Spooky adventures ashore

31/10/2019

A P&O Cruises holiday will show you the best of the natural world – and the supernatural one, too.

Please note, shore excursions shown are typical for the port. The full programme of shore excursions will be available at least 12 weeks prior to departure. Log into your booking for full details.

Twisted Tales of Stavanger, Stavanger

Frightful fjords

With its white-painted wooden cottages and narrow cobbled streets, Stavanger is pretty as a picture. But venture behind its charming façade and you’ll discover that all is not quite as it seems. Take to the city’s streets and hear about its shady, scary and salacious secrets. You’ll visit famous landmarks such as the cathedral overlooking Market Square, plus corners of town where other tours don’t dare to go. Find out where heads rolled, see where criminals were confined, and walk in the footsteps of those who took sinful strolls in the night.

Intro to Salem and Free Time, Boston

Witching hour

The coastal town of Salem, Massachusetts is famous for its 17th-century witch hunts, where more than 200 people were accused of practising witchcraft and 20 were executed. You can visit the Witch Museum, which shows the story of this dark period through fascinating displays. You’ll also explore the House of the Seven Gables, a national historic landmark that served as the centrepiece in novelist and Salem native Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel of the same name. It’s the oldest surviving wooden mansion in New England, with sections dating back as far as 1668.

French Quarter Walk, New Orleans

Spooky stroll

Pirates, voodoo, yellow fever – New Orleans’s turbulent history has helped earn it the unofficial title of America’s most haunted city. Visitors often report getting chills and seeing spectres as they pass local landmarks, from St Louis Cemetery No. 1 to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. Experience the creepy feelings for yourself on a guided walk around the city. It’s not an entirely spooky affair – you can also admire the architecture as you pass famous landmarks such as the Pontalba buildings (one of America's first apartment dwellings) and Jackson Square – but on Rue Royal, listen up for eerie tales of pirates, priests, haunted houses and voodoo queens.

Inquisition Palace, Cartagena, Colombia

Tortured souls

See the darker side of colourful Cartagena. Las Bóvedas are a series of 23 dungeons that were built in the late 18th century as military storerooms and later functioned as a jail. Today they house craft and souvenir shops. At Plaza Bolívar, a statue of military leader Simón Bolívar stands among leafy green trees, while the Inquisition Palace offers a bleak contrast. Within the palace, a tribunal was set up in 1610 by the Spanish Inquisition to punish crimes against the Catholic faith – some 800 people were publicly executed here. Explore inside to see a sample jail and torture chamber, among other grisly artefacts.

Alcatraz and Sausalito, San Francisco

Prison break

Alcatraz is one of the most notorious prisons in the world. Located on a small island in San Francisco Bay, it operated as a federal prison from 1934 to 1963 and in that time housed the likes of gangster Al Capone and murderer Robert ‘The Birdman’ Stroud. At other points in its history it’s been a Civil War fortress, a military prison and the site of a political occupation by Native American activists. With such a chequered past, it’s no wonder many visitors report feeling supernatural sensations. Visit the island and listen to audio of actual interviews of former guards and inmates and the fabled escape attempts of those criminals who made their home on ‘The Rock’.