DVCruise
Contributor Level: Captain

Cost of Excursions

Do you factor in the cost of excursions when planning a cruise and if so, what do you budget per port?

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17 Answers

noname111
Contributor Level: Captain

We have a general idea of what excursions will cost so that is always a "known" entity. What we decide upon as the departure date approaches is whether to do a private tour or book through the cruise line. In addition to excursions, the costs associated with spa time, specialty restaurants, and Sanctuary visits should all be considered along with specialty coffee (card or upgrade), laundry, and tips.

On a related note...

With the trend toward nickel and diming people once onboard, people need to be aware of these and other additional costs (e.g., alcohol, soft drinks, water, onboard purchases, shows) before boarding.  If they do not at least recognize there are more expenses incurred while on their cruise, many will end up disillusioned with the entire cruise experience when they get their statement on the next to last day. They will be one-and-done cruisers.

Cruise lines must begin striking a balance between keeping the base cost of a cruise low versus hiking up the price and keeping the nickel/diming to a reasonable level. The outcome of not doing this will be the steady flow of first time cruisers will slow down to a trickle as people decide to not take another cruise and share why on social media.  Tis a double-edged sword.

DVCruise
Contributor Level: Captain

Agree totally with your comments. Beverages being the most confusing. It's fair to state that on Princess, you have "free" access to coffee, iced or hot tea, lemonade, and regular water at several locations on the ship. (Is that true on other lines?)

akaGrandmaJo
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

Carnival has those same beverages on the Lido deck, as well as hot chocolate.  Orange, apple, and a mixed fruit juice are available at breakfast.  Some ships also have a breakfast buffet at the Taste Bar or other location with beverages available. 

As for excursions, we pay off our cruise, hotel, transportation, gratuities, and then see what is left in the budget. 

 

DVCruise
Contributor Level: Captain

Good advice ... I have paid the above and am debating what and where I want to go in ports on my 24 day cruise.  It adds up fast ... Because I want to continue to book additional cruises, it's a tricky balance of how much to spend at port.  I always get off the ship but vary on whether I book an excursion.

The excursions can be costly so I won't do one at every port.  I also will book privately to assist with the cost.  For my cruise in November we are stopping at 4 ports but am only planning on doing 1or 2 excursions.  I truly enjoy being on the ship and walking around the local port area so if I can't afford the excursions I'm not disappointed. 

BonMike
Contributor Level: Captain

We have a budget to work with. We fly from western Canada a couple of days ahead and stay for a week or so post cruise, so our total budget includes the flights, hotels, car rentals, meals while on the land vacation, cruise, gratuities, and then the excursions. The excursions are booked last and we always find things we want to do in the ports. If we want to do a pricier excursion in one port, we will book a cheaper one in another or just find a beach to go to and enjoy relaxing for the day.

glomarrone
Contributor Level: Admiral

We book most of our excursions through the ship. After we pay in full for our cruise,  I book the shore excursions slowly a few at a time so they don't get changed all on one month's credit card. If we have been to a port, we may just do something independently depending on the safety of the port.

AuntPinkie
Contributor Level: Captain

We usually check out the excursions before we sail and get a general idea of possible costs, and budget accordingly  We rarely book before we are on the ship because we know the weather might be a factor in the enjoyment of an excursion.   For example: we plan to go on the sunset/champagne catamaran in Puerto Vallarta on our up-coming cruise.  I am sure it will sail even in a drizzle, but I don't think I'd enjoy it as much... so we will wait until we are on the ship and book it then, hoping there are still available slots.

Johngold
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

On the Princess cruise we have taken, we pre booked our excursions based on our criteria that was previously discussed. When we went on the sites we printed off everything and read each option. For example in Columbia we had chosen a real secure tour because of the area we were in. In Hawaii, we had a free for all and golf. So each port and each cruise has it's own. Research is the key. On NCL in Bermuda. Free for all again. It is a safe port.

DVCruise
Contributor Level: Captain

I was surprised to see that Princess now allows you to reserve excursions but no longer have to prepay.  They also give a 110% price guarantee which I've never used.  

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