Long gone are the days of one-size-fits-all shore excursions as cruise lines usher in an era of more creative and immersive experiences.
AmaWaterways, for example, has witnessed increased demand for personalized experiences, says Kristin Karst, cofounder and executive vice president of the luxury river cruise line. “Our Special Interest Tours have become much more popular as they provide unique experiences based on travelers’ specific hobbies and passions,” she says, adding that trending options include sampling local delicacies such as pralines in Regensburg, Germany, or going truffle hunting in Avignon, France.
Princess Cruises’ Local Connections excursions led by local experts—from foodie-friendly tours to art-centric deep dives—connect travelers with others who share their passions. Similarly, Viking’s Local Life excursions give an insider’s look at life in a destination, such as a visit to a Norwegian farm.
Viking’s Working World excursions, which showcase local businesses, include a visit to the Mercedes-Benz factory in Rastatt, Germany.
Ruins of Austria’s Dürnstein Castle; Photo by rorue/stock.adobe.com
Travelers are increasingly interested in more active pursuits, too. AmaWaterways was the first river cruise line to offer bicycles on board for guided and self-guided tours in port, and others have followed suit. Excursions such as hiking to the ruins of Austria’s Dürnstein Castle are popular, too.
Exploring new places is a great way to build family togetherness, and more cruisers are booking cruise excursions suitable for multiple generations. Holland America Line’s family-friendly option in Rome, for example, uses engaging storytelling to help children (and adults) time-travel through the city.
Princess Cruises has partnered with the creator of the Discovery Channel to offer Discovery Exclusive Tours, unique experiences such as tubing down a river in Dominica. Its Animal Planet excursions provide new ways to interact with the natural world. Imagine, for example, exploring Timanfaya National Park in Spain’s Canary Islands from atop a camel
Likewise, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Regent Choice Shore Excursions provide bucket-list experiences like soaring over the Alaskan wilderness in a helicopter.
White Pass Scenic Railway in Alaska; Photo by SCStock/stock.adobe.com
Shore excursion coordinators such as those at Celebrity Cruises can help guests find accessible tours in select ports and will provide recommendations tailored to guests’ individual needs. One popular excursion is the White Pass Scenic Railway in Alaska.
PRIVATE, PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCES
Another trend for shore excursions: totally customizable private options. Examples include a private sea plane ride and catamaran trip in Puerto Rico from Royal Caribbean and a private yacht tour through the Greek Isles from Celebrity Cruises.
Book your excursions early as part of your departure registration process so that you don’t miss out.