Unusual Shore Excursions On High Seas Holidays

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Whether your cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage, or exploring some of the great port cities of Europe, cruising offers travellers a different way to enjoy a destination. Along with top accommodations, fine food and entertainment on board, cruising also allows for time spent on land in the ports of call that a ship visits. There’s usually multiple options to experience a destination, from enjoying culinary pursuits and adventure activities, to simply seeing the key sights. There are also, however, some unusual ways to get to know a new port of call. Here’s a selection of some of the more unusual cruise tours. 

Port Arthur Ghost Tour 

Given the history of Port Arthur in Tasmania, this is ultimately one of the creepiest tours you can do if your ship remains at anchor overnight. It’s a lantern-lit tour of one of the world’s largest and best preserved nineteenth-century penal colonies, an open air museum which is also one of Australia’s most significant heritage sites. There are no special effects on the tour, but plenty of chilling stories to be heard and enjoyed, coupled with an extremely spooky setting. Other ports of call where ghost tours are popular include Quebec City, Venice and Hobart. 

Rooftop Hiking In Stockholm 

This is definitely not a tour for anyone with mobility issues, or who is afraid of heights, but it offers travellers a very different way to enjoy this spectacular capital city. It’s unique to Stockholm. The tour is fully guided with experts in history and rooftop hiking, and it takes place some 43 metres above the city streets. But don’t worry about safety, as you will be wearing safety gear, and have to comply with some specific rules and regulations which are similar to taking a Bridgeclimb experience. 

Ride A Harley In Ketchikan 

Cruising isn’t all about ships for some; it’s also about long roads and wide open spaces on land. And when it comes to cruising on land there’s no better way than on the back of a classic Harley Davidson motorbike. The small Alaskan town of Ketchikan is a popular destination for these tours, as you are accompanied by a guide who will tell you stories of legends and lore at a variety of scenic spots in between riding and enjoying the scenery. You’ll also get to spot bald eagles, meet native carvers and explore the dramatic Tongass National Forest. Other popular destinations for this type of tour include Cozumel in Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands including St. Maarten.

Zip Lining In Belize 

It’s famous for lush tropical rainforest, natural diversity and majestic trees, and one unusual way to see it all with a bird’s eye view is on a zip line excursion. It starts in the limestone foothills near the Port of Belize City, and once you’re geared up with equipment including a safety helmet, you’ll start flying from platform to platform. There are 10 rides in all, the longest of which is over 76 metres through terrain which is home to all manner of birds and howler monkeys. Other destinations where you can zip line include various ports in Alaska, St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and Cozumel in Mexico. 

Cage Diving In Oahu 

Hawaii; just say the name you’re immediately thinking of surfing, the beach, frangipanis, and the infectious “aloha” spirit. On the beautiful North Shore of the island of Oahu, however, you can also enjoy an adrenaline rush with a difference cage diving. You climb into a secure cage with an expert, and then you’re lowered below the waterline to get up-close-and-personal with sharks, while also spotting turtles dolphins, humpback whales and more. You can also enjoy cage shark diving off other islands in Hawaii, and Cape Town in South Africa. 

Zorbing In Port Vila 

Fancy an adrenaline rush with a difference? Then zorbing might be for you! What it involves is climbing into, and being strapped inside, a large transparent inflated ball, which is housed inside another large inflated ball. Then you roll down a hill, at times reaching speeds of up to 50 kilometres an hour. There’s a cushion of air between you and the ground, which makes it safe, and for added fun, or simply to cool off, you can add a bucket of water to the inside of the ball. Other places you can zorb on a cruise include New Zealand, Belize and Slovenia!


Joanna Hall


  • 5
    Port Arthur

    Posted by Patricia Rey on 29th Jan 2019

    We had an overnight in Port Arthur on a cruise last year and did the nighttime ghost tour and it was great....it got very cold towards the end, but it was super scary at times and I was pretty happy to get back to the ship! Port Arthur is an amazing place, so much history and tragedy.....I would recommend it to anyone.

  • 1
    Are You Kidding???

    Posted by Ricki SSS on 29th Jan 2019

    Cage diving with sharks??? Not on your life!

  • 5
    Love These

    Posted by Monica Broome on 29th Jan 2019

    I guess horse riding isn't that unusual but we did it in the South Pacific and what was different from the rides we've done at home is that we took the horses into the water at the end......you can't do that in Centennial Park LOL. The landscape was also very tropical, hot and humid, and we saw lots of birds and other wildlife en-route.

  • 5
    Amazing Tours

    Posted by Terri Traveller on 29th Jan 2019

    There are so many amazing tours you can do on ships. People don't think they'd be exciting but they are the only downside can be cost. These all look like such fun, informative, and a bit different. And doing them fro a ship is so very convenient too. Great suggestions!