Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
oceandream

Excursions - number of people on bus

Recommended Posts

Hi. For excursions booked via Azamara: On average ,how many people would be on the bus? Just want to know if they fill the bus around 40 or much less? Thanks

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They used to guarantee less than 25 but that no longer applies. I was advised the aim is only to fill a larger bus to 75% capacity so on a 48 seat bus you are looking at 36 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We normally plan our own excursions.  Normally the cost is less and more importantly the groups are smaller.  In all the years that we have been cruising, we have only booked a handful of ship tours.  The only advantage of a ship tour, IMHO, is that you are guaranteed that the ship will not leave without you.  We just make sure that private tours are scheduled to be back to port not less than 90 minutes prior to departure time.  The only times that we now book ship tours are due to tight schedules with a very short time in port.  With private tours, we always book with companies that are reported to have careful and safe drivers. 

The worst tour that we ever took,  was an Azamara ship tour in Puerto Princesa for a tour of the Subterranean River National Park. There were at least 6 vans arranged to take people on that excursion, so the individual groups were small.  All the vans were constantly passing other vehicles on the highway in a convoy - ignoring traffic.  The people in our van were so upset with what turned out to be a dangerous tour, that we all refused to get out of the van at an optional stop at a flea market en route back to the ship.  Because of the frightening drive (and inexperienced tour guide) we all  just wanted to get back alive to the ship.

Needless to say, I am in the midst of booking private tours at all of the ports on our October Azamara cruise.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, sandyss said:

We normally plan our own excursions.  Normally the cost is less and more importantly the groups are smaller.  In all the years that we have been cruising, we have only booked a handful of ship tours.  The only advantage of a ship tour, IMHO, is that you are guaranteed that the ship will not leave without you.  We just make sure that private tours are scheduled to be back to port not less than 90 minutes prior to departure time.  The only times that we now book ship tours are due to tight schedules with a very short time in port.  With private tours, we always book with companies that are reported to have careful and safe drivers. 

The worst tour that we ever took,  was an Azamara ship tour in Puerto Princesa for a tour of the Subterranean River National Park. There were at least 6 vans arranged to take people on that excursion, so the individual groups were small.  All the vans were constantly passing other vehicles on the highway in a convoy - ignoring traffic.  The people in our van were so upset with what turned out to be a dangerous tour, that we all refused to get out of the van at an optional stop at a flea market en route back to the ship.  Because of the frightening drive (and inexperienced tour guide) we all  just wanted to get back alive to the ship.

Needless to say, I am in the midst of booking private tours at all of the ports on our October Azamara cruise.

 

 

Cosign this - If you're spending $10K to $15K (or more for a cruise), the marginal cost of doing a private tour has very little impact.  I have found that I can do  a private tour for the two of us at less than the cost of joining 35 others on a bus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Private tours can be cheaper or better value than ships tours.
We’ve booked an all day private tour from Aqaba to Wadi Rum. The ships tour is £100 pp for a 5 hour panoramic drive into Wadi Rum and lunch.
We have been able to book a private tour (just the two of us) which includes a taxi from Aqaba to Wadi Rum and back (1 hour drive each way) plus about 8 hours in a 4wheel drive vehicle seeing whatever we want to see, including lunch for about £200. Same price as the ship’s tour, but tailor made to see what we want to see, and for much longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Private tours can be cheaper or better value than ships tours.
We’ve booked an all day private tour from Aqaba to Wadi Rum. The ships tour is £100 pp for a 5 hour panoramic drive into Wadi Rum and lunch.
We have been able to book a private tour (just the two of us) which includes a taxi from Aqaba to Wadi Rum and back (1 hour drive each way) plus about 8 hours in a 4wheel drive vehicle seeing whatever we want to see, including lunch for about £200. Same price as the ship’s tour, but tailor made to see what we want to see, and for much longer.

HGC,

First, thank you for all the helpful info you continue to post on Azamara board.

 

We are looking for a private tour from Aqaba to Wadi Rum including R/T taxi. (we have already been to Petra)  Could you share the company Contact you are using. If you prefer, I could list email, but others might be interested too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, floridafolks said:

HGC,

First, thank you for all the helpful info you continue to post on Azamara board.

 

We are looking for a private tour from Aqaba to Wadi Rum including R/T taxi. (we have already been to Petra)  Could you share the company Contact you are using. If you prefer, I could list email, but others might be interested too.

The company is called Wadi Rum Tours. Their website is wadi rum tours.com and the email address is info@wadirumtours.com.

Saleh works with an ex BBC journalist called Tudor Lomax and it was he that replied to my email.

 

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

The company is called Wadi Rum Tours. Their website is wadi rum tours.com and the email address is info@wadirumtours.com.

Saleh works with an ex BBC journalist called Tudor Lomax and it was he that replied to my email.

 

Thanks for contact info 

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Private tours can be cheaper or better value than ships tours.
We’ve booked an all day private tour from Aqaba to Wadi Rum. The ships tour is £100 pp for a 5 hour panoramic drive into Wadi Rum and lunch.
We have been able to book a private tour (just the two of us) which includes a taxi from Aqaba to Wadi Rum and back (1 hour drive each way) plus about 8 hours in a 4wheel drive vehicle seeing whatever we want to see, including lunch for about £200. Same price as the ship’s tour, but tailor made to see what we want to see, and for much longer.

On one of our Suez cruises, The Azamazing Evening was held in Wadi Rum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Lookyboy said:

On one of our Suez cruises, The Azamazing Evening was held in Wadi Rum. 

Same here, and it wasn’t great either!

