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ghstudio

Excursion annoyances

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We normally don’t do celebrity excursions but we had an abundance of once so we booked 2 for our current cruise.

 

the first was as billed... full bus but good guide.  But one of the first stops on the 4 hr excursion was to visit a glass blowing factory shop for 30 minutes.  The shopping stop to build profit for the tour operator....and waste our time.

 

The second, four hour excursion included an unlisted 25 minute stop at a cameo factory/store. ... and we arrived back at the ship after only 3 hours.  On this one the guide was blatant about expecting tips for he and the bus driver (so much so that I didn’t give either a tip..they lost the $30 I normally would have given).

 

on both tour buses, the front seats were reserved.  No problem on the first because those folks had issues walking.  But on the second excursion which was billed as strenuous, it was reserved for two folks..and they weren’t even in a suite?  I didn’t know you could reserve excursion bus seats (afaik you can’t...but I’d like to know how they managed to do it )

 

if if there is going to be a shopping stop, celebrity should show it..and before someone says “the tours are run by contracted companies,  not celebrity”, celebrity contracts with the companies and of course knows the tours since they publish the descriptions prior to the cruise and on board.

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Unfortunately, these “unscheduled” shopping stops are not unique to Celebrity shorex. It happens on other cruise lines. I agree with you this should not happen. About all you can do is go to the shorex desk when you return to the ship, and complain about what happened. You could also write an email of complaint (RCI manages the shorex).  

 

And, of course, you can avoid ship-sponsored tours, but there are some times when there’s a good reason for taking such a tour.

 

You are right that the cruise lines should not permit their guests to be kidnaped for unscheduled shopping. 

 

 

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If you feed back to Celebrity they do take action against tour companies for varying the itinerary and excessive solicitation of tips.

 

No idea how the couple got front seats - but as the owner (is that the right word?) of a non visible disability I would say that it is possible that there was a disability related reason.  Even though the tour was strenuous a mental health condition, for example, would not impact that and might have been the cause of the reserved seats.

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The shopping stops are not unique to ships tours . We went on a privately sourced trip with about 15 other members of our CC roll call to Ephesus from Kusadasi.

 

Although we had specifically said we didn't want to see carpet making and in emails prior the guide had said we would not have to. The minibus driver still ended up taking us to the ubiquitous selling op.

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Lately, I am finding that the marking of excursions as "strenuous" as over-excessive. I was on a couple of bus tours that were labelled "strenuous" when all we did was sit on a bus.

 

Having the first row reserved doesn't bother me. I prefer the back row anyways. I also find that the descriptions do say that there will be stops. But I agree, I was once on a tour where we must have stopped at every souvenir stand on the island, and got upset at the one person that insisted on shopping at the end while the rest of us were ready to move on.

 

With regards to the tips, I don't mind the quick statement at the end, but what bothers me is when they say the driver and the guide need to be tipped separately. Sorry, you can share as far as I'm concerned.

Edited by 1025cruise

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2 hours ago, ghstudio said:

We normally don’t do celebrity excursions but we had an abundance of once so we booked 2 for our current cruise.

 

the first was as billed... full bus but good guide.  But one of the first stops on the 4 hr excursion was to visit a glass blowing factory shop for 30 minutes.  The shopping stop to build profit for the tour operator....and waste our time.

 

The second, four hour excursion included an unlisted 25 minute stop at a cameo factory/store. ... and we arrived back at the ship after only 3 hours.  On this one the guide was blatant about expecting tips for he and the bus driver (so much so that I didn’t give either a tip..they lost the $30 I normally would have given).

 

on both tour buses, the front seats were reserved.  No problem on the first because those folks had issues walking.  But on the second excursion which was billed as strenuous, it was reserved for two folks..and they weren’t even in a suite?  I didn’t know you could reserve excursion bus seats (afaik you can’t...but I’d like to know how they managed to do it )

 

if if there is going to be a shopping stop, celebrity should show it..and before someone says “the tours are run by contracted companies,  not celebrity”, celebrity contracts with the companies and of course knows the tours since they publish the descriptions prior to the cruise and on board.

