Today is International Book Lovers day, and while a cruise is the perfect vacation to catch up on a good book lounging on deck overlooking the sea, it’s also the ideal way to explore the homes, birthplaces and locales of your favorite author or book. From Prince Edward Island and the home of Anne of Green Gables to Isla Robinson Crusoe, bibliophiles will take delight in delving into the these shore excursions and ports.
Anne of Green Gables
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Ultimate Anne of Green Gables Experience
In this ultimate tour, see, hear and immerse yourself in everything related to “Anne Shirley” of Green Gables. Learn about her world, hear her stories, visit her homestead, and see items directly related to her famed author Lucy Maude Montgomery.
View rolling farmland, stunning seascapes, tiny villages and bustling harbors along the Central Coastal Drive as you get ready to meet Anne of Green Gables and authentic descendants of author Lucy Maud Montgomery.
The first stop is at Silver Bush, the home of the Anne of Green Gables Museum. While here you’ll have a chance to tour the museum, explore the beautiful grounds featuring many flower beds and gardens, and even share some raspberry cordial with Anne herself! Stop to see the beautiful French River Lookout before arriving at the Green Gables Heritage Place, the old farm site that inspired Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. Highlighting some of the finest attractions on Prince Edward Island’s breathtaking North Shore, this is the ultimate “Anne” experience.
Your next stop is a brief visit to the Cavendish Post Office where a small exhibition invites you to follow the writer’s manuscripts through the postal system where Montgomery worked as the Assistant Postmaster. Using her position at the Post Office, Montgomery sent her manuscript to various publishers and that is how she managed to get her story published.
As you return to your ship, depart your tour with inspiring quotes from Anne herself, “love the way you are” and “keep a lookout for kindred spirits along the way.”
Torquay (Torbay), England
The Agatha Christie Mile & Torre Abbey
Retrace the steps of the world’s best-selling author with a walk following the Agatha Christie Mile along Torquay’s seafront. The route takes you to many of the places that inspired the author’s life and works, with seven interpretive plaques to find along the way.
You will stop at the Torquay Museum. Step inside a recreation of Poirot’s study and lounge. In the reconstructed Agatha Christie Gallery, view furniture, books, pictures and even a fireplace from Poirot’s beautiful Art Deco London apartment. The furniture and props housed here were featured in ITV’s adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The gallery also contains new, meticulously-researched interpretive panels containing a wealth of facts and photographs about Agatha Christie’s life and work, from her childhood at Ashfield to her later years at Greenway.
Your walk continues to the delightful historic house which is Torre Abbey. The story of this Grade One heritage building spans from medieval and Tudor times to the Georgian and Victorian eras. The building has witnessed, survived, and even played a role in some epic moments including nationally-important historic events. It is one of the finest buildings in England telling the story of 800 years of Catholicism between 1196 and 1930. Torre Abbey also houses one of the largest fine-art collections in the southwest of England, with a number of works by William Blake and pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt.
Enjoy some free time to visit the beautiful tranquil gardens, with a wealth of exotic plants. Home to a beautiful palm house and an Agatha Christie Poison Plant Garden, it is the perfect setting in which to relax.
Lord of the Rings
Tauranga (Rotorua), New Zealand
Hobbiton Movie Set
If you’ve seen the movie, there’s a great chance you’ve read the beloved book series by JRR Tolkien. Join this fascinating tour to the Hobbiton movie set near Matamata, where you will step back in time to Middle Earth.
You’ll cross the Kaimai Ranges and head across the Waikato lowlands to the set that was built in 1999 for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Filming commenced in December, 1999, and the stars on site were Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Bilbo Baggins (Sir Ian Holm) and Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin), along with director Peter Jackson. In 2010, the set was completely rebuilt in amazing detail for the three Hobbit movies.
Enjoy strolling around the home of the hobbits, including Bag End, where Bilbo Baggins lived. See the Party Tree, the restored bridge and the old pub. After your guided tour, you will head to the Green Dragon for light refreshments.
Mutiny on the Bounty
Papeete, French Polynesia
Bligh, Bounty, Books: James Norman Hall’s House
Head to Point Venus where Captain Cook took readings of the Transit of Venus in 1769. Its monumental 110-foot-tall lighthouse, built in 1867, was designed by author Robert Louis Stevenson’s father.
Within the grounds of the lighthouse, you will find the Monument to Captain Bligh — homage to the disgraced captain of HMS Bounty. Descendants of the mutineers live in the Society Islands, so this monument is meaningful to many locals. Take in the views of the black-sand beach that is a favorite among Tahitians.
From Tahara’a — One Tree Hill — take in the bird’s-eye view of Matavai Bay. Captain Wallis, who discovered Tahiti quite by accident, landed here in 1767. Captain James Cook sailed the Endeavour into the bay in 1769 and named the navigational landmark of One Tree Hill. Moorea, Tahiti’s sister island, is visible in the distance.
James Norman Hall House is a lovely home that evokes the daily life of the famous poet, writer of American contemporary literature. Among Hall’s works was the controversial “Mutiny on the Bounty.” See his beloved office and library with his original wooden desk and typewriter. The more than 3,000 books here represent seven generations of American literature. Hall’s precious gramophone, antique furniture, nostalgic family photos, favorite paintings and personal effects transport you to an entirely different era.
Isla Robinson Crusoe
Isla Robinson Crusoe, formerly Más a Tierra, is the largest island of Juan Fernández Archipelago National Park (which also includes two uninhabited islands, Alexander Selkirk and Santa Clara) in Chile. The island’s name is inspired by the fact that Alexander Selkirk, the person who was perhaps the real-life inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, spent four years here as a castaway from 1704 to 1708. Even to this day, the island remains remote, sitting 670 kilometers (416 miles) off the coast of Chile—a journey of up to two days by ship, though less than two hours by plane.
Only one permanent human settlement exists on Isla Robinson Crusoe, or anywhere in the archipelago for that matter: the town of San Juan Bautista, with around 700 residents. You don’t travel to these volcanic islands in search of shopping, dining and nightlife. Instead, you will find a largely pristine Pacific island (the entire archipelago is part of a national park), with soaring peaks and flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world, including the Juan Fernández fur seals you may spot sunning themselves on the coast or swimming alongside your ship.