From high-stakes gambling to enrichment programs, rock-climbing walls to hot stone massages, today's cruise ships offer no shortage of onboard activities. However, some of the best adventures take place off ship in exotic ports of call. Get ready to disembark; we're taking you on 5 fabulous excursions.
George Town, Grand Cayman
Stingray City is one of the most popular excursions in the Caymans and hosts thousands or curious aquatic visitors each year. Guests of Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas will love going below sea level on guided tours of the island's pristine waters. For those feeling a bit squeamish about sharing the water with stingrays, Seven Mile Beach is located close by and offers a safer, sunnier alternative.
Onboard the Silversea's Silver Shadow, you'll cruise to Arica, Chile, located on the country's northernmost tip. The best part of visiting this town is its tangible relaxing atmosphere; as the local saying goes, "It's wonderful to do nothing all day & and then relax afterwards." Perhaps the only thing that will feel like work on your visit to Arica is a surf lesson. This coastal Chilean town is known for having some of the most consistent waves in the world, making it a hot spot for surfers. While the waves aren't huge, the swells pack a lot of energy, making them perfect for beginners.
The Bering Sea
There are several off-ship excursions that are unique to Abercrombie & Kent's The Clipper Odyssey. At Russia's Itygran Island, also known as Whale Bone Alley, whale bones seemingly grow out of the ground in an Arctic, organic Stonehenge. On St. Matthew's Island, miles of Arctic tundra beg to be explored on foot. While frozen for most of the year, a multitude of wildflowers pop in the late spring and summer. The natural beauty of St. Matthew's is pristine -- it's uninhabited by people, but the tiny island is home to more than 50,000 seabirds.
Going on the crab fisherman's tour is an eye-opening adventure for passengers of the Norwegian Pearl. Crab fishing is 90% more dangerous than any other job, and Alaskan King Crabs, which can weigh up to 6 1/2 pounds, are abundantly found in the Bering Sea. Even if you've never gone fishing, it's a thrilling activity unique to the Pearl. Keep watch for bald eagles, recently removed from the endangered species list. They dine mostly on salmon, and spotting them is a breeze in the port of Ketchikan, a city known as the salmon capital of the world.
Hunting Black Truffles
In Rovinj, Croatia, guests of the SeaDream Yacht Club can hunt for some of the rarest and most expensive delicacies in the culinary world -- black truffles. With a team of dogs, guests head into the Croatian countryside and hunt the grounds of a successful family-owned business. The dogs are integral in smelling the black truffles distinctive perfume since they grow completely underground. This adventure is reserved strictly for guests of the SeaDream -- and it's an incomparable look into Croatian culture and the world's most exclusive cooking ingredient.
The Crystal Symphony specializes in coupling peaceful relaxation with unique, life-changing experiences, and they're kicking your vacation up a notch with this innovative off-ship excursion. Speed sailing is a heart-racing, high-speed adventure where you're not a mere passenger, you're part of a championship racing yacht's crew, chasing the wind and hoisting the sails.