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RCI excursions vs private tours

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Always a very good point. But how would I know what that number is to call?

My answer to myself was tear out the little piece of port information from the

Compass to take with me when we go into port that has all the port numbers

on it. :)


I always take a photo of it with my cell phone.

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We've done both, but we're almost exclusively ship tours.


Most ship tours are pretty similar, though some lines offer slight variations.


On Royal Caribbean, we've even gotten some partial refunds when the tour differed from the description.


Ship tours have the flexibility to cancel and get a refund once you board. Private tours are harder to cancel due to the communicating off shore. It's good to have an international phone, so you can call them if their policy allows cancellation w/in the last 24 hours.


I did use my cell phone to call and cancel the a tea in Rotterdam on our cruise last summer.


I have a list of questions I send to private tour operators, and the most important is "do you get me to the next port?" Few tell me yes.


One must read the ship tours very carefully. For example, see if it mentions vehicle. Also, a long tour with multiple stops may cut short one stop if a previous one ran long. Look for a similar excursion at Princess.com, and check their timeline. Excellent tour, tells you where the restrooms are, how much walking, etc.

Edited by knittinggirl
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When you book with RCI you can make sure that you are getting the best deals for the best excursions.


Also check out this website







Sent from my iPhone using Forums


Not always the case, but always helps to shop pricing for identical tours.

Have been on several that were booked direct online that were cheaper

than the RCI tours.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I saw a documentary which I think was highlighting NCL, but its the same across all the cruise lines.


The cruise lines use local tour agencies, and the tour agencies I think, pay them a premium. The cruise lines then mark them up and sell it to the passengers with the guarantee and they make money.


If the excursion you want requires some serious logistics, then stick with the cruise sponsored excursions. I would never attempt to ride the vomit comet in cozumel to Playa del Carmen without a cruise excursion. Too many things could go wrong. But with research and due dilligence, i have found better excursions individually.


A good example was my Grandeur cruise a couple years back. The ONLY tour that my family could agree on, was the Bob Marley 9 mile excursion. I would have booked through the cruise line, but I was stymied by the age restriction. They would not allow my 17 year old step daughter to go with us, but she was the biggest fan of Bob Marley out of all of us. So I did some research and found that it was only a cruise restriction and that the actual visit was not age barred in any way. So i booked this tour independently with an independent but reputable company that offered it. I paid 40% less than what the cruise offered, and it was a PRIVATE excursion for the 4 of us to 9 mile. That excursion was easily one of the best excursions I've ever been on. It was an adventure (mostly through our own actions), but we will never forget it.

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Take into account what type of port it is.


Many Caribbean islands depend on cruise passengers for 99% of their business. If they deliver a tour late and the boat is missed, it is going to be a very big deal for their reputation. They have the day planned to the minute. They do the same thing every day, every year.


But if youre in a European port where cruise passengers are an insignificant blip on their radar, then they may not care, especially if only 2 ships call on the port every week for 3 months.

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