Shore Excursions - Never Have Done it Before.

We are practically first time cruisers and will be sailing aboard the Crystal Symphony up the Chilean coast in February. We will have 3 ports of call en route and we need to decide on shore excursions. All three ports seem to connect to rather smallish sized towns. We are very experienced independent travelers and would be most comfortable hiring a local guide/taxi once we go ashore, rather than the very expensive and somewhat restrictive nature of the planned shore excursion options. However, since we are picturing 800 passengers suddenly flooding these small towns, we imagine independent tour operators will also be equally expensive and may also be attracting rip off artists to take advantage of the flood of tourists.

So.....in short is it practical to try to arrange your own shore excursions or should we stick to only those offered by the cruise lines?

Thanks!

Robert

Tags: South America

17 Answers

Some tour providers such as Viator will guarantee that you will be back to the ship by departure. If you miss the departure they will get you to the next port to meet the ship. Cannot say for certain that they make this guarantee for all tours but we have seen this on many of their tours.

Thanks so much!!

Thanks to all of you for your excellent input. What a great community!

After studying it more closely for our ports of call, the Viatours seem to be very comparable to the cruise sponsored shore excursions in both duration and things to see. They seem to move in much smaller groups and would imagine that they will navigate around the coach caravans coming from the ship.

And....the best part, they seem to be half the price with guaranteed return to the ship on time. Viatours also has a flawless reputation on a worldwide basis.

We will also probably do our own things in some ports.

Thanks again for all your guidance!

We have used Viatours a number of times and have never been disappointed.

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