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Passengers taking other passengers on private tours and charging


back2tampa
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I have noticed on my past few cruises people running there own excursions and charging less than the cruise lines and they advertise on roll call . I don't know how I feel about this? I was going to do one with a couple on one of my cruises but it seemed off and come to find out, the people that went didn't have a good time. ( it always starts off on  roll call like - we have a great friends in .....or we used to live in...…... or my best friend runs a tour in ....)Is this a new thing or is this just a few people that do this all the time and make $$ while cruising ? I looked up the people and they always have lots of past post from way to many cruises taken and all of them are from different cruises about excursions that they are running.

Edited by back2tampa
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One of the best excursions I have ever been on was one organized on a roll call. However, one of the worst ones I have been on was also on a roll call. You just have to be aware of what you want, and what the person is offering. I now know to steer clear of people who are organizing a large number of tours, ask for payment to them before the cruise, and don't limit numbers.

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We've done lots of excursions with other folks from our roll calls.  My preferred method is to post (or read another member's posting with) the excursion details including the company's website with the instructions to deal directly with the company.  Only on 1 cruise did we ever pay a fellow passenger in advance.  That was for group dinner reservations preceeding the Edinburg Tattoo and pre-payment was required by the restaurant (easily confirmed on-line).  It worked out fine.  There is no way I would book with someone's friend who lives in the port and where reviews cannot be found.

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I've been on plenty of private tours and they were by FAR better than what the cruise line offered.  We got to see more, do more and learned more than the cruise line tours did.  The price was fair and I've never known anyone to "make money" on a private tour.  The cost is pretty basic - the total cost divided evenly among those on the tour.  It may happen, I've just never, ever encountered it.  Private tours are usually excellently done and run by companies that are well healed in cruise ship logistics.

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Many people do private tours for a number of reasons.  They are almost always cheaper than a same or similar excursion offered by the ship.  They also typically use a van or small bus so as not to be on a large bus with 40+ people.  I think most folks that set up private tours do so directly with a local tour company and the total cost for the tour is split amongst the participants without any type of upcharge.  At least that has been my experience on tours that either I have organized or go on that someone else on the roll call has set up.


Tom

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I sometimes do private excursion research, and if I find a good one, I will offer it up on the roll call.  Normally the van is a flat fee, plus a tip, for the driver.  The price is dependent upon the size of van, and the number of people booked.  I let people pay in cash, the day of the tour.  If they don't show up, and I have already pre-paid for the van, then I'm out the money.  So far, this has never happened.  People seem to have a good time on my tours.  I try and treat everyone like family. 

 

Believe me, I'm not making any money on it. 

 

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Many years ago, long before there was Cruise Critic and roll calls, I told my dinner tablemates that I was going to hire a taxi and do a private tour at Ocho Rios.  I told them the proposed itinerary, and asked for any suggestions.  Two couples said "that sounds like fun, can we join you?"  So the six of us toured together and split the mini-van taxi hire/tip.  The three couples did a few of those private tours for the rest of the cruise.  

 

Nothing wrong about this.  But I wasn't making any money and it was just a few friends getting together for a tour.

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We were on another cruise line and there were two or three ladies that were really going to town with this. They really had their act down to a T. At first we were going to join up with them, before we became aware of their "operation" but they were a real piece of work. Would try to corner the market in small ports (like lining up 10 vans in Gibraltar) - it was maddening. My friend and I became a bit obsessed with them and started stalking? them on line - they would change their posting names from time to time when others got wind of their machinations. I tried telling CC - no results - I think the cruise line finally caught on and banned them!

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There is a difference between a private tour and a tour from a company that is not the cruise line.  Private tours have an organizer who collects the money and takes the risk of no shows.  Other tours the actual tour company takes payments and assumes most of the risk,  I guess if there were enough no shows they could cancel the tour if everyone did not pay for the empty seats but I am not sure I have heard of this happening.

 

Just look at all the details including when payments are made and who takes the payments as well as cancellation policies.

 

If you pay with a credit card, you should have some insurance.

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I have organized and also participated in private tours many times. They are usually smaller groups and/or less expensive than through the cruise line.

 

We do organize it through the roll call. Most put the costs out and how many the tour will take and it is divided amongst the people on the tour.

 

I have never profited from organizing a tour. I don't think I have participated in any where people profit but if they get a few dollars, not a big deal. They are usually superior tours.

 

I have never seen what you have described "we have friends, we used to live in....". 

