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What tour have you done that blew you away?

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What is the most interesting or unique tour you have done at a port of call? This could be a tour that let you have an experience that would be hard to organise yourself or allowed you to visit a place few people get access or just anything¬† that to you was a really special thing to be apart ofūü§ó.

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A summit flight over Denali (when on an Alaska cruise tour) was the most memorable excursion we've ever taken. The best DIY excursion was the 2 days and 2 nights we spent at Iguassu Falls after disembarking a cruise in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Other excellent excursions include an evening (5 pm to midnight IIRC) excursion that involved transfer to small boat and then transfer to a canoe to a rain forest camp in the Amazon for a hike and dinner (and then a return to the cruise ship via canoe and small boat), Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands, and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on a gorgeous evening.

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A fabulous day on the island of Rangiroa in the Pacific.

Took a boat ride of about an hour to an area where we snorkelled and ate fresh coconut, then walked and waded from one small island to another. There we swam in a pool formed by ancient corral pushed up onto the land, and the guides(and some participants!) did some "cliff" diving. Walked on, to a wonderful lunch of local foods, and shark feeding. Then the return boat ride.

Wish we could do it again...really had no idea it would be so fabulous, and I was the one who arranged it!

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Posted (edited)

For the longest time, I thought a NaPali coast helicopter flight could not be topped. But, since we head to Kauai regularly, we can do that without a cruise.

 

That said, last year we did a Rio to Lima cruise and had the unique opportunity to fly over the Nazca lines a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed.

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Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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Two actually. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad out of Skagway, AK and whale watching out of Juneau, AK

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In Malta the Game of Thrones tour....you didn't have to be a fan to enjoy this unique tour.

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In Malta the Game of Thrones tour....you didn't have to be a fan to enjoy this unique tour.
We did the Game of Thrones and Old city 4 hours walking tour at Dubrovnik, Croatia.
I thought it was unique to Dubrovnik.
I didn't know it was available in Malta also.

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Godfather Tour in Sicily.  It was a private excursion (only 8 of us) that took us to the filming locations of the movie.  In the town of Savoca (Corleone in the movie), we visited the church where the wedding was held and had drinks at Bar Vitelli.  We then went up to Castelmola where we went into the catacombs of an old church, visited the provocative Turrisi Bar, and had a private lunch at a place called La Taverna dell Etna.  It was on a patio overlooking Mt Etna, which was smoking at the time.  

 

The weather was perfect.  The towns of Savoca and Castelmola were most empty of tourists, so we mingled with the locals.  It was a perfect day.

 

The icing on the cake was we purchased a couple bottles of the local wine.  At the time, the cruise line (HAL) allowed wine to be brought on board from every port.  We drank the bottle on our balcony as we cruised away from the port.  

 

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3 hours ago, ilikeanswers said:

What is the most interesting or unique tour you have done at a port of call? This could be a tour that let you have an experience that would be hard to organise yourself or allowed you to visit a place few people get access or just anything¬† that to you was a really special thing to be apart ofūü§ó.

In 2008 my wife and I went on a 14 day trip to Alaska.The first 7 days was a land trip and the next 7 a cruise ,all from HAL.We booked a tour of Denali National Park.

Our tour guide was a College Professor from Oregon who worked as an Alaskan tour guide 6 months every year. We were 50 people on a bus .He gave each of us several bound books about Denali to keep,no charge.His lecture was fantastic.The tour was supposed to be 3 hours.When it was close to that time he asked if anyone had any objections to a longer time. When the tour ended it was nearly 5 hours .

This was the land portion ,Therefore,there was not a rush to get back to the ship.

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Posted (edited)

My bucket list consist's of playing golf in all fifty states. While south bound on our Alaska cruise my wife and I signed up for a golf excursion in Haines.  We met with our ship provided tour guide who led six of us to a waiting van took a short drive to the ferry terminal then cruisin down the Chilkoot inlet orcas along side. Thirty minutes later we docked in Haines, boarded another van and a short drive to Valley of the Eagles golf course. Greeted by the course owner who set us up with equipment and a safety briefing! 

