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How to Spend a Day at Port

When you’re going on a cruise, the best part of the whole thing is getting to explore places far away from your normal routine. You choose your cruise based on the destinations you will have the opportunity to check out. When you’re in port you only have so much time to see what you want before you have to get back on board the ship, so it’s good to have a plan as soon as possible so you can take advantage of your time there. So what are your port options?

Excursions
Excursions are a great way to get away from the port to explore different parts of the country you are in. Depending on which excursion you choose, you can even get out of the tourist areas all together and really explore the culture of the country you’re docked in. What type of excursion you decide on would of course depend on what your budget is and what country you’re in (it’s unlikely you’ll be doing a beach day on an Alaskan cruise). There are so many options, so if this is up your alley, then there should be something for every traveler’s taste!
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Shopping
The ports are pretty much geared just for tourists, so there are shopping opportunities all over the place. If you’re someone who loves to pick things up for each of your destinations then this is a jack pot for you! (Personally I love to collect magnets and post cards!) It’s also fun looking around at some of the things they sell since it’s still very different than what souvenirs would look like at home! I found Mexico to be full of vibrant hand painted colours which I found to be satisfying and fun to check out! Of course there is more than just souvenir shopping, you can shop for jewelry, bags, clothing etc. There are a lot of different options available for different price points.

From above: The shopping area at Mahogany Bay port

From above: The shopping area at Mahogany Bay port

Exploring the Port
You don’t necessarily have to have anything for your day at port planned! You can spend the day taking your time getting up and ready, you can walk around the port and explore what it has to offer with no plan in mind. We did this in Honduras. We began the day by swimming in the ocean until around noon when we went back to the ship to get changed and eat lunch. In the afternoon we ventured out again on the hunt for coconut water and found a cute nature path to hike on. You never know what you will find! Sometimes the best plan is to not have a plan at all!
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Staying on the Ship
Don’t underestimate the fun of staying on the ship during a port day! If for whatever reason you don’t feel like getting off of the ship during a port day (perhaps you’ve been to this port of call before) spending a day on ship is a great way to spend time! There are still fun activities to participate in, and you don’t have crowds! If you feel like exploring the ship, visiting a restaurant, enjoying spa services, you won’t have much of a wait to deal with because most people have vacated the ship. Even if you just want to lay back on a deck chair and get some sun, you won’t have to be on the hunt for a free space!
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Spending time at ports is really a fun experience no matter how you choose to spend your time. Find what works for you, and enjoy yourself! 

What has been your favourite way to spend a port day while cruising?

*I was a guest of Carnival on my recent Caribbean adventure, but as always, all opinions are my own!*

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