One of the best insider tips for booking a fun cruise is to choose a ship with popular shore excursions. These three ships consistently rate highly on the fun scale with passengers who enjoy ports of call adventures.
The Carnival Triumph has regular itineraries departing from the Port of New Orleans and cruising through the Caribbean. Each journey includes the opportunity to jump ship at the port of Cozumel. While this might seem like a tourist-weary location, a quick jeep ride can take you into the jungle. And, a horseback ride with a local guide will immerse you in the authentic nature experience of a tropical location.
For the adventurous, rent a motorcycles, scooter, or Segway and simply ride around the town and surrounding countryside. Continuing on the nature theme, you can swim with manatees and stingrays; tours local caves; or dive in a helmet. While Cozumel has been popular since the 1960s, thanks to explorer Jacques Cousteau, it’s worth a visit with fresh eyes and new expectations.
Royal Caribbean – Empress of the Seas
Departing from Tampa or Miami, board RCL’s Empress of the Seas and travel to Cuba. Enjoy the beach scenes at other ports of call; and leave them behind when you reach Havana. Amidst this lovely town frozen in time you will find museums, architectural treasures, traditional food and entertainment, and friendly local folks.
Visit the Museo de la Revolucion for history, the Rum Museum for tasting, the Tropicana Cabaret for entertainment, and the Hemingway house for the arts. Also, I always suggest that you talk with the residents, and find out the best places to eat. This keeps you away from the other tourists, and immerses you in the true atmosphere of any shore excursion.
Holland America – Noordam
If you are cruising in the Pacific, takes Holland America’s Noordam from Vancouver to Alaska. A shore excursion in Juneau should definitely include a visit to Mendenhall Glacier. I highly recommend a helicopter flight that lands and lets you walk about on this massive ‘river’ of blue ice. You can also go zip-lining through the mountains that protect the city, and make it the only state capital with no roads in from the ‘outside.’ Your next shore excursion in Skagway will propel you back in time to the gold rush days.
Visit the museums and shops, all within easy walking distance from the port. In Ketchikan, be sure to eat some salmon and stand beneath one of the Native American totem poles in downtown – the largest collection in the world. Finally, Glacier Bay will awe you with humpback whales, and (if you’re lucky) a calving glacier. While technically not a shore excursion since you don’t leave the ship, it’s still one of the highlights of this cruise.
There are many types of shore excursions at every port of call on your cruise vacation. Once you decide which cruise line and itinerary do a bit of investigating online to discover activities that fit your interests. You will find fun adventures for the whole family, and make memories to last a lifetime.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com