While a large portion of your cruise will be spent relaxing on the boat, much of your cruising time will also be when the ship is “in port”. This means that the boat will be anchored in a destination and you will be able to disembark and take a look around. You can go shopping, enjoy an activity, go on a tour, eat in a restaurants and pretty much do whatever you like – as long as you get back on the boat before it leaves!
So what should you know before getting off the cruise ship in port and going exploring? First of all, you will need to think about whether you should choose a pre-booked excursion or go for it on your own?
Pre-Booked Excursions – or Not?
One question you will ask yourself is – should you book one of the excursions with the cruise line while you are in port or should you go exploring on your own? There is no right answer – the decision will depend on your personal preferences.
If you like things to be organised for you and you want to be included with a group, an organised tour can be a lot of fun. There are a lot of interesting excursions offered by your cruise company, from active pursuits to cultural tours to sightseeing and much more. These experiences can all be conveniently booked on board at the excursion’s desk before you depart on your trip. Booking with the ship-sponsored tour will help you to know that the tour provider is reputable and licensed. However, booking a ship-arranged tour will often cost you more than it would to simply visit the destination on your own. Check the booking websites
You might find a shore excursion worth it if you want to venture to an attraction that is located very far from the pier, or if you want to experience a physical activity that requires gear such as golf, diving and biking. Of course, if you want to enjoy a simple day of walking around the area, shopping or visiting the beach – it will be much cheaper and easier to do it on your own. Also, you might want to have the freedom to be able to explore at your own pace.
Tips for Making the Most of a Shore Excursion
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your shore excursion even more:
- Do your research in advance – online or in your guidebook. Look up the cruise itinerary and see which ports you will want to explore the most and what you will want to see there.
- If you have your heart set on a particular restaurant, it is not a bad idea to make a reservation there before you leave home.
- As soon as you arrive in the city, find the nearest tourist information centre or kiosk and get a detailed map to help you find your way around. You will find booking sites and various offers such as deals from Cruise Sale Finder where you can choose according to your budget.
- Be aware of the currency conversion rate, so that you can figure out whether or not you are getting a good deal.
- Be friendly and talk to the locals. They can probably recommend you a nice place to eat or a lovely place to enjoy a great view – perhaps somewhere that is not necessarily in your guide book.
- If you plan on renting a car while you are in port, it is always a good idea to reserve it before your cruise departs. You will often save money and you will know that the car rental agency won’t be sold out.
- Keep in mind that you might have to find an ATM and get some local currency.
- Make sure that you know when the ship departs and that you are not late. It will cost you a lot of money to have to make your way to the next port and meet the ship there!
These are just a few tips that you can keep in mind which will help you to enjoy your shore excursion a lot more. Whether you are exploring the port on your own or whether you are going on an organised tour – you are sure to have a lot of fun!
Ryan Posa is the Cruise Republic General Manager. Since he got the bug years ago his travel fever continues to grow. When not on the go in the office, he enjoys cruising and blogging about beautiful destinations to inspire others to enjoy the world. You can follow Ryan on Twitter.