Five Faves: Lands of the Free

Porthole’s Five Faves

Lands of the Free

5 Independence-Seeking Cruise Destinations

For as worldly as we like to consider ourselves, Porthole is unabashedly American, loving our independence from sea to every-cruisable-shining sea! With our Independence Day a little more than a week away, we wanted to acknowledge some of the other independence-seeking efforts around the globe, varying in degree from the lighthearted to the politically charged. The pursuit of happiness is not exclusive to the United States, and those who pursue it via cruise ship do it for more than just accumulating cute Facebook pictures; cruising presents the opportunity to discover new cultures and, maybe, better know our similarities with our fellow man and his unalienable rights. Here are five cruise destinations we can visit and celebrate today … all of whom may very well be celebrating Independence Days of their own someday.


Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain for more than 300 years, Scotland is very much its own unique land in the eyes (and ears) of many visitors. But behind the concerted efforts of groups like the Scottish National Party, a number of its residents are looking to make that independence official. The SNP is the majority government in the Scottish Parliament, and is pushing voters to vote “yes” in a referendum this September that would seal the deal. To see how the party plans to continue helping its people, its country, and, appropriately, its tourism, visit


The Doug flag

Imagine everything you love about the Pacific Northwest, without that pesky U.S./Canadian border! The grassroots efforts to lump together Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and parts of other U.S. states that share many of the same economical, environmental, and cultural traits have only been growing stronger as those distinctions become more pronounced. Identifying itself as a “bioregion,” Cascadia would no doubt put priority on the ports and waters that are so beloved by cruisers. To find out more, visit


His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

Though China’s occupation of Tibet has been well documented, the Dalai Lama is undeniably the area’s spiritual leader. River cruise lines and tour operators who visit Lhasa, including Viking River Cruises, Uniworld, Avalon Waterways, and Odysseys Unlimited, can attest to the area’s beauty, but a free Tibet would mean (among many much more important victories) that visitors would be able to experience Tibet the way the Dalai Lama and so many others would want it to be seen.



The French-speaking, French-commemorating, French-everything province came up just short of declaring independence from the rest of (non-French) Canada in a 1995 vote. Though the movement hasn’t had the same traction in the political houses since, the people’s desire to stave off further English assimilation is as strong as ever. Which, for cruisers looking for color in their ports of call, is the most important part.


Conch Republic

Blowing the conch horn

Closer to the tongue-in-cheek micronations like the Republic of Molossia (whose currency is tied to the value of cookie dough) and the Principality of Hutt River (a landlocked Australian farmland that claims to have a navy and boasts of being “the second biggest nation on the continent”), the Conch Republic is more than just an official-sounding nickname for Key West and the Florida Keys — they claim to have actually seceded from the United States, declared war against it, surrendered, and then demanded foreign aid. Their motto, in fact, is “We Seceded Where Others Failed.” They claim to be the first country to require its residents to obey not only laws, but local customs as well. And if embracing Key West customs is the law of the land, then cruisers are (happily) the most rule-abiding guests the Conch Republic has ever seen.

— Rico Bronte

Photos: Pipers: Rennet Stowe // Cascadia flag:Public Domain // Dalai Lama: Christopher Michel // Poutine: Jonathunder // Conch-blowing contest: The Monroe County Tourist Development Council


Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!