¬† "¬† your in bear country and there's a salmon run right now so if your fearful for your well being or a slow runner .... "¬† Oh wow !¬† ūüėĶ¬†said the man from New York standing next to me.¬† " just keep your distance and stay calm if in sight, they are not interested in you as much as they are the fishing " replied the owner.¬† With that we were off.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†It didn't take but three holes in before our first sighting. ¬† Standing shoulder to shoulder I muttered " damn must be 800 pounds or bigger"¬† New York squeaked¬†"how can ya tell? " I said " that's the biggest pile of scat I've ever seen. "¬† and followed it up¬† with a hardy chuckle¬†¬†" if ya hit one in the woods don't go look for it. "¬† ¬†I walked up to my tee shot with iron in hand and gave it a mighty swat.¬†As I turned saying "wow did ya see that "¬† I saw New York hurriedly¬†making his way back the way we came.¬† Just five¬†very edgy players out on the course now.¬† Two holes later " Come on folks do ya think the owner would let us play if it weren't safe to do so, I mean it would be bad for business if some thing were to happen to a group of tourist"¬† Just a soon as I finished saying that, one in our fivesome¬† pointed over my shoulder and yelled¬† "BEAR ! "¬†ūüė≤¬†.¬† Slowly turning and¬†way off in the distance probably 300 yards or more I saw a blob¬†in the fairway we just played. (It's¬† a good thing I'm near sighted) The "blob" was gurgling and sputtering as it got closer.¬†¬†Guess who showed up in a cart with the owner and a shot gun?¬† our savior¬†New York.¬†

       Onward and upward, who's with me  I said.  Teeing off with body guard in tow we went. The scenery was magnificent. No car noise, no houses and eagles every where, I counted at least twenty circling over head.  Frankly they made me more nervous than the bears. (we have bears at my home course).  When we finished eighteen we saw only one bear and a small one at that. The real adventure was yet come. 

  

   

Edited by c-boy

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I've always been interested in volcanoes, so not much can beat our stay-cations on Hawaii and Lanzarote, but OH persuaded me to go on a Caribbean cruise because there was a day on Martinique which included a boat trip to see Mount Pelee and visit the small museum of the 1902 eruption. On that same cruise we passed Montserrat at night and saw three eruptions.

But the tours round Iceland have been the most fascinating for me... not so sure they were for my husband...¬†ūüôĀ

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15 minutes ago, jocap said:

I've always been interested in volcanoes.

 

 

If you're ever in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helens we highly recommend a visit.  We did it as a ship's excursion from Astoria, Oregon on an LA to Vancouver coastal cruise.  The scenery - even 40 years later - is other worldly and the visitors center is excellent.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, capriccio said:

 

If you're ever in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helens we highly recommend a visit.  We did it as a ship's excursion from Astoria, Oregon on an LA to Vancouver coastal cruise.  The scenery - even 40 years later - is other worldly and the visitors center is excellent.

Oh, that would be my dream... the class I taught studied the eruption, many years ago, and I have books about it and even watched the movie several times...¬† ūüėĄ

 

Edited by jocap
old age and getting late... :D

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5 hours ago, drsel said:

We did the Game of Thrones and Old city 4 hours walking tour at Dubrovnik, Croatia.
I thought it was unique to Dubrovnik.
I didn't know it was available in Malta also.

It was the "Malta Film Tours" owned and operated by Malcolm Ellul a cast/crew member from GOT season one as well as many other movies filmed in Malta. Malcolm was just amazing. This as I said above was one of the best tours we've been on !!!

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2 hours ago, jocap said:

I've always been interested in volcanoes,

Agreed  On a cruise round  New Zealand last year did a helicopter trip to White Island... exactly a week before the eruption of 9th Dec 2019 ... we spend an hour walking round the island is was amazing.... the other half was really excited    Cheers Don539650467_finalwhiteislandaerial_3.thumb.jpg.600b283ae2f94e9057bb4e097e962776.jpg

1028739167_finalwhiteisland1.thumb.jpg.f4807267fe488dc9bd8f366277163cc7.jpg1581978750_finalwhiteislandcrator2.thumb.jpg.99a5a7728569f0103c5132181afc295d.jpg

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14 hours ago, getting older slowly said:

Agreed  On a cruise round  New Zealand last year did a helicopter trip to White Island... exactly a week before the eruption of 9th Dec 2019 ... we spend an hour walking round the island is was amazing.... the other half was really excited    Cheers Don539650467_finalwhiteislandaerial_3.thumb.jpg.600b283ae2f94e9057bb4e097e962776.jpg

1028739167_finalwhiteisland1.thumb.jpg.f4807267fe488dc9bd8f366277163cc7.jpg1581978750_finalwhiteislandcrator2.thumb.jpg.99a5a7728569f0103c5132181afc295d.jpg

Those are stunning pictures... I would have done that tour, even knowing how dangerous it could be. I'm glad you got to see it, but sad for those who lost loved ones.

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Have done many, favorite was a tour that included leaning tower of Pisa,  then on to Florence to see David then a wine tasting in a vineyard near Florence , just 8 of us with a great guide. 

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Many wonderful shore excursions but one come to mind...a few years ago on the now infamous Diamond Princess in Yokohama.¬† (ūüė∑¬† Before the pandemic.)

