Royal Caribbean to Enhance European Shore Excursions with New Port In Jamaica

From the announcement made last week that Royal Caribbean is to upgrade the liners Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas with facilities from its Oasis-class ships, Royal Caribbean International, the cruise operator, will be showing off even more improvements for cruisers with a whole new shore excursion package that spreads across fifty five ports in twenty two Mediterranean and European destinations, meaning guests can now design a cruise holiday that is tailored to their individual requirements. A well as this, the cruise-line has revealed more details of a brand new port it is building and is scheduled to open sometime in Jamaica in 2011.

Private Excursions, Easy Tours and Family Activities

With its recent successes in Russia, Royal Caribbean International is now allowing it’s guests the chance to arrangement their own private shore excursions to explore Mediterranean and European destinations from thirteen ports-of-call including Greece, Israel, Egypt, Finland, Italy and Sweden. Passengers who do not wish to be limited by a fixed itinerary can now have the cruise line arrange programs and allow access to a private bus for each tour that can provide for up to ten people and at the same time enjoying stress free sightseeing.

Royal Caribbean has also designed a selection of new half day shore excursions specifically designed for families and multi-generational groups. Some of these activities include a Pizza Making experience in Sorrento, Italy. Here visitors are given a city tour which is then followed by a professional pizza making class and lunch to enjoy their cooking, also a Sea Kayaking adventure in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to take in a different perspective of the beautiful city and its historic architecture.

The cruise line is also extending its offering of what it calls “Easy” tours for passengers with difficulty standing for large amounts of time or walking, as well as adding fourteen new programs meaning that there is now thirty three in total. Guests can explore the old town of Trogir or sample Sardinia’s finest wines or perhaps take in the views of the many artistic and historical landmarks in the area from the comfort of their own transport, which has been modified with lifts and access ramps where possible.

Royal Caribbean International is currently focussing on the European cruise market, with eight ships currently sailing in Europe this year. The cruise operator is set to further extend its presence in 2011, when it will have a record breaking eleven ships in and around Europe waters.

Greece, Turkey and other Black sea Cruise Destinations

A European cruise itinerary with destinations in Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea will take you on a magical journey back in time, allowing you to experience the historical interests of Europe. Costa, Crystal, Celebrity, MSC, Oceania, Princess, Sea Cloud, Seabourn, Star Clippers, Silversea and Windstar all have European itineraries in Greece and the Greek Islands, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Black Sea. The itineraries of these cruises will be changing all the time and the cruise lines are always adding new destinations to spice up the itineraries, meaning that even if you have been to these areas before on past cruises there always something new to see.

When thinking about a European cruise itinerary in Turkey, Greece and the Black Sea, you should try and look at a map of the area and then make a list of the places that interest you. For example, Is a visit to the Parthenon on your “wish list” list? Close to Athens, Greece, this famous ruin is part of a fantastic collection of Greek history. Perhaps the Greek Islands of Santorini, Patmos, Rhodes or Mykonos, and the island of Cyprus hold more interest for you. A stop-over in Corinth will give you access to the Corinth canal, which connects the Aegean Ionian seas. Most Cruise itineraries in Greece usually stop in Katakolonw which is home of the first Olympic stadium and the Temple of Zeus, which you might remeber from school as being one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

To be honest, no southern European cruise would be complete without a visit to the Turkish capital, Istanbul. Ships dock in the Bosphorus which is  a 20 mile stretch of water that separates Asia from Europe and is lined with wooden villa structures, mosques and palaces. Istanbul is truly famous for its 500 year old maze of shops know and the Grand Bazaar in which you could easily spend an entire day. Kusadasi is also another popular tourist stop-off on a southern European cruise itinerary. Here you can visit the archaeological sites at the ancient city of Ephesus. As you journey through Turkey and the Black Sea you may also want to stop at Izmir or Bodrum .

Black Sea cruises usually include ports of call in Yalta, Odessa in the Ukraine, and in Nessebur, Bulgaria. In Yalta you might like to walk the seaside promenades and pay a visit to the neo-gothic castles. Odessa’s Potemkin Stairs stretch all the way to the city providing European cruise adventurers with a most grand entrance to this port. Nessebur is one of the oldest towns in Europe. With its romantic cobblestone streets and medieval architecture make it one of the most popular destinations in Bulgaria.

Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

An Eastern Mediterranean Cruise is your one way ticket to what could be some of the most memorable trips to some wonderful countries like Greece, the Greek Islands, Croatia, Turkey and Italy. Many of the most popular cruises lines offer itineraries that operate in the eastern Mediterranean. They include Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, MSC, Princess and Silversea cruise lines. With new destinations being offered all the time from the major cruise lines new ports of call are constantly opening up meaning that there is always something new to see, even if you have cruised to these destinations before.

Its probably worthwhile mentioning that most of the eastern Mediterranean cruises usually start or end in Italy, most usually with the cities of Rome or Venice. Bearing this in mind, many people might like to extend their vacation by a few days at the end of the cruise so that they can spend some extra time exploring these places.

Most of the cruise lines can set up packages that involve hotels that can be all-inclusive if you so choose. Once you are staying put on land, you will then get a chance to enjoy the Gondola rides in Venice on the Venetian canals, or if you were to stay in Rome, make sure you visit the Colosseum as well as take a guided tour of the Vatican City.

If you are taking a eastern Mediterranean cruise, then you simply must make sure you visit the Greek islands, in particular the island of Rhodes is well worth a trip, especially because you will get the see the old Rhodes town with the splendidly massive gates that were built to defend the town from invaders. Some of the other Greek Islands that may be part of your European cruise itinerary are Patmos and Santorini. Cyprus and Crete are two nearby island ports of call they your cruise may take in.

Croatia is a common destination for many European cruises that are targeted to the eastern Mediterranean, Croatia’s main port of call is Dubrovnik. It has been completely restored from the damage caused by war in the early 1990s. Dubrovnik is a wonderful seaside town with stone houses, magnificent medieval architecture and a quaint Old Town. If you are travelling on a smaller and alternative ship you may stop in the towns of Trogir, Hvar and Korcula.+