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Sharing private shore excursions

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I will be taking a cruise with my daughter in January, during her winter break from college. One of the stops will be in Cartagena, and I have arranged for a private tour with a guide that seems to be widely recommended on the forums over at Cruise Critic.

I have done private shore excursions before on other cruises, but have never contemplated sharing my tour with others because on the other cruises I was traveling with additional family members who joined us on the tours and we split the cost.

However, this time around it's just my daughter and me, so it is an attractive thought to share the excursion and split the cost with other people. I would be posting this on my roll call at Cruise Critic, but since I've never offered to share my excursion before I've got general worries - my main concern is that if I've got 4-6 other people (I would limit the group to 8 people max) who say they will join the tour and then some of them no-show. This would put the remaining people who did show in an uncomfortable spot of having to pay more than they originally thought. Granted, not my fault, but as the "organizer" I would feel bad.

If I chose to share my excursion I will share my communications with the tour guide so everything is up front re costs, planned itinerary (though I would be flexible on the options the guide offered, like going to an additional site or not, some shopping or no shopping) - but essentially I will be making arrangements with people I don't know.

So I'm wondering for those that have shared their private excursions - what did you do to ensure that everything went smoothly - the people that committed to go actually showed and how you got a group together that got along generally well together?

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    I have organized many private tours and had nothing but great success! I would scour the travel boards and find out who others used and the reviews of that guide. I think that you would not have any problem sharing a tour if you are the organizer. I would first contact the tour guide you are interested in and see if he is available for the date of your tour, find out how much he would be charging for the tour, whether he will accept payment for the tour on the day of the tour, how many participants he can take in the tour, what type of vehicle he would be using and any other criteria you would need to organize the tour. I personally do not like having to guarantee the tour w/ my credit card but I know others have done this. Most of the tour guides I have worked with are happy w/ payment on the day of the tour. Also find out what type of currency they will accept for the tour. If you have to exchange currency then you have to factor in the exchange rate of the country. If a tour guide has a good reputation then he/she is not looking to destroy that credibility he/has with his followers. If all things meet your criteria, then go ahead and post on Cruise Critic and see how many might be interested in the tour. You can set the number of participants for the tour so you don't have too large a group. Depending upon the vehicle used, I like to keep my tours on the smaller side - 8-12 people. Once you have received your tour price then you can tell everyone the approximate cost of the tour and whether the tip is included. I prefer to add the tip into the price so there is no worry about whether people will tip or not tip. I have not had any problems organizing my tours this way. People are so happy to have someone else organize a tour and they don't have to do anything but show up! I can give you more info if you decide you want to pursue your tour.

    I send out several emails once people commit to the tour, updating them on what is happening, giving them details about collecting the tour money prior to leaving the ship, where you will meet everyone to collect their money and deciding upon the meeting place where you all will meet to join your tour guide. It is also important to get the full names of your tour participants, what cabin # they have so if anything does change you have a way to contact them. The cruise line will not share this information with you if you don't have this info at your disposal. It is not as daunting as it sounds! LOL

    I love organizing these private tours, meeting so many wonderful people, etc. I can give you my email address if you would like to contact me for further info. Good luck!

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    Thanks for your reply. I have already made the reservation with the tour guide, and payment is due in cash at the end of the tour. If I share the tour, I think I would rather have each couple/person pay the tour guide directly their share rather than me collect money prior to the tour.

    Getting the cabin numbers is a good idea - I would probably suggest a brief meet up on the first sea day prior to the tour so we can confirm our plans.

    So I guess you've not had a problem with no shows? Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily.

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    Hi chepar, good for you, you are already booked with the tour guide. If you feel more comfortable having everyone pay the tour guide individually at the end of the tour that is your prerogative. I used to do my tours this way but I always worried if someone would forget to pay the guide. LOL

    I would suggest that you do a "Meet 'N Greet" on a day other than day 1 for several reasons. Everyone is just getting acclimated to the ship, settling in their cabins, unpacking luggage, having to do the muster, and becoming familiar with the ship, so that another day would be better unless your tour is the next day. Pick an assigned spot on the ship (a lounge or other spot) and let everyone know before you leave home where your meeting will be. If you don't have that many people in your tour you could always just contact them on their cabin phone. I like to meet everyone prior to tour time, makes for a more comfortable tour.

    No shows - not ever had one! That is one reason I like to collect the money prior to the tour because you know that people have paid and will show up. However, I wouldn't worry about it, I think it will be fine. Once you post your tour you will be surprised how quickly people will respond. Get backup names, emails, and cabin #'s in case something happens. I send a final email out confirming date of tour, meeting place (either all get together on the ship and get off the ship together or designate a spot on the pier to all meet. It's really quite simple organizing these tours!

    Good luck.

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