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A panoramic view of Iguazu Falls

Jane Archer: Why it pays to peek beyond the ports

Join Jane as she peeks beyond the ports

Published on 01 Mar 2024

“Who wants to just sit on a beach when you could be doing this?” our guide, Alberto, asks. The ‘this’ in question is getting exceedingly wet on a boat that goes under the water thundering over the Iguassu (or Iguazú) Falls. He’s so right. 

Niagara has three falls, the highest of which is 187 feet. Pah! That’s nothing, Iguassu, which means ‘Big Water’ and borders Brazil and Argentina, has 175 waterfalls that are up to 269 feet high. So much water spills over them (around 1.5 million litres of water per second) that if you stand above the Devil’s Throat you get soaked by mist rising 500 feet into the air. 

I was recently sticking pins in a map to see all the places in the world I’ve visited and it brought home to me that almost all were on the coast. Clearly, I don’t spend enough time discovering what lies beyond the ports, which is really remiss of me because combining a holiday at sea with a pre-or post-cruise tour is the best of both worlds. 

I added my two nights at the Iguassu Falls (and also a couple of nights in Buenos Aires) to the start of a cruise to Antarctica; a couple of years earlier I tacked a few nights in one of Princess Cruises’ wilderness lodges in Alaska to the end of a Princess voyage from Vancouver to Whittier. 

It was seamless. I disembarked in Whittier, took a train and coach laid on by Princess Cruises to their lodge and had a couple of days exploring Denali National Park before transferring to Anchorage, flying to Vancouver and then home. 

I got to see inland Alaska and learn more about life in the state when the cruise ships have left and their rather brutal winter settles in. “We stay indoors and fix all the things we haven’t had time to do in summer,” one woman told me, only half joking. With deep snow and freezing temperatures outside, that seemed a good plan. 

Flick through this issue of Blue Horizons and you’ll see some of the pre-or post-cruise tours that ROL Cruise has put together - their Signature Experiences

One bolts a few nights in Buenos Aires and the Iguassu Falls onto a 2025 Princess Cruises voyage, sailing from the Argentinean capital to San Antonio in Chile, about 90 minutes outside the capital, Santiago, by way of the Falkland Islands and Cape Horn. Another adds a 12-night tour from Chicago to Miami to the start of a seven-night island-hopping voyage in the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises

What an amazing trip that is, visiting places that between them reveal a slice of life in the American heartlands, away from the New York and Miami skylines. You’ll learn about Chicago’s spectacular Art Deco architecture, take a tram to the top of St. Louis’ famous Gateway Arch towering 630 feet above the Mississippi and see places in Nashville where the likes of Johnny Cash and Brenda Lee once played. 

You’ll discover why Paducah is famous (spoiler alert: it’s all to do with quilting), visit museums dedicated to BB King and Tina Turner and see RCA Studio B in Music Row where Elvis recorded Lonesome Tonight. 

You’ll also have a night at the Grand Ole Opry, find out why there’s a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, tour the Graceland mansion in Memphis where Elvis lived and died (well worth seeing but I confess, it made me feel a bit tearful!) and peek into Sun Studio, also in Memphis, where, aged 18, he made his first record. 

There are also three days to explore New Orleans (don’t miss the French Quarter and some authentic Creole cooking) and another two nights in Miami. And all that’s just for starters. You’ve still got an amazing cruise on Celebrity Beyond to come. Get ready to make a lifetime of memories.

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