Passengers, it is time to conclude our voyage. In our series on cruises, we have already covered the cruise lines and the various things there are to do on the ship itself. One of the exciting elements of taking a cruise, however, is venturing to far off and exotic locales. On these port days, there are a plethora of adventures in which to engage, but it is important that you plan ahead.

What there is to do:

  1. Shop in the port area- At some ports, you may not wish to go into the city area and find yourself satisfied by only partaking in the immediate culture of the port. This plan will allow you to get off the ship, do some shopping, experience a local artist performing a street show and then get back on the ship to enjoy some of the less crowded amenities.

  2. Shop in the town- Most ports specialize in having the town vibrant with shops for those getting off of the cruise ships. This endeavor can be a relaxing but exciting way to get deeper into the culture and have a mini-adventure. You can also find a local restaurant in which to experience the local cuisine.

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  3. Historical sites- Many ports have historical memorials or museums that are only a short drive from the port. You can set up these tours onboard the ship at the Shore Excursion desk.

  4. Underwater Adventures- At many ports they offer snorkeling and very innovative mini-submarine expeditions where you can get up close and personal with the fish and coral.

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  5. ATV, Hang Gliding, Ziplines, Kayaking, Dolphin Swimming, Horseback rides, and 4x4 off roading- Need I say more?

  6. Pirate Cruises, Deep sea fishing, and Whale watching- Going to an undiscovered cove, getting off on the beach and possibly snorkeling are all fun things to partake in, however, while aboard an authentic or reproduction of an old “pirate” ship will be a true departure from the norm. There are also opportunities to enjoy deep sea  fishing or scope hunting down a great white whale!

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What not to do:

  1. Do not go just anywhere- Make sure you have researched your destination. Find out about possible security hazards, local unrest or popular scams. Some ports have even been temporarily closed due to drug cartel activities, political turmoil, or terrorist actions.
  2. Don’t sign up for an excursion that is not through the cruise line- Even though there is nothing against the ship’s policy in doing this, you risk being disappointed and potentially injured by signing up with someone who happens to be holding a sign at the port. If you book through the cruise line, then if something goes wrong you are guaranteed that the ship won’t leave without you. Also, you can retrieve your money if something is canceled because of weather or other reasons that are not your fault. If the shore excursion is atrocious or misrepresented, you may also have a chance to have your money refunded, but this is a process that is not guaranteed.

Bon Voyage!