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Private Tour vs Celebrity excursions?


oftencruiser
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We are travelling to Israel in October on Silhouette and considering using private tours instead of Celebrity's.

We have never done private and concerned about safety and punctuality.

Prices but are half price with private.

 

Any feedback would be appreciated and does anyone have private tour companies that they have done in Israel?

 

Many thanks,

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We are travelling to Israel in October on Silhouette and considering using private tours instead of Celebrity's.

We have never done private and concerned about safety and punctuality.

Prices but are half price with private.

 

Any feedback would be appreciated and does anyone have private tour companies that they have done in Israel?

 

Many thanks,

 

Generally speaking, I usually book private excursions on my cruise itineraries. I don't fear safety, especially if you take time to do research on sites like TripAdvisor. However you are traveling to a party of the world that is experiencing unrest. This is probably not a place I world choose to use a private excursion given the current circumstances. Under different conditions, I'd say yes.

 

I'll let others chime in with their opinions.

 

Sent from my Samsung Note 2 on the T-Mobile 4G LTE Network

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We've done both and there is no set answer to which is better.

 

Generally the further we're touring from the port the more we worry about returning in time and the more we lean towards ship tours.

 

For your destination I'd also be concerned about cancellation policy and return of deposits in the even your port of call is cancelled due to unrest.

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We've done both but if there is a question, such as safety or length of tour vs amount of time ship is in port, we will go with Celebrity tours. The few extra $s are worth it IMO. In some ports the difference in price was minimal. The only Celebrity tours we thought were a waste of money were to beaches.

 

Mary Lou

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Generally speaking, I usually book private excursions on my cruise itineraries. I don't fear safety, especially if you take time to do research on sites like TripAdvisor. However you are traveling to a party of the world that is experiencing unrest. This is probably not a place I world choose to use a private excursion given the current circumstances. Under different conditions, I'd say yes.

 

I'll let others chime in with their opinions.

 

Sent from my Samsung Note 2 on the T-Mobile 4G LTE Network

 

 

I completely agree with you.

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If you do decide to use a private tour operator, you need to find one who doesn't charge in advance and won't charge your credit card if the ship changes its itinerary. This is highly likely on your cruise.

 

What are the other people on your roll call doing? That is really where you should be having this discussion.

Edited by Happy Cruiser 6143
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As a newbee I am doing alot of research for our September 2015 cruise....

On our route is Florence and Rome, I found out so far that a private tour is not cheaper at all. They are starting with 450 Euro for 2 Person, vs. 459 $ for 2 Person on a similar tour with Celebrity in Rome for example...

So far I think private tours saves you money if you are a family or at least more than 2...

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Some places in the world I wouldn't, or certain tours like a ferry through the Panama Canal where you could run 3 hours late (but the ship will wait).

One of the selling points for the ship's excursions is that they will wait. However, the tour companies make their living doing this and go out of their way to make sure they don't get you there late. It's what they do.

We've had some our most favorite days on vacation (land and sea) on private excursions that we discovered through CC and by reading reviews on line.

 

Check out what you want to do and then research both. Quite often it will be cheaper to do private plus generally you'll have a much smaller group and more intimate tour. Even just my husband and I have had great excursions with the two of us, and for much less.

 

In some cases we just rent a car and do it all ourselves.

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We have done both several times each. While price is typically the reason why people choose private vs ship tour I don't think that should be the total reason for selecting one over the other. Of our top 10 port tours I would say 9 were private. They are personal, you are the focus and you see and experience so much more. How can you compare 1 on 1 experience vs 40 to one?One a cruise tour you go to places that handle 40 people. Private tour it's you your guide and driver. They can take you places a tour bus can't go(especially for meals) Cruise tour you go as fast as your slowest passenger. We have had good/bad experiences with cruise tours and with a few private tours but almost all of our memorable tours have all been private tours. There are some ports where it doesn't make much difference, but hands down if your talking about European ports private is the way to go. Some folks have talked about safety. I have never felt more or less safe on a private tour vs cruise tour. Given the power of trip advisor and other travel web sites most of the private tours won't do anything stupid to jeopardize their existence. So for me if there is a port I want to "experience" something I opt for private tours hands down. If there is a port where I have no real big desire to see something I will either do something self guided or take a cruise tour. This is the only place where price comes into play as a deciding factor.

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Some places in the world I wouldn't, or certain tours like a ferry through the Panama Canal where you could run 3 hours late (but the ship will wait).

One of the selling points for the ship's excursions is that they will wait. However, the tour companies make their living doing this and go out of their way to make sure they don't get you there late. It's what they do.

We've had some our most favorite days on vacation (land and sea) on private excursions that we discovered through CC and by reading reviews on line.

 

Check out what you want to do and then research both. Quite often it will be cheaper to do private plus generally you'll have a much smaller group and more intimate tour. Even just my husband and I have had great excursions with the two of us, and for much less.

 

In some cases we just rent a car and do it all ourselves.

