Exploring several different destinations (ports) on a cruise is one of the great things about a cruise vacation. The tours or activities you do at each cruise stop can be booked several ways. Directly with the cruise line, directly through a tour company online, or at the destination when you get off the ship. Here are 5 reasons to book your shore excursions directly through the cruise line.
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What are shore excursions?
Shore excursions are the tours or activities that you do at a cruise port or cruise stop. They are basically the things to do at a port. Shore excursions available will depend on the destination but can include activities such as snorkeling, golfing or kayaking. Or things like shopping trips, beach breaks, and museum tours.
The best way to see what shore excursions are available for your cruise itinerary is to look at your cruise line’s website. They will list the shore excursions available, a brief description, and the cost.
There are lots of people who will say that they will never book a cruise line shore excursion. They say they are too expensive. Many times you will be able to get a tour cheaper by booking directly or finding one after you get off the cruise ship. However there is more to consider than just the price. The following reasons make it worth it to me to book through the cruise line.
In the past I have booked shore excursions both at the destination and online ahead of time. However, now most of the time I book cruise line shore excursions.
Some cruise essentials to consider: (you can click on the picture to check it out on Amazon)
Here are a couple of my favorite shore excursions:
Top 5 Reasons to Book Shore Excursions With the Cruise Line
1. Reputable Companies
The tour companies have been vetted by the cruise line. The cruise lines use reputable companies, and these companies would all be eager to keep their contract with the cruise line.
2. Peace of Mind
This is probably the biggest reason to book shore excursions directly with the cruise line. When you take a cruise line shore excursion the cruise ship staff is in contact with the tour operator and the cruise ship staff know where you are.
If your tour bus breaks down or if you are stuck in a traffic delay, the cruise line is aware of it and will wait for you. If you are in a taxi or on a private tour, the ship has no way of knowing where you are. You run the risk of missing the ship. That is the absolute last thing you want.
3. Worry free debarkation
This is especially true for tendered ports (ports where the cruise ship anchors off shore and passengers are water taxied to shore).
Getting off the ship in a tendered port can be a slow process. Booking with the cruise line eliminates the need to stand in line for a tender ticket and the worry about getting off the ship in time to meet your tour.
Usually with a cruise line shore excursion, they have you meet in one of the ship’s public rooms and they take you as a group off the ship. Stress free debarkation.
4. Easy refunds for schedule changes
Unfortunately, sometimes a cruise ship is forced to change or cancel a scheduled stop due to weather. If this happens, a shore excursion booked with the cruise line will be automatically refunded.
If you have booked a shore excursion online directly with a tour operator, you then need to scramble to contact them. This may require purchasing pricey cruise ship internet minutes.
5. Stress free planning
Planning is easier when booking a shore excursion with the cruise line. Pull up the cruise line’s website or app, search through the offered excursions and book. Your credit card is given to a reputable company. Many cruise lines list reviews right along with the shore excursion, making research easy. Booking through a local company online takes more time and research.
I hope this has given you something to consider other than just price when comparing cruise line shore excursions and local tour operators you book directly.