shore excursions

Jan 26th, 2014, 03:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6
shore excursions

Family is going on Baltic cruise with Celebrity in July. We are trying to decide whether to use Celebrity shore excursions or The .com is less expensive and also takes fewer people on buses. Please help. Thank you!
1953packard is offline  
Jan 26th, 2014, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 159
You might want to investigate private excursions. Look up your ports on the internet and identify some local tour companies and investigate them on this forum or Most of them will have a track record. If you have a number of passengers you will find them less expensive and more satisfactory. You will usually be paying per vehicle not per person. The driver/guide will usually be very knowledgeable, but you will have more control over your tour, especially if you do some research ahead of time. And importantly you can avoid the dreaded "shopping opportunity" if you want.
Reme is offline  
Jan 26th, 2014, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
shoreexcursions dot com is a middle man just like the cruise ships. They just happened to take a smaller cut, and for that, you lost out on the ship's excursion guarantee to get you abck on board.

If you want to go outside the ship's excursion, you might as well go private.

We used Alla Tour for St. Petersburg. Red October would be another good choice. Depending on ports, you can self guided (example: Helsinki and Tallinn)

Post your ports here and see if anyone here will post recommend private tours for you.

Good luck!
Eschew is offline  
Jan 26th, 2014, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 893
Can't really make any recommendations as I haven't used any tour yet. However, ER are going on the Costellation Baltic cruise in June. We decided to use Alla tours in both St. Petersburg and Berlin. Another tour guide that seems highly rated is SPB tours. You can check both out on Tripadvisor. These tour groups seem to be smaller than the cruise ship tours; max of 16 people and perhaps more flexible.
giro is offline  
Jan 27th, 2014, 02:49 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
We loved our 2 days with Red October in St Petersburg, and found many other Baltic/Scandinavian ports easy to tour on our own.

I agree with the recommendation to check out cruisecritic. The ports of call boards are a wealth of information and on the roll call boards you can find fellow passengers with whom you could share private tours.
abram is offline  
Jan 27th, 2014, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 651
Try Shore Excursions Group:

They guarantee return to the ship.

I think Viator ( also has a "return to ship" guarantee.

Good luck!
triathlete is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2014, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6
I have never used ShoreExcursions, so cannot really comment on them, but I highly recommend you consider going the private route.

If you have some specific items you want to see or definite ports you want to go on tours from, start asking here on Fodors, or on other travel forums, to find some reliable private guides. Getting away from the large groups and into some "behind the scenes" views of the area will give you more photo opportunities and more fun.

We usually swap between regular organized tours and the private guides just for variety, but I think you will have more fun going private if you want to escape the crowds. It just takes a little more pre-planning, but it is well worth it.
PeterBertrand is offline  
Mar 11th, 2014, 07:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Do I need to use Windstar's shore excursions for the following ports or can I find a local guide at the port:
-Giardino Naxos
-Lipari, Italy
-Gythion, Greece
-Monemvasia, Greece
-Piraeus, Greece
-Rhodes, Greece
-Bodrum, Turkey
-Kusadasi, Turkey
Thank you
springstraveler is offline  
Mar 12th, 2014, 03:16 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
springstraveler: there are local guides at all the port you listed.
Eschew is offline  
Mar 15th, 2014, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
For most of the Baltic ports, you do not need a tour at all. Just walk off the ship if it boards in town or take the shuttle bus into the city centre. And then walk.

No tour is needed for:


For Sankt Petersburg, I strongly suggest a local tour operator. They are MUCH better than the ship's excursions. You really get VIP treatment and you save a lot of $$$, especially if you share a minibus with fellow passengers.

Use the roll call on the cruisecritic forum to find companions. Then contact one of the tour operators who will take care of visas etc.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 36
I don't understand most of what is being said on this forum so I'll ask some questions. I'm booked on the Celebrity Constellation 12 night Scandinavia and Russia cruise in mid-August. Except for St. Petersburg, we'll only have a few hours in each of the ports. I've decided on most excursions using the X shore excursions as my TA said to stick w/the cruise ship so that I'll be guaranteed to get back to the ship on time. However, I'm debating about which excursions to take in Copenhagen and Helsinki. Has anyone out there had any experience w/Celebrity's Constellation Scandinavia cruise and the excursions offered? Any help will be greatly appreciated. It appears that the excursions offered in these ports are rather of short duration.
usf is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 28
I've taken ship excursions and 3rd party private excursions. Can't beat the cost when seeking tours outside of the ship offerings. I prefer private tours because you don't have to wait on strangers being late to get on/off the bus. If you can travel in a small group, you'll see more and do more.
cruisetaker is offline  

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