A 2022 Travel Trends Report revealed that global travelers are placing a greater focus on how a trip benefits their mental well-being. Nearly half of Hong Kong (49%) and Singapore respondents (41%) are looking for a sense of contentment and mental well-being on their next trip. Meanwhile, more than a third of people (32%) hope to immerse themselves in destinations, cultures and experiences that are completely distinct from theirs.
Travelers planning their next overseas adventures are increasingly looking for immersive experiences, which go beyond traditional tourism, and provide opportunities to make genuine connections with local cultures and people, to give back and to partake in activities that are good for the soul.
Oceania Cruises’ exclusive Go Local tours have been designed to tap into evolving guest preferences and embed travellers in the lives and homes of local families for an authentic taste of the different communities’ ways of life. Rather than simply visiting historic landmarks and well-known sightseeing spots, these shore excursions connect guests with vendors in local markets, open the door for shared meals with local families and let travelers explore age-old traditions on farms and vineyards alongside local workers.
“As guests return to cruising, we are anticipating heightened demand for onboard experiences and shore excursions that encourage relaxation, mindfulness and connection with local communities,” said Steve Odell, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Asia-Pacific, Oceania Cruises.
“We are seeing an increased desire to support local artisans, cultures, communities and cuisine, with travelers eager to show their support and make a positive impact on both the people they visit and their own wellbeing,” Odell added.
Go Local Discovery Tours
- A Taste of Village Life
To experience Dubrovnik, Croatia, the Panoramic Dubrovnik, Village Life & Wine excursion showcases time-honoured techniques in a family’s wine cellar and olive press room, followed by a chance to share juicy local figs and brandy together while being serenaded by hometown musicians.
On The Cretan Village of Krousonas tour in Heraklion, Greece, guests will have the opportunity to sample a variety of local activities that will provide an authentic insight into everyday life. Tour highlights include the chance to watch a local folkloric performance, followed by an afternoon sampling authentic culinary delights such as Cretan cheese pie, local olive oils and wine.
- Life on the land
In Corfu, Greece the Day in the Country Life of a Corfiot Family tour is a laidback experience where guests will experience feeding horses and donkeys on a farm, picking tomatoes and cucumbers, sampling fresh herbs from the garden, and watching the family prepare a delicious lunch to share.
Our Meet a Local Farmer in Shepherds’ School experience in Bilbao, Spain, is a truly hands-on taste of farm life, including lessons on sheep herding and transforming sheep’s milk into flavourful Idiazabal cheese sampled with a crisp glass of Txakoli wine, the traditional wine of the Basque region.
- Life on the water
The Life on the River excursion in Nha Trang, Vietnam provides an up-close window into how the locals make a living from the waterways, including expert craftsmen building wooden fishing boats as guests cruise past villages, farms and rice paddies.
Fishing fans will also enjoy Fishing with Natives in Portofino, Italy, which combines a day spent on board a local fishing boat with striking coastal scenery, a refreshing dip off the pretty Portofino coast and a freshly caught seafood lunch afloat.
Culinary Discovery Tours
- Unearth new tastes and traditions
Shop for Dinner and Set the Table in Buenos Aires, Argentina is a fun and engaging guided excursion beginning with foraging at the local market for the best daily cuts or catch before retiring to enjoy dinner ‘at home’.
For a classic Sicilian experience, the Chef Led Market Tour & Private Vinoteca Lunch in Catania, Italy, takes in the sights, smells and sounds of the colourful Mercato del Pesce where vendors sell everything from blood oranges and cuttlefish to cured meats. Guests will also sample arancini and mouth-watering cannoli from a traditional Pasticceria, as well as a private degustation lunch at the charismatic Ostier Vinoteca.
In the culinary mecca of Barcelona, Spain, a Chef Led Gastronomy Tour & Tapas Lunch commences with the markets of La Boqueria and Santa Caterina, followed by a traditional tapas meal and a sweet stop at a pastry shop, before culminating with a cava tasting in The Culinary Center on board the ship.
In Dublin, Ireland, the Chef Led Experience at Ballyknocken Cookery School lets guests observe a celebrity chef prepare a traditional Wicklow Beef and Stout Cobbler in their own home, before joining in a hands-on cooking class to prepare Irish Flag Soup and Strawberry Shortcake Cookie Stacks to share for lunch.
Whilst on board, Oceania Cruises guests will enjoy The Finest Cuisine at Sea, which is prepared using premium seasonal local produce and artisanal ingredients wherever possible, from Castilla-La Mancha saffron to French flour custom-milled to the chef’s specifications. Gourmet-loving guests can participate in premium culinary enrichment programmes, as well as dedicated culinary tours led by Culinary Arts Kitchen Chefs and local guides in several of the 450 ports visited by the Oceania Cruises’ fleet.
- Wellness afloat – the on-board experience
In addition, a rich array of wellness activities is available on board to help travellers return home feeling both spiritually and physically rejuvenated. Guests can enjoy the extensive services of the onboard Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center, which is home to rejuvenating health and beauty treatments, a state-of-the art fitness centre, and classes from yoga to Pilates and circuit-training.
To maintain optimal health during their voyage, travellers can choose from a deliciously diverse Aquamar Vitality Cuisine menu, featuring vegan dishes, freshly pressed juices, energy bowls and smoothies to fuel their adventures ashore.
To compliment the onboard wellness experience, Oceania Cruises’ Wellness Discovery Tours by Aquamar are available to guests in a selection of hand-picked locations. These health and wellbeing experiences immerse travellers in the unique natural customs of local communities, such as the benefits of apitherapy for younger-looking skin at a bee-keeping farm in the Spanish countryside, or practising yoga and meditation on the waterfront in Auckland, New Zealand.
Wellness Discovery Tours
- Focus on spiritual and physical wellbeing
Travelers looking to awaken the senses and evoke a sense of inner peace and wellness can choose from excursions such as Yagna Encounter and Mumbai’s Ancient Temple Complex in Mumbai, India, which includes a Hindu prayer ritual and visit to a sacred healing water tank. Continuing the healing theme, the Curative Muds of Mar Menor tour in Cartagena, Spain, offers guests the chance to sink into curative mud baths that are designed to reduce toxins and offer relief from arthritis, gout and other ailments, while the Healing Effects of Aloe Vera excursion in the Canary Islands, Spain is an educational workshop experience where guests can prepare their own soothing face cream or aloe scrub.
Bangkok, Thailand is home to a raft of wellness experiences, including Reflexologist on a Rice Barge, which treats guests to a relaxing foot therapy while cruising the captivating Chao Phraya River, or Meditation Experience with a Monk, transformative guided meditation imparting techniques that travellers can take home to practise in their everyday lives.
For the more adventurous, The Unusual and Non-Touristy Valencia by Bike in Valencia, Spain is a two-wheel tour through local neighbourhoods, along beaches and past farmhouses and fields, with a break for a paella lunch and a seaside promenade, while An Ultimate Traditional Dance Therapy in Colombo, Sri Lanka features a guru-led Kandyan dance session to relieve tension and leave participants feeling refreshed and inspired.