The second-largest city in Iceland (yet still small, with fewer than 18,000 residents), Akureyri has become a regular stop for cruise ships visiting the island on a Norwegian fjords cruise, as well as those on transatlantic repositionings.
Located on Iceland's longest fjord, Eyjafjordur, Akureyri has been settled since Vikings arrived in the 9th century and has long been dominant in fishing, thanks to an ice-free port. Although cruise ships only visit during the summer, the town has a healthy winter tourism scene, with several ski resorts close by. Thus, you'll find many outdoor clothing stores, as well as restaurants, cafes and bars, in the city's downtown.
A call in Akureyri provides cruisers with a cute town to explore and makes a perfect gateway to northern Iceland's geothermal phenomena. Lake Myvatn, home to bubbling hotpots, thermal baths, craters and lava formations, is less than two hours away. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, consider a flightseeing trip over this geothermal wonderland; if an eruption is going on, you might even see lava spurting into the air (as tourists did in fall 2014, when a fissure developed in nearby Holuhraun).
Akureyri is also a good place to hire an independent tour operator for outdoor pursuits, such as whale watching, horseback riding, hiking and Jeep adventures. Or you can rent a car and explore the country's Ring Road. Make sure you wear layers and bring a raincoat; Iceland's weather is notoriously fickle even though Akureyri generally has warmer temperatures than other parts of the island.