Which international cities are fast becoming the best new cruise ports?


San Diego just opened the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, the first in the U.S. designed to meet LEED Silver standards for environmentally friendly construction. What's more, come winter ships will have the ability to “plug in” and avoid burning fuel (and releasing CO2) while in port.

Last month's opening of a new cruise terminal in Buenos Aires has increased the port’s capacity from 8,000 to 12,000 passengers. The result: more cruisers than ever will have access to the vibrant Argentinean capital, which is also a great launching point for trips to Patagonia.

The port of Ravenna, Italy—home to eight Unesco World Heritage sites, including mosaic-filled Byzantine basilicas and mausoleums—received a major face-lift last year, allowing large ships to dock overnight and granting easy access to northeastern Italy, from Bologna to San Marino.

Update: Alaska

This summer, cruisers who want to tour Alaska will have several new options. Alaskan Dream Cruises (alaskandreamcruises.com) begins service this summer with a pair of ships—one a former Cruise West small exploration vessel. The line is owned by a Native Alaskan family and tours will focus on local culture as much as nature. Also starting in May, the Disney Wonder (disneycruise.com) will summer along the Inside Passage with seven-night cruises departing from Vancouver; the ship is outfitted with a top-deck restaurant for great glacier and whale viewing. The Oceania Regatta (oceaniacruises.com) will also sail Alaska in May on 10- to 14-day cruises from Anchorage, San Francisco, and Vancouver with stops at classic ports (Juneau; Ketchikan; Sitka) and less-visited ones such as Kodiak.