Cruise holidays are perfect for anyone who wants to explore a variety of different destinations in one trip. And the best way to do this is by taking advantage of the fantastic range of activities that are on offer. Whilst you may choose to stay on board in certain places and relax, most of the time you will be heading for dry land to see the sights. With that in mind, here are six things you need to know about shore excursions.
There Are Options For Everyone
Cruise lines are always looking to add more exciting activities to their offering and that can only be good for guests. In most ports, there will be a wide variety of excursions available, with something to suit all ages and preferences. From leisurely city tours to extreme outdoor adventures, from short trips to day-long explorations and from basic to luxury options, you are likely to find something that allows you to explore in your preferred way. The activity level of each is usually listed too, so you can easily see how involved the experience will be.
It’s Usually Best To Book In Advance
It goes without saying that the best shore excursions are going to be very popular and are therefore likely to fill up the quickest. So, whilst there is always the option to book your activities when you get on board, it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Each cruise line will have its own rules in regards to how far out from your departure date excursions can be booked, so look out for when they first become available.
You Can Create Your Own
If, for whatever reason, none of the cruise line’s excursions take your fancy, there is always an option to book your own shore-based activities. This may involve a lot more planning than choosing something offered on board, but is a great way to fulfill your own ‘must dos’ and can also save you some money. If you are thinking of doing something on your own, consider how far it is from the port and how easy it will be to find without a local guide.
The other option is to cut out the middleman and book directly with a local company. This could be a cheaper option and the experience will be very similar to what the cruise line is offering. Most major cities will also have free city tours which could be a better option to those in the shore excursions brochure. However, with both of these options, it’s important to keep our next point in mind.
The Ship Won’t Always Wait
Missing the ship is a worry that we all have when we head off to discover a new port of call. However, if you have booked yourself onto one of the activities operated by the cruise line then you will never have to be concerned about this. The ship will typically wait for these guests if the tour is delayed in any way, or the line will make it their priority to reconnect you with the ship. The problem comes if you have booked a private excursion or are exploring on your own. In these cases, the ship may leave without you if you don’t return on time and you will be responsible for meeting up with it again.
Familiarise Yourself With The Harbour Area
In order to avoid the above scenario, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the harbour area when you get off the ship. As well as the time you need to be back by, make sure you know which terminal the ship is in and the name of the port if you need to ask someone else for directions. It is also a good idea to take a copy of your passport with you when you go ashore and to always have the emergency number of the cruise line in case you need it.
Guests On Ship Tours May Get Priority Disembarkation
As well as not having to worry about getting back to the ship late, guests who are booked onto tours offered by the cruise line will usually not have to worry about the stresses of waiting to exit the ship, either. In busy ports, queues can be very long to get off the vessel, especially if you have docked at sea and a tender is needed to get everyone to shore. However, anyone booked on an organised tour will typically be given priority.
There are many pros and cons to booking your shore excursions with the cruise line, so it comes down to personal preference and the specifics of each situation. For more information relating to your cruise, call our team today.