Edited by Coral
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On one of my cruises and in conjunction with a very large roll call/M&G while onboard we had a couple of roll call participants that came very close to being kicked off the ship.

Money was exchanging hands at a great rate and senior ship staff stepped in and gave them the ultimatum, stop or go home. 

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We have taken quite a few private tours over the years. I have never seen one that is clearly being organized to make money for the cruiser setting it up. Most of the time, we pay the guide at the end of the excursion. 

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I have organized tours and looking to do another because Princess doesn't do what I want to do (Pirates & Patriots in Boston). I made nothing on the last one (fossil hunt included in Peru) and won't on this one. Reputable tour companies & list their website in case anyone wants more info

 

I don't believe in paying b4 the tour

Edited by Ombud
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You do have to be very careful about payment on the ship. You can not do this at Meet and Greet when Princess employees are attending. I personally could care less if Princess Officers attend and prefer them not there (and they really don't want to be there anyway). Most people I have participated with - you can drop the money off in their cabin or you pay the guide or organizer the day of.

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1 hour ago, back2tampa said:

I have noticed on my past few cruises people running there own excursions and charging less than the cruise lines and they advertise on roll call . I don't know how I feel about this? I was going to do one with a couple on one of my cruises but it seemed off and come to find out, the people that went didn't have a good time. ( it always starts off on  roll call like - we have a great friends in .....or we used to live in...…... or my best friend runs a tour in ....)Is this a new thing or is this just a few people that do this all the time and make $$ while cruising ? I looked up the people and they always have lots of past post from way to many cruises taken and all of them are from different cruises about excursions that they are running.

Many private operators offer port tours on line and many of them are good tours. Most of them have less people and the price is less than the cruise ship price. Some members of the roll calls try to get groups together to split the total costs. On any private tour I have been on you pay the operator directly, sometimes in advance, most times at the port. The roll call person is not a middleman taking a cut. Everyone pays an equal share. It's always possible to get a less than fun experience. Happens with private tours and Princess tours. I have never seen the "great friends, used to live in, or best friend" comments. Normally starts with a description of the tour, cost and the operator, which allows you to do your own research. In many cases the person on the roll call is just keeping track of anyone that is joining so they can keep the tour operator informed. In some cases the roll call person just advises what they have found. You contact the operator yourself and make the booking.

At some ports there are tours guides, mostly sightseeing ports, where you can book totally private tours. We have done this in South America. It was really nice. If you want to see how it works look at the site below as an example. If you wanted to go and wanted to fill the boat you may want to ask some on the roll call to join you.

https://silvermoonbarbados.com/

People with lots of past cruises and postings have lots of experience in booking private tours. It's their thing. They like to organize everything from onboard activities and tours. Every cruise is a new challenge. It's their way of enjoying a cruise.

Special note: Passengers are not permitted to solicit for tours once on board, and can not collect money for tours in public areas on board. 

Edited by skynight
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2 minutes ago, suec12 said:

Fellow cruisers can also profit in this way by arranging the tour for a number of people and then their tour is "free".

They can - but most of the ones I have gone on have not. They are truly nice cruisers who just want a better tour than what the cruise line offers.

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I totally get it now but NOT something I am going to do. I think it is ok if you split it and tell people that but to come up with a price up front and a good line and then keep posting on roll call that there is more spaces available over and over is not for me 

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Have seen a pretty wide range with passenger organized tours.  Have had some good ones and some bad ones.  One of the worst was organized by another passenger, signed up 8 people for a set itinerary, then while on the tour modified the itinerary based on where they wanted to spend time and when others complained about the deviation simply stated that they organized it, and they could modify it how they wanted since it was their tour.

 

It most cases the cost was simply split between the participants that want a small tour at a reasonable price. 

 

In a few cases it was clear that the organizers received a kickback such as a free tour, or a discount.  I have seen a couple of cases where the people seemed to be running a competing tour business up to bus size. Though I haven't seen those for a while.

Edited by RDC1
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The best tours we have done have been privately organised on the roll calls.  We have always met the other travellers on board prior to the tour and already chatted on the roll call page as well.  No money has ever changed hands except directly to the tour drivers.  This next cruise we are only doing one private tour with two other couples again via the roll call.  Clearly there are two separate issues here - one is the getting together of a small group to all pitch in for a private tour and the other is some sort of organised rip off.  

 

I think as long as you are careful, then a private tour organised on a roll call can be the experience of a lifetime!!

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