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cruisin kath

booking excursions -how soon?

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We are booked for a 10 day Mediterranean cruise in mid October with 8 ports. Previously I have done shorter cruises and sometimes I booked once on board.  How soon should we book excursions?  We are looking at excursions both private and with HAL.  Am I right in thinking that HAL excursions would be fully refundable in the event of a cancellation?  I believe I have read on the boards that reputable private companies will also do cancellations.  My friend's mother has not been well so it concerns me. There is one port where we really want to book an excursion with HAL and I have read that sometimes they either pull the excursions off and/or they sell out.  Thanks for any help!!

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3 hours ago, cruisin kath said:

We are booked for a 10 day Mediterranean cruise in mid October with 8 ports. Previously I have done shorter cruises and sometimes I booked once on board.  How soon should we book excursions?  We are looking at excursions both private and with HAL.  Am I right in thinking that HAL excursions would be fully refundable in the event of a cancellation?  I believe I have read on the boards that reputable private companies will also do cancellations.  My friend's mother has not been well so it concerns me. There is one port where we really want to book an excursion with HAL and I have read that sometimes they either pull the excursions off and/or they sell out.  Thanks for any help!!

I am booking excursions for our Jan to May cruise next year. Already have 2 private excursions booked and working on additional tours. Generally will not book any private excursion that wants money up front, or does not provide cancellations for weather, etc. At the most, I will provide a small deposit.

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Ship excursions absolutely can and do sell out, so if you want to do something badly enough, you should book as far in advance as possible.  Check directly with the cruise line to be sure it's refundable before you book.  Sometimes excursions are cancelled on their end and of course that's refunded.  With the private operators, it just depends on their policies.  I would probably not go that route personally if I felt cancellations on our part were a real possibility.

 

Of course you can book excursions on board but it may be down to a small variety of choices after others have sold out.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, cruisin kath said:

We are booked for a 10 day Mediterranean cruise in mid October with 8 ports. Previously I have done shorter cruises and sometimes I booked once on board.  How soon should we book excursions?  We are looking at excursions both private and with HAL.  Am I right in thinking that HAL excursions would be fully refundable in the event of a cancellation?  I believe I have read on the boards that reputable private companies will also do cancellations.  My friend's mother has not been well so it concerns me. There is one port where we really want to book an excursion with HAL and I have read that sometimes they either pull the excursions off and/or they sell out.  Thanks for any help!!

 

If an excursion is cancelled by the cruise line (ship fails to make the port, insufficient take-up, unsafe weather etc) your excursion fee is fully refunded. No need to read the small-print.

 

With most cruise lines, you can get a full refund if you decide to cancel, provided that you give notice. This depends which cruise line, and the amount of notice that you give - typically at least 2 to 7 days 

And sometimes it depends on the particular excursion, it's usually non-refundable for the more-expensive small-numbers speciality excursions. For instance a balloon ride which takes just four and you two want to cancel. 

In my first para I mentioned "unsafe weather". That's "unsafe" only. If the weather is simply foul - so bad that the excursion is a waste of time -  it will  almost-certainly still run, and because by then you'll be inside the notice limit you'll not be entitled to a refund.

You need to read HAL's small-print about your right to cancel - the last item on the linked page.

https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/shore-excursions.html

Once you are satisfied that your cancellation rights meet your needs, I suggest you book immediately in case it books-out. (Simple excursions by bus rarely book-out except within the last day or two, because they can usually just book more buses).

 

With privately-booked excursions you need to very carefully read the small-print.

Overheads are much higher in Europe than in places like the Caribbean or SE Asia,  and business lost at the last minute can cost the operator dearly, so understandably there are limitations to your rights.

Some operators require payment up-front with no cancellation rights, some specialist cruise-orientated consolidators such as cruisingexcursions normally refund if the ship fails to port, some operators part-refund depending how far out you cancel.

 

Other than when a ship fails to port, if you cancel I doubt there are any cruise lines or tour operators who will refund anything without a degree of notice. So if friend's mother isn't sure that she'll be up to it on the day, best to find a tour operator that doesn't require either payment or a credit card number - and especially in the Med that'll be difficult.

 

JB :classic_smile:

Edited by John Bull

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We book private tours as soon as possible. They often sell out. We rarely pay in advance for private tours, so there is no question of refunds for cancellations.

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We book our private tours as soon as we find one that fits our wishes. Although we do not book ship tours, it is my understanding that they do sell out.

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If you booked using a cruise planner they may have discount excursions to offer. No matter. Book immediately after you book your cruise if you see something you really want. Yes they do sell out, especially if it is at a reasonable price. As said already. Most are Non refundable if you just want to cancel it.

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HAL excursions are fully refundable when you cancel before the deadline for cancellations!

Do book quickly because the popular ones do sell out quickly!  

Enjoy your cruise!  :classic_cool:

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We just booked our first cruise, so we are totally newbies. It is on Norwegian next January. Only two excursions are available for the ten day cruise. Does anyone know how far ahead they post them? We have an excursion credit of $100 a day so I want to look at them before I book any. Thanks!

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5 hours ago, MountainToTheSea said:

We just booked our first cruise, so we are totally newbies. It is on Norwegian next January. Only two excursions are available for the ten day cruise. Does anyone know how far ahead they post them? We have an excursion credit of $100 a day so I want to look at them before I book any. Thanks!

 

Are you sure this is a credit for just excursions, or is it "on-board credit" which can be used for almost everything you buy on the ship including drinks,  dining up-grades, spa treatments etc?

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

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10 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

Are you sure this is a credit for just excursions, or is it "on-board credit" which can be used for almost everything you buy on the ship including drinks,  dining up-grades, spa treatments etc?

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

10 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

Are you sure this is a credit for just excursions, or is it "on-board credit" which can be used for almost everything you buy on the ship including drinks,  dining up-grades, spa treatments etc?

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

NCL excursion credits are limited to excursions only, and can’t be combined with other excursions. If you don’t take an excursion one day, you lose it.

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Yes it is a credit only for excursions booked through the ship. Maybe they will post more later but only two excursions in one port show up right now. So there is no way to book as far as I see until they post. Thanks !

 

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I have seen tour prices go up or the tour fill up as the cruise got closer. With tours booked through the ship you can always cancel them, sometimes one day before.

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32 minutes ago, denmarks said:

I have seen tour prices go up or the tour fill up as the cruise got closer. With tours booked through the ship you can always cancel them, sometimes one day before.

I wish they were posted so we could book them now...

 

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I use almost exclusively private tours, which I most often book myself and then find others to join me and reduce the per person cost on the cruise's roll call.  With deference to John Bull, we had to cancel or rearrange two tours on our last Med cruise, and there was no trouble at all.  With one, we changed ports at the last minute, and they had no trouble meeting us where we went in.  On the next day, due to weather, we had to cancel a stop in Sicily, and there was no problem with the cancellation.  The one problem we had was a tour in Florence.  They had bought tickets for one of the museums, and though we knew we had to pay for the tickets regardless, we cancelled the tour and wanted the tickets.  We were told that that was not possible, but since I had paid for them, I thought I was entitled to them.  I ultimately put a post on Cruise Critic asking others what they thought of the practice and the operator, and lo and behold we got a refund for the tickets!!

 

Check out the Ports of Call Section to get ideas as to who the good operators are for the ports you are visiting, and then book them as soon as you can.  The good ones do get booked up.  Read though lots of posts and don't just go by one person's recommendations.

 

Private tour operators have reputations to maintain, and they are usually easy to work with.

 

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