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Almighty188

Third Party/Cruise Line Excursions-Puerto Vallarta,Manzanillo,Mazatlan,Cabo San Lucas

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We are planning to do cruise excursions as city tours in Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and have a few questions which I will list by each port.  We will be traveling on Princess Cruises and will be using both Princess Cruises Excursions as well as third party from  Shoreline Excursions Group (SEG) which seems to be the company that online travel sites all linked to.  The reason for SEG is that seems like it will be more in-depth and detailed and ofcourse it seems like SEG tours have reviews which is also the excursions reviewed on the ShipMate app except there is no way to ask/comment on the reviews or even contact the reviewers.  But have some questions for those that are familiar with the areas:

 

1) Puerto Vallarta 

     Exclusive Puerto Vallarta City Tour listed at:
     https://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/excursions/?port=MXPV&date=2019-02-25
     My question is with the Princess Cruises City Tours, it includes the following, I wonder will these be included:
     

"Former Home of Elizabeth Taylor
Situated on a pretty hillside site, the area became noteworthy in 1963 when
Richard Burton bought "Casa Kimberly" as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor during
his filming of Night of Iguana. Paparazzi often photographed the area, and
you'll feel like one yourself while snapping photos.

Cuale Island Market and Park

Shaded by enormous tropical trees and foliage, Cuale Island until the 1960s
was a traditional island where hard working women washed clothes in the
waters, beating their clothes with palm fronds. Today, this cultural hub
offers a variety of vendors, a museum and a statue dedicated to John Huston
as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the film, Night of the Iguana,
filmed in the area."

 

2) Manzanillo - is this a port that is exclusive to cruise lines for exclusions as I noticed Shoreline Excursions Group (SEG) does not offer any excursions for this port.

 

3) Mazatlan - Shoreline Excursions Group (SEG) offers two tours - one is the Mazatlan City Tour and the other being Highlights with Lunch:
   https://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/excursions/?port=MXMA&date=2019-02-27

   My question is, would the Highlights with Lunch actually be as complete as the Mazatlan City Tour?  

 

4) Cabo San Lucas - Shoreline Excursions Group (SEG) has a tour called the Cabo San Lucas City Tour and Glass Bottom Boat:
https://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/excursions/?port=MXCS&date=2019-02-28

which seems to be Glass Bottom Boat first and then a land tour by bus.  The only questions is the tour has two departure times 8:00AM and 10:00AM.  Would we be able to make it to the 8:00AM tour since our ship arrives at 7:00AM and this is a tender port or will we have to run to the tour which departs from the pier.  It does not mention if they will take us back to the ship or not.  

Thanks in advance!  


 

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I have never heard of SEG.

I would book with local tour operators that have lots of reviews on this site and on Trip Advisor.

As for each of the cities you ask about:

Cabo--

Unless you have some status you will need to wait for a tender to get off in Cabo and may well not make an 8AM non ship tour. People on ship excursions and people with status(Plat,Diamond,FTTF etc.) will be allowed on tenders before other folks.

There are no tours that "take you back to the ship" at a tender port. They will take you to the pier where you will take the tenders back to the ship.

Mazatlan-

Your link does not go to any specific tour so it is impossible to know which tour would be better.

Manzanillo-

We have taken a private tour here so no it is not a place where only ship excursions exist.

SEG may just not have a relationship with any companies here since they do not run their tours but are only a 3rd party reseller like Viator.

Puerto Vallarta-

Again your link does not go to any specific tour.

It is quite popular to pass by the "Night of the Iguana" location south of the city.

 

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6 hours ago, riffatsea said:

I have never heard of SEG.

I would book with local tour operators that have lots of reviews on this site and on Trip Advisor.

As for each of the cities you ask about:

Cabo--

Unless you have some status you will need to wait for a tender to get off in Cabo and may well not make an 8AM non ship tour. People on ship excursions and people with status(Plat,Diamond,FTTF etc.) will be allowed on tenders before other folks.

There are no tours that "take you back to the ship" at a tender port. They will take you to the pier where you will take the tenders back to the ship.

Mazatlan-

Your link does not go to any specific tour so it is impossible to know which tour would be better.

Manzanillo-

We have taken a private tour here so no it is not a place where only ship excursions exist.

SEG may just not have a relationship with any companies here since they do not run their tours but are only a 3rd party reseller like Viator.

Puerto Vallarta-

Again your link does not go to any specific tour.

