Selecting an excursion that will work for you

Yet another thing that you must educate yourself about when first starting to cruise is how to select the right excursion. These side trips vary widely in exertion and focus.  It is really important to critically evaluate the specifics associated with the excursions you are interested in taking. Reading the marketing blurb is a start, but take the time to read up about your destination from another source. The more you know, the more educated a choice you will be able to make.

Cruise lines strongly encourage you to book excursions through them.  There are definite benefits to that including transportation for excursions picks you up and drops you off at the ship (or in the terminal). Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that if an excursion you book through the cruise line runs late or breaks down, the ship will not leave port without you!

I remember one excursion years ago. My husband and I decided a bike tour in St. Lucia would be fun.  It was described as moderate exertion through "gentle rolling hills".  We rode our bikes a few times a week and felt confident this would work for us.  The reality was that inclines were well beyond gentle or rolling. One guest had an asthmatic episode and ended up on the bus for the remainder of the trek. provides some guidance on selecting excursions so you can be prepared to have a better time,


Does anyone else have a lesson learned taking port excursions?

Tags: excursion selection

5 Answers

Sometimes it is better to wait until you are on board to book your excursion. For example, we hope to book the sunset/champagne catamaran tour in Puerto Vallarta, but if the forecast is drizzle we would not enjoy it. Right now it is looking good and if there any spots left we will book it. The problem with waiting is, it may be sold out... so be flexible. Often the weather is not a factor and booking before you go can ensure a spot on the tour.

There was an excursion I wanted to book for our upcoming cruise. Because of Hurricane Matthew that part of our itinerary has changed, so I'm glad I didn't book it.

We booked a drift snorkel on Tahiti, it was described as a gentle drift between the reef. Well in truth it was a demanding swim where you had to pay attention or,you would be scraping yourself up pretty bad. In our guides defense he did advise the surf was up a little, and that if you got in trouble he could not come back for you until the swim was over and he could get back to the start. Half the group turned around and went back to the beach.

One thing I always stress in my group or with myself is to realize your own limitations.

Yeah, there is something to be said about waiting until you are on board to book an excursion. Of course, you take the chance that it is overbooked. This has happened to me only once. One excursion was cancelled on me & when i went to substitute another, all the others were booked solid. Eventually I was able to find an excursion but it was hit or miss right up until the day of the excursion when there was a cancellation.

We have booked certain excursions before the cruise departs, based on where it is. Any open days in port we play it by ear.


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