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Port Excursions-Pricey?

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Aug 25th, 2011, 11:32 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Port Excursions-Pricey?

Are the excursions booked through the Cruise Lines really so expensive? How much extra do you think we are paying? Ten or 20% or more? When we have traveled in the past, we did our own sightseeing. But with the cruise limitations for arrivals and departures, I was just wondering if their excursions are worth the money. Thanks.
mrscpa10 is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2011, 01:04 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
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We don't care for the ship's excursions; we do find them pricey, and there are usually too many people on each tour, they never seem to spend the right amount of time (for us) at each stop, and generally include too much shopping time.
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Aug 25th, 2011, 01:38 PM
  #3
 
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If you can find alternative activities, do so. Many cruise stops are easy to explore on your own, such as Caribbean islands, Greek islands and small ports. Most ship's excursions are pretty expensive and worse, are poor value - you don't get much for your money. There is indeed too much shopping time - and at places you would usually avoid. For example, on our last cruise we stopped in Tunis. Half of our tour was of the souk. Glamorous? 1 hour in a perfume shop, 1 hour in a craft shop and a run back to our bus. And our guide helping run the cash regiater. Three of us spent $450. On the other hand, on the same cruise the three of us paid $300 for a car (Mercdes) and driver for 4 hours. He took us where we wanted, let us set the pace, made good suggestions and dropped us where we wanted. Great.
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Aug 26th, 2011, 04:18 AM
  #4
 
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Almost never worth the price for me.

Always find a like minded couple or 2 and

split a guide/driver hired from the port

cut out all the middlemen and save 80% or more
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Aug 26th, 2011, 06:38 AM
  #5
 
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If you are traveling as a group of 6 or more it's always a lot less expensive to arrange your own tours. Since we generally travel as a couple the cost difference isn't that much. Also when you book a ship tour, if you miss a port your money is refunded, not always the case with independent tours. Most importantly if the tour is late getting back to the ship you're on your own unless it's a ship tour. Those are some of the reasons the majority of the ship takes ship tours.
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Aug 26th, 2011, 08:34 AM
  #6
KVR
 
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I agree with what has already been said, but will add it really depends on the port and your comfort level. We have booked both cruise excursions and independant. I prefer independant, but sometimes the cruise excursion were just more convenient.

In ports that you are tendered from the ship, people with cruise purchased shore excursions get priority off the ship. So if you book an independant make sure you give yourself at least a couple of hours to get off the ship and to your meeting point before your tour starts.

Ship shore excursions do not have to be paid when you make the reservation. It's charge to your ship board account and you don't have to pay until the day before your departure at the end of the cruise.

This was really important to us for our Alaska cruise. Though we wanted to book recommended independants, the prices in Alaska are very expensive and book up fast. We booked 3 tours that came to $1,200 and it was easier for us to save the money over several months and use that to pay our ship board account then come up with it at the time of booking. So we ended up buying two ship excursions and one independant. The one independant that we booked, the cruise ship tour and their tour was very different.

You really have to do your research to determine if the cruise excursion or the independant is the better option. I've read several complaints from people who booked with independants of them not taking the person where they wanted to go, over charging or trying to hook them up with their shopping sales people. So either way, that is still an issue. Just chose a very highly recommended independant and do your research before booking.

What we found researching Alaska is that the difference between cruise ship prices and indepenant prices was only about $20. So the extra $20 was for either lesser crowds and more attention from an independant or for the secruity and convenience of the cruise ship.

When we've cruised the Caribbean, we use more indpendants as we are more familar with the Caribbean from doing multiple land vacations. The only time we did a cruise excursion was when the port used tenders. So again, it really depends on the destination, the port and your comfort level.
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Aug 26th, 2011, 09:23 AM
  #7
 
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"Ship shore excursions do not have to be paid when you make the reservation."

True on some lines not others, Carnival charges for tours as soon as they are booked.

One other thing to consider is Insurance, the cruise lines generally use the most reputable operators in the port and I'm sure they are fully insured. That's what adds to the cost of the tour. If your injured on a tour don't count on some guy with a van to have much or any insurance.
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Aug 26th, 2011, 09:32 AM
  #8
 
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If I dock/tender in a country that is considered not safe to venture alone, ship tours are worth it for me, if the only alternatives would be risk it, or stay on the ship.
Dayenu is offline  
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Aug 26th, 2011, 10:05 AM
  #9
 
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Some examples of the difference:
In Rome the 3 of us would have had to pay (in 2002) $510.00 to sit on a bus whereas on our on on a cab it was $200.00.
Private tours in Israel go for about $550.00 per day for up to 3 people. The ship (Celebrity Constellation) is asking for $1200.00 per person. Yes, per person.
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Aug 26th, 2011, 06:20 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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There are all sorts of considerations when choosing activities when on a cruise, most of which are noted above. In the end some judgement is required. For instance when considering a tour destination that is far from the port, it may be that the ship's tour is better because yi=ou are sure to get back to the ship. On the other hand, tour contracts given to operators is a business thing and I doubt that coustomer satisfaction means a lot, unless there is a lot of bitching and moaning and too many refunds are demanded. So you need to take each situation and analyse it. If you plan to keep cruising, you will get the hang of it.
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Aug 28th, 2011, 08:37 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Way overpriced!!! If you can go independently...
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