“Game of Thrones” ended its season yesterday, and fans of the show are sure to go into withdrawal at any moment. But Thronies have a new reason to celebrate!
Holland America Line is now featuring a shore excursion on cruises in Europe that delves deep into the show’s fantastical universe.
With the new Experience the “Game of Thrones” tour at Belfast, Northern Ireland, fans of the HBO series can step into the action of the popular series. The tour visits Castle Ward, the 17th-century castle known on the show as Winterfell, home of the Stark family. Tour participants get a behind-the-scenes look at the estate and are able to test their skills in the medieval sport of archery. The tour also visits the site of Audley’s Castle where numerous scenes from the series have been filmed and will be recognized as the site of Robb Stark’s military camp. Before departing, guests have a photo opportunity with actual costumes from the series, giving them a greater sense of what it’s like to be in the “Game of Thrones.”
But “Game of Thrones” isn’t the only entertainment-themed tour offered by the cruise line.
Holland America Line features a unique and extensive collection of shore excursions all over the world that offer guests the chance to visit the sites of their favorite films and television series. These tours feature up-close looks at the filming sites and hangouts of entertainment’s most beloved characters and the celebrities who portrayed them.
Those cruising Down Under can visit filming sites from the famed Hobbit movies on the “Lord of the Rings” Locations & the Weta Cave tour. This shore excursion travels to the Shire, set deep in the beautiful green mountains of Wellington, New Zealand. Travel into the eerie darkness of Buckland Forest and run along the same path that the Hobbits ran to the ferry and the famous ”Get off the road!” scene. Weta Cave is Wellington’s newest “Lord of the Rings” venue, and visitors are among the first to get behind-the-scenes insight there. The tour also highlights the Stone Street Studios that were extensively used for the productions of “Lord of the Rings” and “King Kong.”
Lovers of timeless movies can take their own “Roman Holiday” tour and walk in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. This shore excursion spotlights classic Rome through the lens of the film as it visits the actors’ hangouts in addition to filming locations like the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Palazzo and Navona Square. Participants can enjoy a gelato like Princess Ana did in the movie and see the original Vespa that took her and her beloved journalist around the Eternal City. Guests also have a traditional Italian lunch at a famous restaurant where Hepburn and Peck often dined. Don’t forget to toss a coin in Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to Rome!
Another star of film and cinema is Nawiliwili, Kaui, Hawaii. At this port of call, Holland America Line guests can see the film locations of such legends as “South Pacific,” “Blue Hawaii,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the Hollywood Hawaii: Movies and Waterfalls shore excursion. Included in the tour is a visit to Wailua Falls, made famous when it was featured in the opening scene of the television show “Fantasy Island.” Movie scenes play on a TV system in the tour bus, creating a connection between the film and location, increasing the excitement of each stop.
I took the Hollywood tour earlier this year and it more than met my expectations. In fact, I’d say that it was one of my “Top 5″ shore excursions (over 15+ cruises). I especially liked that the tour was on a minibus instead of a “monster” bus, making it a more intimate experience for everyone. It also becomes a very personal experience for anyone who has seen many of the movies or TV shows that are included in the narration … Because this tour visits many of the most scenic areas of Kaua’i, you will enjoy it even if you are not a movie buff. – Guest C. Dietz
On cruises calling at Charleston, S.C., the Boone Hall Plantation tour highlights a classic film site. This gorgeous example of southern charm appeared in the iconic “Gone With the Wind” and was the filming locale for the television miniseries “North & South” and “Queen.” Guests tour the Colonial Revival plantation house and slave quarters, and can feel the history of the estate, both cinematic and American.
The warm-weather locale trend continues at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, once home to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as John Huston. Huston was a prolific movie director and is credited for launching Humphrey Bogart’s career when he directed him in “The Maltese Falcon.” The tour Las Caletas Hideaway visits Huston’s favorite haunt for a relaxed afternoon, while the Puerto Vallarta Highlights excursion stops at several sites, including Gringo Gulch, which offers views of Taylor’s and Burton’s mansion.
Thailand showcases two star-studded treks: the Phang Nga Bay tour at Phuket, Thailand, that passes Khao Ping Gun, also known as James Bond Island because the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed there; and the Phi Phi Island & Khai Island by Speedboat tour that takes place on Phi Phi Island where the Leonardo Dicaprio movie “The Beach” was filmed.
This selection of entertainment-focused tours is just a sample of Holland America Line’s collection of more than 1,000 global shore excursions. Highlighting everything from adventure and ecology to history and culture, each tour is carefully developed to showcase the most exciting, interesting and important sites of the destination.
Which entertainment tour would you like to experience? Tell us below!