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Pristine beaches, luxury mansions & fresh crab: 4 top east coast US cruise destinations

USA cruises to America’s east coast take in an array of amazing cultural destinations as well as Caribbean hotspots – here’s what to see and do while you’re there.

USA cruises are an excellent way to tick off multiple American ports, whether you want to experience the buzz of a Florida beach or the beauty of the Deep South.

We’ve taken a look at just four of the super highlights you can visit on a USA cruise vacation, from Florida to Turks and Caicos.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

What to see in Fort Lauderdale: Admire Fort Lauderdale’s landscaped beachfront promenade (above, right) along Florida’s world-famous coastline. It boasts an award-winning wave wall (a perfect spot to rest) as well as shops, cafes and restaurants. You can also try your hand at everything from windsurfing, jet skiing and volleyball to snorkelling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and rollerblading on USA cruises here.

What to do in Fort Lauderdale: Take a gondola tour of the delightful canals and waterways of Fort Lauderdale, considered the Venice of America (above, left). On a riverfront gondola tour, you’ll take in vast yachts, waterfront homes and local wildlife, including iguanas and manatees, while cruising Las Olas is a lovely way to see Floridian mansions and gardens in comfort.

What to eat in Fort Lauderdale: Tuck into fresh seafood, from live crabs cooked to order to steamer buckets of shrimp.

What to drink in Fort Lauderdale: You’re just north of Miami in Fort Lauderdale so why not try a Miami Vice – a layered frozen slushie with one-part strawberry daiquiri and one-part piña colada? It’s said to be the brainchild of a South Florida bartender and, fun fact, came before the 80’s crime drama of the same name.

Grand Turk, Turks And Caicos Islands

What to see in Grand Turk: Stingrays! At the tiny, picturesque island Gibbs Cay, off the east coast of Grand Turk, wild stingrays swim up to visitors and you can snorkel among them too.

What to do in Grand Turk: Hit the beach during your US cruse stop – they’re exquisite here. The best is Governor’s Beach which boasts pristine white sand and sparkling water – and luckily isn’t too crowded. The Cruise Centre Beach at the cruise port is pretty good too plus there are free beach loungers!

What to eat in Grand Turk: Munch on conch fritters – classic Caribbean finger food of crispy and delicious giant sea snails fried in batter.

What to drink in Grand Turk: Sip on Turks and Caicos’ one locally brewed and produced beer, Turk’s Head. It comes in three beer variants: lager, amber, and an IPA (Island Hopping Ale).

Charleston, South Carolina

What to see in Charleston: Take in fantastic art at the Gibbes Museum – first opened in 1905 – and discover the story of Charleston. The museum is home to a premier collection of over 10,000 American artworks and has one of the most prestigious American portrait miniature collections in the country.

What to do in Charleston: Embark on a self-guided walking tour of the city on your US cruise port of call – visit Waterfront Park (check out the original Colonial city wall from the pier), East Bay (look out for a regatta!), White Point Gardens (home to massive live oaks), Legare (for views of some of Charleston’s most magnificent houses) and finish at Washington Square – why not feast on a picnic here after your cultural efforts?

What to eat in Charleston: Shrimp and grits is the classic fish in Charleston. Shrimp used to be the grub of the lower classes in the South while grits come from the Muskogee Native American tribe.

What to drink in Charleston: Cool down with an iced tea – locals like it ice-cold and sweet.

Newport, Rhode Island

What to see in Newport: Soak up amazing panoramas from Newport’s 3.5-mile Cliff Walk – there are Gilded Age mansions on one side and crashing waves and impressive ocean vistas on the other.

What to do in Newport: On USA cruises here, visit Fort Adams State Park at the mouth of the Newport Harbor. You’ll get fab views of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay and can enjoy an array of activities from fishing to boating to saltwater bathing.

What to eat in Newport: Clam chowder is delicious in New England – Rhode Island’s version is clear and made from freshly caught fish thanks to its coastal position.

What to drink in Newport: You can’t miss a Rhode Island Red cocktail – a tequila drink featuring Chambord, lemon juice and ginger beer.

Published 07.17.23