Shore Excursions Opinions..

Mar 30th, 2003, 02:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 91
Shore Excursions Opinions..

Please offer opinions of shore excursions that are offered by the cruise lines vs those offered by independents.
ssbnorman is offline  
Mar 30th, 2003, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I have been on 8 cruises and tried it both ways. Initially i just bought from the boat then became envious of other passengers boasting of significant savings for the same tour experiences. So now i usually buy from the dock. It's often better to get the dock tour peddlers early when the 1st tenders dock or when shore visits begin as they are all out there. Also, if you're not good at negotiating or exercising "due dillegance" with strangers then you might look for someone else trying to do the same thing and offer to combine your interests in the hope of having more bargaining power. ALSO, let your new found partner handle the negotiation. If you pull this off I would advise you follow yopur new pal to see HOW they handle it and just sort of LEARN.

I save tons and if you go out early then you stand little risk of getting stranded and missing the boat as it leaves for the day.

WARNING, it is more or less true that if you're not on a ship sold tour you're "at risk" in the event of a failure to return on time. I remember last year - for the first time - I saw a big commotion at the gangway as the boat was leaving. Some folks were all upset because their father and a friend had NOT returned and the boat was leaving. There was crying and all sorts of confusion. But I chatted with a cruise official and they explained that they were going to assign a cruise line representative to wait at the pier and sort of LOOK for the missing passengers. The rep would assist in finding a place to stay and arrange for transportation ahead to the next port. Vaguely I recall there would be some expense for the missing passengers BUT I was mildly surprised that some of the presumed expenses were going to be picked up by the cruise line. It was not clear why the passengers were missing but they were NOT on a cruise line sold tour.

So, seeing this was very interesting. You can save up to or about half depending on where and when you're going and how good you are at sizing up the abvailable tour providers - and to varying degrees - how good you are at negotiating. You kno... the tour providers presume you're fairly well off to be traveling the way we do.
captaincrash is offline  
Mar 30th, 2003, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 7
More comments to add to preceeding posting:

I might add that you should be prepared for a lot of little reductions in the experience comared to buying from the cruise line. We did a round the island jeep tour for exactly half price in Grand Cayman and they diverted the tour to a hotel to pick up a full paying couple to join the tour enroute. We ended up waiting at the hotel for about half an hour for these folks to mosey up. On the one hand we got to see a mid-price proiperty and on the other hand some of my fellow tour bargin hunters (I partnered with another couploe to bargain) they were annoyed at the delay and diversion. My position was I did not care. I seized on the chance to wander about since we were obviously hanging out and I was put off at all.

On the other hand - you sometimes get more than the cruise sponsored providers. In the end - who cares how you deal compared to anyone elses'? If you budget allows 2 cruise tours or THREE and a half tours you do on your own - so what if you see a fraction less? Makes sense?

Also, there are some places I would be cautious about dealing on your own - like Jamiaca where the crime potential is an issue. While there we DID do a deal on our own - but I would not recommend it for the inexperienced or faint of heart. Also, in situations like that I would be sure to leave major valuables like gold watches and excessive diamond jewelry in the cabin or purser's safe (with a note assigning to next of kin). HAwww!!!!

I did leave my valuables behind on Jamiaca. Elsewhere - I wore what I liiked as I was on vacation.

I still buy a few tours now and then from the cruise line - but not often.

I'm taking a group for the first time to Alaska. I'm about to post a general call for shore excursion advice for various ports. I would like to negotiate or reserve a couple of deals in advance as I have 16 people and I am hosting (paying) for everyone. So, if I can knock down one or two days in port in advance that would be good. I don't want to really have a dozen folks waiting on the dock while I negotiate between a couple of providers.

If you have specific questions - let me know - I don't know if I can help but I'm happy to try.

captaincrash is offline  
Mar 30th, 2003, 11:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 7
Another thought... folks who say you "should always buy from the ship" are sometimes right. Those who do probably have no concerns with money, and may need the extra measure of certain security while traveling away from home, or may feel any number of reasons justify the near double price (or at least 33% higher price). In truth, it is OK to pay more when you get more - hence we have cruise lines like Crystal and Concordes right? But, sometimes those with an ecouraging word to buy higher when you have a reasonable alternative ... those folks may have a vested interest that does not coincide with yours. So it goes...
captaincrash is offline  
Mar 31st, 2003, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 478
Many years ago, a glass bottom boat ride in Cabo was sold for $25 per person by the cruise line. We signed up on the dock for a boat and paid $25 for all seven people. We got on quicker and stayed out longer than the cruise package. That taught me always to do it myself unless I was afraid we would miss getting back to the ship on time.
DMG is offline  

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