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In the spotlight


From flamenco in Seville to jazz in Copenhagen, Anna Crane shines a light on some of the top cultural shore excursions available on a P&O Cruises holiday

A flamenco dancer

Seville is the spiritual home of flamenco

One of the best ways to enter into the spirit of a new destination is to be swept up in its culture. Feel your heart swell, your mind expand and your toes begin to tap when you join an entertaining shore excursion featuring local music and dance.


Shake those hips

An evening of flamenco is a must during a visit to its spiritual home, Seville (tours from Cadiz). This Andalusian dance combines a dramatic blend of guitars, singing and impassioned foot stomping and takes its rhythms from North Africa, blending with the music of the Romani people to produce a compelling and incredibly complex art form. Experience an authentic performance in the intimate courtyard of the Museo del Baile Flamenco, a museum dedicated to the art of Flamenco, on the In the Footsteps of Flamenco shore excursion – there is both a daytime and evening shore excursion.


While Spain’s most famous dance takes its disciples years to master, you can get a handle on salsa in just four easy steps on the Salsa and Salsa shore excursion in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This is the ideal experience for fun-loving foodies. First, don an apron and learn how to mix up tasty homemade salsas in a quaint local restaurant, then (after a margarita or two), join the chefs on the dance floor for a speedy salsa lesson.


Sing sing sing

Norway’s most northerly city of Tromso is the setting for a magical, candle-lit evening recital in its iconic Arctic Cathedral. This striking modernist example of a traditional ‘boat church’ looms large beneath a mountain at the end of Tromso Bridge. Its interior, with crystal chandeliers inspired by icicles and a vast stained-glass window, has been designed to provide sublime acoustics as you listen to Norwegian folk songs, classical and sacred music on the Arctic Cathedral Evening Recital shore excursion.


Further uplifting harmonies await you with the Harlem and Gospel Experience shore excursion in New York. After a tour of the famous African-American neighbourhood – where you’ll see famous sights including the legendary Apollo Theatre, the Cotton Club and the Schomburg Centre for research into African-American Culture – you will stop at a local church to listen to the wonderful a capella sounds of the ARC Gospel Choir. The choir will sing the praises of the Lord in their ‘hour of power,’ where their inspiring voices will fill the church with wonderful, affecting harmonies.

Traditional Thai dancers

Traditional Thai dancing is exotic and beautiful to watch

All that jazz

Copenhagen is a maritime city and one of the most enjoyable ways to experience it is from its canals. The city is also famous for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, which takes place every summer and is one of Europe’s most important international music events. Experience both the canals and jazz on the Evening Jazz Canal Cruise shore excursion, where your boat trip will be made even more memorable with the backdrop of a local jazz band. Accomplished four-piece the Scandinavian Rhythm Boys have been going for nearly 20 years and cover the gamut of early jazz styles, from ragtime to blues and ballads, with wit and verve.


If you’re a real fan, don’t miss the big daddy of all jazz cities: New Orleans. The city has produced some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, including Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Sydney Bechet, and to many is the undisputed birthplace of jazz. Get into the swing of it on the An Evening of Dixieland Jazz shore excursion, where you’ll dine on a delicious three-course classic Creole menu in the elegance of the Palm Court Jazz Café while musicians play flamboyant, joyful jazz sets.


It’s showtime!

Rum punch, steel pan beats, carnival costumes and limbo dancing. Yes, you’re in the Caribbean. Specifically the gloriously vibrant island of Barbados, where the Bajan Floorshow and Dinner shore excursion by the beach offers everything you could wish for when dreaming of tropical holidays back in grey old Blighty. Take a seat under the stars and enjoy a traditional Bajan floor show and a delicious local-style buffet dinner to the sounds of steel pan music.


From the Caribbean to southeast Asia, relax in one of Thailand’s most popular resorts and soak up the Thai culture on the Highlights and Thai Show shore excursion in Phuket. Visit Wat Chalong, the largest, most important and ornate of the 29 temples in Phuket, followed by an exotic and magical Thai dance performance at the Phuket Thai Village and Orchid Garden. You’ll get a glimpse of the traditional life and culture of Southern Thailand with the colourful costumes and folkloric dances on show.


These are just a taster of the wonderful array of entertaining shore excursions on offer on a P&O Cruises holiday. Find your perfect shore excursion today >


Anna Crane

Journalist Anna specialises in food and travel writing and has worked with the Canadian Tourist Commission as well as some of the major names in the food industry such as Waitrose and Weight Watchers.

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