Shore excursions are some of the most appealing reasons to take cruises to exotic places all over the world. While there are plenty of things to do while on a cruise, it’s what you get to do once you arrive at a destination that makes your trip truly unique. From seeing the natural beauty of untouched wilderness, to immersing yourself in the culture of a different nation, the options for cruisers are never ending. To help you plan out your next wild cruise adventure, we’ve got some of our favorite cruise excursions from the most popular destinations in the world.
Unique Shore Excursions in Alaska
Shore excursions in Alaska have the unique advantage of the untamed Northern wilderness that nature lovers find quite appealing. This is one of the best places to get up close and personal with massive glaciers by literally walking around on top of them. A helicopter will fly you up and land on one so you can experience their magnificence right under your feet, and the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau is probably the most spectacular glacier to see this way. But if you are more interested in seeing lush forest and wildlife, try instead for a dog sledding adventure, where Alaskan huskies will pull you over snow-covered terrain in one of the most thrilling cruise excursions anywhere!
Caribbean & Bahamas Cruise Excursions
Caribbean cruise excursions generally involve some kind of water exploration as you probably expect, but they may be more unique than a simple canoe ride or snorkeling lesson. In Grand Cayman, you can snorkel in the pristine waters of Stingray City to see rays in their natural habitat, or in Barbados you can swim with the sea turtles and learn about conservation efforts. But your options are not just limited to the sea life that you would expect to find in the Caribbean. In the Bahamas, you can head to the Exumas to swim with the pigs that live there, who look completely out of place on the beach while also basking joyfully in the benefits of island life.
To See Crystal Caves: Bermuda
While not technically in the Caribbean, Bermuda’s shore excursions offer much of the same appeal. Here you can dive into crystal-clear waters and experience nature like you would never find back in the states. With a Crystal Caves excursion, you’ll descend into an underground cave system where stalactite formations conspire with tranquil waters to create the kind of magic that only the natural world can muster. But if you are more interested in a wildlife cruise excursion, the dolphin encounter definitely takes the cake. Dolphins are magnificent creatures and very friendly, and this is one of the best places in the world to swim with them.
For Volcanic Shore Excursions: Hawaii
If you can make the long journey to Hawaii, you will be treated with some of the most diverse and inspiring shore excursions of any tropical island. These islands have been formed by millions of years of volcanic activity, and their volcanoes are understandably a hot spot for tourists. To see them in all their glory, you can take a helicopter over the Big Island to get an aerial view, or you can embark on a snorkeling excursion to Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic crater. To see the vibrant forests and rivers around the islands you can take a scenic drive in Maui, go for a waterfall hike in Kauai, or take a boat tour along the Na Pali coastline. Hawaii also has a very distinct culture to appreciate, so you’ll want to check out a traditional Luau cruise excursion to get the full experience.
Mediterranean Culture Cruise Excursions
The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most culturally significant places in the Western world, and just so happens to have many truly unique shore excursions for cruisers to experience it. See the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia, Turkey from high up with a hot air balloon ride. Hunt for truffles with trained dogs or pigs in Tuscany or Umbria. Experience a traditional Flamenco show in Barcelona or Malaga to be captivated by dance and music. There are many ways in which you can take in Mediterranean culture, but no cruise here would be complete without at least one wine tasting excursion. This area of the world is renowned for its wine, and whether you go to Italy, Greece, Portugal, or anywhere else, you are sure to get the most unique wine tasting experience of your life.
Northern Europe Cruise Excursions
Northern Europe is marked by stark natural beauty and a proud culture with a long history. Norway is the home of ancient Vikings, and a shore excursion to the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo or the Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten Islands is a great way to learn about their history. The Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden will take you back in time to learn about the regal history of the city. Iceland is known for its geothermal phenomena which create unique landscapes and relaxing natural springs. Some of these places are also good for seeing the Northern Lights, so long as you’re far enough from the cities to avoid light pollution.
For Historic Shore Excursions: Canada/New England
Finally, we have the Canadian and New England coastline, which are especially good to visit in the summer months when they aren’t too cold. There is a lot of history in areas like Boston and Quebec City, where you can learn about the years of colonialism and revolution that birthed both nations. Take a shore excursion to the Freedom Trail, Paul Revere’s House, and the USS Constitution Museum in Boston to learn about American history, or immerse yourself in French heritage with a guided tour of Quebec City’s historic Old Town. If your cruise ends up taking you to Maine, you can indulge in a lobster fishing cruise excursion where you can learn about lobster traps, baiting techniques, and the sustainable practices that keep the industry healthy. Plus, you’ll get to taste some of the freshest lobster you’ll ever eat!
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