“An unexpected detour took us where no tourist had ever been before”

“An unexpected detour took us where no tourist had ever been before”

“An unexpected detour took us where no tourist had ever been before”

Shore Excursions Cruises Travel Holidays Readers Memories Stories - Getty

Shore Excursions Cruises Travel Holidays Readers Memories Stories – Getty

We often hear about onboard activities and outings specifically associated with expedition cruises, but this week we asked readers about their favorite shore excursions in general; their vivid reports will make you feel like you are there.

Letter of the week

From our cruise ship, the train station looked so small, as if a model enthusiast had placed it delicately at the water’s edge. We had ascended the beautiful Sognefjord to the small Norwegian village of Flam, seductively tucked between the fjord and the mountains.

It was only two minutes from the station; then, with a rush of engine, we set off on the Flam railway. The train ascended to the village of Myrdal, offering spectacular views as we made our way past tiny farms clinging to the sides of the fjord. The route through 20 tunnels included a 180 degree turn inside the mountain.

Halfway there, during a photo stop at the magnificent Kjosfossen waterfalls, we even spotted Huldra, a Scandinavian sprite, dancing through the cataract – or not?

This was definitely a “wish list” excursion and, from over 2,600 feet up, our cruise ship, much further down, now looked like a model boat, as did the tiny station next to it.

By David Littlefield of Tyne and Wear wins a £ 250 Sunvil holiday voucher

flam Railway shore excursion cruise trip - Getty

flam Railway shore excursion cruise trip – Getty

The best of the rest

Enough Pharaoh

Slamming through the night desert, we sleep on our seats, teenagers lost in restless dreams. The Nile curves to meet us again, the sun rises as we cross the Aswan Dam. Lake Nasser glows an unreal blue. Beyond, Abu Simbel crouches, cupped into his mound. The statues of the impassive guardians are illuminated by the golden morning.

Inside, Ramses II – boastful king, proud charioteer – whizzes through the walls, his story unfolds. He is carried by boats, gathers armies, defeats his enemies, sacrifices crocodiles. It is the embodied force, ultimately ephemeral: a lesson for teenagers about the grinding power of time. We go back to our cruise boat, dazzled, humiliated.

Liz Kolbeck, Manchester

The beautiful north

Seven years ago I sat with my 85-year-old father reading The Sunday Telegraph. He suddenly looked up, waved an advertising flyer at me and said: “I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland”.

“Me too,” I replied sadly. The flyer advertised an expert cruise to St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides, Heimaey in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Two weeks later, Dad called, “Let’s go on a cruise.”

“Oh daddy,” I said. “You will like it.”

“No,” he laughed. “Let’s all go.” I remember bursting into tears.

A couple of months later our group of six boarded the Pearl. Our first stop on our own – St Kilda, in all its wild and haunting beauty – was truly breathtaking.

Katherine Hobbs, Hampshire

Heimaey island holidays Iceland - Getty

Heimaey island holidays Iceland – Getty

Discovery Channel

Sailing off Papua New Guinea, an unexpected detour took us to a small island. Tourists who entered were not the norm, but the head of the family and his family welcomed us.

With members of the expedition team, we took a Zodiac dinghy along the coast, finding and following a river inlet in a mangrove swamp where everything seemed untouched and serene. We couldn’t identify the fish, crabs or mud captains.

Upon our return, we told the boss about our adventure. He looked astonished and he told us we were the first non-indigenous people to go up that river. In the 21st century, how special is it?

And the name of the island? Well, I can’t tell you, because the islanders asked us not to share their secret.

Sue Newth-Gibbs, Essex

Walks in the Red Sea

Embarking in Aqaba on Star Flyer, we set sail along the Red Sea. One excursion stands out: a trip to Hodeida in Yemen (no tourists now). I remember the warm and proud people, but what a culture shock! We felt like voyeurs in a biblical scene, disrupting people’s lives. In the dusty streets and in the souks there were children everywhere, holding our hands and wanting money.

In Manakhah, in the Haraz Mountains, we enjoyed a Yemeni lunch in a sparsely furnished house. Then we traveled over mystical hills to isolated villages, but we couldn’t continue because gunshots were heard – a sad reminder of reality. Humiliated but fulfilled, we are back on our cruise of contrasts.

Patricia Webster, Worcestershire

Red Sea Cruises Shore Excursions Travel - Getty

Red Sea Cruises Shore Excursions Travel – Getty

Whale of yesteryear

Our expedition cruise to Svalbard did not disappoint. We had seen walruses, seals, arctic foxes, huge numbers of seabirds and glaciers galore, but the highlight came on our penultimate day. We had just landed on a fjord beach for a hike and were getting our bearings. Tragically, the beach has shown much evidence of beluga whaling in the past. Were the hunters back?

We were about to leave for our excursion when the guide called: “Beluga!” And there they were – not a few, but a super herd of 300 small white whales cruising along the surface, feeding in that calm way that is so typical of whales, indifferent to our presence.

They were so close to the shore that we could hear their breathing and their “conversations” with each other, just by living their daily life. It was a truly magical and memorable experience.

Christine Packer, York

Baltic snapshot

It was the summer of 2017 and we were on a cruise in the Baltic, with an inaugural stop in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. For many on board, this was the most anticipated shore excursion.

We arrived at the military port of Baltiysk, with the warships lined up as they approached. Boarding our coaches, we didn’t know what to expect. Some of the guides were called Olga – and our Olga was excellent, quickly setting the ground rules: “You can photograph anything. What we don’t want you to photograph will be hidden ”.

This was a tour of many contrasts. We saw opulent amber for sale, watched the preparations of a city that hosted the 2018 World Cup, immersed ourselves in the seaside experience and had lunch in a sumptuous venue … not to mention the alternative side that can be glimpsed. through the bus windows.

Judi Phillips, Devon

Have you ever taken an unforgettable shore excursion? Please share your memories in the comments section below

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