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ship excursions vs. private tours - Is there that big of a difference?

ship excursions vs. private tours - Is there that big of a difference?

Old Jul 30th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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ship excursions vs. private tours - Is there that big of a difference?

I've been online for 2 days now, planning excursions for our visits on the upcoming cruise. I realize that a private tour (there are 4 of us travelling together) will be more personal and we will travel by car versus by bus, but the price for a private tour versus the bus tours do not seem much "cheaper" when you convert the Euros to dollars. I have contacted all the "favorite" and "most popular" tour guides for quotes. Many drivers do not include a guide for the popular places such as the Colloseum, Vatican museums and you have to pay extra for the guided tour.
Then, there is always the "fear" that you won't make it back to the boat on time with a private tour and the boat will not wait for you.....
I also realize that we can probably do many of the tours on our own w/ a tour guidebook, but I do that ALL the time and this trip, I wanted to relax and not have to plan everything - (just finding the private drivers and responding back and forth to the emails has been enough work).
Although we are well travelled, we are not really experienced cruisers and I want to make the most of this vacation. Any comments or suggestions? Am I doing something wrong?
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 02:31 AM
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I am certainly not an experienced cruiser, but it seems that you might prefer the tours from the ship for this trip. (It really is OK to take a tour, long or short, despite what some here may tell you)

I believe that in general people take a pre-packaged tour - either 4 hours from a cruise ship or a week long country tour - is just what you are asking about. They are willing to trade convenience and security for some element of personal choice.

A good case can be made in diffferent circumstances for each. On our cruises we did not even consider the "beach excursion" - I can get to a beach myself. But we have taken more historic or transportation-complicated excursions and those where we felt there was any chance we were cutting time too close and would miss the ship.

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 03:20 AM
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On a ship's tour y our always waiting for somebody or if you see something you'd really like to take a picture of and stop... you can't.. With a private tour if you can find othrs on Cruise Mates or Cruise Critics to share a driver/guide..it will cut down the cost considerably.. Rather than tour Rome by ourselves or a ships tour ....that day was Sunday and most attractions were closed.. We joined up with six other cruisers to go to Tuscany.... it was the highlight of our 17 day cruise.. In Barcelona we hired a taxi/guide ad saw more of Barcelona in one day than most people see in a week...even a Picasso mural on a building while across the street was an intersting church.. Also, there is a language barrier...we speak spanish, but not Italian or Portugese and in some spots we were lost...lol
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:23 AM
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Our very fist cruise was to the Med though we are experienced "landlubbers" I've stated B4 what we did and here it is again. We got off the boat, cut a deal with one of the dozens of private tour operators/cabbies at the pier and off we went. In Rome we saw everything the ships excursion offered for, saved $300.00, did it on our own in private and got back to the ship hours B4 the bus. I would do it that way again w/o hesitation. You have to decide what you are comfortable doing. In any case just relax and enjoy. Good luck.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:41 AM
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A first time cruiser is taking a big risk booking personal tours. My advice is to stick with what the cruise offers the first time unless something is really highly recommended and you are certain that is also dependable.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:10 AM
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I disagree completely. Many 1st time cruisers do this as well as veteran ones. Those tour operators in port are all liscensed. Otherwise they can enter that zone. Its not like you get off the boat and get some unliscensed hack in a "private" cab. They have to be regulated otherwise their business and tourism would suffer.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:20 AM
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dolciani

If there are four of you going , then get a private tour guide.

I am going on a Mediterranean cruise in early October and I have private guides booked at all the ports.

The tour guides know that they have to get you back in time before the ship sails.

My tour guide in Istanbul said to me:

"We have to leave back for the ship at 4 PM, your ship sails at 6 PM but the traffic can get bad and I do not want you worrying. So on the way back as time allows we will stop off at extra places."

All of my guides have said that at each port they will hold up a sign with my name on it.... we just hop in the air conditioned van and off we go.

They have also bought as tickets ahead of time to get into places to avoid the line-ups.......and they know where the line ups are.

If you do not want to do what I did, then no problem...just do what jacketwatch said....cut a deal right there as you disembark...there are 4 of you so it is not like you are going alone.
Hi jacketwatch
Hi ParrotMom

Percy

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Hello Percy. We leave in 15 days for the so. Pacific. AAAAAAAAH.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 01:38 PM
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LOL... HI PERCY!! Trying to narrow my choices down for next Fall...Millineum so far looks good What is that song.. .."I'd rather be sailing."., that's me...but I have untl 9/10... Auriello is booking like crazy.. when I see him again I'm goling to have to insist upon a partnership...or else a good bottle or two of red wine...and boullubaise...maybe I;ll even try flan..lol
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 02:42 PM
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jacketwatch ....you luck dog!!!

I can hardly wait to go somewhere,... two months from tomorrow though.

Let me know all about your trip when you get back.
Boy, South Pacific , what a super place to go to.!

ParrotMom:

Yes I think that Aureilo owes you a commission or at the least , a good meal in Barcelona.
The fish soup sounds good also and I plan to have some for sure in Marseilles .

Take care both of you.

dolciani you just listen to us and have yourself a good time.

Percy
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:07 PM
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Good advice to the OP Percy. I see you are on a count down as well as I. I bought a watcvh last winter which has a countdown feature and set it for the day we leave. So we have 14 days, 4 hrs, 49 min. and 53, 52, 51 .....secs.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 08:33 PM
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jacketwatch

Like I said "You Lucky Dog"

Have a great time and I would sure like to read your report when you get back.

The South Pacific ..Wow!!!

Take Care
Percy
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 03:07 AM
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There are 4 of us as well so we always take the private option - finding it so much cheaper. Its good to stop somewhere local for lunch and youre not queuing up for toilets or table with fellow passengers!
Even if it cost more than the ships tour we would still do our own thing.
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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Private vs. arranged..consider these facts, then decide...Are the private tours run by scrupulous people, will you be assured to get back to the boat on time, will there be any hidden fees/costs? We have had good experiences both ways. If you go with a ship's tour, it will be pretty predictable and guaranteed. (we once went on a 'private' tour in Cyprus that absolutely terrified us...the guy was going at least 100 clicks, no seat belts in the car, and he wouldn't listen to reason!
 
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