Do you book your excursions prior to your cruise or while on your cruise?

Some passengers do not want to spend any time preparing for a cruise.  They wait til they are on board to book excursions.  Some just wing it when they get off in a port and find a taxi cab or public transportation.  Others are happy to stay on board in ports. They just want to relax.  How much preparation do you do ahead of time?  

Tags: pre-book excursions independent sightseeing using local cab drivers stay onboard in ports

17 Answers

Usually, I will book the ship's excursions in advance. I will not generally look for excursions from an outside source -- I like the guarantees involved with the ship's excursions.

Most of the time, though, I am happy just chillin' out in the port area.

I book all of my excursions in advance, through my cruise company. It gives me the security to know that if something happens with the excursion, such as returning late I know I won't be left by the ship because they're in contact with their excursions. Also I know Im getting to go on my first choice excursion and it won't be sold out. The amount of security and guarantees you get booking through the cruise line is worth it to me.

I start looking at the excursions at each port probably 12 months in advance. I like to book with the cruise line, but they don't help themselves with the exorbitant prices. They use the security angle of getting back to the ship to keep passengers booking with them, when competitors can sometimes offer rates at 40-50% less. That is why we are quite happy at most ports to simply walk off the ship and mooch around the town for a few hours. We don't usually stay in town for lunch as we get back to the ship, have a nice buffet and then chill out with a cool beer/cocktail

Most of the time I book cruises only a month or two out. I typically book excursions a day or two before the port. The only time I book far in advance is if it is a limited amount of guest like the helicopter to a glacier and then dog sled ride in Alaska.

Now on that we have already visited so many of the more common ports,we are booking fewer shore excursions.

Almost always we try booking the shore excursions just as soon as they become available. We always use the cruise line's packages unless we simply take the shuttle into town. Having already visited many of the areas we port at on most voyages anymore it does give us the opportunity to take advantage of other excursion options and see different things.

I hate spending my time standing on lines while on a cruise so I book all my excursions ahead of time. I also don't want to be disappointed if the excursion sells out. One time on Carnival, the staff took away one of our excursions because others had none and we had one in every port. Boy was I upset! If the passengers wanted the excursions so much they should have booked early as I did.

Most of the time I book shore excursions in advance.

I have always booked via the cruise line, because of the guarantee they offer. If the itinerary changes then they refund your money. But with that also being said, we are going to Bermuda and are looking for a Golf excursion and I don't see one offered on the Carnival website. So I may have to look at an outside source for that one. Nervous

It is nice when the cruise line tells you that the tour is limited. I book those first.


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