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Cruiseline only excursions? No wandering off in port by yourself


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Good luck on your cruise. I just cancelled our 1/30 Celebrity cruise on the Summit. Those excursions never go to the best beach or area and don’t stay long enough and not close to the best beach bar/restaurant. When I cancelled I told the agent the excursions issue was a deal breaker, not that traveling on a ship without a vaccine is simply foolish anyway. Onto 2022.

 

 

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I almost always do cruiseline excursions. They're almost always cheaper for a solo - unless you have a lot of trust in strangers to share a private one with (I have a friend who had the experience of booking with a group of people who all chatted on some form of social media without her and decided to ask the driver to change a major part of the tour (changing out one thing, the thing my friend was most interested in, with something else that she was not as interested in) without letting her know so that by the time she found out it was too late).

 

I did 2 cruises with fathom when it existed and you had to do one of theirs - especially in Cuba as theirs were vetted to meet People to People requirements. It was never a problem.

 

I'll be sad to have to cancel Costa Maya in February as I missed it last year due to boycotts or strikes or something going on at the port that caused Capt Kate to make the decision to have an extra sea day, but I'm not going to not cruise because of it.

 

(I'd also rather not wonder as I wander around a foreign port - you need to keep your wits about you.)

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We have no issues with doing Celebrity shore excursions when we want to do an excursion foe site seeing. We always prefer walking around in the ports on our own if we don't want to do an excursion and not thru Celebrity or a local private contractor.  

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18 hours ago, thepoint said:

the excitement is in looking forward to taking some of the same private tours

Panama Canal is on our bucket list! Can you share your favorite private tours please?

mimlauff at aol dot com

 

Thanks!!

Miriam

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On a Celebrity-only excursion, it seems to me that assembling a group on a large bus (or even a small mini-bus) is more of a COVID risk if a Super-spreader is on it.  Much safer for passengers to walk outside with masks in groups of 1-4 people.  Shops and eateries can keep to some capacity limits too.  I would not personally get on a bus in close contact (enclosed) with others from my ship.  Particularly on the way back to the ship after being potentially exposed in port.  Recipe for COVID spread.

Edited by TeeRick
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On 10/4/2020 at 11:49 PM, fstuff1 said:

 

 

How do you feel about cruise line only excursions for the foreseeable future?

 

 

This is an interesting question. If you had asked this question in April of this year, I would have said I would not cruise under those circumstances.

 

In our first 15 or so cruises many years ago, we would take the ships excursions maybe half the time, after one has cruised so many times to the same ports, we pretty much just go off on our own as we are familiar with many of the ports and what they offer.

 

The cruise ship excursions take you to the “Popular” areas of each port or venues that most people would possibly like to see. As we have been to those places, we wish to explore other areas, or revisit what we find interesting.  Hence the structured 80 passenger bus tours hold little appeal.

 

My definition of what is the foreseeable future in cruising seems to shift the longer the discontinuance of cruising exists. My crystal ball in March would have said we would have taken at least one of our three scheduled cruises this year. With all those canceled, and what appears to be that cruising seems to be effectively canceled for 2020.

 

Now the foreseeable future in my view is that cruising for us maybe a possibility in 2021. Would I cruise if only ships excursions are the only choice? Not at this time. The question in my mind is – in the foreseeable future is there a reason to book cruises, while placing bets on significant deposits under controlled ships excursions only?

 

For us we will wait and see.

Edited by Mirage
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It sounds to me that those not willing to take a cruise line excursion fits very well with the reduced capacity restrictions on the ship that would most likely be put in place.  

For me, we mostly go on a cruise to be on the ship anyway.  If and when we get off the ship while in port, we sometimes walk around or take a ship's excursion.  We have done so in the past but, we rarely take private tours.  So staying on the ship or taking a cruise line tour wouldn't bother me in the very least!  They might have a few more things to do onboard while in port until things get back to normal .. not super spreader activities but, something.  I'm not counting on it but, that would be nice to see.  

 

 

 

 

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I can’t tell if this question is hypothetical or actually being planned by the cruise industry. I am thinking of an Alaska cruise, but hesitant to book the cruise. If ship tours are the only option to getting off, then I am done with cruises.  Anyone know if this is rumour or reality?

Edited by Dor 2
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We cruise to see the ports first, the ship is not the priority.

 

So with this restriction in place, perhaps for a long time, it is doubtful that we will cruise. If and when we travel in the future, it is likely customized land vacations will get the nod.

 

For us it is about immersing into the area, eating in the restaurant that has the most local food, just standing and smelling and observing and touching the architecture. Just picking a few locations and standing for 10 minutes and observing everything and every body and all the critters.  Processed tours rarely meet our requirements.