It is quite popular to pass by the "Night of the Iguana" location south of the city.

 

You may never have heard of SEG but that's what's used for a majority of the online booking websites such as Priceline Cruises, cruises.com, cruiseonly, expedia, orbitz, and other sites that are done by World Travel Holdings (WTH) etc.  These are also the same tours that seems to be in the reviews in the Ship Mate app for excursions.  It's the only third party excursion provider I am considering because it has the Guaranteed Return to Ship.

 

As for Cabo and other ports, when I meant ship, I don't mean the actual ship itself but basically the land side closes to the ship itself which would mean pier/port itself since I know PV, they mentioned it goes back to the pier in the reviews.   

 

For all the others, my link goes to the page for all the excursions for that port and in each of the ports, I mentioned the name of the tours in the OP above right under the link.  Using Mazatlan - Shoreline Excursions Group (SEG) offers two tours, one is the Mazatlan City Tour and the other being Highlights with Lunch.  So when you click on the link, there is a tour name "Mazatlan City Tour" and another one named "Highlights with Lunch".  I didn't give a direct link on purpose since the main page with all the excursions has a description that is not on the tour description when you are inside the link so I gave the exact name of the tour.  So in my original post, I provided links and the name of the tours themselves since for whatever reason, the page with all the excursions describes the tour in a different way than the full details which a direct link would provide.  
 

Edited by Almighty188

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Have you tried your own links as they are posted here?

They do not go to a list of excursions at a particular port.

They go to a general excursion page where you need to input the ship,date etc to see what is offered.

 

I have not seen this company discussed on this web site at all.

You may enjoy booking 3rd party companies outside of Princess but most folks either book excursions from their ship or local tours.

3rd party guarantees are worthless in my opinion because it is the local company that is responsible in the end for getting you back on time. I would never book this way but of course it is your cruise!!

 

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1 hour ago, riffatsea said:

Have you tried your own links as they are posted here?

They do not go to a list of excursions at a particular port.

They go to a general excursion page where you need to input the ship,date etc to see what is offered.

 

I have not seen this company discussed on this web site at all.

You may enjoy booking 3rd party companies outside of Princess but most folks either book excursions from their ship or local tours.

3rd party guarantees are worthless in my opinion because it is the local company that is responsible in the end for getting you back on time. I would never book this way but of course it is your cruise!!

 

Yes, I have tried all the links and they work fine for me even in another browser.   The link already has the date for the port on it so not sure why it will make someone still pick a date.  I just checked the links on other computers by visiting this post and clicking on them and they all open fine:

image.thumb.png.f1c258e2a70d09387b4f9d571d918434.png

image.thumb.png.0389191a82c4226537377d3b1e46fdee.png

image.thumb.png.d61e98513d50783005b2d501e1dc1f7c.png


It might be the browser you are using that somehow is messing up the links or it's only using a partial link as it works fine on both Microsoft EDGE, Google Chrome and Firefox.  


There are discussions about the third party company on CC and like I said, all the excursions when you explore in Ship Mate app appears to be the same reviews as on the Shore Excursions site:
https://www.google.com/search?q=shore+excursions+group+cruise+critic&oq=Shoreline+Excursions+Group+cruise&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l2.9903j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

You are probably right that the guarantees are worthless in reality, it's just one of their selling points but who knows if they will back it up or not.  But something in writing just like the Sprint commercial in the 1980s is always better than something not in writing, not to mention that these are linked by Public Traded Companies as the liability would be bigger than trying to go after a local tour operator if something goes wrong:

 

Guaranteed Return to Ship

We have never had a customer miss their ship. Our team possesses over 80 years of combined cruise line experience and we are not aware of a single case in which a customer on an independent tour missed a ship. In the extremely unlikely event that you miss your ship due to the late arrival of one of our tours, we will arrange and pay for your accommodations, meals, and transportation to the next port of call, and we will pay you an additional $500 USD per customer for the inconvenience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Almighty188

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And there is a reason I am not using tour operators because a third party is paying for the excursions in full so I have to select the excursions so they will book it and pay for it in advance and I am not shopping for low price either as for PV for example, the City tours are $30 from Princess Cruises but SEG is $60 so I am sure you get what you pay for:
 

Lower Prices than the Cruise Lines

Our prices are lower than the cruise lines, sometimes as much as 40% lower. You deserve to enjoy great experiences without over paying for them. In the rare cases in which our prices are higher, it is because our excursions are higher quality and typically involve smaller, more intimate tour groups with fewer individuals per guide.

