Review by pwhubbell1

Teen and tween loved it. It was OK for me.

In response to review, CrusinTim says ...

Sorry you missed your excursion and lost the money you paid. Have you tried to contact the excursion company to see if you can get a refund since it wasn't your fault? I have been preaching for years of the issues one could face when it comes to booking 3rd party excursions, not to mention missing the ship completely if your private excursion returns to the pier late. And it seems all the lines I have sailed do what you state and that is to give preferential treatment to those that have booked excursions through the cruise line. Good luck on getting your money back. I hope the excursion company backs you.

Tags: Carnival Magic Carnival Cruise Lines Caribbean - Western

10 Answers

My first cruise I booked my excursions through carnival. We didn't dock at Jamaica or Grand Cayman and the refunded all our money plus port charges and taxes. I'm going in 2 weeks and this time in Cozumel I book Mr. Sanchos and I hope it goes well. Not a Carnival excursions.

If you buy your excursions from the cruise line, the cruise line will back them - refund money if you cannot make it due to fault of the ship (missing port, etc) and will do their best to ensure you get off the ship in time to make the excursion. If you buy it from a shore-side company, then the cruise line has no monetary motivation to expedite you off the ship.

(Also, if you are late returning to the pier from an excursion, if you bought from the line, the ship will probably still be there. If you bought from shore-side, the ship will probably be gone.)

As far as sailing during spring break, you are a brave person and a dedicated parent. Not a time I would have picked (but then again, I am not tied to a school schedule).

Omg I did not sail during spring break! Read the review carefully people. Lol I just said it had that party atmosphere! We went mid July and it was ok. The only thing I really had s problem with was missing our excursion brcause carnival wouldn't let us disembark early enough. The line was 45 minutes long! Fricken circus. I will not ever do a cruise that large again. Maybe a few hundred passengers max.

And no, Shore Excursions Group did NOT refund us any money. Don't use them. I even bought the excursion protection plan!! I called their emergency numbers, nothing helped! Now I know not to book 3rd party, but it doesn't matter, I won't be cruising on a large ship again.

Just wondering, did you book the excursion using a credit or debit card? If so, maybe you can contact the bank and have them reverse the charge!

Thank you cruisintim and Pocahontas 2! I appreciate your input! I'll check into the credit card and definetly a small cruise is more my preference now.

Sorry for the misunderstanding of your timeline -- but then again, it is always spring break on CarnivalBig Smile

If you paid via credit card, you may be able to contest the charges. I wouldn't hold out too much hope in dealing with the company, though. Good luck!

We went on a Spring Break cruise aboard Carnival and experienced some of the things you mentioned. Certainly there were delays disembarking in Cozumel. Three times we've gotten off a ship there and it's occasionally somewhat stressful getting to your shore excursion and back to the ship on time whether you've booked it independently or through the cruise line. As for reimbursement, good luck. Be sure to read your cruise contract completely regardless of booking shore excursions independently or through Carnival. We've done both. In the video you'll see our excursion to Mr. Sancho's which we booked independently. No problems and the food was better than expected.

Thanks for your review. Sorry about the missed shore excursion.

You offer key advice here and it is important for newer cruisers to carefully consider the following, "If you book an excursion through a 3rd party, you're screwed! No gaurentee, no refund, no waiting for you! Carnival catered to their shore excursion guests, the rest of us felt like 3rd class passengers."

You are absolutely correct. Carnival has no authority or responsibility to get you to a meeting point on an excursion that you did not book through their vendors. They have specific contractual obligations to those vendors and those vendors have responsibilities to Carnival, including getting passengers back to the ship on time.

Normally, we book excursions through the cruise line but we have tried other options as well. Generally speaking, we find the quality of everything relating to a cruise line-related excursion to be higher. In one close call, we were on a tour of Barcelona. The bus broke down at our last stop. I felt my BP rising until I remembered that we were on a cruise line-affiliated excursion. The ship was waiting and ready for us. We were the last passengers to board but we had absolutely no wait and no problem going through registration. Lesson learned

I have sailed on both the Oasis and the Allure. Just because the ship is large and has more passengers sailing does not automatically mean delays on disembarkation. In the case of these two ships, they have multiple gangways in operation and an escalator in use. I found both ships to be excellent in moving passengers off the ship.

I only book excursions through the cruiseline, I may pay more but I have never missed an excursion. I don't need that worry on vacation. Everyone is different, though, so there is no one right answer for everyone. I hope that your next cruise goes smoother for you.


* is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Back to Top