Shore excursions – opportunities to step off a cruise ship to explore and experience a port of call – are one of the best reasons to choose a cruise vacation. And, there are an incredible variety of shore excursions available: anything from a simple a day at the beach to “flightseeing” in a private plane.
In its 2014 Cruise Trends Survey, Cruise Holidays asked its expert agents which types of shore excursions they book most often for their clients. You may be surprised by the activity level of the top responses: evidence that cruising isn’t just for lazy people who love to spend time at the buffet!
General sight-seeing tours. Getting to know a destination by touring its most famous, historic or scenic sites is a very popular choice. Depending on your itinerary, you might walk among ancient ruins, marvel at classic architecture, spot some wildlife or browse through a bustling market. For a more personalized experience, you can reserve a private vehicle and driver/guide for a day.
Water activities. See the colorful world that lies under the surface of all that deep blue water by choosing a snorkeling or diving excursion. The excursion operator will provide equipment, safety gear and instruction. Divers should carefully check excursion descriptions and choose one that matches their level of experience. More options for enjoying the water include catamaran rides, parasailing, deep-sea fishing and riding horseback through the surf.
“Soft adventure” experiences. These excursions include activities that will get your adrenalin flowing, such as zip lining, kayaking, rafting, swimming with dolphins, all-terrain vehicle tours, hiking or rock climbing. Soft adventure excursions are exhilarating, and they provide an opportunity to truly enjoy the natural beauty of a destination.
While you do have the option to explore a destination on your own, there are advantages to choosing shore excursions arranged by the cruise line or with a provider specifically recommended by your travel agent. The biggest advantage is that the cruise lines and your travel agent work only with reputable local tour providers. These local experts know how to organize excursions to give you the maximum amount of time to enjoy the experience; how to keep you safe, or ensure that you understand any risks; and how to get you back to the ship on time.
Let your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you select shore excursions that will provide a wonderful experience, within your budget.