Am I crazy not to book any shore excursions?

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#1
11 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
My family and I will be on the Constellation 2/19. We have never cruised during school vacation and now I'm in a panic that all the good excursions will be booked. Can I wait until we get on the ship or is it a MUST that I book excursions now?
#2
Madison,OH
179 Posts
Joined May 2002
I always feel better knowing that I have the excursion booked before getting on ship. Sometimes excursions and times fill up and I don't want to be disappointed. It works for me.

Happy sailing!!
#3
Fridley, MN USA
89 Posts
Joined May 2000
We have been on the Century, Mercury and Summit and again in 3 weeks the Century and have booked our excursions. Doing so in advance does prevent disappointment. I would book in advance - another thing off your mind too!!
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<BR>till our Century sailing<BR>
#4
1,471 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
It depends on where we are going and if there is an excursion we really really want. We usually do not do many excursions on Caribbean cruises, but booked well in advance when we did Alaska and Canada, which we considering more touring then relaxing cruises. We were glad we did so on these particular routes because the excursions did fill up fast.
#5
Louisiana, USA
1,056 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
We also waited, as we did not know how our son would respond to the trip. Once we got on board and saw how well he did, we tried to book excursions. Alas, all was not well! Everything we wanted to do was full, with a full waiting list as well. So if you must have a certain excursion, book it now!
Donna
#6
Colorado
3,639 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by hopefromboston
My family and I will be on the Constellation 2/19. We have never cruised during school vacation and now I'm in a panic that all the good excursions will be booked. Can I wait until we get on the ship or is it a MUST that I book excursions now?
If school breaks have really ramped up by then, you've picked a time when excursion bookings will be somewhat heavier than usual. As others have noted, you could get locked out. That said, isn't 2/19 still pretty early for school vacations? I would have thought you'd have gotten in ahead of most of them.

Perhaps more important is how you spend your time. Rather than watching the tube one or two evenings before you leave, you can look through the many possibilities (lots of help available in the "destinations" area of this board) and see if you can come to an agreement on things you'll both/all like in advance. Once you've done that, just go ahead and book them to be sure you will be able to do what you prefer. It's better than fussing over it in a hurry once you're already on the water. There's so many nicer ways to spend your time once you're already on vacation than reading about and arguing over how you'll be taking your vacation! I book (either ship or private) excursions ahead of time for that reason alone.
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#7
Vienna, WV
4,565 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Hi Hope,

If there are ship excursions that you would really like to do, book them now. You can cancel later (please do so as soon as you know for sure).

What is your itinerary? At a lot of ports of call, it is easier, cheaper, and a lot more fun to book your own. For example, in St. Thomas, the first time we went, we used a ship excursion to go to St. John and spent as much time on the logistics of the trip as we did at the destination. Plus, it was crowded and more expensive than doing our own thing. The last two times, we had a much better time through our own plan. Your post suggests you have cruised before so perhaps, like many of us, you might now be more comfortable making your own arrangements. Check under ports of call and you will get all the information you need.

Have fun,

OOOEEE Bob and Phyl
#8
Ellenton,FL
3,634 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We find it much better to wait, depending on the cruise. In St.Thomas just getting a cab to Meagens Bay is much easier and cheaper than the excursions. There are always shuttles to bring you back and your time table is your own.Sting Ray city is another example, the ship excursions are so large and crowded and expensive you can get a tour right at the dock, smaller boat 12 to 14 people also cheaper.Beaches in Cozumel and St.Martin, same story.Depends on what you want but this works for us.
#9
Raleigh, N.C.
11,431 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
On our first few Caribbean cruises, we booked all our excursions through the cruise lines. Now, we hardly ever do. Be sure to check out the Ports of Call board for all the ports you'll be going to. The posts there will be helpful in letting you know the types of excursions you can book on your own and other activities you can do on your own.
#10
Calabasas, CA, USA
11,591 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
I now always book ahead of time...
The drawback is that you pay now as well...
The benefit is you don't get shut out and you don't have to deal with it later...

The other thing I've learned is that it's not "You've bought it, you're stuck with it"...If done with ample time, you can cancel or change...and recieve credit if appropriate...