Edited by Almighty188

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There is a reason I want to avoid the shore excursions mentioned on cruise critic itself in case anyone was wondering:

I will use PV as a example.  I goto the main CC site and click on Shore Excursions and then PV which will land at this page:
https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/shore-excursions/port/56/

At this point, I click on the reviews for the City Tours.  All the reviews are useless as they are not even labeling the provider correctly since Princess Cruises doesn't even have the tour mentioned.  

If I clicked on Details and Booking at the link above right next to City Tours, all it does it go to a page where all the tours are offered to and from hotels, not a cruise ship port.  So at this point, I choose Shore Excursions on the left hand side and then Port of Call Tours which are cruise ship excursions.  You would think it is all well but it isn't.  There are only 5 tours listed and the only City Tour links here:
https://www.viator.com/tours/Puerto-Vallarta/Puerto-Vallarta-Shore-Excursion-Puerto-Vallarta-City-Tour/d630-5193PRTPVRCITY

If you read the description, it all looks good.... Want to know what the problem is?

Click on Departure & Return and you will see the problem.  It does not depart from the Port.  As this is exactly what it says:
"Departure Point
Tour is located a 10-minute taxi ride from the cruise ship port. A representative will be at the port and assist you with finding a taxi and answer any questions you may have"

so basically we have to take a taxi just for the tour.  If it is a shore excursion, it should begin at the port since that would add to the cost of the tour and also add to the chances of missing the ship.  

As I mentioned before, I am not going on the third party to save money which is the normal assumption as even the third party says they are normally cheaper except the ones we pick actually cost more than the cruiselines but the fact is that someone else is sponsoring the entire cruise and the excursions, we have to pick and select the excursion so the sponsor can book and pay in full for the excursion before we even go on the cruise.  I admit I am not familiar with any of the ports but I do want a overview of the city the ports are in as I am looking for a city sightseeing tour as a first time visitor to all of those cities.  The problem with the cruise line tours is that they do not list the starting time and also, while I know Mexico has tequila which seems to be a thing in every port, I don't want to go to cruise line tours because they all seem to think tequila tasting is something everyone wants as that seems to be part of all their sightseeing tours.  Ofcourse I have yet to find even 1 review on the cruise line tours while the third party tours actually have reviews.  Cruise Lines also do not do their own tours as they are still done by local tour operators so not sure why a Cruise Line excursion will be any better as it all depends on who the reseller whether the seller is the Cruise Line or a third party like SEG or Viator, the local tour company that actually does the tour is the one that will make it either good or bad.  I'm not concerned with refunds either because the sponsor is a big company so it's not my lost and the worse case is we will just stay on the ship or the port if we miss the tour.  

 

 

Edited by Almighty188

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I don't know anything about tours listed on Cruise Critic.

Have you looked in your booking on Princess to see what tours they offer?

IF you are worried about getting back to the ship on time then those would work well for you!

They always leave from the pier.

They all have reviews for you to read. They all list the start times.

Depending on what you wish to see do you can also read on this board about other people's experiences in these ports.

Generally speaking we only book cruise excursions for tender ports(like Cabo) since it makes it easier to leave the ship. On occasion we also book them if they go far from the port to some interesting place that we wouldn't want to do on our own.

Some of the cities ,like Mazatlan, you can easily do things on your own with out a problem.

I think you are making things much more difficult for yourself then necessary but of course this is your cruise not mine.

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7 hours ago, riffatsea said:

I don't know anything about tours listed on Cruise Critic.

Have you looked in your booking on Princess to see what tours they offer?

IF you are worried about getting back to the ship on time then those would work well for you!

They always leave from the pier.

They all have reviews for you to read. They all list the start times.

Depending on what you wish to see do you can also read on this board about other people's experiences in these ports.

Generally speaking we only book cruise excursions for tender ports(like Cabo) since it makes it easier to leave the ship. On occasion we also book them if they go far from the port to some interesting place that we wouldn't want to do on our own.

Some of the cities ,like Mazatlan, you can easily do things on your own with out a problem.

I think you are making things much more difficult for yourself then necessary but of course this is your cruise not mine.

