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  #1  
Old February 21st, 2012, 10:17 AM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Default Question about excursions?

I am planning our first family cruise for April. (have not had a family vacation in about ten years!) There are 6 of us. Due to my son's special needs, I have been obsessive with pre-planning, ship amenities, accessibility, affordability, etc..... We looked at TONS of cruise options, before deciding on the one we have now booked and paid for. While trying to pre-pay as much as possible, I realized I made a mistake. My sixteen year old had found a specific snorkeling trip she wanted to go on. I THOUGHT it was available from Carnival, and it is not. My question is, is it safe to order excursion tickets from other websites? I believe the excursion is available through ORBITZ. What do we do about transportation to and from the ship? Soooooo much of our lives have to focus on what my son needs... Or what he wants.... I cannot believe I screwed up on something important to one of my other children.
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  #2  
Old February 21st, 2012, 10:21 AM
Hlitner Hlitner is offline
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Not sure we would book excursions through a third party site such as Orbitz, but its very common (and usually fine) to book private excursions over the internet. Most of us will do some "Google" research and book directly with a local excursion provider via the internet. Since you did not post which port we cannot be of much help but would suggest look under the Ports boards and post this question on the board for your particular cruise (under Caribbean there are boards for each island).

Hank
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  #3  
Old February 21st, 2012, 10:30 AM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Red face Thank you

I'm sorry, new to this, and was not sure it mattered.... The cruise is on Carnival Fascination, and the excursion in question is in Nassau. I did not even think to see if the company has it's own web site. (insert embarrassed look here....)
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  #4  
Old February 21st, 2012, 10:31 AM
cb at sea cb at sea is offline
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Yes..it's safe. Reputable tour companies wouldn't be in business long if they made folks miss the ship!

Definitely check the "Port of Call" boards...perhaps you can find a recommendation for the company you plan on using.
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  #5  
Old February 21st, 2012, 10:33 AM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Default Thanks again

I will definitely do that! Very stressful to try and keep 4 kids happy at the same time! LOL
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  #6  
Old February 21st, 2012, 10:42 AM
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paul929207 paul929207 is offline
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If you book a tour privately, check with them on transportation to and from the ship. The private tours we have done, have all picked us up at the ship and returned us there at the end. Also, be sure they realize the time that you MUST be back to the ship. Usually, you have to be on board 30 minutes before sailing.
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  #7  
Old February 21st, 2012, 11:07 AM
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serene56 serene56 is offline
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Not knowing your ports I gave you a link to the whole port of calls boards.

scroll down and read the ones for your ports.

Yes it is a LOT cheaper to do the excursions through indendant companies. BUT I would use one that comes highly recommended through the boards.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=5

many factors-- is the excursion using ship time vs island time. (again it would help if we knew what ports)

remember you must be back on the ship 30 mintues before sailing time. and please allow for transportation back to the ship. Some ports get very crowded.

With all that being said-- in 15 cruises I have only used the cruiselines excursions twice and both times it was because it was an all day type of trip
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Last edited by serene56; February 21st, 2012 at 11:11 AM.
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  #8  
Old February 21st, 2012, 01:05 PM
johneeo johneeo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWKCTPBLRE View Post
I cannot believe I screwed up on something important to one of my other children.
Geeez!

Relax. You have not screwed up anything, just opened your options.

Best suggestion was to go to the Port of Call board. See what others have done regarding any specific tours on that island.

I will bet dollars to donuts you will find equal or better doing the reservations yourself.
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  #9  
Old February 21st, 2012, 03:18 PM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Default LOL thanks, I did that!

I found lots of good suggestions, and found the trip she is looking for. I just feel bad for not verifying the trip FIRST. SIIIGGGHHH..... My older kids have to give up a lot because of their brother's medical issues, and they have just gotten used to that, and adjusted. I am trying really hard to make this vacation wonderful for all of them. (if I didn't mention it, first family vacation in close to ten years!) lol
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  #10  
Old February 21st, 2012, 03:49 PM
johneeo johneeo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWKCTPBLRE View Post
I am trying really hard to make this vacation wonderful for all of them.
OK. You booked the ship. Do not know which one or what islands.

But, now it is time for the kids to start doing some research. Ship activities and excursions. Check them out. Check out the Port of Call threads. See if the independent recommended excursions have websites, etc etc.

Maybe it is time for you to take a break, let the kids find the interesting stuff, and discuss with the whole family.

