Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone when choosing shore excursions, but at the same time, be aware of your physical limitations. It’s fun to try new experiences, but if you tire easily or get short of breath when walking long distances, the strenuous hiking trail is probably not for you. Likewise, if you’re afraid of heights, perhaps ziplining isn’t the right choice, either. If you’re uncomfortable snorkeling in water over your head, don’t be tough guy - ask for a vest. No one will think less of you.
A few years ago when our two teen daughters accompanied us on a cruise, they wanted to climb up Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. As I always do when trying something new for the first time, I read reviews of the falls and listened to others’ own experiences. It sounded like a thrilling experience – for the healthy, physically fit person. However, for someone with not-so-great knee joints and a previous ankle fracture several years previous, I had my concerns. The girls wanted me to go with them, and with the reassurances from others that it’s no so difficult, I decided to give it a go.
I knew from the moment I started down the stairs to reach the bottom of the falls that I was going to have problems, and this was affirmed when the guide put me first in line for the trip up the waterfall – where they usually put the little kids who need help. Stairs are one thing – but the steepness of the rocks was too much, and the guide had to literally pull me up each step of the way. Meanwhile, the little kid behind me is vaulting over the rocks like an Olympic champion. I bowed out at the first emergency exit, wishing I had picked something more suitable to my limitations.
Cruise line excursions include helpful information in their descriptions as to the level of activity, number of steps, amount of walking and other information to help you decide if it’s the right one for you. If you choose an independent tour company, be sure to know before you go. With some careful planning and being honest with yourself about your limitations, you can have fun and be safe at the same time.