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Taking excursions while on a cruise can be a great way to see the sights.  We review what you need to know about excursions  and  suggest that you do a little research before you go.  

 

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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  Shore excursions

While sailing on a quality cruise line provides a wonderful onboard experience, shore excursions add a welcome interruption and a chance to explore new places. At every port, the cruise line will offer you the opportunity to take one of several excursions.

Choices

Research the shore excursions that are offered as far in advance as possible.

  • Make sure you know which excursions visit areas you are interested in touring.
  • Seating for all excursions is limited and the most popular excursions can be sold out early on the first day of the cruise. If you can reserve your excursion before you depart, do so.
  • If you have to wait until you board, make up you mind quickly or you may not get a seat for the special place you have dreamed of seeing.

Some travelers prefer to arrange their own tours through their travel agent and arrange to be picked-up at the boat and transported by a local guide.

  • Local guides will be more expensive than the cost of the cruise line excursions due to the individualized nature of the service.
  • Conversely, a quality local guide and the ability to ask questions that interest you make for an excellent tour.

Other travelers arrange a rental car and take off on their own itinerary.

 

Cautions

 If you self-tour or tour with a guide, you need to judge your time carefully because the ship will not wait for you if you are not on-board by departure time.

In most cases, departure will be delayed if you are on a cruise line sponsored tour,  but, even then, the ship may depart without you. In this case, the cruise line will bear the cost of getting you back on the cruise, something that will not happen if you are delayed on a non-cruise line tour.

Costs

Excursions are relatively expensive if you are traveling with a companion.

  • Half-day tours run from $50 to $100 per person and higher if you are involved in an adventure sport that requires the rental of equipment.
  • Full day trips often range from $100 to $200 per person and may be more expensive depending on the nature of the outing.
    • Restaurant tours can cost a small fortune.
  • When you consider that you might tour on five days of a seven-day tour (some all day tours, some half-day, some two half-day tours on the same day), it is easy to see that you and your companion easily could run up a touring bill of over a thousand dollars.

Our advice is to do the research and find out which destinations warrant tours. Touring day after day can be tiring  so be sure that you expend the time and expense on something that you really want to see.  In addition, a morning or afternoon of  walking and shopping in the local port  can be a great experience.

 

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