To help passengers make the most of their time in port, cruise lines offer shore excursions – a selection of fun, educational, and/or adventurous activities on land. For example, beach and snorkeling excursions are popular in the Caribbean, while tours of historic city centers are common in Europe. All shore excursions offer memorable experiences; it’s not every day you can swim with dolphins, tour an ancient fort or view masterpieces in a museum far from home.
The specific excursions available on any cruise depend on where it sails, but here are a few examples that may catch your interest.
A partnership between Holland America Line and Food & Wine magazine offers culinary shore excursions in many destinations, including Northern Europe and the North Atlantic. You can discover the Danish art of smorrebrod – beautiful and delicious open-based sandwiches – or how a distillery in Iceland infuses flavors like rhubarb and crowberry into a variety of spirits.
When you sail to Sri Lanka with Azamara Cruises, you can take an excursion to Udawalawe National Park, which has a thriving herd of more than 500 elephants. You may also see wild boar, mongoose, crocodiles, and buffalo, as well as many species of birds and butterflies.
Silversea sails to Osaka, Japan, where you can take an excursion to Hikone Castle, one of only five in Japan designated as a national treasure. Completed in 1622, the moated castle, considered to be a masterpiece of design, hosts a cherry blossom festival every spring.
Sail to Costa Rica with Windstar Cruises and you can discover what rural life is like in this beautiful country. Venture into the Fila Chonta Mountains to meet the residents of Santa Juana and learn about life in their village; plus, you can fish for tilapia or cool off under a waterfall.
There’s usually a per-person fee for shore excursions, but some luxury cruise lines include some or all shore excursions in your fare. Some lines even have a special concierge who can arrange individual, customized shore excursions.
And while some cruise passengers like to arrange their own shore excursions, taking a ship-sponsored excursion is often a better option. Cruise lines work with reputable and experienced tour operators. And, if your ship-sponsored excursion runs a little late, the ship will wait for you. That’s not always true if you’re on an independently arranged excursion.
Cruise lines constantly come up with new options for shore excursions; for the latest information, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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