 

The same thing happened to us on  a Celebrity excursion to Pompeii or Herculaneum.  It was in the days that we were nervous about using private tour companies. Nothing was mentioned in the blurb and we were not happy that there was a thirty minute stop at a Cameo store.  We had zero interest. I sat outside in the sun. I would rather have spent an extra thirty minutes at the archaeological site.  

 

We took a private tour to Ephesus. Just two of us.  We made it clear that we did not want to go to carpet or china factories.  We were put under immense pressure by the tour guide. I had to pretend I was ill just to stop the pestering. We complained to the tour operator, but I doubt anything came of that.  

 

No no one will convince me that Celebrity doesn’t know about the shopping stops and that being the case, it should be included in the details.  

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Not unique to ship excursions.  We had a shopping stop on a private excursion in Skagway Alaska.

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I avoid ships excursions, they tend to be over crowded and overpriced, this goes for all lines. 

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Please keep an open mind as an individual may not show the physical impairment of a disability such as the effects from a stroke, and appear healthy while actually suffering from cardiovascular damage from a prior heart attack which weakens the body.  Other neurological disorders can cause impairments not immediately visible.

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If one is going on a tour listed as strenuous, they don’t need special seats reserved because of physical issues....or they shouldn’t be on the tour in the first place.

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We still laugh about something that we did about 20 years ago or more. We stopped in San Juan, did not book an excursion in advance, and we went with they guy who had a sign, "Rain Forest, No Shopping". Unfortunately some kind of shopping is associated with most shore excursions. Many of them not like described. We took one from HAL in the Caribbean that said it was a hands on cooking class, but when we got on the bus they said we were going to watch the woman prepare a dish.  

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A small bus tour to see the city:  it included the two of us mixed with a large group from the ship who all knew each other somehow.  Someone in their group was quite put out that we didn't sit in the same seats when we got back on after the first stop (we were stopping every 20 minutes, at most), as if this was some sort of rule.  People in her group kept trying to calm her down but the more she thought about it, the more aggravated she became.  We were laughing at her by the end of it.  She also kept running her mouth off about the tour guide, who could obviously hear her constant refrain about this, that, and the other, including criticisms about the content of his spiel (things he had said that she didn't hear, usually). 

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6 hours ago, groryjm said:

The shopping stops are not unique to ships tours . We went on a privately sourced trip with about 15 other members of our CC roll call to Ephesus from Kusadasi.

 

Although we had specifically said we didn't want to see carpet making and in emails prior the guide had said we would not have to. The minibus driver still ended up taking us to the ubiquitous selling op.

 

Maybe vet your guides a bit better.  Our Ephesus guide did not drag us to a carpet shop.  We were referred to him by cruising friends who had used him previously.  We had specifically told him we didn't want that.  

Edited by Happy Cruiser 6143

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I booked a Celebrity tour in advance (Dubrovnik, I think it was) and later received an email to inform me it included a stop at a diamond shop. So I cancelled and booked a different one. I wonder what prompted them to email - perhaps complaints? 

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5 hours ago, bengaltiger1 said:

 

The same thing happened to us on  a Celebrity excursion to Pompeii or Herculaneum.  It was in the days that we were nervous about using private tour companies. Nothing was mentioned in the blurb and we were not happy that there was a thirty minute stop at a Cameo store.  We had zero interest. I sat outside in the sun. I would rather have spent an extra thirty minutes at the archaeological site.  

 

We took a private tour to Ephesus. Just two of us.  We made it clear that we did not want to go to carpet or china factories.  We were put under immense pressure by the tour guide. I had to pretend I was ill just to stop the pestering. We complained to the tour operator, but I doubt anything came of that.  

 

No no one will convince me that Celebrity doesn’t know about the shopping stops and that being the case, it should be included in the details.  

 

The Carpet place in Turkey was  the worst for shopping pitch...,They loosen folks up with  faux hospitality/ mumbo jumbo .. and a very.very hard sell.  It was our last stop so we just slipped out for a nice lunch and shopping we wanted to do,  The cameo store  was a time waster but interesting,  and much less hard sell.  We did not buy anything...because we were annoyed they wasted our time.