No matter what ship, what islands, what excursions, they are secondary to having the family together on such a great trip.
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  #11  
Old February 21st, 2012, 04:51 PM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Default Thank you....

I'm sorry.... April, Fascination, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. Got the cabana for HMC. VERY happy about that, only 2 left when I reserved it!
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  #12  
Old February 21st, 2012, 05:59 PM
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paul929207 paul929207 is offline
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We took our Grandkids on a cruise last summer and they loved HMC. They were 12 & 10 at the time
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  #13  
Old February 21st, 2012, 07:50 PM
bgjj04 bgjj04 is offline
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One piece of advice that's always floating around these boards is if you are late returning from a private excursion, the ship will not wait.

However, if you are on an excursion booked through the ship, the ship will wait.

Like others have said, local companies are aware of departure times, so hopefully you'll have no issues. But it's worth mentioning for you to weigh in your risk/benefit analysis.
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  #14  
Old February 21st, 2012, 09:12 PM
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serene56 serene56 is offline
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Nassau from 7am til 10pm. Awesome day.

even the half moon cay from 8 til 6- wow.
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  #15  
Old February 25th, 2012, 09:51 AM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Default I think we will do the shark thing....

We are in Nassau late, so if we go in the morning I will feel comfortable about not missing the ship.
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  #16  
Old February 25th, 2012, 09:56 PM
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Laughing Angel Laughing Angel is offline
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LWKCTPBLRE, you are going to have an AWESOME time--breathe deep and relax!

The biggest problem you'll have is discovering so many options. In a lot of cases, booking off the ship will be easier, faster and less expensive for your family. Even if you don't have any specific questions about an excursion, it doesn't hurt to ask about other cruiser's travel experiences. It sounds like you are well on your way.

Have fun!

PS: Don't beat yourself up or be embarrassed about any questions you may have. This site is a wealth of information, and the people here are terrific. One of the great things about learning all of this stuff during your first cruise is that you will be experienced and savvy for the next one--and if you're anything like me, there will DEFINITELY be a next one!
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  #17  
Old February 26th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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paul929207 paul929207 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWKCTPBLRE View Post
We are in Nassau late, so if we go in the morning I will feel comfortable about not missing the ship.
While it is always important to make a private tout guide aware of the time the ship is sailing and keep an I on the time, we have taken private tours on every continent, except Antarctica, and never had a problem
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  #18  
Old February 26th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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trish1c trish1c is offline
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You can do some research about the private company:

Check to see if they have a website.

Check the offical tourism board for the port / country.

Check other travel sites -- Fodors, tripadvisor etc.

See what the ports of call boards here say about them.

Go with your gut. If you don't feel comfortable book with a competitor.

The good providers know the power of CC & the internet. We booked with a provider everybody here on CC loves but had an awful time. The van got stuck in the mud, the driver knew nothing about the island. . . just really bad. It wasn't a lot of money so we cut the tour short & went back to the ship. When we arrived home I bad mouthed the company here on CC. The owners took the initiative to figure out who I was & refunded my money no questions asked with a lovely letter of apology. I was blown away.

So don't fret. You will find the perfect tour for your daughter. Your son will be safe. You will get to relax.
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  #19  
Old March 2nd, 2012, 12:19 AM
LWKCTPBLRE LWKCTPBLRE is offline
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Default Thanks everyone...

Trish, I'm really hoping for that few minutes of peace and quiet!

Last edited by LWKCTPBLRE; March 2nd, 2012 at 12:19 AM.
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  #20  
Old March 2nd, 2012, 01:15 AM
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Cruisin' Chick Cruisin' Chick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johneeo View Post
OK. You booked the ship. Do not know which one or what islands.

But, now it is time for the kids to start doing some research. Ship activities and excursions. Check them out. Check out the Port of Call threads. See if the independent recommended excursions have websites, etc etc.

Maybe it is time for you to take a break, let the kids find the interesting stuff, and discuss with the whole family.

No matter what ship, what islands, what excursions, they are secondary to having the family together on such a great trip.
For our last cruise, which was a repeat of our previous cruise, I gave my daughter the brochures (I had gone on the ports' websites and had these mailed to me) and post its, and let her decide which sites we were going to see. We had already decided not to do any excursions.

One other point that I didn't see when it comes to using independent companies is to make sure you won't be charged if your ship doesn't make that port. Many will automatically reverse any charges, but every once in a while there's a company that won't or charge you a fee to cancel.
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