Wales offers a number of hands-on excursions, including zip-lining and kayaking near Snowdonia National Park
Home to picturesque scenery, unique wildlife and a rich cultural history, Wales offers a wealth of immersive experiences for cruise guests to enjoy. Suzanne Thomas, head of Cruise Wales, explained that an immersive experience is one that involves all the senses to encourage individuals to be present in the moment. The shore excursions available in Wales do just that.
“Cruise guests are looking for more immersive experiences, so we’ve developed new shore excursions to cater to everyone’s needs – from food and drink experiences to castles and garden visits,” says Thomas. “Wales is also ideally suited for cruise lines looking to give guests adventurous outdoor experiences, with three national parks, five areas of outstanding national beauty and 870 miles of walkable coastline.”
Cruise visitors will receive a traditional warm Welsh welcome when sailing into Fishguard Bay situated on the south-west coast of Pembrokeshire, which has a tender berth to allow larger cruise ships to moor, as well as an alongside berth. Here, disembarking passengers are greeted by Fishguard Bay’s welcome team and have the opportunity to watch live performances by local choirs, dance groups and schoolchildren. They can also purchase a selection of food, crafts and other handmade produce from local artisans.
While in Fishguard, cruise guests can take organised excursions to nearby towns such as the medieval fishing town of Tenby, which offers natural beaches that are framed by 13th-century town walls. Wales is also home to many microbreweries, some of which are located in and around Tenby, and host tours and ale-tasting sessions.
Elsewhere in the region, cruise guests can visit Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and take a tailored tour in Land Rover Defenders, organised in partnership with Milford Haven, to see the coastline, wildlife and heritage sites.
Pembrokeshire also offers various other hands-on excursions, such as candle- and tapestry-making sessions, stargazing, photography, alpaca-trekking and bird-watching sessions. Cruise guests can also visit the medieval castle and owl garden at Picton, near Haverfordwest.
Meanwhile in Milford Haven, cruise guests can explore the waterfront which has recently been upgraded and visit harbour-side restaurants, bars and cafes. All of these attractions are less than a five-minute tender ride away from Milford Haven Port.
The north-west coast of Wales offers a variety of exciting activities for thrill seekers too. For example, visitors cruising into Holyhead, a market town north of Snowdonia National Park, can zip line at Zip World, try paddleboarding and surfing at Adventure Parc Snowdonia, and take part in coasteering at Porth Dafarch. In addition, cruise visitors can participate in unique food-based adventures such as mackerel fishing and coastal foraging with Ribride Experiences, as well as demonstrations of how to sustainably eat from hedgerows.
Those preferring more relaxing excursions on the northern coast can head to Bodnant Garden near Conwy, which is home to botanical collections from around the world.
Cruise guests are also able to dock near major cities like Swansea and the country’s capital Cardiff, where they can explore museums, art galleries, theatres and shops. The National Museum Cardiff, for instance, details both the natural and cultural history of Wales, and Cardiff Port is only a five-minute transfer to the capital.
Alongside its historical offerings, Wales is also recognised for its Green Coast and Blue Flag-accredited beaches, which provide the perfect backdrop for walking groups, families and those looking to relax.
“From Barafundle Bay to St Davids, the country’s golden sands are without a doubt a must-see when visiting the area,” says Thomas. “But we’re hoping that our thrill-seeking, food-centred, historical and wildlife-orientated locations and activities will provide the experiences of a lifetime in Wales.”
This article was first published in the 2022 Autumn/Winter issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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