Royal Caribbean Cruises is the latest line to stay overnight in Noumea so that passengers on board Ovation of the Seas can explore New Caledonia’s cosmopolitan city after sunset.
The first-ever overnight stay is part of Ovation of the Seas’ nine-night South Pacific itinerary departing Sydney on November 14 and arriving in Noumea on November 17.
RCL will introduce three new shore excursions including an evening at Lemon Bay with a dinner and traditional Tahitian performance at a beachside restaurant Le Duke’s.
Passengers can also discover South Noumea visiting the prison ruins of Prony with a nature walk and picnic at La Madeleine waterfalls or they can go on a sunset cruise on board a luxury yacht for cocktails and canapés.
RCL joins a number of lines which have introduced late-night departures or are staying overnight in certain ports of calls to allow guests to enjoy the nightlife or discover the destination with an immersive experience of the local history and culture.
So what are the best lines which stay overnight in certain ports so that guests can take in an opera, watch a cultural performance in a village or taste some of the best local cuisine ashore.
Azamara Club Cruises has long been known for its ethos of destination immersion with a comprehensive choice of shore excursions after dark in different ports. The line has at least one complimentary AzAmazing Evening for every sailing like a symphony performance in St Petersburg or a Maori cultural show at the Te Papa Museum.
Princess Cruises introduced its More Ashore program with expanded overnights and late-night port departures on selected itineraries in Australia, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and the Caribbean. Princess will stay overnight in 32 ports this year including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Edinburgh so that passengers can watch the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Overnight stays in ports are a signature of Celebrity Cruises with almost 50 per cent of its itineraries inclusive of overnight stays. It also offers special “Evenings Around the World” excursions like wine-tasting in Willemstad or experiencing the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Crystal Cruises is another line known for its overnight port visits with the average 10-night itinerary featuring one to three overnights. Crystal also has interesting evening excursions like a private mass in the Sagrada Familia Crypt in Barcelona or a private whisky tasting on the London Eye at night.
Viking Cruises features overnight stays in departure and arrival ports including Bergen, Barcelona, Rome, New York, Mumbai and Bangkok. When the ship docks overnight in Greenwich in London, passengers can opt for an evening tour that takes in the Houses of Parliament and London Eye. Viking’s shore excursions also provide insights into local life including visiting a Russian home in the quaint town of Uglich or learning the art of truffle hunting from a local Perigord farmer and his hound.
About half of Oceania Cruises sailings include overnight stays, especially those that are 10 nights or longer. They also offer unique shore excursions including a gourmet dinner at an 18th-century chateau in Bordeaux or an exclusive Bangkok City tour on a tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled motorized taxi.
Sister company, Regent Seven Seas Cruises also offers overnight stays on about half of its itineraries especially on sailings of 10 nights or longer across Asia, South Pacific, South America, Africa and Europe. Passengers have unlimited shore excursions with special evening outings like a gondola ride in Venice or a visit to a samba nightclub in Rio de Janeiro.
About a third of Silversea Cruises itineraries include overnight stays in about 40 ports around the globe including Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. Some of its late-night shore excursions include a pub crawl, a stroll through the red light district in Amsterdam or a classical concert at the Hermitage in St Petersburg.