Book excursion from the ship?

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40 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Does anyone ever book an excursion after you are on the ship? We are still unsure what we want to do at one of the ports, and thought maybe we could decide a day or two before we arrive at the port. We would also have a better idea of the weather forecast at that time.

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British Columbia Canada
175 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
You certainly can wait until you are aboard to book an excursion. You do risk having one, or more of them being sold-out!
Depending on what you are looking for, the probability is high that there will be a private tour that you can get right at the dock, or “in town”. Do a bit of research on the Cruise Critic sister web site, Trip Advisor for other options maybe not listed through the cruise company.
North Carolina
292 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
We have done this occasionally ... but usually as a result of a port being changed/cancelled. We have run into a few instances where if we waited to long (even before sailing) the excursion we were interested in has sold out.

Personally, we always research what's in each port we're stopping on ... Carnival shore excursions, trip advisor and shore excursioneer and then I watch accordingly to determine the availability. A lot of times you can get better pricing w/ the same or similar options a lot cheaper than the ship. If it gets close to sailing and the availability is limited ... we book.
201 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Yes, we've done it and also just went with the flow once we got to port. The best option for us now is doing the research on outside vendors and booking with them up front for less.
Silver Springs, Florida
2,932 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We consider ourselves to be "seasoned" cruisers.

We opt for booking thru the ship when we are visiting a port for the 1st time, then when we have a feel for the area we are more apt to book outside or go on our own.

The world has changed so much since we started cruising in the 90's and the last thing we would want is to be left behind in a port.

I recently read a review of a cruiser who did their own thing in Jamaica and hired a driver on their own and they had a horrible experience and all were in fear until they got out of the vehicle.

We have done many "inclusive" resorts in Mexico in the past, but now we would hesitate due to all the publicity of "tainted" alcohol that is flooding the TV.

I think it is just that now that we are retired we are more cautious and less fearless with our daily lives, just part of the living process for us.

We are visiting Aruba and Curacao for the first time in March and we will be doing ship excursions for this first visit and we are ok with paying a little more.

Whatever you chose, have a great cruise!
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Tampa area
15,425 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
When I went to Aruba there was not one stop with a bathroom on this hours long tour.
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55 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
My wife and I were in the same position last year and didn't book one for La Romana. We finally decided on one the night before, but it was sold out (as were options 2,3, and 4).
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5,775 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
There is way too much paranoia about private excursions. You will not miss the ship, this is what they do for a living 6-7 days a week. They know when the ship arrives, if it's going to be late, when it departs, they know ship's time, they have watches and cell phones. They live or die by reviews, relax and save some money. Some of the best excursions have been spontaneous trips right outside the dock. We have hired a cab and had some excellent island tours for 1/2 of what CCL charges.
Fredericksburg, va. USA
88,338 Posts
Joined May 2001
Many things require NO excursion at all! Read up on your port...find out what there is, and if there is something that interests you, you might find that you can do it on your own, and much cheaper than thru a guide! Google your port, or pick up a guidebook at your local library.
Cabot, AR
1,764 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by cb at sea
Many things require NO excursion at all! Read up on your port...find out what there is, and if there is something that interests you, you might find that you can do it on your own, and much cheaper than thru a guide! Google your port, or pick up a guidebook at your local library.
We have done this many times. It usually ends up being the best day(s) of our cruise. Of course we are beach bums-- so a cab to a nice beach is about all we need.
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Save a life, adopt a pet
201 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We've had a lot of luck by doing research up front and finding reputable vendors and making reservations well in advance online. It's worked out so far. Next month in Bonaire, we actually hired a snorkel guide to give us a private snorkel and city tour for 5 hours. I'm so tired of the crowded, rushed, and artificial snorkel experiences offered by the shore excursion vendors through the ship.
131 Posts
Joined Aug 2016
I prefer finding my own private excursions. They are less crowded, better service, and less money.
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