Yes, I have looked on Princess Cruises already and like I said, PC's cruises are actually half the price but the tours are shorter and I don't know how much of the city it really covers, that was why I was asking those who are familiar with the area since I have no idea what the attractions are.  I really only need help with Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan as I guess it has more to do with the descriptions.  You are right that it was supposed to be a no brainer when picking tours from the Cruise Line.  So maybe it might be easier to just screenshot the actual descriptions to make it easier for people to comment, this is for Puerto Vallarta:

Tour #1 from Princess Cruises:

image.png.ab30bbe9cb8b6619236692dc6131b733.png
Details here in case the image below is too small:
https://www.princess.com/excursion/exDetails.page?t=&exType=S&tourCode=PVR-100

image.thumb.png.5571a7c2649543374c959bfa331a8885.png
 

Tour #2 from Princess Cruises:
image.thumb.png.85d1235832f4293a624f585d4381a426.png
Details here in case the image below is too small:
https://www.princess.com/excursion/exDetails.page?t=&exType=S&tourCode=PVR-115


image.thumb.png.bce47d91e85adeae779bc4f7d9800b40.png


Tour #3 from Shoreline Excursions Group (SEG):

image.png.381cc86739501a5085d82b3aed402b9a.png

Details here in case the image below is too small:
https://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/city-tour-puerto-vallarta/MXPVGLNCITY

image.thumb.png.2e82ec6dd40d852704dc8e74c72bc319.png


If I am correct, from Princess Cruises, tour #1 would seem to be more of a city tour than tour #2 would if I was doing a tour with Princess Cruises but my question is really about tour #3 as I can see the following is covered:
Malecon

These are what I am not sure about when it comes to tour #3:
famous Seahorse statue by artist Rafael Zamarripa,

El Palacio Municipal (City Hall) and the main plaza in the historic area, with its cobblestone streets and red-tile roofs,
Cuale River, passing the vibrant hotel strip,
Gringo Gulch,
Olas Altas,
Marina Vallarta,
Viejo Vallarta (Old Vallarta),
Cuale Island Market and Park

For Manzanillo, I will just do the Manzanillo City & Shopping with Princess Cruises as SEG does not do Manzanillo and the from what I read in the description, the only difference between the two is the Manzanillo Beach & Shopping has 2.5 hours of free time at the beach.
 

image.thumb.png.77cc4a0521d6727e4cd52d2df630b9ca.png


For Mazatlan, I will use Shoreline Excursion Group (SEG) as examples as it seems like Princess Cruises and other sites all seem to be just what SEG calls Highlights with Lunch except without the lunch.

Tour #1 - Mazatlan City Tour

"This Mazatlan City tour provides a great overview of Mazatlan and you'll come away appreciating its beauty.

First, you'll drive along the ocean front drive towards the high divers, who dive into water only five feet deep from 45 feet in the air. You'll continue to the top of the lookout hills to have the amazing view of the whole city. On the drive, your guide will tell you some local folklore as you head to Mazatlan's historical center to see the Angela Peralta Theater, built in the 1870s and now one of Mazatlan's most famous architectural landmarks.

Enough time will be given at the main market to do some souvenir shopping. As you walk through town, you won't be able to miss city hall and the majestic Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Construction on the cathedral began in 1875 and took 42 years to complete. Book this tour of Mazatlan and see for yourself why they call this beautiful port the Pearl of the Pacific."


Tour #2 - Highlights with Lunch

"Mazatlan is a resort town highly sought out for its sandy beaches, tantalizing nightlife and delicious food. During this 5-hour city tour you will get to see the variety and cultural richness of this Sinaloan coast gem for yourself.

Make your way to the Spanish fort lookout hill for stunning views of the city and El Faro lighthouse; situated at the top of the Cerro del Creston, it is the highest lighthouse in the Americas. Watch in amazement as brave cliff divers jump into 8 feet of rock-laden water.

In the Centro Historico district, or Old Mazatlan, you will feel like you stepped into the 1950s as you pass by grand homes, downtown market and the main plaza. This former pirate haven has undergone a resurgence in recent years as a blossoming artist and entrepreneurial hub.

Venture inside the beautiful Immaculate Conception basilica and take photos of this old church in Mexico then drive to the malecon (boardwalk) to the Golden Zone for the best shopping and beach areas in the area. While here, enjoy an authentic Mexican lunch of mouthwatering shrimp or the famous Mazatlan fish filet, then shop to your heart's content or just relax on the beach and enjoy a refreshing swim before returning to the port.

This half-day tour provides a great overview of the enchanting city of Mazatlan, reserve your spot today and see for yourself."

