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northernrose

NCL shore excursions

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Who has used NCL shore excursions ? I am especially interested in the shore excursions  of the Baltics cruises. Did you organize your own excursions? Did you made back to the ship on time? If you had a non NCL cruise excursion who did you use?

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try to avoid NCL  shore excursions unless absolutely necessary-overpriced and overfull on big coaches

The only shore excursion needed in Baltics is Stockholm[if in Nynashamn]  or St Petesburg

 

have used NCL transfer to Stockholm because otherwise involves train to Stockhom

 

however for St Petersburg go over to ports of call forum for recommendations on private tours

in 2009 we used Anastasia in 2018 we used TJ tours

 

were back on ship with loads of time to spare

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15 hours ago, northernrose said:

Who has used NCL shore excursions ? I am especially interested in the shore excursions  of the Baltics cruises. Did you organize your own excursions? Did you made back to the ship on time? If you had a non NCL cruise excursion who did you use?

We do it both ways. Shore excursion via he ship are more expensive and not as personal but you are assured of being back in time. We also, as we age are more inclined to go through NCL. But doing a private tour is usually better as long as you make certain you have a couple hours lea way. The cruise we are about to take we have booked one tour through the cruise line, and 1 privately The third one we will probably get off the ship and just pick something up at the pier. 

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Planning your own excursions can be fun but requires some work.  Join your Roll Call and you can plan together.  Go to the Ports of Call boards and read some cruise reviews.  

 

You need to see what is available and what the prices are.  Look for experienced providers who will return your money in the event that your port stop is cancelled (happened to me in Naples in October).  

 

Look at local transport options and look at what you want to do.  

 

I have used ship excursions rarely - but I have if I think it is the best option.  I have gone for shared tours, I have worked with an individual agent, I have taken trains, buses and ferries and I have just walked into town.  I have never had a day at a port that I hated.  I have never missed the ship.  I have always arranged to be back in plenty of time.  

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We used NCL Stockholm by Land and Sea and really enjoyed it.  You go on a boat ride around the city and then walk around with your guide. The VASA is also included. We docked in Nyashamn which was one hour away from Stockholm.  We were not brave enough to DIY. We also had a shore excursion credit we needed to use.

 

Used SPB tours in St Petersberg. We had a private tour and it was great!

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We did the Baltics last year on Breakaway, and used all NCL excursions.  My mom prefers to do it that way, and so, we always pick the shore excursion credit as a promo.   I did a short review that you can find here - https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2544587-breakaway-begins-the-baltics-review/     Really enjoyed this cruise & hope you will as well. 

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We did NCL shore excursions in all of the Baltic ports.  They were all great.  Busses weren't crowded, plenty of room, and the guides were wonderful with information, free restroom locations, translation, etc.  Don't underestimate the convenience (shorex tickets are in your cabin when you board, if port is missed you are refunded instantly, you can cancel up until two days before the port, and you meet in the theater and get off the ship in groups ahead of the crowds).  And of course if there are any delays the ship won't leave without you.  That is always most important to us, especially in foreign countries with language barriers.  The few dollars difference in price are worth it to me. 

Edited by rocklinmom

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WE used SPB tours for St Petersburg,& Helsinki.Trust me in Russia they are getting you back to ship on time.

We did Estonia on our own.

NCL for Stockholm and because we were going to Berlin and it was quite a distance we used NCL, glad we did because train back was very late picking us up due to some kind of mechanical failure, we were just about two hours late and past the time ship was supposed to leave, because it was a NCL tour ship waited. 

So for me all though NCL tours can be quite pricey if there is any distance involved in travel I'll stick with them.

Edited by njkate

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We always used the ship shore excursions until last year for our AU/NZ Cruise.  We were always afraid to go out on our own and now we are just the opposite.  We do mainly private tours but for our Panama Canal cruise we went mainly with ship tours due to being in third world countries.  By planning on your own, you usually spend less and see more.  Look at your Roll Call and try to latch on with other cruisemates.  When the excursion involves a lot of travel distance and if concerned about time, then we are using the ship tours.  You have to do what you feel comfortable with doing.  If a ship tour is late, the ship will not sail until your tour returns.  If a private tour is late you might miss the ship departure from port.  It rarely occurs since these private companies know people need to be back onboard.  Again, do your research and do what you feel most comfortable doing.

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It’s a few years since we did our Baltic cruise with NCL so I can’t recall prices but I can vouch for the other details I’m about to give.

Warnemund for Berlin DEFINITELY use NCL. The distance and the timings make it crazy to think otherwise.

Tallin and Helsinki had shuttles into town. In both cases you’re dropped centrally and the busses returned from  the same point. In other instances we picked up city centre maps at the port and just followed them.  Tallin is wonderful and a really nice place to stroll.

Stockholm also had map info as we disembarked.  There was a footpath “decorated” with large footprints which we followed for about 5 mins and found ourselves at a bus stop.  Not expensive and took us into the city.  Local driver was fantastic and told us best place to get off.  That gave us a 15 min walk down a pedestrianised street and we came out by a bridge leading into the old city centre of Gamla Stam.  There you’ve got the Royal Palace, the Parliament and the theatre where they present the Nobel prizes. The maps show a clear loop round the area passing a range of shops, houses and coffee houses. The area isn’t threatening as such but we did meet one group who had a bag, hanging over a chair, stolen. So be careful.

St Petersburg we went on two separate day trips with Alla Tours and they were fantastic.  Did all the usual sites and could have done a ballet performance on the stopover evening but chose not to. On the second day we were certainly back 90 mins before departure.

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We used TJ travel for our Baltics cruise. They had a package deal for all of the ports and it was very reasonable, much less expensive than the NCL tours.

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I also used TJ Travel for all the Baltic ports except Estonia, where I did a HOHO bus.  TJ Travel has very good pricing, and they offer excellent discounts for booking multiple tours.  The guides were all fantastic, and we were back at the ship with time to spare.  That’s always a worry, but their guides were very understanding about our schedule.  Getting us back on time was their top priority.

Edited by nwcruiselover

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