 

But to each their own.

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3 hours ago, Dor 2 said:

I can’t tell if this question is hypothetical or actually being planned by the cruise industry. I am thinking of an Alaska cruise, but hesitant to book the cruise. If ship tours are the only option to getting off, then I am done with cruises.  Anyone know if this is rumour or reality?

 

It's already happening with the couple cruise lines that are operating in Europe right now.

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5 hours ago, TeeRick said:

On a Celebrity-only excursion, it seems to me that assembling a group on a large bus (or even a small mini-bus) is more of a COVID risk if a Super-spreader is on it.  Much safer for passengers to walk outside with masks in groups of 1-4 people.  Shops and eateries can keep to some capacity limits too.  I would not personally get on a bus in close contact (enclosed) with others from my ship.  Particularly on the way back to the ship after being potentially exposed in port.  Recipe for COVID spread.

 

Yes, I don't understand the logic here. Wouldn't it be safer for passengers to stay with their own travel unit and then social distance rather than mixing in close with a tour group? And if the cruise line has concerns about passengers wandering around on their own in a port then they must feel that port is not safe so why are they stopping there in the first place?

 

After reading the person's live thread from the TUI cruise these policies make even less sense. He described going on one of these cruise excursions in a group but then being allowed to go and visit certain shops (and thus being exposed to locals) on their own as long as the tour guide approved. This just smells like a money grab to me. Cruise lines are looking to boost their sagging bottom lines by forcing passengers to take and pay for excursions if they want to get off the ship. Then once on the tour they are only allowed to go into shops that the tour guide deems okay (translation: that he/she is getting a kickback from). Very shady way to take advantage of this pandemic under the guise of keeping passengers safe.

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7 minutes ago, WonderMan3 said:

 

Yes, I don't understand the logic here. Wouldn't it be safer for passengers to stay with their own travel unit and then social distance rather than mixing in close with a tour group? And if the cruise line has concerns about passengers wandering around on their own in a port then they must feel that port is not safe so why are they stopping there in the first place?

 

After reading the person's live thread from the TUI cruise these policies make even less sense. He described going on one of these cruise excursions in a group but then being allowed to go and visit certain shops (and thus being exposed to locals) on their own as long as the tour guide approved. This just smells like a money grab to me. Cruise lines are looking to boost their sagging bottom lines by forcing passengers to take and pay for excursions if they want to get off the ship. Then once on the tour they are only allowed to go into shops that the tour guide deems okay (translation: that he/she is getting a kickback from). Very shady way to take advantage of this pandemic under the guise of keeping passengers safe.

People are social creatures. Its really hard to keep them locked up in their cabins. No matter the policy, people will still escape and try to communicate with other people around them. This is how humanity works and I doubt anything will change in this matter any time soon if even at all 

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7 hours ago, TeeRick said:

On a Celebrity-only excursion, it seems to me that assembling a group on a large bus (or even a small mini-bus) is more of a COVID risk if a Super-spreader is on it.  Much safer for passengers to walk outside with masks in groups of 1-4 people.  Shops and eateries can keep to some capacity limits too.  I would not personally get on a bus in close contact (enclosed) with others from my ship.  Particularly on the way back to the ship after being potentially exposed in port.  Recipe for COVID spread.

of course the cruise line is assuming that the ship and all its passengers and crew are virus free and thus the bus will also be virus free.

 

if that breaks down and an infected person is on board ship than the chance of an infected person may be on a bus, would be the least of the problems.

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On 10/7/2020 at 1:38 PM, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

I almost always do cruiseline excursions. They're almost always cheaper for a solo - unless you have a lot of trust in strangers to share a private one with (I have a friend who had the experience of booking with a group of people who all chatted on some form of social media without her and decided to ask the driver to change a major part of the tour (changing out one thing, the thing my friend was most interested in, with something else that she was not as interested in) without letting her know so that by the time she found out it was too late).

 

I did 2 cruises with fathom when it existed and you had to do one of theirs - especially in Cuba as theirs were vetted to meet People to People requirements. It was never a problem.

 

I'll be sad to have to cancel Costa Maya in February as I missed it last year due to boycotts or strikes or something going on at the port that caused Capt Kate to make the decision to have an extra sea day, but I'm not going to not cruise because of it.

 

(I'd also rather not wonder as I wander around a foreign port - you need to keep your wits about you.)

So sad your private excursion was not good.  My DW and I have organized some 20 excursions.  All have been good with 2 of the exceptional.  In Turkey had a full day excursion with 10 of us to Troy and Assos.  No hurry back As it was an overnight.  Thus when the guide asked if we would like to have dinner at his home it was an easy yes.  We bought the wine and got back to the ship VERY late.

