Going on a cruise gets passengers closer to the sea, sure, but there’s also plenty to do on shore during port calls. It can be tricky to find the time to do everything you want to do while on land, especially with the brief time allocated for port calls.
Here are four tips to help you make the most out of your time ashore:
1. Do your research
You have a couple of options as far as research goes. Check the itinerary before the cruise begins. You have plenty of time leading up to your departure to find out as much as you can about the various cities you’ll be stopping at on the cruise. It’s a good idea to get ahead of the game and do your research ahead of time. Preparation is easier on land than at sea. You know where and how to connect to the Internet at home, but it may prove more difficult once you’re out on the water.
2. Plan your schedule
Although you may pride yourself on leaving schedules behind while you’re on vacation, you should probably make an exception while you’re on shore. The port calls you will make will be jam packed as you try to squeeze in as many activities as you can in a short amount of time. One of the best ways to get the most out of your time on land is to make yourself a schedule. Since most port calls are rather brief, you should make an effort to plan out what you’re going to do each hour you’re ashore. As you begin to formulate a game plan, try to schedule things that are close in proximity around the same time. Doing so prevents you from wasting time trying to get all the way across town from activity to activity. In the same vein, you should do your best to book things before you dock. Doing so will help you make a more accurate (and detailed) schedule. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about anything being unavailable to you when you get ashore if you’ve made reservations ahead of time.
3. Experience the local culture
Getting to experience the local cultures of the stops on your cruise can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip. Do your best to expose yourself to as much of the local culture as possible. For starters, make sure you sample the local cuisine. Make reservations at a restaurant or, at the least, pick up food from a market or vendor. If you have the time, try to stop by a museum, gallery or music venue to get a better sense for the art of the region. Sometimes you can find tours that take you around the local attractions, too. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to join one! Not only will tour guides be able to give you plenty of information about the port city, they can also be helpful in suggesting even more things for you to do while you’re there.
4. Don’t forget the essentials
Just because you’re on land doesn’t mean you have everything you need. Bring the essentials that you already packed for the cruise. Don’t forget your wallet and passport. Depending on where you are, you may need them to get on and off the ship. If you have a booked day and you’re worried you won’t have time to stop for food, try to pack snacks for the day. Remember: It’s always better to be prepared. Even though you’ll have your feet on land again, you’re still away from home, so do what you can to get ready for anything.