 

One of our most memorable private tour was taking a private tour that took us thru the meaflora lock on a small boat and seeing and going through the locks at sea level. True there are risks venturing out on your own but I guess it all depends on how much of a risk there is. Use reputable guides (trip advisor reviews) don't pick someone off the pier as you get off the ship.

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If you are in a port for the first time, like us in Rome and Florence, you want to see the major sites such as the Colloseum, Vatican, etc. You are not "alone" anyway. So it does not make much of a difference for me personally if there is a private guide or a group guide since it is mayhem at this sites anyway. Unless the private tour can arrange a private audience with the Pope, so that I could tell him a couple of things :D

If someone has been in Rome 2 or 3 times already, then it would be good to consider a private tour, so you can go to areas that others won't.

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We are travelling to Israel in October on Silhouette and considering using private tours instead of Celebrity's.

We have never done private and concerned about safety and punctuality.

Prices but are half price with private.

 

Any feedback would be appreciated and does anyone have private tour companies that they have done in Israel?

 

Many thanks,

 

In October 2011 we did a Galilee tour out of Haifa with Guided Tours Israel.

 

It was excellent and wouldn't hesitate to use them again:)

 

http://www.guidedtoursisrael.com/

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..so sorry to hear about your c/card $45K..

Old Canadian trick is to have a $500 credit limit card.

Transactions beyond the $500 credit limit are refused...zero..nada..

Great for internet purchases and such.

..your c/card # and expiry date are very very valuable information that is sold around the world..phone transactions..etc

 

P.S.: Credit card companies HATE these $500 cards..tell them to issue a second card from your existing credit card limit..and make sure that they will KILL any transaction over the $500 limit.

Love CCritic.

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As a newbee I am doing alot of research for our September 2015 cruise....

On our route is Florence and Rome, I found out so far that a private tour is not cheaper at all. They are starting with 450 Euro for 2 Person, vs. 459 $ for 2 Person on a similar tour with Celebrity in Rome for example...

So far I think private tours saves you money if you are a family or at least more than 2...

 

Go on the roll call for your cruise and see if you can't get some more people to go on a private tour with you. We are on the 20 September equinox cruise and have set up private tours to both Florence and Rome. Check out Rome in Limo or Rome Cabs.

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Here's my two cents...our credit card was stolen / charged $45,000 and only two places we used it (different from the usual use) was a private excursion and Celebrity check in. Just a heads up....

 

Our card was declined on board, in the middle of our last Med cruise. (I didn't know the ship runs the card daily.) Someone was running amuck at Bed, Bath and Beyond in Miami. Turns out, our number was stolen several months earlier, as were many others, at a restaurant back home.

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Our card was declined on board, in the middle of our last Med cruise. (I didn't know the ship runs the card daily.) Someone was running amuck at Bed, Bath and Beyond in Miami. Turns out, our number was stolen several months earlier, as were many others, at a restaurant back home.

 

Just curious to know if you let your credit card company know you were traveling? If you did, the charges in Miami should have been denied. I hate crooks!

:eek:

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We booked a transfer tour from ship to airport (8 hours) in Santiago and had one of our bags stolen from locked bus. This tour was booked through a cc group and person who booked it would not confirm whether South Excursions had agreed to take any responsibility for baggage. It would have been impossible to carry all our baggage around all day so leaving it on bus was only option.

 

When we contacted South Excursions they would not help in any way. It is a good idea to clarify this point directly with the tour company before taking tour and not depend on the person who organizes tour.

 

Brissie

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Generally speaking, I usually book private excursions on my cruise itineraries. I don't fear safety, especially if you take time to do research on sites like TripAdvisor. However you are traveling to a party of the world that is experiencing unrest. This is probably not a place I world choose to use a private excursion given the current circumstances. Under different conditions, I'd say yes.

 

I'll let others chime in with their opinions.

 

Sent from my Samsung Note 2 on the T-Mobile 4G LTE Network

Very excellent advice. Especially for Israel. Private tours can get you into sites, past lines of tourists (including the ship's tours), and you will ultimately end up with an incredible value. Now that a truce has been signed, it makes even more sense. The more experienced guides understand getting you back to your ship on time is their most important stop - that's when they get paid!

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We've done both in a variety of different ports, but I've been leaning towards the excursions offered by the cruise ship for the following reasons:

 

1. the ship tours handle all of your transportation needs to get to your excursion destination - note that a number of ports may be hours away from your excursion destination and it is your responsibility to hire a car or cab to get to the pick-up location;

2. in the event that your tour is delayed returning to the ship, the ship will wait for your group - this will NOT happen if you are on a private tour and if you are late returning to the ship

3. the security in paying for the excursion through the cruise line and not through a small company in a foreign country where you will have zero recourse in the event of an over-charge issue or a cancellation issue

 

So, although the ship's excursions may be a bit more expensive than a private excursion, I feel that the sense of security and turn key service of the whole experience is well worth it.

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