When taking a cruise and exploring a new place, cruise excursions are great ways to get curated tours, trips and insights into your destination. Here at Azamara, we pride ourselves on our exceptional shore excursion options, which are perfect for every type of explorer. Thanks to our long port hours and knowledgeable team, we have managed to provide a long list of unique shore excursions all around the world.
From chartered jets, to remote Mayan ruins, to ferries rides to islands filled with a labyrinth of shrines, these Azamara shore excursions are the perfect getaway for history lovers.
Exploration of Pompeii
Pompeii was once a city of epic culture and thought, until one fateful day in 79 A.D when the neighbouring Mt. Vesuvius exploded and buried the city in lava and smoke. After being lost under 30 feet of cinder for 1,700 years, the ruins of this once great city are now restored. On the Exploration of Pompeii shore excursion, you’ll be able to follow an expert guide through the ruins, viewing ancient temples and the frozen casts of ancient citizens. The remains today show a city seemingly frozen in time, with Mt. Vesuvius still casting its shadow over Pompeii.
We spoke to Kelly Duhigg, known online as Girl With The Passport, who has previously visited Pompeii. We asked what inspired her visit: “I have always been fascinated by Roman history. But Pompeii has always been something special to me. This place is a unique mixture of mystery and tragedy that has created one of the most important archaeological sites of today. Yes, this place offers historians some deep insight into the daily lives of Pompeii residences, but at what cost? I wanted to visit here, marvel at the old-world beauty of this ancient city, and pay my respects to the entombed souls that still lie here today. I wanted to feel for myself what it was liked to walk down these cobbled streets and look at the majesty of Mt. Vesuvius.
We then asked Kelly what she felt she gained from visiting in person: “Somehow, walking through Pompeii, seeing the decaying homes, and breathing the once toxic air makes the whole city and disaster a bit more real. It's like I can almost step back in time and understand how all the residents felt on that tragic day. It always means so much more when you come face to face with something that you've read about your whole life.”
Petra, the rose-red desert city
Petra is an ancient city hidden in the long, winding Siq Gorge, carved from beautiful red stone. The city burns bright with colour and the intricate carvings tower high upon onlookers. As you walk the gorge on Petra, The Rose Red Desert City, you’ll experience a myriad of archaeological sites, although many people travel here for one reason: to marvel at the Al-Khazneh temple. Our excursion will allow you to walk the gorge, view all of the incredible buildings and enjoy a delicious lunch to refuel you in the middle of the day.
We spoke to Keri Hedrick, founder and editor of Our Globetrotters. She told us what inspired her to visit Petra: “Petra is a city that although “rediscovered” in the 19th century, still feels shrouded in mystery. The entrance to the Lost City is through the Siq, a long narrow gorge. With clattering carriages and towering walls engulfing you, this only adds to the mystery, intrigue and excitement you feel as you enter Petra and see the Treasury for the first time. From the carved building facades of the Nabatean Kingdom to Roman Amphitheatres, you can feel the living and breathing city that must have once stood beneath your feet.”
“It is both the physical geography and rich history of trade, rule and religion that make Petra so fascinating. The rich pink sandstone rocks have earned it one of its many names “the Rose City” and it’s starring role in many popular films such as Indian Jones and the Last Crusade and The Mummy Returns has brought this long hidden Modern Wonder to the attention of the world.”
We asked Keri about her experience there and if she has any tips to pass on: “It is was one of my most rewarding and breath-taking travel experiences; nothing quite prepares you for the size and scale of the site and the journey back in time. Comfortable shoes are needed and consider - especially if travelling with children - if you might need to hire one of the offered donkey’s or horses to help with tired legs. You can hire a guide at the entrance to the archaeological site if you’d like to truly bring the experience to life with storytelling that takes you beyond the guidebooks.”
We also spoke to Claudia Tavani, blogger at My Adventures Across The World. We asked her what inspired her to visit Petra: “Growing up in Italy, it's almost obvious that I am into archaeology. I have always thought that learning from the past I could better understand life as it is now. I was about 14 or 15 when my dad took me to the cinema to see Indiana Jones. The fun and thrilling plot of the movie, the fact that I saw it with my dad, and the incredible views stuck with me. I had no idea that the place where the movie had been filmed was Petra, in Jordan. Years and years later, when I saw pictures of it, I realized this was the famous Indiana Jones place. Needless to say, I wanted to see it, to appreciate how vast it is and to get the atmosphere.”
