Booking an Excursion outside of the cruise line

Has anyone booked an Excursion For an upcoming Cruise on a website that is not related to the cruise line?

If so did it work out well or were there any issues?

I'm considering booking an Excursion on TripAdvisor.

Tags: Mexico Puerto Vallarta

17 Answers

Yes. If we're doing an excursion, we typically book directly with a local company versus the cruise line or a 3rd party company. The only issue we had was in Grand Cayman on a tour booked through Viator; the tour for the private group was cancelled but they offered to include us in the group they were doing for the cruise ship for $90 more Nervous. Other than that, no issues, we check to make sure the company is reputable with good reviews, and that we're scheduled to be back an hour or more before the ship's scheduled departure time.

Thank you I appreciate your comments... the Excursion in question is a show and the cruise website only has one time of day available and we prefer a later time which is available on TripAdvisor.

This is another subject often brought up---I have to quote glomarrone here: "I'm sure that you will love cruising. As for independent shore excursions, I never do them. I like the peace of mind using the ones offered by the cruise lines. I know that I pay for that peace of mind. I'm sure that others on this site can advise you. Lots of passengers successfully do arrange their own tours. Good luck arranging yours." We completely agree. One of the few times I considered going the independent route was at Normandy on HAL. Their excursions didn't offer Omaha Beach, just Utah. The action was at Omaha, besides,I wanted a more comprehensive tour. On roll call they were putting those together with an independent. Since my wife didn't want to spend the entire day doing war stuff like I did I represented a party of one. They wanted a party of two but said get together with them on the ship they might make it work. I did, they said no can do, kiss off. I was in the lurch, going to miss my entire visit to Normandy. Fortunately, HAL came to our rescue, put together a last minute excursion with everything I wanted. It was great and reasonable. I use to be in the flying game, I know that when an air taxi contracts with a cruise line for excursions, higher standards are employed, like insurance. A lot of guests ridicule the possibility that you may be left behind if your independent gets you back to the vessel late and you will get left behind. Hey, it is no joke, I've seen situations where the independents had to find their way to the next port, on their own dime. Now, having espoused all that, I do have long time cruising friends that go independent all the time and swear by it. Not me.

Thanks Kennicott... those reservations are what prompted my question.

There is a dinner show in Puerto Vallarta called Rhythm of the Night... as the name implies it's supposed to be at night... but on the Carnival website during our Cruise date the only available show is at 3 p.m.... that's why I considered going with another site that offered the 7 p.m. show.

My daughter and her family went to Rhythm of the Night when they were staying in PV during Spring Break, and they loved it!

As for booking king excursions outside of the cruiseline choices, we booked on through this site, using ShoreFox. They guaranteed us that they would get us back to the terminal in plenty of time, or they would pay to get the guests to the next port. We felt confident, biked the excursion and had a fantastic day.

Thank you...I'll check that site out.


For some reason ShoreFox isnt offering Rythym of the night.

Usually we will book an excursion through the cruise lines but we have booked through a trip adviser site that did provide a guarantee to get you back to the ship on time. However the one thing that no one but the cruise line will agree to is to refund you the cost of an excursion in the event of an itinerary change. So if due to storm or ship issues or seas too rough for the tenders you cannot get to port the ship will refund the excursion whereas private companies generally do not.

That is good to know thanks I appreciate it

I have only used, associated with United airlines for my bookings. I have been pleased with not be cattle-herded and having a wider variety of excursions to choose from. One we particularly like in Cozumel, a cooking school on the beach, said that Carnival would not negotiate with their price and so don't offer this wonderful experience that we have been back to two years in a row. So it does depend on who you go through as to the excursions you see to choose from. And our guides were always very conscious of the time we had to get back, so that we could relax and enjoy the tour.


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