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5 of the best luxury cruise lines for excursions

Cruise Advice

There are many things to consider when choosing your next cruise holiday, and the onboard experience is an important aspect. But what about the shoreside offering? All cruise lines offer shore excursions, whether included or chargeable, and if you're looking to get a taste of a destination there is an almost endless variety of options to choose from. Here we take a look at the best luxury cruise lines for excursions…

If you like to explore independently in port then it can be easy enough depending on the destination, distance of the port from the town, local attractions, and what you wish to see or do.

There are benefits to taking the ship's excursions however, so it is always worth checking out what's on offer, as there may be something special that you just cannot do on your own, such as exclusive access to an attraction, or a special performance or show. Taking the cruise line's excursions also provides peace of mind, as the shore excursion team will ensure you arrive back at the ship on time for departure.

Florence skyline

As guests are increasingly looking for unique and authentic experiences ashore, shore excursion offerings are only becoming more exciting and varied, so we consider some of the best cruise lines for shore excursions.

5 of the best luxury cruise lines for excursions

1. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent are the most inclusive of the all-inclusive luxury lines and an incredible range of shore excursions are included in the price of your cruise. On a 7-night Mediterranean voyage, you can expect upwards of 20 included excursions plus further chargeable options, ranging from walking tours, historic points of interest, culinary highlights, visits to nearby towns, nature-based excursions, and more.

Excitingly, Regent have recently announced a brand new 'Immersive Overnights' voyage collection; a series of voyages featuring overnights in every port of call. These voyages are designed to immerse you fully in iconic destinations and to enhance your time here Regent have curated a selection of evening excursions. These special evening tours include a geisha performance with dinner in Kyoto, a private after-hours visit to the art collection at Prince Eugen's former home Waldemarsudde in Stockholm, and sunset wine tasting in a Tuscan villa from Livorno.

Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

2. Seabourn

Seabourn offer a selection of optional excursions divided into separate themes and designed to offer guests memorable and enriching experiences ashore. Highlights include Ventures By Seabourn® which are active and adventure based experiences, the epicurean collection which focuses on culinary experiences, and bespoke offerings allowing guests to customize their time ashore with private cars, drivers and guides.

Just announced is 'The Collection', a series of voyages on board Seabourn Venture in Spring 2025. These curated sailings have been designed to offer guests exclusive onshore experiences including an intimate evening and private dinner at Château Smith Haut-Lafitte from Bordeaux, and an Andalucian experience with private flamenco performance from Seville. For tennis fans, select sailings have been specifically planned around and include tickets to the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open during overnight calls in each city.

Bordeaux wine festival

3. Silversea

As part of Silversea's all-inclusive offering, guests can enjoy one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call with a selection of included tours to choose from, plus some additional bespoke options available to purchase. Part of their optional bespoke collection and only available on Silver Moon, Silver Dawn and Silver Nova voyages, is their S.A.L.T. shore excursion programme which showcases destinations from a culinary perspective.

Boasting more than your average food tour, the S.A.L.T excursions allow guests to immerse the culinary identity of the destination, engage in hands-on experiences, and learn from local chefs and producers. You might choose a foraging trek and lunch in Puglia's countryside from Bari, a rare barrel sherry tasting from Cádiz, a day spent with Norwegian Chef Daniel Madsen from Stavanger, or a market visit and interactive cooking lesson from Tallinn, amongst many other enriching experiences on European voyages.

Silversea's foraging tour, Puglia

Foraging excursion in Puglia ©Silversea Cruises Ltd

4. Crystal

Following Crystal's purchase by luxury adventure specialists Abercrombie & Kent, we were eager to see how this new partnership would enhance Crystal's itineraries and shoreside experiences. As destination experts with a huge portfolio of immersive tours plus a global network of land-based operators, A&K can provide valuable enhancements to Crystal's offering ashore, and indeed there are plans for a new and exclusive programme of A&K-curated excursions and land extensions.

Crystal's optional shore excursions cover a range of interests from history & archaeology, people & culture, nature & wildlife, food & wine, and city sightseeing. We particularly like their private car or van and driver option offered in many ports of call, boasting great value for those travelling as a group and allowing you to curate your own independent exploration of the destination, suited to your particular interests.

Colosseum, Rome

5. AmaWaterways

River cruising is all about getting into the heart of the destination so many river cruise lines operate a comprehensive selection of included excursions to enhance your voyage. On board AmaWaterways you'll be able to choose from one of several complimentary options in every port of call, in small groups and led by a local English-speaking guide, plus you can often choose from a gentle, regular and active tour pace.

Their special interest excursions allow you to experience local culture in a unique way such as bratwurst and beer tasting in Nuremberg or a classical performance in Vienna. As the first river operator to carry a fleet of bicycles on board, AmaWaterways' collection of exclusive guided bike tours on their European itineraries is second to none, and there is also a fantastic selection of guided hiking tours.

If you have an interest in wine, check out AmaWaterways' European Wine River Cruises, featuring wine hosts and sommeliers on board as well as tours to local vineyards and wine tastings.

Bicycles on AmaWaterways' AmaBella
Meet the author

Louise is Marketing Executive at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for nearly a year and in travel for over 8 years. Most recently she's cruised on Explora Journeys and has also sailed with Crystal Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Seabourn, Ponant and Uniworld. Her favourite destination is New Zealand however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands, Norwegian Fjords, Indian Ocean and South Africa. When she’s not travelling she loves cooking and trying new restaurants.

More about Louise

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