Claudia told us about her experience, and first seeing the Treasury: “My first sighting of the Treasury was at night, for the Petra by Night show. It was beautiful: a show of music and candles, sitting with other visitors, cats browsing about. As it was so dark, I could hardly get the grandeur of the place - I came to realize that the morning after, when I visited during the day. To be fair, though, I felt a major sense of achievement when I actually saw the Treasury from above, after a guided hike through the site on a path (or so they say: there isn't much of a path to follow!) that took me all the way up a hill, where no other tourists ventured, and I could appreciate the view from above. I felt truly privileged then!”
Tikal expedition by air
Tikal National Park dates back thousands of years to the 1st century AD. These incredible ruins that exist in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle are a remarkably preserved remembrance of the Mayan civilisation. The towering palaces and temples stand out amongst the bright green jungle, and as you explore the site you’ll start to imagine what life here would have been like over 2,000 years ago.
Tikal Expedition By Air starts with a charter plane ride to Mundo Maya Airport to take in the wondrous sights, followed by a unique narrated drive through the incredible jungle to reach Tikal. We spoke to Audrey Calmers, blogger at Gumnuts Abroad, who told us what inspired them to travel to Tikal: “We love ancient ruins and visiting Tikal seemed like such an adventure. It's so far from our home in Australia and it's unlike anything we'd seen before. We felt so fortunate to have the chance to see it. I'm not sure if we'll ever have the opportunity again.”
Audrey told us about their experience: “To see the pyramids soaring above the jungle is truly magical. It's incredible to think how old they are and the stories they could tell. And yet here we were climbing all over them amongst luscious jungle and buzzing insects. The whole area is crawling with wildlife and we saw coatimundis, spider monkeys and even a toucan. And all the while we could hear the howler monkeys roar. There's nowhere else like it.”
The Caves of Elephanta
Journey to Gharapuri and explore the Elephanta Caves. Dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, this labyrinth of caves can be dated back over 1,500 years and thanks to over 100 years of restoration, they are still in fantastic condition. The Caves of Elephanta shore excursion will take you from neighbouring Mumbai to the island, escorting you up the 124-step entrance and then allow you to explore the caves.
The Silk Exchange: An UNESCO partner tour
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected most of the world for many centuries. Although the name was only given to the road in present day, the routes were used to transport many goods for hundreds of years, particularly silks and spices. The Silk Exchange: An UNESCO Partner Tour allows you to join the Silk Road in Valencia and learn more about the history of silk making in one of the route’s most famous cities. You will visit the Higher Art of Silk Making, as well as the bustling Central Market where you can browse the stalls and try “horchata” - a local beverage.
As one of the most well-known historical moments in the world, the 1912 maiden voyage of the Titanic is something that is well marked in history. The ship, constructed in Belfast, collided with an iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York. With the Titanic Trail, you can explore some of the locations that make up the ship’s history. Stoll the Titanic Quarter, see the pump house and the offices where the famous ship was designed and visit Titanic Belfast, the site where the ill-fated vessel was built.
We spoke to Maria Ingrid, travel blogger at Wander With Mi. We asked her what inspired her to visit the Titanic Museum: “Initially, my fascination with the movie Titanic when I was a young girl made me want to visit the Titanic Museum. I got so interested, not just with the story of the movie, but also on what really happened on the ship. I also learned that you will get to see how the ship was built, what the cabins and suites looked like and the exploration that they are currently undertaking, thus my desire to visit the museum grew even more.”
Maria then told us what she learnt from the museum that has stuck with her: “During the tour, there was a ride that takes you through the construction of the ship. In here, you will see, hear and feel what the workers went through in building the ship. This struck me in a way that they have put so much effort into building the ‘ship of dreams’, only to end up sinking on its first voyage. Apart from this, there was a gallery where you can see the Morse code and you can hear actual voices of the survivors asking for help. I just can’t imagine how frightening it was and the trauma that it might have caused them.”
We also spoke to Marissa, travel blogger at Little Things Travel. She told us why she was inspired to visit the Titanic Museum: “I have always had an interest in the Titanic ever since seeing the movie as a young girl, so when I planned my visit to Belfast, the Titanic Museum was one of the first stops on my list. I knew there was so much more to learn about the creation of this massive vessel and the many people involved in making the Titanic a reality, and the Titanic Museum covers all that and more.”
We then asked what it was that stuck with her from her visit: “The thing that stuck with me the most after my visit was how I felt listening to the first-hand accounts of what happened from survivors. While I may not ever be able to fully grasp the magnitude of what those passengers felt, the Titanic Museum helps to give you some understanding about what it was like to be on the ship and experience the devastation of its sinking.”