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Canmilitarywife

shore excursions who to book with?

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I’m going on a 7 day Western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona in September. We’re in port 5 out of the 7 days. My question is, is it better to book shore excursions through cruise planner or on my own? If I do it through cruise planner it’s going to be pretty expensive for my Mother and I.

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1 minute ago, Canmilitarywife said:

I’m going on a 7 day Western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona in September. We’re in port 5 out of the 7 days. My question is, is it better to book shore excursions through cruise planner or on my own? If I do it through cruise planner it’s going to be pretty expensive for my Mother and I.

Many experienced cruisers book their own excursions frequently joining other cruisers from their roll calls.  I do some on my own, some with roll call members and some thru RCCL.  Check your roll call and see if anyone is looking for other cruisers to join them.  On two occasions joined with others and hired a guide when we got off the ship, but this can be risky depending on the port(s).  Join the roll call for your cruise and then explore your options.  Happy Sails to you and Mother.

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4 minutes ago, Snit13 said:

Many experienced cruisers book their own excursions frequently joining other cruisers from their roll calls.  I do some on my own, some with roll call members and some thru RCCL.  Check your roll call and see if anyone is looking for other cruisers to join them.  On two occasions joined with others and hired a guide when we got off the ship, but this can be risky depending on the port(s).  Join the roll call for your cruise and then explore your options.  Happy Sails to you and Mother.

Thanks. I usually book only one or two excursions through cruise planner but that’s when I’m going to only 3 ports. This one is different. Plus I looked just to take trains in most places to get to a main attraction I wanna go to is cheaper but afraid get lost. Lol

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90% of our excursions are private firms.

Do some research and you should find more affordable private tours.  Also, join your roll call for the cruise.  Sometimes people organize tours on the roll calls.

 

We book ship's excursions when the price is close to the private tours (few are) and when the distance traveled on the tour adds risk of being late to the ship.

Viator.com has shore excursions for most Med cruises.  They subcontract their tours, but prices are usually reasonable.  Also, check for other tours.  Romeinlimo had tours, but I think you have to organize them for a group.

Barcelona Day Tours is a great tour company for touring Barcelona.

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54 minutes ago, 4774Papa said:

90% of our excursions are private firms.

Do some research and you should find more affordable private tours.  Also, join your roll call for the cruise.  Sometimes people organize tours on the roll calls.

 

We book ship's excursions when the price is close to the private tours (few are) and when the distance traveled on the tour adds risk of being late to the ship.

Viator.com has shore excursions for most Med cruises.  They subcontract their tours, but prices are usually reasonable.  Also, check for other tours.  Romeinlimo had tours, but I think you have to organize them for a group.

Barcelona Day Tours is a great tour company for touring Barcelona.

Thanks for the advice. I greatly appreciate it. This cruise is a working one for my Mom. It’s a huge group of Nurses.

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100% of this very experienced cruiser are through the ship. 

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I do a mix of private tours, excursions through the ship and DIY.  Each have their pros/cons. 

 

The advantage of a ships excursion is the peace of mind it brings and the convenience.  The downside (as you're seeing) is cost and some excursions have a lot of people on them.  With large groups it's very easy to get slowed down due to people showing up late at the meeting point (even though the guides will tell you they won't wait, I have yet to see anyone left behind).

 

A great way to save on a private tour is to join others on your roll call.  We've done this numerous times and have only been disapointed once.  

 

If you plan to DIY, I doubt you'll get lost.  Main tourist sites are well marked and there are always people around to help you if you need it.  

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We had some great excursions on our Barcelona cruise , several people on our roll call researched private excursions then used roll call to fill them, they were great normally 8 people much cheaper and nicer than ships excursions. Our favorite was a tour of Pisa and Florence by papillon tours. Rome in limo was also good for Rome.

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Some ports you don't need an excursion and can very easily see on your own exploring on foot. Look over the itinerary and pick the two or three that absolutely need excursions and book those through the ship. We have booked outside of the cruise line but, only when the ship is in port for an extended stay. I prefer the security of knowing for the most part the ship will wait for us we return late on a ship sponsored tour. We've twice experienced late returns on ship tours and both times the ship waited. 

 

Jonathan

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Trip Advisor is a good reference for private tours.  We did all private tours on our 12 day Med cruise with a group we met on our Roll Call.  There were only 8 of us on each tour.  The first thing the driver asked was "What time do you have to be back?"   Our ship was in port for 12 hours so we had plenty of time for extended visits.

Barcelona Day Tours was a good one for that city.

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We almost always book through the cruiseline if we are going to leave the port area.  When there was a wreck on the roads in Belize a few years ago that caused our bus to have to backtrack and take a major detour, I was much more relaxed knowing we booked through the cruiseline.  We were close to 2 hours late and an hour past the last tender when we finally got back.  In this instance, we would have been fine either way as there were several tours that ran into the same issue and the line to tender was quite lengthy.  

 

The only exceptions for us have been in Cozumel.  Our first trip there, we booked through the cruiseline.  Since then, we have just grabbed a cab and went to one of the beaches on our own.  We still cabbed it back to the ship with 2 hours of extra time - just in case.  I only was willing to do it there, because I was familiar with the area and where we were going wasn't that far away.  

 

It is definitely worth the extra $ for me for the peace of mind.

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WE haven't booked an excursion thru the ship in almost 20 years. No need to. With some reasonable research you can have the same tours and more, at a more reasonable price. As long as you stay with reputable tour companies and there are hundreds of recommendations for so many ports of call, you will be fine. I look at it this way, if anything happened and you missed your ship that tour company would be mud and would never have another tour booked. I have found that private tour companies will go out of their way to make sure you have a great time, come back on CC and recommend them. Do you really think that RCCL cares if you have a great time. If you do, fine ,if not, there are thousands of others who will probably sign up.

The, of course, is the Do It Yourself option, which in many European ports is so easy. Grab a copy of Rick Steves books, with what to see, terrific walking tours with little cost to you. 

Another suggestion, when we did a Baltic cruise, we emailed the tourist info center for each port and asked them to send us maps, walking tours and any info they could, and most did. 

Do a bit of research and ask questions on the ports of call boards, and you will see how  easily it all opens up for you.

 

Chers

Len

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12 hours ago, cruiserking said:

Some ports you don't need an excursion and can very easily see on your own exploring on foot. Look over the itinerary and pick the two or three that absolutely need excursions and book those through the ship. We have booked outside of the cruise line but, only when the ship is in port for an extended stay. I prefer the security of knowing for the most part the ship will wait for us we return late on a ship sponsored tour. We've twice experienced late returns on ship tours and both times the ship waited. 

 

Jonathan

Every port we stop in is 10-12hr stop. So plenty of time. I thought most posts are far from the main attractions on this cruise? I’ve been to Europe plenty of time’s but my mom hasn’t so I want her to experience it as best as possible.

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1 hour ago, Canmilitarywife said:

Every port we stop in is 10-12hr stop. So plenty of time. I thought most posts are far from the main attractions on this cruise? I’ve been to Europe plenty of time’s but my mom hasn’t so I want her to experience it as best as possible.

Canmilitarywife,

 

What ports are you going to?

 

Jonathan

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