 

On St Thomas almost all tours stop at a scenic lookout where they sell stuff...On Tortola,  we received an e mail that our excursion was " modified" with most of our time set for a flea market bazaar..no thank you.  We chose something else.

 

We  still prefer going with the ship's tours but look more for culinary, beach, bar etc.

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We were once on a private tour in Cannes.  The driver/guide wanted to take us to a perfume factory and the entire bus said a most emphatic no.  But then, someone had to use the facilities and he had the nerve to tell us the ONLY clean washrooms in the area were in the perfume factory.   We were also on a bus that got hijacked to a carpet store in Istanbul.  We refused to go and spend an enjoyable hour in the Grand Bazaar which was nearby.  A few on the tour felt we were rude and made a point of calling us out after they re-boarded the bus.  I told them they had finally met the Elusive Rude Canadian and most of the bus cracked up laughing.  Were we rude?  Not not at all, just determined not to waste what time we had.    

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20 minutes ago, Anubi said:

We were once on a private tour in Cannes.  The driver/guide wanted to take us to a perfume factory and the entire bus said a most emphatic no.  But then, someone had to use the facilities and he had the nerve to tell us the ONLY clean washrooms in the area were in the perfume factory.   We were also on a bus that got hijacked to a carpet store in Istanbul.  We refused to go and spend an enjoyable hour in the Grand Bazaar which was nearby.  A few on the tour felt we were rude and made a point of calling us out after they re-boarded the bus.  I told them they had finally met the Elusive Rude Canadian and most of the bus cracked up laughing.  Were we rude?  Not not at all, just determined not to waste what time we had.    

 

In the days of TripAdvisor, these rogue private vendors who "hijack" your day are becoming less and less frequent.  If they want a one star review, waste your customers' time.  However, I have been reading more and more about the tuk tuk drivers in Siem Reap and why you should let them take you to their "family restaurant" because often you get a great experience like you will get nowhere else.  This is not to be confused with tourist shops though. 

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23 hours ago, George C said:

I avoid ships excursions, they tend to be over crowded and overpriced, this goes for all lines. 

I agree.  Typically you line up as you did in elementary school, in the hot sun.  You have to wait until the late comers arrive.  Then you board buses and the similar process to go back to the ship.  We try to avoid if possible.

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This might make you smile:

As we arrived back at our hotel in Beijing (it is not only cruise excursions!) our guide stood up, rubbed his hands and said....."Now for the bit i like the best"...he lost his tip too!

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Our guide on a recent Celebrity excursion informed us that tipping both  guide and driver was traditional.  I do like to break traditions!

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The best tour that we did was in Kaui, where we were told at the beginning of the tour that there would be no shopping, as we had been late docking.

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We were once behind a lady at guest relations complaining that her snorkelling trip in Bora Bora had not stopped at a shop so she hadn’t been able to buy a souvenir....

 

It takes all kinds....

 

We did have a scheduled ‘carpet stop’ after a tour and made it clear we were not interested in purchasing and were just enjoying the mint tea. It quite amused us that several guests showed a real interest to purchase.....until they asked the price. 

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Huh, I suspect the priorities for a large number of folks on the ship's tour buses are: 1) where is the next bathroom, and 2) the souvenir stop.  

 

Last cruise I enjoyed watching some "disabled" people run to grab those two front seats.  LOL.  

 

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We just completed another celebrity tour....which included pasta making and lunch at a vineyard....a small group tour..only 20 people which was fine.  The trip involved 3 30 minute bus rides between the stops...that was ok. They added a bathroom stop on the way to the first office stop....that was ok.   You know there’s a but coming.....

 

The  but is that our tour guide said nothing during the bus rides...although she held a microphone on her lap.  Now I didn’t want 90 minutes of history, but surely there is something worthwhile driving around Pisa, Tuscany area.  I have no idea what she thought her job was...but certainly it was not “tour guide”.   Maybe she was just an escort and translator between the driver and passengers.  She did spend a fair amount of time on her phone and reading replying to messages....I guess it was productive time for her.

 

i guess it’s time to once again go to the excursion desk....celebrity tours are definitely not great... OTOH, maybe we were just unlucky twice.

Edited by ghstudio

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