If you’ve grown tired of following tour guides with colorful umbrellas around city streets, then check out our collection of some unconventional shore excursions. From adventures deeply rooted in history to immersive cultural experiences, these tours are sure to add a little spice to your next cruise itinerary.
Lumberjack Show (Ketchikan, Alaska)
Learn the intriguing history surrounding the town of Ketchikan on your next Alaska cruise while witnessing lumberjacks displaying the fine art of chopping, sawing and ax-throwing. Watching this Alaskan pastime is fun for all ages. Ketchikan is considered one of the rainiest towns in North America — but not to worry, these Lumberjack Shows will go on rain or shine.
Truffle Hunting (Istria, Croatia)
All foodies know truffles top the list of expensive delicacies found around the world. Why not go on your own truffle hunt and learn why these earthy treats come with such a hefty price tag? Cruisers will head deep into the forest accompanied by their own four-legged furry friend as they learn the fine art of hunting down these fancy fungi in a region where the largest white truffle was once unearthed. Conclude the experience with a sampling of various truffle dishes paired with a glass of homemade wine from the local vineyards.
Wicker Basket Tobogganing (Funchal, Portugal)
This basket sledding experience dates back to the 1800s when wicker carts were used to transport goods from the hilltops down into town center. Hop into these two-seater sleds as attendants dressed in white wearing charming straw hats push visitors down the winding hills. With no brakes on board, the sleds are stopped the old fashioned way — by the rubber boots of the attendants. The trick is to avoid veering into oncoming traffic or the nearby stone walls. It’s easy to see why Hemingway once described street sledding as “the most exhilarating experience of his life.”
Gold Panning (Skagway Alaska)
Those who have wondered what life as a gold miner was like in the 1800s can book a unique Alaskan Gold Panning excursion. Feel the thrill of spotting those tiny specks of gold as you pan for treasures. It pays to perfect your panning technique as whatever gold you find is yours to keep.
Harley in Paradise Tour (Phillipsburg, St Maarten)
What better way to explore St. Maarten than by booking an exhilarating shore excursion on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle? From Fatboys to V-Rods, this self-guided tour will have you cruising around St. Maarten’s hilly twists and turns in style while taking in views of the majestic turquoise waters. Hit the open road with map in hand as you explore coastal roadways and discover the island’s hidden beaches on this self-guided six-hour tour.
Rocket Launches and Kennedy Space Center (Orlando, Florida)
Lucky folks whose cruise itinerary coincides with a rocket launch event at Cape Canaveral will be privy to an awe-inspiring event. Those not so fortunate on the timing can still get an out-of-this-world adventure by touring Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Launch Experience that offers visitors a flight simulator that mimics a launch into space. Visitors can walk under Saturn V Rocket, touch a piece of Mars and even have an opportunity to meet an astronaut in person.
Fiji Natural Thermal Mud Pool (Viti Levu, Fiji)
What the mud pool lacks in five-star spa amenities it more than makes up for with a taste of local Fiji culture while still leaving visitor’s skin smooth and supple. Upon arrival, guests receive a warm and friendly island welcome as they are adorned with a flowery necklace and welcomed with a traditional song and ceremony. The natural therapeutic mud is rubbed onto the skin and then allowed to bake in the warm South Pacific sunshine. Once adequately dried, guests then take a dip in one of the thermal pools to wash away the mud. Before departing back to the cruise ship, travelers are given a relaxing 15-minute full body massage from the local villagers.