Royal Caribbean’s shore excursions (the local day trips offered when you’re in port) run the gamut—each destination may have as many as six different categories of experiences with a special focus on food, wine, culture, adventure, or family-friendliness. The hardest question for vacationers often isn’t if they should book an excursion, but rather which one they should choose. To help narrow it down, we went straight to an expert: Sydney Brown, an AquaTheater acrobat for Royal Caribbean, who is also one of the cruise line’s official crew ambassadors—and a fan of the immersive outings.
“I’m currently in Europe onboard Harmony of the Seas, and we are in port six out of seven days,” she says. “On average, I’ve been signing up for two shore excursions a week—there is so much to see and do in Europe, and I want to make the most out of my time while I’m here.”
We asked Sydney to share her most exciting memories, as well as her top suggestions for European shore excursions. Read on for what she had to say.
1. Her Favorites … So Far
“I think La Spezia is my favorite port in Europe, because it’s like a home base to see so many different places. There are lots of excursions to choose from, though visiting Cinque Terre (the chain of five ancient seaside villages along the Italian Riviera) has to be my favorite!
I also like Portovenere, and the Pisa and Florence excursions, because you can choose to go ‘independent,’ meaning it’s more of a round-trip transfer and you can do whatever you like in the time you have there.”
2. The Place Most Ideal For A Shore Excursion
“An excursion to Rome is amazing; it’s also hard to do Rome in a day, and it’s a bit of a mission to get there and back on your own. With an excursion, you can see so much in one day and not have to worry about making it back to the ship on time.”
3. The Excursion She Wants To Take Next
“I have a never-ending list! I want to go back to Cassis and hike through Les Calanques in France; then to Italy for some wine tasting in Tuscany; as well as check out Portofino, Positano; and the island of Ischia.”
4. What Makes Them So Special
“I think wherever you go, you’re going to have something memorable happen—whether it be the food you eat, the people you are with, or the things you choose to do and see.
I think my most memorable day was in one of the Cinque Terre towns, Manarola. We found a place to cliff jump. The view from the cliff was gorgeous! I was with a great group of friends, and we spent all afternoon jumping off the rocks and taking pictures.”
5. Her Best Shore Excursion Advice
“Book it as soon as you can, especially if it’s one you know you really want to do. Some excursions have limited spots and they can fill up quick.”
Sydney Brown is an AquaTheater acrobat and official crew ambassador for Royal Caribbean. Follow her adventures on board on Instagram at @sydneybrown_xo. Photos above are courtesy of Sydney.