Cruising excursions or tours are what you do when you’re on a cruise. Because most cruise ships stop at different destinations and ports, the majority of the passengers disembark to enjoy a half or full day seeing the sights that are on offer. Now that I’m an experienced cruiser and have tried all forms of sightseeing whilst in port, I would like to propose the question “cruising excursion tours – are they worth it”?
For most of us the beauty of cruising is that you don’t really need to do anything. Everything is more or less arranged for you, from meals to entertainment. It is the ultimate “do nothing” and “don’t lift a finger” type of holiday. You can even let the cruise ship organise your onshore excursions or tours and all you need to do is roll out of bed and jump aboard a boat or bus to do the tour. It is all arranged and you don’t need to do a thing. You don’t even have to take photos if you don’t want to!
When it comes to selecting cruising excursion tours we discovered that cruise line onshore excursions organised by the cruise lines are rather expensive. We’re talking about an average of $100 per person for maybe a 3 to 4 hour tour, usually aboard a big coach with a driver and tour guide. Some of the excursions do include extras like lunch and admission to museums, etc.
We did however experience a particularly remarkable cruise excursion in Montenegro, that included a mini bus tour to a seaside resort town and a visit to a mountain farm village where we drank traditional wine and ate locally produced food. We found this tour to be far superior to the other tour company we used. But the question still begs are these tours really worth the big price tag?
Prior to our last cruise, we heard about a company called Cruising Excursions who are in direct competition with the cruise line onshore excursions. They are marginally cheaper and make the promise of taking you on the same guided tours as the cruise lines and returning you back to your cruise ship on time. We decided to give this company a go on our last cruise and booked several onshore excursions with them.
Although we saved money on our cruising excursion tours we found them to be inferior compared to the cruise line excursion we went on. On one occasion our tour was cancelled and we were bumped on to another tour, whilst our friends we were travelling with, had two excursions cancelled. They were literally left standing at the port without any prior notice.
On our final excursion in Venice we thought we were going on a tour to the three islands of Venice on a guided cruise and tour, only to find out that we were travelling aboard a boat with hundreds of other passengers. For this excursion we were charged almost double of what the cruise was actually worth had we booked it direct.
There is a lot to be said for DIY tours. If you have done your research and know exactly what you’d like to see at each cruise stop and places or attractions you’d like to visit, then this is perfect for you. It’s fairly simple to hire a private driver or taxi from the port who will willingly take you wherever you please. Some of the drivers can even make suggestions on where to go and give you a great free commentary.
Otherwise you can put your walking shoes on, grab a map of the city or town and walk your way around. This works well if you know exactly where you want to go and what you want to see. In some places you can jump on a tuk tuk or pedicab to get around very cheaply. I remember when we did this in Cambodia on one of our cruises.
In a nutshell there are a few alternatives to cruising excursion tours that will save you money compared to the very expensive cruise line tours. On our last cruise we had 10 cruise stops and we only booked 5 cruising excursions. For the remainder we hired a taxi driver, toured by foot or jumped on hop on hop off bus tours. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to spend my money locally rather than giving it to big tour companies.
How do you feel about sightseeing when you’re on holidays? Do you feel that guided tours and excursions are a little expensive?
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset. The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy Shade is a 50 something year old who is married with 2 children who has spent most of her life being a housewife, mother and working as an Accounts Administrator in the public school system. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Her friends would describe her as being a 'have a chat' with an outgoing personality and zest for life. Kathy also has a great love of shopping and is known for her bargain hunting prowess!