Today’s cruise ships have fabulous features to keep you entertained onboard, but many people cruise for what’s on shore as much as what’s on board. Shore excursions can be the most memorable part of a cruise, and more of them are being designed to provide active, cultural, and educational experiences. Here are some examples of new types of shore excursions being offered on a growing number of itineraries.
Food excursions. It’s fun to learn about and taste the authentic local cuisine. Look for culinary shore excursions that visit a farm, restaurant, or cooking school. Some even start with a trip to a market to select ingredients for a favorite local dish, followed by watching – or even helping – a trained chef prepare it.
Sustainability excursions. Many shore excursions emphasize the appreciation and preservation of nature and some cruise lines take care to work with local tour operators who are committed to reducing any impact on the environment. Some excursions take this a step further by offering “voluntourism” opportunities that will get you involved in community-based, eco-focused projects.
Active excursions. It’s delightful to take a bus tour to see the sights of a port city, but if you like to be active, many cruise itineraries offer heart-pumping alternatives. Look for excursions that will take you hiking, biking, golfing, canoeing, kayaking, ziplining, snorkeling or diving; if you’re sailing to Alaska or Norway, how about glacier trekking or dog sledding? (Tip: You might want to schedule a massage in the spa the day after an active excursion!)
Nighttime excursions. Instead of a sunset sail away, some cruise itineraries offer overnight stays in popular ports. They’ll offer excursions that will introduce you to the local nightlife, which might include dining, dancing, listening to music, catching a cultural performance, or going to a street festival.
Overland excursions. If a cruise port brings you close to an inland site you’re longing to see (think the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, or the Taj Mahal), find out if the ship offers an overland excursion; if the ship stays overnight in port, you may be in luck. The excursion will include transportation, dining, a hotel room, and whatever else you need to enjoy the inland attraction.
If you like the sound of one of more of these types of shore excursions, ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for help selecting a cruise that offers some of these wonderful onshore experiences.
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