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My thrill-seeking side likes to test mortality during my travel adventures, and if there’s any chance I can defy-death, sign me up (as long as it’s only a slight chance). Naturally, Pamplona’s famous Fiesta de San Fermin, has been on the top of my to-do list for a few years running, but each year, forces beyond my control have prevented me from my dance with death to the tune of stampeding bulls. (Maybe it’s a sign?)
The legendary festival kicks off in July when the earth starts to shake with pulse-pounding music, dancers, entertainers, and dare-devils diving from statues into the outstretched arms of strangers. The real crowd-pleasing event is the “encierro,” when herds of people are chased by angry bulls through the streets of Pamplona. If you’re not the running sort but the festival sounds enticing, Crystal Cruises has created an attractive alternative.
Prior to the 12-night Mediterranean sailing bound for Venice, the cruise line is offering an interesting new shore excursion which will have you perched in a balcony seat overlooking the bull-run from a safe distance away. Once the excitement fades, passengers will take in some live music and dancing, followed by sightseeing through Pamplona. The 5-day program also includes guided tours in Madrid and Barcelona, a flamenco show, daily meals, hotel stays, a flight from Madrid to Pamplona, and flight from Pamplona to the departure port in Barcelona.
If I do manage to make to this year’s festival, I’ll be easy to spot from your birds-eye view. My “thrill-seeking-self” will be in front leading the charge, with hundreds of frantic, fellow adrenaline-junkies separating myself from the bulls - where there’s only a slight chance of a joining the casualty list.
For more details on pricing for Crystal Cruise’s Running of the Bulls program, check out our Editor’s Review.