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Monday, May 14, 2018

Royal Caribbean’s hot new shore excursion destination? New Jersey

Posted By on Mon, May 14, 2018 at 11:37 AM

  • Image via Royal Caribbean
In their never-ending quest to find hot new ways to draw in travelers, Royal Caribbean has begun offering two new shore excursions. Both embrace the "culture" of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and are designed as a way to fill extra end of cruise time before flying out.

The tours soft-launched last fall and are now listed on the Royal Caribbean website. The first, called the “Snap-Play-Shop with Airport Drop Off,” features a stop by Veteran's Memorial Park, a city park overlooking one of the largest container terminals in the nation. Royal Caribbean notes that the park is "a perfect place for photo ops." Plus, a Royal Caribbean-trained tour guide gives guests a tour of the city that includes driving by a restaurant featured in the TV series The Sopranos (though recently the restaurant was reportedly closed), pointing out the unconfirmed birthplace of the ice cream float, and past roadwork.

Before ending at the airport, the tour stops by a local mall, Mills at Jersey Gardens. The outlet mall means even more savings for guests since New Jersey has no sales tax on clothes and shoes. The mall is known as the home to the nation’s largest Tommy Hilfiger outlet store.

In their review of the tour, Cruise Critic notes that they “appreciate the context that the tour gives the City of Elizabeth, which touches on its 350-plus-year history. Commentary isn't afraid to address the grit and the construction as signs of the city's bright future.”

The New Jersey roadwork and outlet mall tour cost $64 per adult.

If shipping containers, roadwork and Tommy Hilfiger aren’t your thing, Royal Caribbean has a second New Jersey shore excursion option. This one, the "Calling All History Buffs with Airport Drop Off" tour, is a $125 per adult tour that includes visiting the graves of 300 slaves and a 250-year-old pear tree. But the highlight of the tour is the Alexander Hamilton connections, which consist of both Hamilton’s home and a school that he attended. Before you get too excited, Cruise Critic mentions that the Alexander Hamilton schoolhouse is sometimes replaced with a visit to Boxwood Hall, known as the site where George Washington had lunch before being sworn in.

Another visit on the tour is the Liberty Hall Museum, a house dating to the late 1700s that has long been a crucial spot for New Jersey history. It's been visited by nine different U.S. presidents, stretching from George Washington to George H.W. Bush. Royal Caribbean does mention that the historic home is not wheelchair-accessible, but they go on to recommend a nearby fire truck museum as an alternative.

Both shore excursions can be booked on Royal Caribbean’s website. No word if Royal Caribbean has anymore New Jersey tours planned, but with these competing against all of New York City just across the water it’s probably unlikely.

Maybe one day Royal Caribbean will offer an Orlando tour of our highway construction and shopping malls, but then again we don’t have the nation’s largest Tommy Hilfiger, so probably not.

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