Before you set off on your cruise, it is important to check with your tour operator and ask them about their shore excursion procedures. The last thing you want to do is travel half way around the world and not even see where you have been! There are some key points to be aware of when it comes to cruise ship shore excursions: read on to arm yourself with the knowledge…
Cruise Ship Shore Excursion Basics
- Shore excursions are very rarely included in the normal cruise fare and you will normally have to book them beforehand.
- Have a look at the cruise itinerary select where you want to go and have a look around, and book either before you leave or straight away after boarding the ship.
- Shore excursions do vary in price, costing as little as $20 and as much as more than $100. The more expensive excursions will generally be led by the cruise ship’s guide and may take in things you don’t want to do. Always check the program beforehand.
- Traveling on your own can be a great way to find out more about your destination, but be aware that you may not be covered by the ship’s insurance if you leave the group behind. Check the company policy to make sure.
- The cruise director or physician are great to ask about local food and drink: what’s hot, what’s not and what can make your tummy rot. In some places, it is best to avoid water, so if you are going solo, always check first.
- Ship staff can point you in the right direction for a bargain. Just be nice and friendly to them and you could learn some great insider tips for the locality.
- Always carry identification with you when on a shore excursion, including something with the name of your ship and where it has docked. It’s much easier to show it to a non-English speaking local who is trying to help when you are lost, than trying to unsuccessfully converse with them.
- It is fairly standard practice for guides to give you a badge which helps them identify you easily. The trouble with these is that thieves and shopkeepers will also easily identify you as a tourist, so if you do go off on your own, we would suggest being very careful.
- Only take the amount of cash that you think you will spend. Leave any unnecessary valuables safe on the ship.