When you cruise, shore excursions can be a major part of your total cost of the cruise. However in some cases the shore excursions are included in the interline rate. In those cases, while the cruise price will be higher the actual end cost to you may be lower in the end with a cruise that includes the shore excursions in the price.
Regent Seven Seas includes unlimited shore excursions. SilverSea Cruises includes some shore excursions on some of their cruises such as Med in 2015. Most European river cruises include all shore excursions in their price.
If you are booking a cruise where shore excursions are not included then you will want to book them, most likely, in advance of your cruise. The most critical ones to book in advance are any shore excursions that have “limited availability”. Those are excursions where obviously everyone on the cruise is not going to be able to go on. Shore excursions such as golf, scuba diving, helicopter rides and other such excursions. Only so many people can play golf on a golf course at the time the ship is in port, only so many can go scuba diving, only so many will be able to ride on the helicopter during the time in port. So book those early if you want to do one of those excursions.
The other excursions you want to prebook would be any you absolutely want to make sure and experience while in port.
Now when it comes to booking your shore excursion you have several options but for safety reasons you should only consider two. Don’t get on google and search for some tour guide to meet your ship. They may or may not show up, they may or may not have insurance if something were to happen and they may or may not make it back to the ship on time.
So the two options you should look at are booking the shore excursions from the cruise line or booking them with a reliable 3rd party operator of shore excursions. There are pros and cons to both.
Booking shore excursions with the cruise line
- Pro – You know the ship is not going to leave without you. If the ship has to skip the port of call, refunds are easily done onboard your cruise. You know that everyone else on the tour is from your ship, Cost is added to your shipboard account. You may or may not be able to change your shore excursions once on your cruise. Payment can usually be added to your onboard account and paid on the ship. Some will require pre-payment.
- Con – Often more expensive than 3rd party options. Might not offer some of the excursion options a 3rd party operator offers. Cannot book until you make final payment.
Booking shore excursions with a 3rd party vendor – Shore Excursion Group
- Pro – Often less expensive and more options than from the cruise line. The vendors we use all guarantee they will have you back to the ship in time and if they don’t they fly you at their expense to the next port of call. To date we have never had a client miss their ship when on one of the shore excursions from one of our 3rd party operators. Can book at anytime.
- Con – If the ship misses the port of call. most will refund the cost of the trip but we have to request the refund. Not everyone on your tour may be from your ship. May not offer all of the same shore excursions as the cruise line offers. Once you are on your cruise, it is difficult to change or cancel the shore excursion should you change your mind. Payment due at time of booking.
So which should you do. We believe an educated consumer is the smartest. So look at the options the cruise line offers and the options would 3rd party supplier, Shore Excursion Group offers. Look at the prices when they excursion looks to be the same. Figure out what you want to do on your time in port and book accordingly. Remember Shore Excursion Group guarantees to have you back to your ship in time or they pay to get you to the next port of call and in all of the years we have worked with them we have never had a client miss their ship.
To check out your shore excursion options with the Shore Excursion Group just click on the banner below. You can book shore excursions for yourself or anyone in your group regardless of whether they are interliners or not.