By Executive Destination Services Manager Phil Leech

My passion for travel was ignited many years ago when I decided a cruise ship offered the perfect combination of work and travel, and none of the trappings of an office job. That was 13 years ago, and now I can truly say I have my dream job. I’ve been part of the Oceania Cruises family since 2008 and have been enjoying every minute of sailing the world and helping guests make their travel dreams come true every day. I’m often asked what my top shore excursion choices are, so I wanted to share with you some of the most memorable I’ve enjoyed.

Asia: The Travel Connoisseur’s Dream
Our favorite region, this is the continent for seasoned explorers. Everywhere you go, the guides are really keen to show you their country and help immerse you in the rich cultural offerings.

  • Cruise the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay on a traditional Vietnamese Junk Ship – it is both breathtaking and also quite calming as you sail between towering monolithic limestone islands and through the misty isles.
  • Visit the secluded island of Komodo where you have the opportunity to follow the trail and view these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat. This is something that can only be done on a shore excursion. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the closest thing to what many people describe as an actual dinosaur in the wild.

The South Pacific: For Nature Lovers
This corner of the world is ideal for those who love water activities – the water is pristine for snorkeling, swimming and diving – and natural explorations.

  • For a spectacular underwater experience, the Sharks & Stingray Snorkel Safari in Bora Bora is my favorite. You have the chance to swim in the waters surrounded by these graceful creatures, which is priceless.
  • Visit Taipivai Valley in Nuku Hiva for a unique experience – locals take you around the island and through the lush valleys towards one of the richest archaeological sites in the Marquesas Islands.

Europe: The Epicurean’s Holy Grail

Europe is a stunning blend of history and culture – not to mention the many must-visit locations for foodies when it comes to sampling the variety of local specialties, mouthwatering cuisine and amazing wines.

  • Avoid the queues in St. Petersburg by joining an evening excursion – Musical Evening at the Hermitage or The Grand Imperial Evening of the Tsars to Catherine Palace. These offer a unique opportunity to view these popular sites during an evening cultural experience open exclusively to Oceania Cruises guests.
  • Indulge in one of our popular Culinary Discovery Tours™, especially those in Barcelona or Bilbao which feature traditional Spanish tapas.

I hope to meet you on board soon for some unforgettable adventures ashore!