View Full Version : best way to find non-Crystal excursions?

December 14th, 2004, 01:58 PM
I'm thinking of checking out alternative excursions to those offered by Crystal, like shark diving in Bora Bora. Anyone know of a good way to go about gathering that kind of information in one place?

December 14th, 2004, 02:48 PM
Think you would need to go to each individual port online and check out drivers, excursions, etc, We did that for Athens and Naples and came up with good english speaking drivers in each area. We were able to specify where we wanted to go. Another way is to get off the ship and negotaite with whoever is there. This can be chancy- language barrieers, etc. plus you need to know what you want to see. A 3rd alternative is to talk to the concierge aboard ship to see what they might suggest- we have used them for restaurants asore but not excursions.

December 14th, 2004, 05:35 PM
You also can scan and/or post on the Ports of Call message boards for the various port stops on the cruise. Alternative tour options often are discussed there.

If you do decide to book alternative tours, be careful to check out the operators carefully. Also, make sure that you have arranged to get back to the ship before she sails. (If you are on a Crystal tour, they will hold the ship until the tour returns if it is late. But if you are on a non-Crystal tour, they may not wait.)

December 17th, 2004, 04:52 PM
We are going to be in Athens--starting the cruise there in October. How did you get a contact for a driver and guide for the port?

December 17th, 2004, 05:32 PM
Go on the cruise critic board to Ports of Call section and go into Europe. There are always people writing about the various ports. Start a thread and say you are interested in a driver/guide for Athens. You might also email the hotel concierage and ask for a recommendation. Will you be there on a Crystal pre-cruise? The Crystal person assigned to the pre-cruise group will also have recommendations.

December 17th, 2004, 05:47 PM
I have often booked web advertised excursions on the internet based on well reseached information found on cruisecritic - but I had to look at other ships as Crystal pax do not contribute their adventures and experiences like other cruise folks do.....'cuz they are usually happy with Crystal organized excursions or just hire a limo.

Also I have enough experience travelling to know when and where you can "trust" locals - so I am very cautious just hiring someone dockside spontaneously to take me to where the Crystal pax are going...but many times this has worked and I have had super experiences like in Easter Island when a local teacher took me all around the place for half the price of a tour in her own car..and I really like paying a local person the money instead of the LINE which is making a huge profit off the shore excusions...

Be well educated before trying this...and there are many ports I would never trust people who respect us Americans these days......but travel is supposed to be educational, right? And don't forget to ask the crew where they like to go. The experienced crew know a great deal more and first time pax.