March 19, 2009
As frequent cruisers begin to tire of the same old snorkeling excursions and bus tours, cruise line executives are wondering how to inject new life into their tour offerings. At a panel at Cruise Shipping Miami entitled "Matching Shore Excursions to Changing Consumer Tastes," representatives from cruise lines and travel agencies asked the burning question: What's next in shore excursions?
One line's answer? "Destination-defining excursions."
Carnival Corporation's Giora Israel, senior vice president of port and destination development, says the key is connecting the excursion to the destination. "We don't want another jeep tour or snorkeling tour," he says. "We need some destination-defining excursions." Cairo has its Pyramids and the Sea of Cortez ports have the Copper Canyon. Other destinations -- especially in the Caribbean -- need to come up with the iconic attractions or locations in their area, then build shore excursions around them.
For example, Carnival has created a new shore excursion around Jamaica's famous bobsled team. Its "Bobsled Jamaica" tour features a rollercoaster-esque "bobsled" ride through a tropical rainforest. The excursion also includes a chairlift ride to enjoy the view of the lush forest, interactive displays on Jamaican history and the bobsled team, and time relaxing in a swimming pool. So the tour combines something destination defining -- the bobsled team -- with fun island activities, such as swimming and thrill rides.
Israel's next idea is a theme park in Freeport, Bahamas, set up around the filming locations of various James Bond movies. We love these outside-of-the-box ideas, and can't wait to see what's next. In the meantime, vote in our poll on what the next destination-defining excursion should be -- and share your ideas as to what you'd like to see on offer on your next cruise.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor, with reporting by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
Image of Jamaican Bobsled appears courtesy of Carnival.
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Pictures from the Trade Show Floor