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Cruise: Ten Best Shore Excursions

You choose your cruise based on the destination, from the natural wonders of Alaska to the balmy ports of the Caribbean or the historic sites of Europe. So, be sure to select the best cruise line based on the quality and array of shore excursions it offers. Once off the ship, you’ll be sure to experience the most your destination has to offer.

Woman passenger on cruise ship looking over balcony

When you cruise, do you plan the excursions in advance?

Panama Canal: Royal Caribbean

After a heart-pounding, high-speed boat trip through the Panama Canal, Royal Caribbean’s “Monkey Watch” excursion exposes you to the rich and diverse wildlife of Gatun Lake and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.

Africa: Princess Cruises

Visit the most southwestern tip of Africa on Princess Cruises’ trip to the Cape of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa. A breathtaking funicular railway ride takes you to the top of dramatic sea cliffs overlooking 19,000 acres of indigenous plants and animals.

Alaska: Holland America

Holland America’s variety of Alaskan cruises offers the full-immersion adventure. Exciting excursions involve flying over fjords in a floatplane, hopping aboard a dog sled, whale watching, and glacier trekking. Oh, and there’s always the chance to hang with bears in their natural habitat.

Holland America Line cruise in Alaska

Imagine sailing past glaciers in Alaska!

Bora Bora: Oceania Cruises

Drop anchor off the ancient crater rim of Motu Toopua to gaze upon harmless stingrays and black tip sharks that congregate in the lagoon. You’ll continue on to an unspoiled coral garden for snorkeling amongst an array of tropical fish.

Greece: MSC Cruises

As if Mykonos wasn’t stunning enough, take MSC Cruises’ offshore excursion to the mythical island of Delos, where a fascinating tour of centuries-old monuments culminates in a hike up Mount Cynthos for scene-stealing views of the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.

Hawaii: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line offers an array of shore excursions, but none more exciting than the volcano biking adventure through the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hilo. You actually cycle around the rim of the volcano on a mountain bike!

The Norwegian Pride of America

The Norwegian Pride of America sails to Hawaii

Russia: Saga Quest for Adventure

Make like royalty aboard the Heritage of the Tsars cruise. You’ll visit ports and palaces once frequented by the Russian Imperial family on the Black Sea, including stops throughout Russia, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. Cruises aboard the Quest for Adventure include your choice of excursions at no extra cost.

New Zealand: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is making a name for itself with the Lord of the Rings tour, which takes you to the jaw-dropping summit of Mount Victoria and the South Coast marine reserve in Wellington, New Zealand. Superfan alert: You’ll also get to see locations and props used in creating the film.

Mexico: Disney Cruise Line

Become a bona fide dolphin trainer for a day at the acclaimed Cabo Dolphins Center in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Perfect for families, this tour via Disney Cruise Line allows you to not only swim with dolphins, but also get a hands-on experience of feeding, training, and communicating with these beloved sea creatures.

Vietnam: Seabourn Cruises

Looking for something a bit more exotic? Set sail aboard Seabourn’s kayaking adventure in Halong Bay, Vietnam, where 1,900 islands await. You’ll board a two-person kayak to navigate beautiful caves and grottoes.

If all this talk about cruising has inspired your next trip, take a look at our cruise page where you can sort by cruise line, price, destinations and more!

By Wendy Wollenberg

Tags: cruise vacation

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