Cruise Tours, Independent Tours or You Can’t Leave the Ship Tours

One of the considerations for the cruise ports of call that are stops on any cruise that you take is how you are going to see or enjoy that cruise destination. Here are some tips that will help you. The first step is to ask yourself these questions:

Do you want to get off the ship or stay on and enjoy the food and amenities? You may have this dilemma as there is so much to enjoy on the ship or you might have a fear of leaving the ship in a foreign country either way that’s OK. Stay and enjoy what the ship has to offer you. You don’t have to get off the ship. Do you want to tour attractions? Do you want to take an escorted group tour, private tour or to tour independently on your own? Is shopping on your list of must dos? You may be an independent seasoned traveler who likes to get off the ship and do your own thing, go shopping, walk around the area, grab a taxi or purchase a tour at the dock. Do you like active adventure tours, history and culture, limited walking, or beach time?

Once you know what your likes and dislikes for the ports of call and your level of security then you can pre-book or pre-purchase the tours and have everything set before you go.

Here are some examples of the different types of tours offered:

  • Active adventure tours: ATV 4-wheel tour, 4X4 Tour, Canopying – Zip Line, amusement park, Horseback riding, Golf, Swim with Dolphins, Helicopter – Air Tour, Hiking, Boating, Rafting, Biking
  • Water or Beach: Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Sailing, Kayak, Dinner cruise, Fishing, Swimming and Tanning, Beach Party
  • History and Culture: Museums, City Tours, Shows, Train Ride, Wine and Food Tours, Hop on Hop off Bus, Zoo, Botanical Garden, Palaces, Castles, Cathedrals, Art Galleries,
  • Learning, Classes: Craft or Cooking Classes, History Class, Language Class, Factory Tours
  • Shopping Tours: Manufacture Tours, Markets, Duty Free Shops, Factory Outlets, Arts & Crafts

These are only a short list of the types of tours that are offered at cruise port destinations.

Part of deciding on what you want to do in a port is to research that destination. Then you will know what there is available to see and do.

I have done all three ways of touring at cruise port destinations. My experience with staying on the ship was that it was quiet and not crowded as most of the passengers get off at the ports. I could relax, layout, or exercise and the food was great as always. But for me I felt I had missed out on something important by not being able to experience that destination.

I am split on the other two. If the price is right and there are several things to see that I can’t do on my own, I take the ship tour. You have to remember that I have traveled all over the world for years so independent travel for me is comfortable in a lot of the destinations. There are destinations where it is unsafe to travel on your own and in these instances I would definitely always take the ship tour. There are also places that the organized guided tours give more information or have access to visit and tour places that you as an independent would not have access to.

I choose independent touring when the things I want to see are close to the ship such as shopping along the dock area. There have been places that I have arranged for tours ahead of time for cruise port destinations from private tour companies especially if there is something specific that I am interested in doing that is not offered by the cruise tours.

I suggest that you pre-book you ship tours or at least book them the first day that you are on the ship. Many of the popular ones sell out quickly. In an upcoming blog I will explain how to find and book the tours offered by the cruise lines.

Author: Debbie Gerber
Posted in: Blog, Couple Travel Activity, Cruise, Cruise Port Destination, Travel Health & Safety, Travel Tip

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