Shore Excursions – How to Make the Most of Every Minute


Woman swimming

While the on-board experience is one of the best parts about embarking on a cruise, shore excursions are a great way to stretch your legs and explore amazing new destinations. From elephant riding in humid heat of Thailand to kayaking in the icy waters of Alaska, shore excursions offer passengers a great opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of exciting new ports of call. However unlike conventional holidays, shore excursions generally only last for a day at a time before passengers have to return to their cabins. That’s why it’s important to make the most of every minute! Read on for a list of useful tips that will help you maximise your time on the shore:

Plan ahead

One of the best ways to make the most of shore excursions is to get yourself organised and book ahead. When booking excursions through the cruise operator passengers can rest assured that everything has been arranged by a team of experts dedicated to showcasing all the best sights and experiences in a limited amount of time. Most ships also have a cap on how many seats are allocated for each excursion. To avoid disappointment be sure to pre-plan your excursion with your liner.

Let your liner know about any special needs or requirements

There is nothing worse than embarking on a shore excursion only to find out that the bus doesn’t have room for your stroller, the sight has no wheelchair access or the set lunch doesn’t cater for your vegetarian diet. To avoid problematic issues such as these make sure you do your research and ensure the liner or booking agent is informed about any special needs or requirements.

Learn the language

If you’re planning a shore excursion to a foreign destination learning the language is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. Just a few simple words such as ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ will win you buckets of smiles from the locals! Phrases such as ‘where is’ can also be incredibly helpful if you get lost of need directions.

Keep track of time

Pre-planned shore excursions are great as they take care of everything and ensure that passengers are back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. If you’re embarking on an independent shore excursion make sure you have an accurate timing device with you at all times. This will help you enjoy your time on land without stressing about how long you have to get back to the ship.

Research customs

If your ship is calling at certain European or Asian ports it’s a good idea to research local customs and cultural practices. In many Asian countries it is culturally offensive for women to wear short or revealing clothes while some Caribbean destinations consider it impolite to not cover up when moving away from the beach. Conducting a little research will ensure you have a comfortable, relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Pre-search for any local events that may be scheduled

Looking into local events, festivals, tournaments or exhibitions prior to departure is a fantastic way to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything exciting! It can be incredibly frustrating to sit down for the evening meal and discover that your table companions had an amazing day at an arts festival while you spent the day exploring the other side of the city.

Arming yourself with these useful tips will ensure that your next excursion is an enjoyable, relaxing and stress free experience that doesn’t waste a second of your valuable on-shore time!

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About Author

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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