Cruise to Westeros, Middle Earth, Jurassic Park & Other Film Locations
Whether you want to travel to King's Landing, The Shire, or a galaxy, far, far away, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn you can reach a lot of these places on a cruise. Here are our top picks for filming locations you can cruise to:
1. Game of Thrones
Out of the many Game of Thrones filming locations, you'd be surprised how many places in Westeros (and Essos) you can cruise to. Dubrovnik is at the top of this list, as even a casual fan will recognize its resemblance to the walled harbor city of King’s Landing. Dubrovnik serves as the location for some of the most memorable moments on the show, including the famous duel between the Mountain and the Viper, along with Cersei Lannister's walk of shame. A quick ferry ride to the small island of Lokrum also gives cruisers the chance to explore locations used during Daenerys Targaryen’s time in Qarth.
On cruises to Belfast, Ireland, loyalists to House Stark can also tour the (still intact) Castle Ward Estate, which fans will know better as Winterfell. Tours also visit nearby Audley’s Castle, the site of *spoiler* Robb Stark’s military camp during his ill-fated march south to seize the Iron Throne. During these tours, fans will learn about the sets, costumes, and special effects used during the show, and even get a lesson in archery.
2. Lord of the Rings
Photo by Shutterstock / kovgabor
Even though the entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, not too many locations are within range of the cruise ports. Still, from the port of Tauranga you can visit the Shire at Hobbiton, Frodo’s village located in the center of the Shire. Although the village was taken down after the filming of the original trilogy, it was reconstructed for The Hobbit and remains in place today.
Just outside of Wellington, cruisers will recognize scenes from the early stages of Frodo’s journey, notably the tense “Get off the road!” and “Race to the Ferry” scenes where Frodo and his friends narrowly evade the terrifying Ringwraiths. A tour offered by Princess cruises will also take you directly to Weta Cave Workshop, the special effects company responsible for much of the costumes and digital effects used in the film.
3. Jurassic Park
Port: Nawiliwili, Kauai
The prehistoric feel of the lush and mountainous terrain on Kauai made it the perfect backdrop for Jurassic Park. Much of Spielberg’s iconic movie was filmed there, so you’ll see plenty of recognizable locations. Better yet, there are a ton of different ways to view the scenery, like golf tours, ATV tours, bus tours, and even plane tours.
4. James Bond
Jamaica is central to the James Bond universe, and not just because Ian Fleming wrote the novels in a villa in Oracabessa, now known as the GoldenEye resort. Every year, travelers recreate the infamous scene at Laughing Waters Beach that set the precedent for Bond ladies: Ursula Andress emerging from the ocean in Dr. No, the very first Bond film.
Photo by VisitJamaica.com
Fans of Roger Moore will recognize the Green Grotto Caves, a popular excursion for cruisers in Ocho Rios and Kingston, as the lair used by villain Doctor Kanananga in Live and Let Die. It’s perhaps most memorable for one of the most bizarre deaths in film history, as Moore dispatches Kananaga by forcing him to swallow a bullet of compressed air, turning him into a human balloon as he floats up to the ceiling and explodes.
Of course, Jamaica is not the only island Bond and his villains seem to enjoy frequenting: Paradise Island and Nassau are also featured in the underwater thriller Thunderball as Bond engages in an epic scuba battle. Daniel Craig also returns to Paradise Island for the high-stakes poker scene in Casino Royale.
5. Shawshank Redemption
Ports: Federiksted, St. Croix
When Andy and Red are finally reunited outside of prison, it’s not actually on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The beach at “Zihuatanejo” is actually Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, a small beach near Frederiksted on the southwestern tip of St. Croix. The beach is also a hatching point for leatherback turtles, so it’s only open at limited times (and not at all during breeding season).
6. Speed 2: Cruise Control
Port: Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Speed 2 may be one of the worst sequels ever made (don’t take our word for it, take its 8 Golden Raspberry nominations including a win for Worst Remake or Sequel), but since the movie takes place on Seabourn Legend we can’t leave it out. Visitors to St. Maarten can visit the site of the physics defying crash scene in Marigot, St. Maarten. Thankfully, Speed 2 did not cause any permanent damage to the port while filming, which cannot necessarily be said for the film’s viewers.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean
Port: Kingstown, St. Vincent
Much of The Curse of the Black Pearl was filmed in Wallilabou Bay on St. Vincent, including the opening scene where Jack Sparrow sets his foot on the jetty and his boat sinks beneath the waves. The dock and a facade are still there, although the town set has been taken down.
8. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Port: Belize City, Belize
Even though hardcore fans are flocking to Disney for their Star Wars theme cruise, fans who don't want to sail with the mouse can visit Tikal ruins in Guatemala, the rebel base on Yavin 4. Tours of the magnificent 2,500 year-old ruins are offered as a shore excursion via Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala.
9. The Sound of Music
All of The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg, Austria, and while no river cruises sail down the Salzach river, it can easily be reached from any cruise sailing along the Danube. Cruisers can visit the many sitesas they sing their favorite songs: the Benedictine Convent (Maria), the Mirabell Gardens (Do-Re-Mi), Residenz Square (I Have Confidence in Me), and Felsenreitschule (Farewell and Edelweiss).