Willemstad, Curacao Cruise Port

4.4 out of 5

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About Willemstad, Curacao

Naples isn’t for the faint of heart. Most cruisers head off to see Pompeii or bolt for the pleasures of Capri or the Amalfi Coast. And, with the siren calls of sunny Sorrento and lemon-scented Positano beckoning, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s easy to create a memorable day here in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius: Savor a true Neapolitan pizza (fold slices lengthwise to eat it like a local); lean in a doorway with your gelato; and duck into boutiques along Via Toledo. Overwhelmed by the cacophony? Find a moment of peace in a laundry-hung alley before you’re propelled back out into the frenzy.

Restaurants

mahgerita pizza being prepared naples italy

Naples is the birthplace of pizza.
Photo by SIME / eStockPhoto

Breakfast: Gran Caffè Gambrinus – Forget the American notion of breakfast of champions. Ignite your day in Naples with a tiny cup — about a spoon’s worth, really — of espresso so thick your sugar will rest on top before sinking into the brew. This café has a literary history but, if you don’t make it here, you’ll find the streets are lined with coffee bars. Just pop into one and ask for un caffè (pay the cashier first). Sip standing at the bar and you’ll feel like an Italian — and pay less, too. Best of all, you’ll still have room for lunch.

Lunch: Umberto – For the classic, all-afternoon affair they call lunch in Italy, step into this small restaurant, which has been family-owned for a century. This is what chain Italian restaurants back in the States wish they could be, down to the black-and-white family photos cluttering the walls. The starring ingredients of the pastas vary according to season, but try the Tubettoni “d’ ‘o treddeta” with baby octopus — named for the owner’s grandfather — just so you can ask for the story behind his nickname: “Three Fingers.”

Dinner: Pizzeria Da Attilio – For pizza that would be worth a flight (no small claim in the city where pizzerias were born), hustle to Pizzeria Da Attilio. Since 1938, three generations have manned the wood-burning oven, where the current pizzaiolo is turning out perfection. The only downfall: After tasting the real deal, you’ll turn up your nose at the so-called Napoletana-style pizza at home.

Dessert: Gay-Odin – Even on rainy days, lines spill out the door here, allowing the chocolate aroma to waft down the street as it has since the late 1800s. Give in, and be prepared to empty your suitcases in order to stockpile artisanal chocolates and pralines. Queue up for souvenirs — and a scoop (or three) of gelato al cioccolato.

Tip: For a true Neapolitan pizza, look for the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana certification (it’ll be prominently displayed). The organization vigorously protects the traditional pie. 

Activities

boats seen from the white grotto

Small wooden boats visit Capri's White Grotto.
Photo by SIME / eStockPhoto

For Everyone: Pompeii – History buffs and the morbidly curious are drawn to these ruins for a time-capsule glimpse of life in ancient times. The incomparable feeling of strolling Roman roads is heightened when a guide brings the devastated city to life with stories of the everyday people who made their homes here before (still active!) Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79 and flash-froze the city.

For Couples: Capri – Few places on Earth are as blissful as you dream they will be — but the isle of Capri is one of them. Hop a ferry to this bewitching spot to explore the bougainvillea-strewn streets, buy a picnic lunch (of Caprese panini, naturally), and charter a gozzo (classic wooden boat) for the afternoon. You’ll bob along the impossibly clear cerulean waters, swim through the flickering grottoes, and luxuriate under the Mediterranean sun. The bliss is, shall we say, less pure in August, when tourists flood the streets.

For Families: Castel dell’Ovo – Who can resist any place named Castle of the Egg? Naples’ oldest castle commands jaw-dropping views of the city and sea, but the legend behind it is just as captivating. The 12th-century structure was built, story has it, upon the site where poet Virgil buried one important egg. The castle — and Naples — will stand only as long as the egg doesn’t break.

For the Adventurous: Mercato di Porta Nolana – If you’re an adrenaline junkie, plunge into the roiling city of Naples, ready to thread your way on foot through traffic snarls. Head right to Mercato di Porta Nolana, behind the medieval city gates at the head of Via Sopramuro, for a true taste of the city. This street market seems made for Instagram® sharing, but you’ll be among locals who come here for floppingly fresh seafood — and everything else under the sun. 

Insider Tip

Spend some time on Napoli Unplugged to catch up on current events, recommended tour guides, and fun tips for planning your visit.

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Cruises to Willemstad, Curacao

1189 reviews and tips of Willemstad, Curacao

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katattack

If you want to choose a port in which to not book an excursion off the ship, then this is the place to go it on your own. I did not book an excursion and there was a leisurely stroll off the ship into this beautiful port. I had friends that pay $50 or more just to go to a cheap beach nearby. A few friends and found a great company called Ben Tours off the ship and literally paid $20 for a full tour of Curacao with beach time and time at the Curacao liqueur factory with drinks included! It was indescribable. The people are so friendly and school kids even eagerly waved at our bus from the street. I can't say that these are the most beautiful beaches but the atmosphere is phenomenal.

kristilizzy

Curacao was my favorite port of the four we visited. The town was within walking distance, and it is simply beautiful! You will also find the best prices here on souvenirs with the biggest selection of unique items. We really enjoyed this port.

Visited: Jun 16, 2018

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cruisevacayers

For a amazingly wonderful day Rent a car for $75 from Advance Car Rental, they meet you at the pier and have all the Island high lights program into a gps. After checking out the colorful town head to the north part of the island to Sabana Westpunt and snorkel with wild turtles that eat fish guts left by commercial fisherman. Then drive south to swim and snorkel at one or both beautiful beaches Grote Knip or Playa Jeremi after that drive south to the salt flats and see wild Flamingoes it was the best day of our 14 day cruise.

JoPfetsch

Curacao was probably our favorite ports on this cruise. We had booked an excursion to go snorkelling at a quiet inlet. We saw lots of different fish, and it was a really nice beach. Ou r bus driver, Bob (without the Marley) took us to the inlet and back to our cruise ship on his Irie bus. We dropped off all of our heavy gear in our stateroom and went back out because we wanted to see the Queen Emma pontoon swinging bridge. We got there just in time to see it swing out and back in again. Amazing! We met a taxi driver who not only offered to drive us to the Curacao factory, but to also give us a tour for $40.00 total. It was worth it. He even drove us right back to the ship.

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