 

It was our first trip to Japan...a bit worried because we didn't speak any Japanese. (We mostly do DIY at each port.) All we wanted was to experience the crowded train to Tokyo.  What a memorable day it turned out to be.

 

Sailing into the port, our ship was welcomed by a large group singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow"...and thousands waving American flags.  We slowly docked next to one of the most architecturally stunning cruise terminals we've ever seen...the Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal.  Inside, they had tables set up with locals helping cruise passengers with information and maps...and yes, they spoke English...extremely friendly and polite.  We were told there was a free shuttle to the nearest train station provided by the City of Yokohama.  It ran back and forth, cruise terminal to the train station, every 15 minutes or so.

 

The train station was just like we watched on TV...clean, modern, and wow! thousands upon thousands of people. We were able to navigate our way around the train station...there was always someone willing to help. And yes, we made onto that packed train...slowly and calmly pushed in like a can of sardines.  It was bizarre...no one said a word, no complaining, everyone very polite. 

 

We spent our day in Tokyo going from shrines to palaces to gardens to markets...couldn't get better I thought.  Well...it got even better for me.

 

I'm a triathlete and knew that there was an international triathlon in Yokohama.  In the shuttle on our way back to the cruise terminal, I whispered: "That was a great day, but I wished there was someone I could ask that knew where the triathlon was being held...I wouldn't mind taking a quick look".  Standing next to me was an older Japanese lady who said: "I speak English and I'm a volunteer at the triathlon...I can show you where it is".  Wow!...incredible!

 

When we got off the shuttle bus, she told us the triathlon site was only a short walk from the cruise terminal and pointed us towards the correct direction. With renewed energy, we made our way to the "Start/Finish" line........and lo and behold! we find ourselves watching world-class triathletes practicing. (It would be like walking on a golf course and finding Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson practicing.)  We met and talked to Gwen Jorgensen, who was one of the best triathletes in the world and eventually won the gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

 

I couldn't wait to tell our friends onboard the ship what happened.

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George C, I too loved our day at the Tower of Pisa.  I am a bit crooked myself, one leg longer than the other, so I felt a strange affinity with that Tower, which has stayed standing all this time.

My other favorite, but not on an excursion, was our day spent walking around Naples.  We found our way to our goal, the "Veiled Christ", which was spectacular.  After that we got lost, walked some more, "talked" to a local who helped us find our way around, visited the Galleria Umberto, walked some more.  A very special day.

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It wasn’t a tour but on a Hawaii cruise we passed a active volcano that was pouring a river od red hot lava into the ocean this was about 10 pm and you could see the steam rising , captain turned ship around so people could see it from there balcony.

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7 hours ago, George C said:

Have done many, favorite was a tour that included leaning tower of Pisa,  then on to Florence to see David then a wine tasting in a vineyard near Florence , just 8 of us with a great guide. 

 

Seeing David has to be at the top of my list. Seeing that statue up close is just an amazing event.

 

And a floatplane tour out of Ketchikan is up there.........

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1 hour ago, Lois R said:

....And a floatplane tour out of Ketchikan is up there.........

If you do an Alaskan floatplane ride, insist on a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver (the classic) before they're all gone. And, FWIW, skip the glacial helicopter ride and save that money for the Napali Coast if/when you go to Kauai.

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9 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

If you do an Alaskan floatplane ride, insist on a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver (the classic) before they're all gone. And, FWIW, skip the glacial helicopter ride and save that money for the Napali Coast if/when you go to Kauai.

 

I have done a float plane ride twice.¬† I went with Michelle at Island Wings both times.....she is fabulous. I don't remember what the plane was called but it was an awesome trip.ūüėÄ

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I have been blessed two such shore excursions, one via the Shore Excursion Department of HAL and one by one by my cruise travel agency.

 

#1:  A multi day trip from the port for Beijing to Shanghai that included several tours of Beijing including the Forbidden City, an overnight and a Peking Duck dinner in Beijing at a truly deluxe hotel, comfortable flights (with meal service when appropriate) to Xian and then to Shanghai, tours of Xian including plenty of time at the Terra Cotta Warriors site and a comfortable hotel stay at the Sheraton there with good food available (Eastern/Western breakfasts were available and that was an interesting option).  A tour of Shanghai was part of the package before we joined the Volendam.  

 

#2:  A multi day trip from Chennai to New Delhi that included tours of New Delhi and other cities including an excellent visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra including a return to New Delhi and a flight to Mumbai to rejoin the Amsterdam.  Our hotel at Agra overlooked the Taj and I was able to really see that the color of the Taj really does change as the Sun's angle changes!

 

Neither tour was inexpensive.  Both were 100% worth every penny spent for the experience!

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