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How soon do you book your cruise shore excursions?


Tikka234
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Hi just wondered how soon you book your shore excursions with your cruise company?

We're going to Norwegein fjords 30th July our excursions are now on the website to book, so do you book when they first come out or just before your cruise date?

I have booked Norway in a nutshell at Flam as its one I really want to do.

I may book one more not sure how long I could leave it, so interested to know what everyone else does (if you book through your cruise e line)

Thanks

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I like to book as soon as I can, especially if it's a popular tour. I just like to plan ahead and since I worry about every detail, it's one less thing to do. I have seen where tours end up costing more once you board and have sold out.

 

Since you have to pay when you book, some people don't like to forgo their money to soon. Others like to use their on board credit for tours and you have to wait till on board to do this.

 

We're on an August Alaskan cruise and have our tours already booked and paid for.

 

Don

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We typically avoid excursions through the cruise company and do private excursions. However we do book FTTF & cabanas at HMC as excursions and we try to book them as soon as we book our cruise, typically a year out. However if they're not available yet, I watch for them daily and grab them as soon as they come out. All of our private excursions we book as soon as we book the cruise, again typically about a year out.

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I don't usually book shore excursions with the cruise company. There are often independent tours available. Now, that advice holds true for the Caribbean more so than anywhere else so not sure about your cruise. But I like to book my excursions well in advance.

 

 

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We've gradually stopped booking cruiseline excursions due to very limited selection of wheelchair accessible options. Cost is another factor. Had been considering a couple private options for Alaska and we decided there just wasn't anything that interested us so we will do things on our own. Which is very liberating in that we are not tying up the money for many months in advance and agonizing over what to do or pressured to pick something. For example on last cruise at Livorno, Italy we took cab to train station and train to Pisa for the day then train back - a great day for a total of $75 for two of us.

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I don't usually book shore excursions with the cruise company. There are often independent tours available. Now, that advice holds true for the Caribbean more so than anywhere else so not sure about your cruise. But I like to book my excursions well in advance.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Although we do some ship's excursions when we think it best, we usually are on independent tours as much as possible for their smaller size, greater customization and usually same or lower cost compared to a ship sponsored excursion.

 

For our last cruise - Asian B2B in Oct/Nov 2016 - we were able to book the cruise really early in Dec 2014. Soon after, I began researching each of the many ports of call. Around April of 2015, I made my first contact - with a private guide in Kyoto through tours by locals. Although it was too soon for their website to accept firm reservations, the guide was willing to give me a very encouraging informal confirmation with regard to her personal calendar - eventually firmed it up around Sep/Oct of 2015 - then in early 2016 found another couple to share the tour via our CC roll call. From Jan through Apr of 2016, I organized two additional independent small group tours and joined two more - all four making use of our CC roll call contacts. As "late" as three months prior to our cruise, I saw CC members on our roll call struggling somewhat to form new small tour groups to some of the same itineraries that we had firmed up about three months prior. Although many were successful in their efforts that began about three months prior to the cruise, several unfortunately failed and they were forced to settle for ship's tours.

 

For a variety of reasons, we also booked five ship's excursions, three prior to the cruise and two on board. One of the pre-cruise ship's excursion bookings was just a shuttle bus to get us from the port into Saigon for our small group independent tour in downtown Saigon. Another was for a tour in Shanghai due to our perhaps unfounded concerns about the uncertainties of private bookings in China. And the other pre-cruise booking was in Hong Kong where, on the first of our three days in HK, we were concerned about the crowds at the terminal when another ship was disembarking 5000 passengers and embarking another 5000. Including our own ship, this was a total of 12,500 passengers at a cruise terminal that has a very inadequate transportation infrastructure. The two on board bookings were last minute decisions on how to use some of our non-refundable OBC for something to do at two ports for which we had no strong interests.

 

And we did our own thing on three other port days - taxis, ferry, subways, tram and walking on two of our days in HK and at another port actually enjoyed staying on the ship for a change - had it almost all to ourselves!

 

As you can see, I find the planning for a cruise a large part of the enjoyment of cruising.

 

Best wishes for a wonderful cruise.

Edited by NantahalaCruiser
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We rarely book excursions at all...and even more seldom thru the ship...

 

If there is something that we feel requires a guide or is VERY far from the ship, then we will book thru the ship...and we do it ASAP, so we get what we want!

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Thanks lots of different responses, lot seem to agree if a long excursion and one really want to do then book. So I'm happy I have booked the 6.1/2 hour Norway in a nutshell tour through the cruise.

There is one more I would like to do may get on and book that as well, we have 4 port days so that will be 2 booked then for the other 2 either just look for short tours in port or use our OBC Happy to just wonder at these ports.

Had some great advice this is our first cruise, so edging on the safe side, making sure we get on what tour we want and no fear of hold ups getting back to ship

Thanks again

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We booked the ones we really wanted to do as soon as we made the cruise booking - on another cruise we sat in on the excursions talk and heard lots were fully booked.

This time in the med I have one booked with RCL and 2 independently.

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We almost never do cruise line tours and if we do (only if we have a lot of OBC) tend to book late.

 

We also book the cruise two-three months before cruising; seem to get the best prices that way.

 

Many ports we just do on our own or sometimes take a tour right at the port. Other times I research on this and other sites and book independent tours. Sometimes we hook up with others on our roll call for tours.

 

I really only want to use a ship tour if it is very long or complicated and want to be sure to make it to the ship on time. That said, we've only done one ship tour in the last 8 years or so, and that was because we had OBC gifted to us to use up.

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I've made the mistake of waiting to book a particular excursion only to have it sell out by the time I got around to checking on it again. If it was something I had my heart set on, I'd book as soon as I was able.

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I've made the mistake of waiting to book a particular excursion only to have it sell out by the time I got around to checking on it again. If it was something I had my heart set on, I'd book as soon as I was able.

 

I have had the opposite experience. On both NCL and Carnival, we have booked and paid for excursions in advance only to have the cruise line cancel them because of not enough signed up for them.

 

I don't mind booking in advance on Princess since they allow you to wait and have it charged on your cruise card instead of before the cruise.

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I always book when I know it is one I want. I have seen some sail out while waiting to decide so that why now if I want it I book it. All the shore excursion I have done from the ship I have loved. I always read all the reviews from others and that has help me picked some really good shore excursion that I totally enjoyed.

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Thanks Have now booked a second excursion

I like the fact you can choose a time so you allow time for sightseeing around the ports.

I know I t s more expensive but if you have paid a l o t for a holiday you want to make sure you get to do the excursions you want, without the stress.

This is our first cruise so playing safe, if we go on another cruise may do things differently.

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Thanks Have now booked a second excursion

I like the fact you can choose a time so you allow time for sightseeing around the ports.

I know I t s more expensive but if you have paid a l o t for a holiday you want to make sure you get to do the excursions you want, without the stress.

This is our first cruise so playing safe, if we go on another cruise may do things differently.

 

 

I think this is a wise idea, since it is your first cruise, especially for the fjords. After some experience cruising you can try some independent tours or just going off on your own.

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You've done well, booking the Flam excursion, especially if it's the train one, because it's very popular. There's not much else to do there unless you like hiking, so the excursions are soon booked up.

We always book in advance, as soon as the list is published, because we've missed out on several. Sometimes there's space even at the last moment- I've gone and booked for less popular ones an hour before, when the weather's been poor, and I've not wanted to wander about in the rain (Lisbon!)

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