On the Millie in Europe, we actually changed a prebooked excursion in Livorno about a half an hour before the excursion was to leave...NO Problem!...and our ship account was credited with the difference between what we originally pre-booked and the lesser cost excursion we switched to...So, it's kind of like buying a little insurance...
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#11
11 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Thanks for all the feed back. We have cruised several times in the past but never during President's Week (2/19) school vacation. We never had a problem waiting to book our excursions on the ship on any weeks around that time. My oldest child is now in middle school and I didn't feel I should pull him out for vacation during school. There is around a $2000. difference sailing on this particular week and the quad balcony cabins go fast. We typically don't use the ships excursions to see a port, I'm too much of a bargain hunter for that, but I do like to do a least one of the ships tours just to be with a group of people from our ship. We are sailing on the Constellation(Southern Carribbean) which I chose more for the cruise line than the itinerary-seems like some of the ports are not that great. Anyway, to make this short I booked 2 tours this morning, The Jolly Roger in Antigua, and the 4x4 Safari and Snorkel in Barbados. We will do St Thomas on our own, which we did last year, and play it by ear for Grenada and Casa De Campo, DR. Yes, I do feel much better having this all set, now I just have to pull out the cruise clothes and pray they fit.
#13
809 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Hope, too bad you are not with us, we are on the Millie that week. Canderson, the NY metro area, Massachusetts and Michigan have the week off that week. This will be our 12th cruise that week. In the past, the ships have been totally booked. This year, I see that there are plenty of empty cabins according to the Celebrity site, so it may not be as bad, but in the past certain shore excursions have booked up, not to mention the long lines at the shore excursion desk. WHen we went with both our sons, it was always better and cheaper to do our own thing. This year, for the second year, we have only one, as the other is in college. We booked the El Yunque rain forest in San Juan. It was only $30 pp, and I remember paying more than that last time we went. Our friends who are traveling with us wanted to do that.
Did someone on these boards say that the Countryside Tour went to see a place where they do cock fights in DR? I remember reading that, but couldn't find the post again. They obviously will not put that in the description in the guide, but the description there is only 1 sentence. Is there someone who could let me know? My son want to see that.
#14
downingtown, pa, usa
895 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Don't worry if you don't book excursions. There are always plenty of cabs or vans at the ports to give you the same tour and for much cheaper prices.
#15
Colorado
3,639 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Robinsilver
Canderson, the NY metro area, Massachusetts and Michigan have the week off that week.
Sounds like you have some sort of master schedule. Where did you find it? Would be interested to see if we've managed to miss most of the mob on our 4/9/05 trip.
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#16
809 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Canderson, (what's your name by the way, mine you can easily figure out) after this many cruises, and living on Long Island my whole life, I know that President's Week is our mid-winter vacation, and we always run into people from the 2 other states. My boys always meet different kids playing basketball, so it wasn't hard to come up with who's off. Here on Long Island, and the NYC schools, we also have off for the week of Passover, which usually overlaps with Easter, because the food thing is easier. This year we have 3 days off around Easter because the holidays don't coincide.
#17
Colorado
3,639 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Robinsilver
Canderson, (what's your name by the way, mine you can easily figure out)
Chris
Originally posted by Robinsilver
after this many cruises, and living on Long Island my whole life, I know that President's Week is our mid-winter vacation, and we always run into people from the 2 other states. My boys always meet different kids playing basketball, so it wasn't hard to come up with who's off. Here on Long Island, and the NYC schools, we also have off for the week of Passover, which usually overlaps with Easter, because the food thing is easier. This year we have 3 days off around Easter because the holidays don't coincide.
Got it. I was hoping you'd discovered some magic decoder ring somewhere for the various Easter/Passover/Spring Break schedules. This year, Passover and Easter are about as far separated as I recall ever seeing them. Easter is going to be on March 27, and the 1st day of Passover isn't until April 24. I figure that we'll be sailing well after the former and well before the latter, but have no idea when everyone is taking time off!
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#18
809 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
"I was hoping you'd discovered some magic decoder ring somewhere for the various Easter/Passover/Spring Break schedules. This year, Passover and Easter are about as far separated as I recall ever seeing them. Easter is going to be on March 27, and the 1st day of Passover isn't until April 24. I figure that we'll be sailing well after the former and well before the latter, but have no idea when everyone is taking time off!"

I am sure you will not have many kids on board. Are you traveling with your grandchildren this time? Hope they won't be too board if they are going. Probably too young for that. The college spring breaks vary from March 12th or so until later in the month. I'll bet alot of the public schools that have a spring break will have the week that ends on Easter Sunday.
#19
Arkansas
30,162 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by hopefromboston
My family and I will be on the Constellation 2/19. We have never cruised during school vacation and now I'm in a panic that all the good excursions will be booked. Can I wait until we get on the ship or is it a MUST that I book excursions now?
Feb isn't a really big winter break time as many schools only get a few days off for Pres day so I don't think you will have any real problems. We usually book with private tour operators either via the net or when we arrive at the pier. The one time I do book via the ship is the long excursions. We have cut it pretty close a few times and almost missed our ship. too scarey for this old lady!!! LOL
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#20
Colorado
3,639 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Robinsilver
I am sure you will not have many kids on board. Are you traveling with your grandchildren this time? Hope they won't be too board if they are going. Probably too young for that. The college spring breaks vary from March 12th or so until later in the month. I'll bet alot of the public schools that have a spring break will have the week that ends on Easter Sunday.
No, Ethan will be staying home with mom and dad this time. The five of us together is a bit like herding goats, so my wife and I are taking a solo trip this time just for the R&R. Truth to tell, we think that just taking Ethan with us would be easier! Life is too new and amazing for him to bore easily on a cruise so far (he's not quite 2-1/2), and by the time he's ready to cruise again, he'll be eligible for the Fun Factory.

By 9 April, I think we're out past university spring breaks, too. Most of them seem to be over before the end of March.
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