 

I wonder if Angela Peralta Theater and city hall would be covered in tour #2. 

As far as Cabo San Lucas is concerned, there is a reason I selected the Shore Excursions Group excursion as it's basically a land tour and also the glass bottom boat tour in one:

Cabo San Lucas City Tour and Glass Bottom Boat
Departure Times as 8:00AM and 10:00AM
4 Hours

Experience the history and the beauty of Los Cabos on this general orientation tour. Although Los Cabos has grown rapidly in the last few years, it has managed to maintain some of its picturesque older construction and traditions.

A highlight of the tour is the glass bottom boat trip out to see Cabo's most famous landmark, The Arch (El Arco de Cabo San Lucas), a distinctive rock formation where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. See the beautiful Lovers Beach, and keep your eyes open for sea lions who play on the rocks at the sea lion colony.

During the city tour, you will hear of the region's past. You will visit the main attractions in Cabo San Lucas, including a photo stop at the Church of San Lucas, Iglesia de San Lucas. Originally built in 1730 off the main square, the church has been well maintained over the years and still has many original features. You will see the Zocalo, or the main square, and a glass blowing factory. Your tour concludes with a complimentary tequila tasting. The process of making tequila is explained in detail while you savour a number of different types of local tequila. See and taste all Cabo San Lucas has to offer, in comfort and in style.


Our ship has a arrival time of 7:00AM and a departure time of 5:00PM so it seems like if we booked the 8:00AM, we will probably miss the tour unless they wait for everyone on the tour to make it off the tender boat.  So 10:00AM seems safer which would mean the tour would end at 2:00PM with the hope it's not late since I don't think they will be giving us more than 4 hours regardless since they probably charged the tour by the hour when they rated it so if it takes longer, it's a lost for them.

I found the same tour which basically has each group of people on their own private van so the guide will allow you to schedule a time of your choice and they will wait at the pier for you.  This one does not have other groups other than your own booking and includes lunch, the only problem is that as I mentioned earlier, our exclusions are all expenses paid by a third party so they need to have a way to pay in full at the time of booking but this one, they can only pay the deposit while we will be responsible for the rest of the money in cash on the day of the tour which wouldn't be a problem if we were paying for this trip on our own as I actually like how that site describes everything in detail including exactly where the meeting point is among other things.
https://www.shoreexcursioneer.com/cabo-san-lucas/private-sightseeing.html

 

As for reviews, any suggestions on where to find the reviews for the excursions offered by the cruise line are as I have tried googling and didn't get anywhere and you can see from the screenshots above, there is no review section and Princess Cruises does not list the start times, they only list the duration times.  

I have already tried to go through this board but didn't really find anything in the form of city tours as it seems everyone seems to do something that is a adventure activity instead of sightseeing.  I was thinking of doing a cruise excursion for tender ports like Cabo except they didn't have anything comparable as it's land only.  

 

When I was looking at the reviews on the main CC site using Puerto Vallarta for example and the Excursion provider being Princess Cruises:

image.png.5bbb52597e6bad31e35888d2df0f9563.png


You would think the first review would be a cruise excursion until you read the review.   The second review doesn't tell you which tour they did except you know it's a sightseeing tour.  So basically those reviews didn't really help.

You would be right that I might be making things more difficult than necessary.  I guess if this was something we were paying ourselves, then it would be a whole lot easier as we could have done the one above where we book with a deposit only and pay the rest in cash on the day of the tour except ofcourse anytime you pay in cash, if something goes wrong, then you will never see your money again compared to paying in full with a credit card which is slightly safer.  In this case, I have to find what I want and then I have to tell the corporate sponsor the exact excursions I want and they will book it and pre-pay for all of it in full.  So we don't have the choices of the deposit only, pay the rest at time of tour or find a excursion after getting off the ship like the review #1 above.

Also, I wanted to apologize too if you took my previous comments the wrong way.  I am currently sick with a cold/flu with the various aches/pains and can't really think or concentrate well and just want to get things done before our cruise trip next month so I want to still take the opportunity to thank you as it is greatly appreciated.  
 

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Edited by Almighty188

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In your cruise personalizer if you click on the tours and try to book them then they will show start times. They also have reviews from people who have done these tours .

IF you just Google Princess Shore excursions you do not see this info.

You must go to them from your actual account to see it.

These cities are not rich with tons of things to see so that these tours are short ones.

The first one you mentioned in PV is just a driving tour.

