Shore excursions – tours and activities in the ports of call – are a highlight of any cruise. Shore excursions are just as varied as cruise itineraries. For example, you can go flightseeing in Alaska, tour the great art galleries of Florence, or go snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef.
If you’re not sailing on a luxury line that includes excursions in your cruise fare, you’ll pay a per-person fee for each shore excursion. So, it’s important to choose excursions you’ll love. Here are a few tips for selecting the best shore excursions for you.
Do some research on the ports of call and the excursions that are available in each. Being well-informed about the places you’ll visit is the first step toward making good shore excursion choices. Then, look at the excursion options in each port; you’ll find descriptions on your cruise line’s website.
Read the shore excursion descriptions carefully. Each description explains how long the excursion will last, how much physical activity it involves, the type of transportation used, whether or not snacks and beverages are provided, and much more. Read this information thoroughly so you won’t be surprised.
Be realistic about activity levels – and attention spans. Selecting an excursion that’s beyond your physical abilities is a recipe for frustration. If an excursion requires a certain level of physical ability – such as climbing stairs or walking over uneven ground – the description will say so. Pay attention to excursion length, as well. If you think that you or one of your companions might grow tired or bored on a long excursion, look for a shorter option.
If you have a must-do shore excursion in mind, book it early. It’s often possible to book shore excursions in advance of your cruise. Popular excursions may be completely booked even before the ship sails, especially if capacity is limited. Early booking will help you avoid disappointment.
Finally, remember that shore excursions are not mandatory. You can stay on the ship while it’s in port: in fact, you might enjoy a break from touring. Spending a day on board while most passengers are onshore provides a chance to explore the ship and its amenities. A port day is often a good time to have a spa treatment, read a book by the pool, work out with a trainer, or enjoy lunch in an alternative restaurant.
For more shore excursion information and tips, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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