CRUISE SHIPS OFFER A WORLD of onboard entertainment, from live performances to gaming and friendly competitions, but part of the joy in taking a cruise is seeing the world and experiencing new places while exploring ashore. Although it’s entirely possible to head out on your own once the ship docks in its destination, booking a ship-sponsored tour or even booking through an independent tour operator proves a great, stress-free way to make the most of your time in port.
At one time, booking a shore excursion through the cruise company meant waiting in long lines and getting shuttled between tour buses by tour leaders wielding bright umbrellas or megaphones. Fortunately, those days are long gone, and many savvy cruise operators now offer boutique shore excursions and rare experiences available exclusively to cruise attendees.
Shore excursions today are just as likely to include a lunch inside a local’s home as they are to take guests behind the scenes of the world’s most elusive sites, like Windstar Cruises’ Evening in Ephesus tour. This tour allows a select number of guests to dine privately inside the monumental Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey, in a courtyard illuminated with flickering white lights and echoing with the sounds of the Aegean Chamber Orchestra.
Princess Cruises prides itself on variety, as proven by its Helsinki offerings. Not only can guests choose to join a group of 40 to drive through the countryside and end up at a homecooked lunch inside an authentic Finnish home, but they can also opt for a private driver to take them and a party of up to six guests anywhere they please for a half- or full-day private tour of the area.
The shore excursions designed by Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection have become known for their unique-to-the-destination offerings and altruistic itineraries. The company partnered with EatWith for its Do as the Locals Do excursions to offer cruisers an opportunity to dine one on one with locals in their homes, and the cruise line also frequently partners with local charities to give guests the chance to give back while on board. Guests traveling on Uniworld’s India’s Golden Triangle and the Sacred Ganges cruise have the option to participate in a five-day ME to WE pre-cruise extension that combines volunteering with sightseeing.
Disney Cruise Line’s shore excursions include a number of adults-only options and active options for families, but its signature experiences stand out for cruisers looking for truly bespoke encounters. In Newcastle, England, families with children ages 5 and up may book the Broom Class Is in Session excursion that takes guests on a tour of Alnwick Castle (used as Hogwarts in the films Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) before a 30-minute broomstick training session for blossoming wizards and witches.
Nobu Barbuda is underway in the Caribbean, the newest installation to the Nobu Hospitality portfolio. The Nobu restaurant, all conceived by actor Robert DeNiro, debuted in 2021, and Nobu Barbuda’s first beach club opened this year.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
Aimbridge Hospitality announced it will open two brand-new resorts at Frenchman’s Reef in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection, are expected to open in fall 2022. The new properties are part of a $350 million rebuild project on Frenchman’s Reef.
Birds on the brain these days? Head to the Columbia Valley, located between the towering Rocky and Purcell mountains in southeast British Columbia. The newest addition to the BC Bird Trail is marked by friendly communities surrounded by wetlands, featuring a burgeoning avian population. In spring, watch for the striking plumage of horned grebes, as well as songbirds and Lewis’s woodpecker.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
Upon our triumphant in-person return to Los Angeles in December 2021 to celebrate our annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team also revisited one of our favorite city hot spots: Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for dinner at the on-site Riviera 31 bar lounge.
Turkish Airlines offers premium travelers something new. After signing an agreement with fashion brands Coccinelle and Hackett, the carrier introduced redesigned premium amenity kits for its business-class passengers flying eight hours or more on long-distance flights. The new kits were introduced April 29.
THE MOST EXCLUSIVE TOURS OF EGYPT EVER OFFERED
Lisbon’s popularity has soared in recent years, but within an hour’s drive of Portugal’s capital city, lots of quiet towns and interesting regions that are still somewhat off-the-beaten path await.