However we only saw a very little of Wadi Rum. When you look at photos and videos of the area there is so much more to see and some stunning scenery.  This tour includes the chance to meet and talk to Bedouins and find out about their way of life, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We usually do private tours as well and typically find them of better quality and value.  On our last few cruises we have done a mix of Azamara excursions and private and on our own.  We used Azamara when we needed a source to use onboard credit.  Of 5 Azamara excursions, 4 had over 25 in each vehicle and were not that great as we were often waiting for people to return on time.  However one was a Chef's Experience excursion and was one of the best we've ever had.  We have a 10 day Azamara cruise coming up and have 5 Azamara excursions booked so hoping for the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We usually take private excursions. One of the best was by taxi from ship to Petra with photo opportunities and refreshment breaks, golf cart down to the Siq and back, restaurant lunch and taxi back to the ship. A great day! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you happen to have OBC for tours only, private touring doesn’t work.

We have done just a few Azamara tours that used buses and found the number of pax reasonable with many not sitting next to anyone.  Shore excursion onboard the ship will be able to tell you the number of pax to expect 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, laurieb said:

If you happen to have OBC for tours only, private touring doesn’t work.

We have done just a few Azamara tours that used buses and found the number of pax reasonable with many not sitting next to anyone.  Shore excursion onboard the ship will be able to tell you the number of pax to expect 

That’s our experience as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see in the UK Which Survey ranking cruise lines published today Azamara came a respectable third. It was one point below Saga (Viking was top). It’s worst score that pulled it down was Port Excursions followed by onboard entertainment and facilities. It’s top scores unsurprisingly were customer service, social interaction onboard, passenger to space ratio and itineraries. - a very fair assessment imho which highlighted again why they need to pull their socks up big time re excursions it cost them second place. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disappointed to see Azamara are taking more people on trips, glad we only have 3 ship tours booked during our 15 night up and coming cruise, all the rest are private, in mini-bus with 12 people or less.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Numbers might be higher than they used to be, but the buses aren’t generally full and are very comfy, unlike some of the mini-buses we’ve been in on some independent tours.

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree re the buses but one guide trying to make themselves heard with 35 people on a walk through a town hopeless. Not every company is using whisper boxes 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/27/2020 at 12:05 PM, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Numbers might be higher than they used to be, but the buses aren’t generally full and are very comfy, unlike some of the mini-buses we’ve been in on some independent tours.


Good point!

 

On Celebrity Eclipse right now. Participated in a tour on a Coach with about 35 cruisers. The guide was amazing and the excursion excellent.

 

Just finished a tour on a rattly mini-bus with 18 on board. Excellent itinerary but disastrous tour guide. 
 

As a couple we have been on private independent tours that ranged from quite good to average, the difference being the guide.

 

I think that now we are more aware of the impact of the guide as opposed to the number of participants.

 

I note that in the recent survey posted by a UK company, Viking got 5 stars for excursions.

 

If that includes their complementary tours, then my limited observations of them would suggest that they run well over 30.

 

Therefore, to many evaluators price really does matter.

Edited by nordski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to Oceandream's original question:  40 pax on the funky bus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually stick with Azamara and we've had some great tours and some pretty rubbish ones. I wonder if they overprice all the tours assuming that they can then give lots of OBC in sales and promotions which make you think it's a better deal. I like the smaller groups with Azamara but sometimes you have two small groups doing the exact same trip which pretty much defeats the object.I guess that unless I am feeling very organised I will go the lazy route and let them do it for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve done a good number of Azamara tours and they’ve varied in quality, but most have been more than acceptable.  The numbers have varied from a dozen to maybe, 30. On a couple of the larger tours there’ve been two guides, so the groups at the destination weren’t unwieldy. The buses have been just fine, never ‘ratty’ in my experience. 
I travel solo, so private tours can be discouragingly expensive. When I’ve been able to join a group private tour, I often do, but when that doesn’t happen, I usually have plenty of OBC to use for ship’s tours and haven’t had much to complain about.

Melissa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The smallest Azamara excursion I've been on was 16 people for a bicycle tour, and that was entirely too many.  I spoke to Shore Excursions afterwards and the response was, "That's how many we take, sorry."  So even though I love to bicycle, I won't take one again.  I'd previously had two cycling excursions cancelled because only 6-8 people had signed up.

We had a hiking excursion that was somewhere around 24 people, but there were two guides.

Largest excursion I was on was an Edinburgh  city/Castle bus tour with about 35 people (it was a larger bus so it wasn't crowded, though).  The number of people was slightly unwieldy, but the trouble on that excursion was people hadn't paid attention to the activity level guidelines.  There were two people in wheelchairs, and several with canes, so we lost a lot of our tour time while alternate arrangements were made for those passengers.

I'm always grateful to the fellow passengers on my roll calls that start looking into private excursions before I have a chance to think about it  🙂 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, hiccups said:

We had a hiking excursion that was somewhere around 24 people, but there were two guides.

 

I had a similar experience on a hiking excursion, well organised and not unwieldy groups.

It is not so much the number of people on the bus, but the number of people in a walking tour group.

 

Largest excursion I was on was an Edinburgh  city/Castle bus tour with about 35 people (it was a larger bus so it wasn't crowded, though).  The number of people was slightly unwieldy, but the trouble on that excursion was people hadn't paid attention to the activity level guidelines.  There were two people in wheelchairs, and several with canes, so we lost a lot of our tour time while alternate arrangements were made for those passengers.

 

Further . . . it is not only the number of people in the walking group, but whether they have read and taken notice of the activity level. Unfortunately quite a number do not, thus (as you experienced) spoiling excursions for others due to lost or reduced time at points of interest.

 

My other pet peeve on group tours is that almost invariably one or two, or a small group of people who are regularly late back to the bus, which also impacts on time spent at the next point of interest.


 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...