Cruise to Las Palmas

A beach-seeker's idyll and a history lover's dream, the capital of the Canary Islands is a sophisticated stop, with modern art museums, great shopping in several commercial centers and miles of beaches. Surprises lay in wait. Start with the name: The islands aren't named after canaries at all, rather for dogs — canis, in Latin. You're in Spain — and that means delicious tapas and ice-cold beer — but you're off the coast of Africa, closer to Senegal than you are to Madrid. Its location made it a strategic launch for each of Christopher Columbus's voyages to the New World; modern-day explorers may decide it's not worth leaving.