Shore Excursions 101: The Top 3 Favourites Everyone Should Experience
When you first book a cruise, it’s natural to bookmark the cruise line website and stalk their list of things to do on-board, drawing up a kind of plan for self-amusement or, if your children are lucky enough to come along, a survival strategy. Before you get bogged down in dining room details, make sure you allocate a few hours (or ten) to explore the shore excursions you may experience. After all, the very purpose of a cruise is to expand your horizons and experience different cultures, without the squeeze and bustle of international travel, accommodation issues or airport dramas.
Everybody needs a starting point; below are some of our favourite shore tours across the different cruise lines – if your cruise isn't included, the Cruiseabout crew will be more than happy to assist you with finding your onshore oasis.
Kiwi Canyoning Adventure – New Zealand, P&O Cruises
New Zealand is a veritable cauldron of beauty, history, tradition, gastronomic brilliance and unforgettable panoramic views. Your finger will not leave the shutter release on your camera. That is until you reach the Waitakere Ranges, a collection of cragged gorges and swelling cliffs, carved out of volcanic rock. Here, you will abseil under the canopy of gushing waterfalls to the underground caves below, discovering hidden pools and the landscape of an impossible subtropical rainforest.
The Best Bits: Piha surf beach, plunge pools (go on, jump in), underground tunnels.
Remember: You do need a moderate level of fitness to enjoy this shore tour.
Wear: Flat, rubber soled shoes; weather appropriate clothing; a jacket and a hat.
Bring: Sunscreen, bottled water, a waterproof case for your camera.
Amedee Island Marine Reserve - Noumea, Carnival Cruise Lines
Take a break from the overwhelming hum of cruise life and relax on Amedee Island, a pocket of heaven located south of Noumea, just a quick luxury ship ride away from your towering liner. Don’t worry, it will be there when you get back. The water is translucent, as if a slice of the sky has fallen and ample array of fish and coral fly past, leaving behind flashes of colour and surprise. Powdery beaches, shady palms and a playground built especially for small explorers wait for you.
After indulging your senses for a moment, chase the bubbly trails of large sea turtles flying through the currents, observing their natural playground from a glass bottomed boat. Can you hear the rhythm? Lunch has begun, hosted by hospitable and passionate local folk, exhibiting the flavours of the area while you witness a traditional island dance.
The Best Bits: The majestic sea turtles, the coconut tree climbing demonstration and the opulent island feast!
Remember: The weather can soon steal your thirst, so be sure to take along bottled water.
Wear: Comfortable rubber soled shoes, suitable clothing and SPF30 plus sunscreen.
Bajan Delights – Caribbean, Royal Caribbean International
Heading out of the local neighbourhood? The Caribbean calls with its sharp history and strong micro cultures, tempting the palate of many travellers and changing their perspective of this much lauded, though little explored part of the world. Be an adventurer and recapture the undercurrent of classic Barbados, circling the thumping South Coast before delving into the countryside and many pivotal locations that have shaped the identity and spirit of the area.
The Best Bits: Tune into an distillery education at the Rum Factory, visit Heritage Park, delight in a plantation lunch at Sunbury Plantation and let the rich diversity of the land slide through the cracks, prompting a smile.
Remember: Camouflage clothing is not permitted in Barbados.
Wear: Comfortable shoes and clothes, plenty of sunscreen and take along a hat.
Have you been on a cruise lately? What was your favourite shore excursion?
For more information on cruising, shore excursions and more - call one of our cruise specialists today on 1300 954 661!