The 2nd one describes where you would get off and walk. It sounds like you are doing similar things in each city. If that is what you enjoy then OK but I'd try some of the other offerings that maybe go farther into the countryside for other experiences.

Of course that is up to you.

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8 minutes ago, riffatsea said:

In your cruise personalizer if you click on the tours and try to book them then they will show start times. They also have reviews from people who have done these tours .

IF you just Google Princess Shore excursions you do not see this info.

You must go to them from your actual account to see it.

These cities are not rich with tons of things to see so that these tours are short ones.

The first one you mentioned in PV is just a driving tour.

The 2nd one describes where you would get off and walk. It sounds like you are doing similar things in each city. If that is what you enjoy then OK but I'd try some of the other offerings that maybe go farther into the countryside for other experiences.

Of course that is up to you.

Thanks for the pointers.  I did find the excursion times as it shows 9:30AM-2:30PM for example for tour #2 but I still have not been able to find the reviews.  

I'm just trying to figure out if the the PV tour #3 would include the things that I mentioned as it's not in the description which is what makes it harder as I have no idea where everything is without them showing a map or something.    I already found out that Angela Peralta Theater and city hall are both located in Old Mazatlan.  

I'm trying to avoid anything difficult because one of the persons in our group is my mom who is almost 90 years old who can walk and there is limited time available between the arrival and departure time of the ports so I'm just trying to keep it to the basics and basically instead of staying on the ship or at the pier of each port which is no different than just being at the airport of a city, it's better to atleast see the city with a overview since for anything else, a tour will not do it as one will probably need to visit that city on our own for a longer duration where there is time to visit the places more in-depth that were interesting during the tour as all tours will not be anything in-depth especially a city tour which would take more than the time available to really see everything.  



 

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I thought about what you said earlier and did some research on the benefits/risks of third party vs cruise line and while the third party excursions may sound better, the issue is like you mentioned, there is that risk of the cruise ship leaving without you if there is a problem that caused a delay preventing one to get back to the ship on time so that risk is not worth it regardless how good the other excursion may be since you never know, anything can happen when you least expect it.  Last thing I or anyone would want is to be trying to catch the ship by airplane.  So I guess all non-cruise line excursions are fine as long as everything works as planned but if you can't get back to the ship by departure time due to some problem or delay and the ship leaves, you would wish you had went on the cruise line excursion instead.
  

Interest read here though:
https://cruisefever.net/03231-what-happens-when-you-miss-your-ship/

  

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Almighty188 - For Vallarta . . . 

 

We have vacationed in Vallarta the last 19 years.  SEG is one of many third-party excursion brokers that service cruise ship ports. I don't have any personal experience with them.  I looked at the excursions they offer in Vallarta and they appear to be rather unique.  By that, I mean, they offer "excursions" that I can't figure out who the actual excursion operators are.  The Sea Lion/Dolphin/Waterpark is located north of the airport, cruisers do go there on their own, but I have never seen it offered by a tour operator.  The same holds true for the City Tour you are looking at.  It is a unique offering that will take you to places most people have never heard of.  Not a bad offering, just something you will likely get little feedback on from past cruisers. 

 

I can tell you that the Princes Cruise City tour is a windshield tour with multiple shopping opportunities.  It has no value unless you want a general lay-of-the-land overview for a future land vacation. 

 

Casa Kimberly is not easy for tour vehicles to reach.  I haven't seen it offered on any tour.  In its current configuration, Casa Kimberly is a boutique hotel with a high-end restaurant and tequila bar.  The only recognizable feature is the pink bridge that connected is to Casa Burton.

 

Know that the taxi system in Vallarta is rather regimented. There are "city" taxis, "federal" taxis and Uber is trying to get established.  The "Federal" taxis operate from the port (and airport) and have exclusive rights to pick up and take passengers FROM these federal properties.  Nobody else is allowed to enter the port property and leave with passengers except port taxis and ship's excursion vehicles.  Your SEG City Tour indicates the pickup point is a 5 to 20 minute walk from the port.  Having said this, your tour will be allowed to RETURN you to back to the port. The greater city area is serviced by hundreds of city taxis as well as UBER.  You are rarely more than 20 minutes away from the port from anywhere in the city.

 

It is highly unlikely that any tour, offered by a third-party broker or booked directly with a tour operator, will return you to the port after the ship leaves.  It is a stretch for anybody to "guarantee" a return to the ship on time.  The "highway" south of the city, taking you to the Nogalito Eco Park, is a two-lane asphalt road that could be blocked if there was a significant traffic accident in just the right spot.

