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We are looking forward to our cruise (Ventura N115 13.06.11), is it worth pre booking shore excursions or when we get on board? also do we get any port information when we are on the ship, i.e a map or local information? being our first cruise we do not know what to expect
Thanks for any advice
Last edited by HEVnDEN; May 25th, 2011 at 06:47 PM.
You will get a port guide for everywhere you visit which will include a map of the port and town as well as information on interesting places to visit and a brief history of that place.
You can book excursions on board or do your own thing.
Queen Victoria April 2008 Canaries
Ventura Feb. 2010 Caribbean
Constellation October 2010 Western Med.
Oriana April 2011 Central Med
MSC Spendida Jan 2012 Western Med. (never again MSC)
Azura April 2012 Western Med
Oriana Oct-Nov 2012 Eastern Med and Egypt
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HAL Statendam from San Francisco to Hawaii then south to the French Polynesian islands Oct 2013.
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Azura into The Med as far as Greece and back with the grandchildren in August, then Zuiderdam to Alaska and the Panama Canal in Sept/Oct., already booked QM2 from Southampton to New York then up Eastern seaboard back to New York and Southampton for 2015 next, can't wait!.
The port guides will be in a folder in your cabin.
But you really should do your research on each port and decide what you want to do. Reading the excursion descriptions will help you realise what are the important sights and then you can decide whether you want to take the excursion or do-it-yourself. If you go to the ports forums on this website, you will find help on doing that.
We've recently came back from our trip on Ventura (which was fabulous !!).
We pre-booked our excursions as we wanted to be sure of getting a place but we needn't have worried as they had late availability on all excursions.....having said that these were not at knock down prices but the same price as we had paid.
We felt we got more out of the ports where we did excursions rather than those where we did our own thing.......as there is limited time in port, just having a local with insider knowledge saves time and takes you straight to what interests you. Just our opinion but it did work for us.
As the others have said P&O do provide you with a brief summary of each port you'll visit which has a map to get your bearings............we did a bit of research before we went just so we could choose to see what interested us.
Its worth researching your ports in advance so you can see how easy it may be to do your own thing, train times, taxi fares etc should you decide to do that. Some ports can be up to three hours from the main sightseeing town so this could be a major consideration in deciding to trust a ships tour. On our first Med cruise we did our own thing everywhere except Livorno since we wanted to see Pisa and Florence which would have placed a big reliance on the trains and we wanted the surity of getting back on time. However others are quite happy to do florence on their own by train. Depends a lot on how confident you feel but at least if you research in advance you can obtain train timetables to print off and take with you.
Cruises to date:
Celebrity Eclipse - Canary Islands Oct 2014
Celebrity Eclipse - Med May 2014
Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords July 2013
Adventure of the seas Transatlantic April 2013
Azura -Baltics May 2012
Ventura -Caribbean Jan 2012
Ventura -Med April 2011
Ventura -Caribbean Dec 2010
Azura -Med May 2010
Independence of the Seas -Med April 2009
I visited Madeira as a port of call in 2005 and have returned 6 times since for land based holiday. The Seaborn catamaran which leaves from the port at about 10.30 or 1.30 is a great trip, or the hop on hop off bus, which is by the port, mosey around Funchal or look at Strawberry World.com for inexpensive tours - they will go out of their way to pick you up at the port and also make sure that you are dropped off first on return.
DON'T however book P&O's trip to Blandys Port cellar and the Flower market as they are an easy walking distance from the port.
Carnival Fantasy Bahamas June 2001
RCI Splendour Barca to Barca OS June 2002
Celebrity Millennium Venice to Barcelona July 2003
P&O Oceana Canaries July 2005
P&O Azura April 2011
What ports have you got?, name them and we'll try and give you some ideas.
Research all your ports before the cruise. Otherwise you will end up paying for trips you don't need or walking around a dull Industrial port when you could be seeing something wonderful on a tour.
Madeira has been mentioned, this can be done yourself. The free shuttle bus will take you to the prom, where you can explore the city or take the cable car up to the the top and see the wonderful gardens.
Since 2006: Ships sailed on: P&O Arcadia (x3), Aurora (x3),
Azura (x2), Ventura(x2), Oceana (2), Oriana(2), Celebrity Equinox, Ship visits: P&O Artemis, RCI Independence of the Seas, HAL Prinsendam, Cunard Queen Mary 2
Dear all, thanks very much for all yoru replies, we have found them very helpful, especially bogofman - we may meet up on board!
Libralass - we are visiting the following ports and would be grateful for any extra info:-
VIGO - Meulle de Tansatlanticos
LANZAROTE - Puerto de Naos
GRAN CANARIA - Santa Catarina Terminal
LA PALMA - Santa Cruz
TENERIFE - Muelle Sur
MADEIRA - Molhe Pontinha, South Quay