Helicopter trips loom large in the realms of super-extravagant shore excursions. From exclusive-access city tours to wilderness experiences, when money is no object there’s a wealth of exciting options to explore.
Here’s our pick for five luxury shore excursions you need to add to the bucket list.
1. Silversea: Cote D’Azur, France
Your chauffeur awaits – in a vintage car. He (or she) will drive you around the stunning Cote d’Azur between Monaco and Cannes, where you can choose to see the famous sights or motor along one of the breathtaking corniche roads. Cars include a 1956 Rolls- Royce Silver Cloud, 1966 Ford Mustang, and more.
2. Crystal Cruises: Bora Bora, Tahiti
It’s not your regular diving experience. Strolling about on the ocean floor is certainly an unusual way of exploring intricate coral reefs and viewing colourful tropical fish at close quarters. Guests are outfitted with specially designed diving helmets that have enough oxygen for a half-hour submersion. Fantastic for non-divers, non-snorkellers – even non-swimmers – and you can wear your specs.
3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Vatican City, Italy
It’s not quite a one-on-one with the Pope, but this tour offers extraordinary access to exclusive areas of Vatican City that are off limits to the hoi polloi. You will visit the Pope’s private place of worship, the Niccolina Chapel, and see the Papal Treasures, a priceless collection of art, jewels, and vestments.
4. Seabourn: St Petersburg, Russia
Relive the luxury of the 18th-century Imperial Russian Court during a private evening visit to the opulent Catherine Palace at Pushkin, not usually accessible to the public after hours. Highlights include a welcome by the Royal Guards, a tour of the world-famous Amber Room, and Champagne in the Throne Room.
5. Paul Gauguin Cruises: Marenco, Costa Rica
Explore the beaches, rivers, waterfalls, and tropical rainforest of the Osa Peninsula on horseback. The half-day tour of this peaceful wilderness is led by a naturalist guide; novice riders can proceed at a gentle walking pace and if you want to take off at a gallop, you can do that too.