Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cruise Ship Excursions

It's Cruise Ship Saturday! Today we're talking about cruise ship excursions.

An excursion can be a great way to see and do a lot in one port. Ship-sponsored excursions can be reserved through the cruise line’s website ahead of time. They may also be available once onboard at the shore excursions desk. The length and amount of activity on an excursion varies. Tours can run from a sightseeing trolley which requires no walking to hiking a glacier to snorkeling to a helicopter tour of volcanoes. Tour lengths range from 30 minutes to full day. Be forewarned – excursions can be expensive. You can spend $29 for a tour of the city or $599 for a bear watching trip. Shoppers, know that some of the longer excursions may not leave time for you to hit up the stores.

If booked on a ship-sponsored excursion there are procedures common to most cruise lines:

  • A tour ticket is issued with a number or number/letter combo.
  • Passengers are given a place and time to gather where representatives will have signs with corresponding tour name/number/letter combos.
  • After handing over the tour ticket passengers may be issued a sticker or wristband.
  • Early arrivers may be allowed to board the transportation or may have to stand and wait. Your transportation could be a bus, van, taxi, shuttle, trolley, ferry, boat, or train.
  • Some tours have several buses of passengers. Paying attention to the driver and bus/shuttle number can be important as you may be required to return with the same driver.
  • The smaller the group, the more individualized the tour.

Excursions can also be booked independently. Non-ship excursions can be cheaper in some cases. These can be booked ahead of time or at the port. Hiring a driver to give a tour of the area is another option. This may require some preplanning or may require nothing more than showing up at the taxi stand. Talk to the representative about what you want and agree on a price before leaving. You may be able to negotiate so don’t be afraid to ask. In some ports free or fee-based shuttles take passengers to and from shopping centers or town centers. If renting a car, reservations will need to be made ahead of time.

Both ship and private excursions may be canceled because of weather but some excursions operate rain or shine. 
Swimming with sea turtles excursion. Not canceled.
Yes, I was in the water.
Don’t feel obliged to keep busy with tours the entire time. In many ports wandering can lead to great restaurants and shops. Some of the restaurants may have free Wi-Fi with a food or beverage purchase. There is nothing wrong – in fact there is a lot right – with sitting at a restaurant in Cozumel with delicious margaritas, chips and salsa, banana leaf wrapped tamales, good music, and free Wi-Fi. A very relaxing way to spend a Friday.