Suggest you try again.  Also a couple emails with the organizer to make sure it feels right.

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if X follows msc and does this to prevent Covid, then i'm not sure i want to cruise.
i like wondering off in some ports and explore.
 
i dont want to be stuck on the ship when it's in port.
(and i have access to the Suite Lounge and unlimited Internet. :classic_ohmy:
 
How do you feel about cruise line only excursions for the foreseeable future?

First the CLIA recommendations will be required to signed off by all cruise lines CEO’s and it includes cruise line excursions only. I’ve been on all the island many times and I head off on my own to the best beaches, restaurants and beach bars which are never on the cruise line tours. And I spend what time I want , no preset time. I’m not a child or a novice. This the one protocol that has me not going in 2021 and I told Celebrity that when I canceled that point. They had no response so I know this the way their going.


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1 hour ago, Arizona Wildcat said:

So sad your private excursion was not good.  My DW and I have organized some 20 excursions.  All have been good with 2 of the exceptional.  In Turkey had a full day excursion with 10 of us to Troy and Assos.  No hurry back As it was an overnight.  Thus when the guide asked if we would like to have dinner at his home it was an easy yes.  We bought the wine and got back to the ship VERY late.

Suggest you try again.  Also a couple emails with the organizer to make sure it feels right.

 

It was a legitimate friend, not myself.

 

I have no desire to have to trust strangers with plans, especially when I am not as allergic to cruise line excursions as others. I don't cruise to meet "friends" - I am perfectly happy with my friends here, and the thought of either paying out the butt or trusting that others aren't going to gang up and make decisions is not relaxing to me. I do ship-based excursions all the time and the largest I've been on WERE the ones in Cuba through fathom, but even those were not bad. So much depends on the excursion you choose. If you are in Italy and choose an excursion to Pompeii, yes, that will be crowded. But if you do something else, it's not going to be as crowded. Of course all that was in non-COVID times - but so far there have been no changes (other than maybe a few additions) to excursions on any of my cruises booked in 2021.

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1 hour ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

It was a legitimate friend, not myself.

 

I have no desire to have to trust strangers with plans, especially when I am not as allergic to cruise line excursions as others. I don't cruise to meet "friends" - I am perfectly happy with my friends here, and the thought of either paying out the butt or trusting that others aren't going to gang up and make decisions is not relaxing to me. I do ship-based excursions all the time and the largest I've been on WERE the ones in Cuba through fathom, but even those were not bad. So much depends on the excursion you choose. If you are in Italy and choose an excursion to Pompeii, yes, that will be crowded. But if you do something else, it's not going to be as crowded. Of course all that was in non-COVID times - but so far there have been no changes (other than maybe a few additions) to excursions on any of my cruises booked in 2021.

 

If you're happy with cruise ship excursions, that's cool. But if you ever get to the point where you want to try something different, don't let traveling as a solo woman put you off. I have been going "off piste" for years and I have had such better experiences than ever had with cruise excursions.

 

I traveled and cruised a lot as a kid but back then excursions weren't a big deal for the lines like they are today. My family almost always did our own thing. As I got older I did a lot more land travel than cruising and that's what I did also....saw things on my own, often just using local transport and a guide book.

 

Fast forward and my parents got older, cruised more and felt less confident getting around on their own. I took a Med cruise with my mother in the early 2000s -- I hadn't cruised in a while; she insisted that we would be better off doing the shore excursions with the ship. What a terrible mistake!  I found the excursions to be frustrating in the extreme, even though we tried to pick those that were smaller groups. 

 

Every place we went, we wasted at least an hour with forced shopping stops, people being late back to the buses, overlong meals. Just not for me. It sounds silly but I actually had tears in my eyes going back to the ship in Istanbul  because our tour guide kept us so long in the carpet shop that we had a scant half hour to see probably THE top site in Istanbul, the Haghia Sofya.  When a different tour guide started telling ethnic jokes about a minority population in her country, I said never again, unless I have NO choice. And I pretty much have stuck to that.

 

I've never had a problem with either shared private tours (and have set up a number of them myself to ensure that I get to see what I want) or going around on my own. In fact, I probably prefer the latter and it gives me a real sense of achievement to plan a successful day on my own. 

 

So just putting it out there as an option. When I reflect back on my travel, the best experiences I remember are mostly the result of touring on my own -- from being at the top of Notre Dame while the noon bells were ringing to being one of the first five visitors at the top of the Acropolis and having it to myself, to spending hours in the British museum on my own looking at the Elgin marbles.

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21 hours ago, mimbecky said:

anama Canal is on our bucket list! Can you share your favorite private tours please?

mimlauff at aol dot com

 

Thanks!!

