Cruise excursions are an amazing way to get to know the places you’re stopping at. After all, one of the big draws of a cruise is hopping off at lotsof interesting places on the way.
Of course, it’s up to you whether you’d like to get out and see the country on your own. But, with a guided tour you can see the highlights in a relatively short space of time, leaving you to decide what you want to spend more of your stay doing.
Alongside sightseeing, there are more unusual ways of spending your time at the destination, ideal if you’ve been there before and want to try something different. You can zip wire through the jungle in South America or see Alaska by catamaran. And, if you’re going on a cruise based around your interest, such as photography or wine, they’ll be plenty of excursions with those themes too.
Booking in advance
Booking your cruise excursions in advance is always a good idea, either before you go or onboard. Arranging them at the same time as your cruise guarantees a place on popular excursions and means when you get on the ship, all you have to think about is getting unpacked and settling in. But don’t worry, even with last minute cruise deals you can still get out on plenty of fun trips.
You might be thinking about going it alone and booking an excursion with an outside company. But, so you know, booking through your cruise line ensures quality control of tour operators, adequate levels of insurance and that the ship won’t leave until you’re back from your trip.
Onboard cruise experts are there to make your life easy, so go and speak to them about what trips are available and what would suit you best from the extensive choice each cruise line has. They’ll also be able to advise on what you’ll need to make the day as easy-going as possible.
Things to bear in mind
It’s always a good idea to take sensible shoes as, even if there’s transport to and from your excursion, there’s likely to be some walking involved, particularly on a guided tour. You should also think about dressing for the weather and taking an extra layer if you’re coming back after nightfall. It can get cool quickly after dark even in hot places and, of course, water and sun cream are essential for the day time.
Knowing a little about the culture and customs of where you’re visiting not only helps you integrate with the locals, but could also save embarrassment. For example some destinations, require you to be modest and cover your arms and legs. Cruise experts on the ship can help you out with details on the language and currency of where you’re visiting and you can exchange your money back on the ship.
Luxury lines like Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea are able to create customised, private tours for guests, perfect for a special occasion or if you’re willing to spend a little bit extra. There’s an additional fee which covers the price of the excursion but includes their concierge service while you’re out and about. You can create the trip of your dreams from bespoke chauffeur-driven shopping sprees, to cooking with chefs in exclusive restaurants.
Places to eat
For the moments you’re not cooking yourself up a storm, you’ll need to find somewhere to eat while you’re out and about. It’s good to check out some restaurant reviews before you leave or at least roughly know where the eating districts are. For more remote excursions, you might be able to arrange for the ship’s kitchen to deliver a picnic to your cabin before you go. Occasionally meals are included on excursions, but you will have to clarify this with your provider before setting off.
Going on interesting and unusual excursions can lift your cruise into the unforgettable category. That’s why it’s good to count on cruise lines who know where to send you to get the best viewpoint on the place you’re visiting.
If you’re intent on doing something out there, try Princess Cruises street luge – like Olympic luging but on go-karts – in Tauranga, New Zealand. Or to feel like you’re James Bond try luxury cruise line Seabourn’s Hong Kong or Dubai helicopter rides above the infamous skylines.
Whatever you fancy doing, with a little bit of forward planning and a helping hand from your cruise line you can really get the most out of your excursions.
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