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How early does everyone start planning their excursions for their upcoming cruise? Just curious. Our trip is almost 6 months away & I am so excited that I am already looking into planning our excursions! We have been on 12 previous cruises & usually wait until the last month or two.

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How early does everyone start planning their excursions for their upcoming cruise? Just curious. Our trip is almost 6 months away & I am so excited that I am already looking into planning our excursions! We have been on 12 previous cruises & usually wait until the last month or two.

 

We try to research since booking date selecting the favorites to finish with one or two shorex per day, time of booking depends where are you going some shorex are very popular and or the number of guest is limited. Last Eclipse cruise they have a special onboard of 10% discount on shorex for future cruises. We prefer to wait for the special day/weekend with bigger discounts.

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We have made a list of our favourite excursions....but are hesitating to book. We did book one excursion since they had a weekend promotion on a few select excursions. Hoping they do another discount promotions before we book more.

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We start looking for excursions as soon as we book, which can be a year away. Lots of research into the various options at each port. Come away happy.

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We don't book any excursions through the ship, preferring to do all of our sightseeing on our own or through private companies if something unique is of interest. As a result we only book far in advance if there is a need to assure a reservation in a particular place or with a specific activity we want to do.

 

For example, on our most recent cruise we booked a private taxi in advance to take the other two couples and ourselves on a private tour to the back side of Cozumel, and made reservations several months in advance at an all inclusive beach club in Costa Maya. Other times we've rented cars to tour the islands or go to specific sightseeing spots on our own.

 

Only mentioning as it is a far less costly option to ship based excursions that we have found to be more enjoyable. :)

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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I start our excursion planning as soon as we book. But then I love researching new places and finding out about as much as I can about our options.

 

I look at the ship excursions, just to see what they offer, but we rarely book them. Only if there's no other practical option, or if it involves travel far from the ship. And of course I look through the Ports of Call forum here on CC and get involved on the Roll Call. Some of our best excursions have been on private ones organized by a fellow cruisers.

 

TripAdvisor has been a primary source, both their Things to Do pages and their forums. I also go to the pertinent official tourism websites. Another site I use a lot is Lonely Planet. While their guidebooks are good, the website has more up to date information. These are really helpful in helping us narrow down our options, given the location and available time in port.

 

Actually booking the excursion? Depends on what it is. Sometimes not until very close to embarkation, if it's not limited to only a few people. Sometimes many months out if it's a private hire or charter.

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I think it depends what your itinerary is; we’ve found the Caribbean is usually easy to book (many similar options from various vendors), some specific ports across the world have fewer reputable private companies and so they get booked up very quickly - snooze and you lose :D. We reserve independent tours and there is always at least 7 in our party, so we tend to reserve early rather than later. Only book through the cruise line if we have OBC to use or it’s an awkward tender port.

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We generally check out what the cruise line offers and book a couple of excursions that interest us shortly after booking the cruise. That locks in our reservations to some things before they sell out.

 

When the time comes closer to sailing, we adjust and cancel as necessary--while still within the refund window.

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Thanks for all your responses! For those who book private tour companies, do you typically book ahead or just find someone when you get off the ship & go from there?

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All booked save for Cozumel - I'm in touch with a snorkel company there but not booked yet - for Feb 2019. Costa Maya I'm doing Maya Chan and I know that sells out quickly. Key West I'm not doing one. Grand Cayman I went ahead and booked with promotional OBC.

 

I figure I know what I want to do. Might as well go ahead and reserve it.

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All booked save for Cozumel - I'm in touch with a snorkel company there but not booked yet - for Feb 2019. Costa Maya I'm doing Maya Chan and I know that sells out quickly. Key West I'm not doing one. Grand Cayman I went ahead and booked with promotional OBC.

 

I figure I know what I want to do. Might as well go ahead and reserve it.

 

WrittenOnYourHeart, we just did that cruise this past Feb 2018! As for your Cozumel snorkelling excursion, we booked FuryCatamaran through the ship excursions & it was awesome! Very professional, safe, good snorkelling location....brought us to their private beach(beautiful!) with an aquapark...super fun! & free flowing drinks after snorkelling if you wanted any. I'm sure you can also book this privately, but it worked out for us to book through the ship with our onboard credit. Highly recommend this company. Good reviews on trip advisor as well.

 

https://www.furycozumel.com/

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Depends where we are going. Sept 19 I’ve already booked Israel but good tours go fast. Jan 19 got everything booked for Caribbean, med this year we booked about 4 my months out.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Thanks for all your responses! For those who book private tour companies, do you typically book ahead or just find someone when you get off the ship & go from there?

 

We book ahead whenever reservations are required or if it is an activity that would likely sell out in advance of the arriving at the port. Many activities are fine to simply show up and go. Tours through private companies are best to reserve in advance. It all depends on what you are doing.

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All booked save for Cozumel - I'm in touch with a snorkel company there but not booked yet - for Feb 2019. Costa Maya I'm doing Maya Chan and I know that sells out quickly. Key West I'm not doing one. Grand Cayman I went ahead and booked with promotional OBC.

 

I figure I know what I want to do. Might as well go ahead and reserve it.

 

Good to reserve Maya Chan as far in advance as you can since, as you reference, they only take a limited amount of guests and tend to sell out early. Was just there a couple of weeks ago for our second time - great place run by great people.

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We booked Maya Chan in Costa Maya a few months ago...and we don’t sail until March 2019. Also booked Gio’s Tours in Colon and Dora Tours in Cartegena; these are popular independent tours that book quickly and our Dora tour is private for just the 2 of us. If you are booking private tours, book now.

 

 

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WrittenOnYourHeart, we just did that cruise this past Feb 2018! As for your Cozumel snorkelling excursion, we booked FuryCatamaran through the ship excursions & it was awesome! Very professional, safe, good snorkelling location....brought us to their private beach(beautiful!) with an aquapark...super fun! & free flowing drinks after snorkelling if you wanted any. I'm sure you can also book this privately, but it worked out for us to book through the ship with our onboard credit. Highly recommend this company. Good reviews on trip advisor as well.

 

https://www.furycozumel.com/

 

Thanks! I'm looking at Cozumel H20 based on reviews on the Cozumel board and TripAdvisor. They have a Discover SCUBA program I'm waiting to hear about that sounds great. But Fury is definitely on my back-up plan list.

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