Miriam


Hi Miriam,  I will definitely post this information, but I will have to do some research.  We did the the Panama Canal from Miami to San Diego in 2016.  We moved to Florida recently from CT and I and not totally settled.   One memorable trip was a private tour in Costa Rica with two friends, my husband and myself.  We walked in the rain forest followed by a lunch on the river.   Afterwards  we boarded a small boat and cruised down the river. We saw sloths, birds, and crocodiles . We stoped at a crocodile  nest where our guide jumped out and brought a baby crocodile  onboard.  We saw a two cows swimming across the river being followed by an crocodile.  Our boat captain immediately when over and chased the crocodile and then guided the cows across the river.  Not an experience you would get on a ship’s excursion.   Our reservations are to sail from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale in October 2021.   The Panama Canal is really an experience, you will definitely enjoy it no matter which direction you take.  
 

We are very much fans of private tours.  In Italy we used private tours for most ports.  Imagine being in the Sistine Chapel for an hour without a group.  (There we approximately 20 people in there on various private tours).  Or being the first ones in Pompeii just the two of us with a private guide and no crowds.  All tours start from the same point, but we went a different way, so no crowd.  
 

With private tours you make up your own itinerary.  I research what we want to see and that’s exactly where we are taken.  A lot of times the guide will know of a special place off the beaten path that he/she wants you to see.  Getting back to the ship on time has never been a problem. Their reputation depends on it.  In addition, if boarding time is at 4 pm I will insists we get back no later than 3pm.  So everything is planned according to your schedule.  
 

 

I will post the info on our private tours for the Panama Canal trip, as soon as I find it.  😀

 

Angela
 




 


 

 

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45 minutes ago, thepoint said:

With private tours you make up your own itinerary.  I research what we want to see and that’s exactly where we are taken.  A lot of times the guide will know of a special place off the beaten path that he/she wants you to see.  Getting back to the ship on time has never been a problem. Their reputation depends on it.  In addition, if boarding time is at 4 pm I will insists we get back no later than 3pm.  So everything is planned according to your schedule.  


Totally agree. I have never had a problem when heading up a small group of “strangers”. Had a gal break an ankle in Ireland the day before our scheduled tour- they paid anyway.  I would do the same. 
Look forward to private tour info for the canal! I included my email above if you don’t want to post.

Thanks

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One of the gems of being a CC member is going on your cruise roll call and organizing or joining a group of fellow roll call members on well-researched, reputable private excursions.  They are usually the best.  Costs are split and reasonable.  The roll call members become your friends during the cruise and in many cases after the cruise.  Usually the roll callers meet on the first day at a bar and get to know each other.  Using Celebrity-only excursions mostly takes away this very enjoyable aspect of cruising for me.

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1 hour ago, mimbecky said:

 A lot of times the guide will know of a special place off the beaten path that he/she wants you to see.

LOL--- That reminds me of a tour we took in Costa Rica -- I never saw so many bananas in my life.

Our tour guide took us to a little shop which was " probably " owned by a relative and told us we would never find prices like that anywhere else . Not only that, he told us we were the nicest tour group he ever had and showed us pictures of his 6 kids !! Not only that, at the end of the tour he had the back door of the tour bus locked so we had to get off at the front where he stood directly in front of the door until you gave him a tip. 

Not only that---- I believed ever word he said--- ya can't fool me when I'm stuck on a tour for seven hours going to see friggin bananas !!!

 

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I've only had one Celebrity cruise so far.  We used the recommended tours and it was OK. But I totally understand the desire to book private.  If I go to the same place I wouldn't do the same tours.

 

Can someone remind me... can you preview the tours before you book the cruise?  Or only after you book?

 

I miss cruising and travel in general.

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26 minutes ago, zitsky said:

Can someone remind me... can you preview the tours before you book the cruise?  Or only after you book?

 

It's been awhile since I looked, and it seems like it was somewhat counterintuitive, but I believe you can see the general ship's excursions under each port of call, but the actual one's offered on your cruise will only show up for sure in your planner once you're booked. At least that's my memory!

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10 hours ago, markeb said:

 

It's been awhile since I looked, and it seems like it was somewhat counterintuitive, but I believe you can see the general ship's excursions under each port of call, but the actual one's offered on your cruise will only show up for sure in your planner once you're booked. At least that's my memory!

You can see any scheduled tours for any specific sailing on this link: https://www.celebritycruises.com/excursion-brochure/celebrity/.

However, do bear in mind that more tours can of course be added later, especially if the cruise you're looking at is more than ~10 months out. At ~10 months out, only very few new tours will be added.

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