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Lscruiser

Shore Excursions - Cruise Ship or Private?

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An increasing number of shore excursions I have booked through the cruise line have been cancelled at the last minute - two out of three on my last Mexican Riviera cruise in April.  The reason for both was insufficient numbers of passengers signing up.   The result has been that other shore excursions were already full and it was too late to book private tours so I spent days on my own.  

 

I have used other avenues for local excursions including Viator, Tours by Locals, and now my travel agency is offering their own.   I know that the one advantage to cruise ship sponsored excursions is a guarantee that the ship won't leave without you if the excursion is delayed.  I can't see any other advantage and private companies tend to provide more notice if an excursion is cancelled.  

 

I'm interested in the experience of other cruisers.   I have 35+ cruises, mostly on major cruise lines including Princess, Holland, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.   I have three more scheduled for this year and am struggling with planning.

 

Linda 

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Join the roll call for your cruise. Most of the shore excursions that we do is done by members of the roll call who organize private tours. Also a lot of ports have locals at the dock offering tours. best to get two-three others and share the cost, also safety in numbers. Good luck, enjoy.

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On 5/10/2019 at 2:14 PM, Lscruiser said:

An increasing number of shore excursions I have booked through the cruise line have been cancelled at the last minute - two out of three on my last Mexican Riviera cruise in April.  The reason for both was insufficient numbers of passengers signing up.   The result has been that other shore excursions were already full and it was too late to book private tours so I spent days on my own.  

 

I have used other avenues for local excursions including Viator, Tours by Locals, and now my travel agency is offering their own.   I know that the one advantage to cruise ship sponsored excursions is a guarantee that the ship won't leave without you if the excursion is delayed.  I can't see any other advantage and private companies tend to provide more notice if an excursion is cancelled.  

 

I'm interested in the experience of other cruisers.   I have 35+ cruises, mostly on major cruise lines including Princess, Holland, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.   I have three more scheduled for this year and am struggling with planning.

 

Linda 

 

 

We usually cruise 2-3 times a year and I always try to book private excursions with the locals and not use the ship excursions.

 

The benefits are...they are usually cheaper! They usually involve a lot more time! They are usually a lot smaller with the amount of people going on that excursion compared to the atrocious amounts of people the cruise line puts on an excursion. Then, it's with the locals who will usually make excursions unforgettable by  taking you places you wouldn't otherwise go or see during a cruise ship excursion.

 

The best thing to do is read a lot on the boards here. Get opinions. Read reviews. See what all is included and pricing. Ask a lot of questions. If there's a vendor out there that you are interested in using, look them up on here and see what people are saying. For the most part, everyone around here uses specific vendors with good reputations and these vendors know that it's their reputation on the line (and don't want bad reviews) and make sure that they get you back to the ship on time. I honestly don't think I have read (on here) that someone missed the ship because of their vendor. Most people miss the ship is because they start drinking and don't keep track of time. Most vendors also have precautions put in place for things that could go wrong such as: a flat tire, a stalled motor on a boat and so on.

 

I have to say that the only time that I use a cruise ship excursion is if it benefits me. This would be maybe because you can't find a private vendor that goes where I'm wanting to go (such as places in Belize like Rendezvous Caye) or the ship doesn't dock and it's a tender port. When you have a tender port, if you book with the cruise line, a lot of the times the tender picks you up right AT the ship instead of tending over to the port and then catching another boat. Other instances are places that pick you up on the dock, right outside the ship, and it's just easier transportation wise to make it to where you are going than doing it on your own (for instance Blue Lagoon in Nassau). There are just various reasons. :)

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Hi.  We have cruised many many times as well and I have mainly chosen to go with outside/local excursions.  Viator and Get Your Guide tours are usually great, and cheaper, and many with a guarantee to return you to your ship on time.  They also have a great cancellation policy.  Every once in a while, the best option does seem to be the Ship's offering. It tkes a lot of time to research excursions, but, so far, it has always worked out well for us... Enjoy your cruising!

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