"Why go all the way to these places and not take some time to experience beyond the ports of call?" says Ricca.
The explosion of land-based travel sold by cruise lines parallels the growth of the industry itself - 8.4 percent annually since 1980. Then, there were 41,000 berths; today, there are 197,553. To fill the new berths, the business is in the throes of expanding its appeal and variety. The campaign includes adding exotic ports and launching new ships with planetariums, ice rinks, and more climbing walls. And the new cruise-tours extend the line's brand on land, diversifying their product while keeping the dough that might formerly have gone to another tour group.
Whether you're looking to spend big bucks or want a budget getaway, in the end, cruise-tours win on inertia alone. One call does it all - ship to shore. Here's a sample of what's on offer.
Alaska's not only the largest state in the U.S., it's the cruise-tour mecca. Cruise West, Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean all offer land-inclusive tours that take in Denali National Park, home to Mount McKinley.
"Alaska is the leading cruise-tour destination," says Dean Brown, CEO of Princess Tours. "Everybody wants to see Denali." A major player in Alaska, Princess offers cruisers 42 different cruise-tour options in the north and runs several of its own lodges just beyond national park boundaries.
Holland America, another specialist in Alaska, has popular tours that include a scenic train ride in a domed car to Denali. Nearly one-third of the line's Alaska cruisers sign up for Holland's land-inclusive package, taking trips in the 11- to 15-day range.