discovered in the 15th century by exploring Flemish and Portuguese sailors, Sao Miguel Island became a favorite stopover for passing ships because of fresh farm food and the abundance of fish in the surrounding waters. Ponta Delgada attained city status one hundred years later, and today the city's population numbers 45,000 with a further 20,000 residing in smaller towns and on the countryside. Since 1976, the Azores have status as an autonomous region of the Portuguese Republic.



Volcanic activity has produced some pretty spectacular scenery on the island, along with some of the highest mountains in "Europe" (if you include the rise from the seabed). Visitors stream out of Ponta Delgada to climb the crater rims for breathtaking views down onto blue and green lakes, hike the mountain and nature trails, and gaze out to sea from mighty headlands.



Unlike the Canary Islands, where travelers go for predictably hot weather and good beaches, the Azores draw a different type of visitor -- one who appreciates the natural beauty of a subtropical environment that produces pineapples, good wines and creamy white cheeses. Hence, beach and resort hotels are few by comparison.



Cruise-ship visitors to Ponta Delgada will often drive out into the countryside for visits to small villages and natural volcanic wonders. There's usually time afterward for a relaxed amble through the lovely port city, noted for its squares paved with black and white tiles, beautiful churches, and public buildings with their white-painted facades and brown-black volcanic stone trim. Fish and shellfish fans will discover moderately priced restaurants, some right outside the cruise terminal.

  • Why go to Ponta Delgada?

  • Ponta Delgada Cruise Port Facilities?

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Celebrity Constellation
Celebrity Constellation

16 Night
16 Nt Mediterranean Transatlantic CruiseDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Nov 6, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Constellation
Celebrity Constellation

15 Night
Mediterranean TransatlanticDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 22, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Epic
Norwegian Epic

15 Night
Europe - OtherDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Breakaway

16 Night
Europe - OtherDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Oceania Cruises

18 Night
Repo - TransatlanticDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Nov 3, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

13 Night
Spain, Azores & BermudaDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 31, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Transatlantic CruiseDetails

Leaving:Bayonne
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
May 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Spain, France & Italy TransDetails

Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Apr 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Passage To SpainDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Apr 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Repo - TransatlanticDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 31, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Western Europe TransatlanticDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Nov 5, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Europe - OtherDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

128 Night
128-day Grand World VoyageDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Transatlantic CruiseDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Oct 17, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Western Europe TransatlanticDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 29, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Ponta Delgada?

Pros:

Natural attractions such as Sete Cidades and Furnas are the island's crown jewels

Cons:

Beaches are limited to a few small, rocky areas of sand; locals mainly go to seawater pools

Bottom Line:

The island is not only beautiful but also affordable (by European standards)

Ponta Delgada Cruise Port Facilities?

From the main terminal building's exit, a row of outdoor/indoor restaurants stretches along a promenade to the right. To the left, cafe bars, some with free Wi-Fi (if you purchase a drink or snack), and shops lead the way to town.

Good to Know?

Pedestrians should cross roads at designated crosswalks and be aware of fast-moving cars on one-way streets. If driving, note that the secondary roads are narrow and twisty, and driving up into the clouds requires caution. But otherwise, motoring is a pleasure, as the island is so beautiful, and it's very hard to get lost since the sea is your guide to finding the coastal road back to Ponta Delgada. Watch out for turnoffs that lead to a viewpoint and a short hike down to the sea or along a cliff.

Getting Around?

Taxis are available at the cruise terminal and outer breakwater. Minibus routes serve Ponta Delgada's outlying residential districts, and standard-size buses link the rest of the island. You'll find stops along Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique; just pay the driver when boarding. You can rent cars at the terminal through Autatlantis, which offers rates with unlimited mileage plus taxes. Car rental is a good touring option, as traffic is generally light, though roads beyond the city are curvy and narrow, especially when climbing into the hills. Additional auto rentals are found left along Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

  • Portuguese is the official language. English is spoken at the main tourist destinations but less so in towns and the countryside outside Ponta Delgada.
  • The currency is the euro; for the current exchange rate, visit http://www.oanda.com. ATM's are positioned near the exit to the cruise terminal and outside banks along the Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique. (Head left when leaving the terminal complex.) Barclays Bank is at No. 33. All designated Multibanco have English language options. Change some money into euros for drinks and snacks and inexpensive lunch places.

Where You're Docked?

Terminal Maritimo, the principal cruise facility, is conveniently located just a five-minute walk from Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique, the main street running along Ponta Delgada's harborfront. In addition, some ships may berth at the more remote outer breakwater. Depending on how far out on this arm the ship is docked, it can be a longish 10- to 20-minute walk into Ponta Delgada. If you're docked on the outer breakwater, you won't find any services until you pass through the security gates into town.


Ponta Delgada Cruise Reviews
The Azores were more lush and interesting than I thought they would be. Was fortunate with good weather the Fire Lake in the interior was visible during the tour as was told that it can be covered in fog or low cloudRead More
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sabre635
Highly recommend the Hungry Whales tour. It is a combination of culture and history of the island with food and drinks common to the area. Take the extra walk to the museum at the end. It's well worth the steps!Read More
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pennguin
We did the fire lakes and mountains trip. We had a fantastic guide who took us to little villages and even introduced us to a local mayor. The scenery was stunning and definitely a place I would like to go back andRead More
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Simand15
Pretty, inexpensive and friendlyRead More
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AdeAfloat

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