 

As a side note . . . one thing to look for in a third-party excursion broker/excursion operator is a "no port, money back guarantee".  This means that you will get your money back if the ship arrives too late for the excursion, changes the itinerary order or bypasses the port completely. 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

   

Edited by MSN-Travelers

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Thanks MSN-Travelers for your input!  You are right that they are unique.  My curiousity is that using the SEG Exclusive Puerto Vallarta City Tour as a example, I did manage to find something that seems close to it at: https://www.puertovallartatours.net/city-and-tropical-tour.htm for example.  It seems the only difference is the 
SEG version provides lunch while this one doesn't and obviously cheaper and this one also starts one hour earlier and the tour is 1.5 hours longer.  

 

I think if I had a map of Puerto Vallarta, I would actually understand things better like where each thing is.  


You are probably right about cruise line tours since I remember we did a Carnival tour in Cozumel back in 2012 which I believe is a shopping tour.  The only shopping we really did was it ended up with a sales pitch at Diamonds International and the color changing store called Del Sol.  And ofcourse the Tequila tasting.  I never understood the Tequila tasting included in the tours as the amount they charge for it in the tour, you can probably buy the entire Tequila near the ports. Ofcourse it's probably the tour company getting a kickback if anyone buys the Tequila there.
 

Thanks for the information on the taxi's, I never even knew there was different level different level of government based taxi's since one would think a taxi is a taxi.  So from what you said, basically the restriction seems to be only "federal" taxi's and cruise line excursion vehicles can go in to the port to pick up passengers while"city" taxis and non-ship excursion vehicles, both with passengers can enter the port to drop passengers off? 


When everything is running smoothly, one will always return to port before the ship leaves but as mentioned on the thread at https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2449736-cruise-line-excursions-does-the-ship-always-wait-for-you
It has happened before.  And when it does happen, it will get very expensive for the ones who miss the ship while the ship will wait for the people on the cruise line sponsored excursions as the ship has communications with all the excursions sold through them as mentioned here:
https://www.quora.com/What-happens-if-youre-not-on-board-your-cruise-ship-at-a-mid-cruise-stopover-and-the-ship-is-ready-to-depart

 

You are right that only the cruise line can really guarantee return to ship but even that has it's limitations as it is expensive due to port fees and other charges for the ship to wait at the port.  They will try to wait for you, but if the next port has daylight or tidal restrictions where waiting too long at the previous port would preclude getting into the next port in a timely fashion, they will proceed and fly those guests on the excursion to the next port. It has happened, and will happen.  Being stuck in traffic on the excursion vehicle can also cause delays or if the vehicle broke down or something.  
 

There is a thread about Shoreline Excursion Group on TripAdvisor at https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12290-k4703486-Shore_Excursions_Group_has_anybody_heard_this_company-Bargain_Travel.html
and you can pretty much see that it can be mixed and they don't really stand behind their guarantees either like if a cruise ship arrived late to a port, the entire excursion gets cancelled and the customer has a hard time getting a refund.
 

I guess the third-party excursion brokers/excursion operators will use all sorts of things like guarantees and full refund for certain events and basically promise the world just to get you to book the excursion with them even though it's in writing but when something bad happens, one will need to see if they really live up to their guarantees or not after the event.  It's similar to Time Shares when you buy them originally and I'm talking about as far back as 1988, they will tell you that you can use properties world wide everywhere such as Hong Kong and China and when you do want one in those areas after you buy it, you find out that those places are not included.  

Speaking about arrival times, do ships actually arrive sometimes arrive before the arrival time or are they only allowed to dock only between the arrival and departure times listed?  If the ship was one hour late, does that mean they will also depart one hour late since Puerto Vallarta seems to be a 12 hour port for the ship and it would really be bad if the ship was 5 hours late and we end up only having 7 hours there.
 

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ALWAYS remember that local time in PV is TWO HOURS later than LA time, which is usually the ship time. If you book third party, make SURE you know that the ship and the local times coincide or you could miss one or the other. Have Fun !

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Yep, PV and Mazanillo is basically CST while Matzalan is MST.  Already on the 02/21 Grand Princess.   It seems the ship had a 8AM arrival but the ship departed at 5:40PM instead of 6:00PM as the all aboard time was 5:30PM, wonder what caused the early departure.

 

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