While the majority of cruise holidays are trouble free, booking excursions can be complicated for first time cruise guests. Guests can choose to do an excursion in each destination.
If it’s a remote destination or a private island, guests may need to do activities with the cruise line. However, in cities guests can book their own tours or explore by themselves.
The majority of cruise lines offer a range of excursions in each destination and guests will need to pay extra to join one.
A new cruise guest took to Reddit to ask for advice, saying: “I am looking at excursions and I see that if you don’t book them with the cruise ship it is way cheaper.
“Is it better to book through the cruise ship or with another website? What is the best website to book excursions? Is it ever a good idea to book at the pier?”
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In busy cruise ports, guests will usually be approached by tour operators offering a range of options. However, passengers will need to be careful.
A cruise guest ‘WavingADime’ said: “Do not purchase last minute right off the pier or via some random taxi driver. These are almost never as good/safe as they sound. They are there to prey on the unprepared.”
Cruise guests need to make sure they are back at the pier for their ship’s departure time as the ship will never wait if they’re late. A badly organised tour could leave guests in a flap.
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The guest added: “The number one reason to book a cruise line tour is convenience. Comfort and safety, you have no decisions to make and you just follow the group.
“The number one reason to book independently is to avoid the herd crowd and price of cruise line tours. They are almost always going to be packed to the max.”
Guests are guaranteed to make their ship’s departure time if they book with the cruise line as the company will ensure they are back on time. However, this is also the case with reputable third party companies. Guests can check reviews before booking a local tour.
If the cruise port is in the centre of the city, guests could take local transport or a taxi and explore the city themselves.
The guest warned: “Know your ship time and local time. Keep an analog watch in your backpack set to ship time. Phones might auto-switch to local.”
Ships usually run on their own set time as they cross many different time zones and it would be too confusing to change the time for each destination.
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