Cruise vacations allow travelers to enjoy a plethora of memorable and unique adventures – why not take one that also lets you hone an unusual skill?
What do you normally bring back from your vacation? Sunburn ? Souvenirs? Twenty-three photos of this funky cocktail? How about coming home with an exciting new talent?
Travel enriches people in so many ways, from spotting fascinating animals you’d never normally encounter to learning all about the vastly different ways of life in the farthest corners of the globe.
The jet-set can also be an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and enrich your skills. With cruise lines such as Princess Cruises, guests can learn all sorts of weird and wonderful things while vacationing around the world, whether aboard their cruise ship or on a shore excursion.
Want to wield Japanese weapons or fry your own freshly caught fish in the United States? Look no further than a Princess cruise. Here are some of the fabulous skills you could pick up on your next trip. Much more impressive than a fridge magnet.
Fly fishing in Alaska
Princess offers a host of incredible shore excursions for anyone sailing in Alaska, many of which include plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities. Your encounters with animals should not just be passive. Why not sign up to learn how to fly fish under the tutelage of an expert guide?
Fly fishing, which uses an artificial fly to catch fish, offers a lighter experience and may be the most effective way to catch aquatic creatures. Indeed, Alaska is world famous for its fly fishing opportunities, so if there was one place to try the sport, this would be it!
– READ MORE: What to do, see and eat while on vacation in Alaska with Princess –
You might catch king salmon, trophy rainbow trout and arctic char, rainbow trout or sockeye, coho and pink salmon if you show yourself good; Plus, with Princess’ unique Cook My Catch dining experience, you can bring your freshly caught fish on board and have chefs prepare it for your dinner.
Don’t forget to smile for the camera with your find first! And yes, we’re afraid that in the angling world, bigger really is considered better.
Bagpipe playing in Scotland
Let’s be honest, the bagpipe is the pot of the musical kingdom, but what does it really like to play? The Great Highland Bagpipes are considered Scotland’s national instrument, so you must try your hand if you’re heading north.
Join the Local Connections: Whiskey & Bagpipes with Local Expert cruise excursion to learn how to play this unusual-sounding instrument.
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In a restored Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh, home to the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society, a local expert will share the history of the instrument and demonstrate the basics of playing, from breathing techniques to correct positioning. Then you can play them yourself (we will pack our earplugs).
Good news for anyone with stage fright is that this tour also allows guests to sip three different whiskeys in a tasting session. Oh yeah.
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Lei making in Hawaii
If you’ve ever attended a fancy dress party or a summer barbecue, you’ve probably seen someone wearing a Hawaiian shirt and lei combo; the floral garland shouts “I’m-on-vacation-give-me-a-pina-colada”. Well, that may actually be you, in Hawaii, rather than a nippy garden in North London.
When you sail in Hawaii, Princess’ exclusive “Aloha Spirit” program brings the sights and sounds of French Polynesia’s hotspot to life on board with a range of island entertainment and enrichment offerings, including lei making.
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Leis, which tend to be given as a sign of welcome or farewell, usually consist of carnations, kika flowers, ginger flowers, jasmine flowers, or orchids. They are usually made using a steel needle and string, but can also be shaped through strategic braiding, knotting, and threading techniques. And hey, if you can’t prove you have a hand, you can always blame the flowers’ short lifespan on why you didn’t bring one home as a gift…
Your Hawaiian skills don’t stop there. The “Aloha Spirit” program also includes ukulele lessons, Hula dance lessons and Polynesian language lessons. Well, there’s something to brag about the next time the neighbors invite you over.
Japanese sword making
Have you ever watched a Game of Thrones duel and wondered how you would fare with a sword? Not well, is our answer, but that’s in passing. For many of us, the closest thing to sharp blades is chopping onions, but on a Princess cruise in Japan you can see how some of the best are made on the Local Connections: Tatara & Sword Maker excursion. .
First of all, you should know that Japanese swords are made of Tamahagane, which translates to precious steel and is a very pure and very high quality type of steel created according to the thousand-year-old Tatara method.
Okuizumo, in the western part of the Japanese island of Honshu, is the only place in the world where this technique is still in action. Fun fact, this is also where many of Japan’s oldest myths take place and chopsticks are said to have been developed here (although remember you don’t need to show your trip all times you will see a wand in the future).
– LEARN MORE: Everything you need to know about cruises in Asia –
At the Okuizumo Tatara & Katana Museum, you will meet the local swordsmith whose family is famous in Shimane Prefecture for making swords with a history dating back to the Edo period (1603-1868).
You will be shown forging techniques in a process called Orikaeshi Tanren which sees the steel bent and forged multiple times. The sword is often heated and then allowed to cool without hammering to imbue the desired properties of strength and flexibility. If only a hot and cold shower would do the same to save us that gym membership…
All of this is topped off with a swordsmanship demonstration (and a lovely Japanese bento box lunch). On guard!
Culinary art in Vietnam
Cooking is often at the heart of a great cruise vacation for many people, and those keen to get involved ashore can often find a cruise excursion with cooking opportunities. However, why not take your culinary prowess to another level?
During the market tour and cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, you will learn the art of food decoration with the chef of a luxury hotel.
– LEARN MORE: The best Princess Cruises excursions to eat and drink –
The professional will guide you step by step through the process of cutting foods such as seafood, pork, chicken and vegetables into delicious and intricate shapes and patterns. The skin of a tomato? Taken off and rolled, it can turn into a rosebud. Who would have thought? Not to mention that your dinner guests are going to be very impressed with what you can do with a cucumber (no, not like that).
Of course, we can’t promise you’ll master any of these intriguing talents on your next cruise vacation, but we’re sure you’ll have a blast trying them out. There are things in life that money can’t buy, and a cracking hit of you blowing your bagpipes at full blast? Invaluable.