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larry_s_taco

Shore excursions - Western Med Cruise

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We are booked for a Western Med Cruise Sept 9th, 2020. I've been looking at the NCL site to see what excursions are available, but it keeps coming up that shore excursions are not available yet. I know it is significant distance till cruise time, but does anyone have any experience/insight on when these excursions will become available to see? I know on past cruises this has not been an issue, however all of my past cruises have been Caribbean/Alaskan/Mexican/Hawaiian, so I have no experience at all with a Med cruise. 

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It varies, although the western Med is a stable route so they should have an easier time confirming everything. I booked a year ahead, and things started appearing around the 200 days mark, but not all the ports became available at the same time. 

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European cruise excursions are often better cheaper and less frustrating done privately rather than through Norwegian. Also be sure to join your roll call to perhaps jump on tours your sailing mates have put together.  Smaller groups in a mini van with quicker access to sites.  Also many ports you might be able to DIY on public transportation.

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While you wait for shore excursions to appear on the NCL website, do a little bit of research every night on each port of call. We booked our 2018 Med cruise one year and 4 months which gave me a lot of time to read.
 

We ended doing everything on our own, and it was wonderful to skip the buses and the hordes of tourists. We didn’t book a single shore excursion. At places like La Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou, the Genoa Aquarium, and St. Peter’s Basilica, we booked admission to all directly. I also researched how to get from one place to another; which turned out to be surprisingly easy. Google maps and the ability to virtually walk from one place to another was an awesome tool. By the time we sailed and actually visited these places, it felt as if I had already been there and walked those streets. 

Have a fantastic Med cruise! A big part of the enjoyment is researching and figuring out what to do at each port! 

 

Edited by Tapi

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I've got a trip review of that cruise in my signature. It's a bit lengthy, but may have some hints and tips you'll find useful for planning out your port excursions.

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Look at the current listings for the  ports  you are sailing.    And narrow down your interests.      

 

Are you considering independent? I’ll be cruising The Med 7 weeks this year.    Plenty to see and do.     

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23 hours ago, Tapi said:

While you wait for shore excursions to appear on the NCL website, do a little bit of research every night on each port of call. We booked our 2018 Med cruise one year and 4 months which gave me a lot of time to read.
 

We ended doing everything on our own, and it was wonderful to skip the buses and the hordes of tourists. We didn’t book a single shore excursion. At places like La Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou, the Genoa Aquarium, and St. Peter’s Basilica, we booked admission to all directly. I also researched how to get from one place to another; which turned out to be surprisingly easy. Google maps and the ability to virtually walk from one place to another was an awesome tool. By the time we sailed and actually visited these places, it felt as if I had already been there and walked those streets. 

Have a fantastic Med cruise! A big part of the enjoyment is researching and figuring out what to do at each port! 

 

Good idea. Did you have any trouble getting back to the ship on time while doing the independent tours? 

Thanks

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11 minutes ago, larry_s_taco said:

Good idea. Did you have any trouble getting back to the ship on time while doing the independent tours? 

Thanks

 

Tour operators know that their reputation will be mud if they don't get you back to the ship on time.  Often they are more flexible and can detour or work around known congestion or  road hazards.   I have not read any trip report on the European ports boards that anyone ever complained about missing the ship.

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You may not be able to book excursions yet through myNCL, but you can probably still see them.  Just use the main NCL site and go to Explore, then Shore Excursions.  There is no guarantee those exact ones will be available when you cruise, but it will give you an idea of what is out there.

 

Personally, I've never been brave enough to do private excursions.  I'm sure they are perfectly safe because the media would be all over it otherwise, but somehow it triggers the "don't get into cars with strangers" part of my brain in a way that the NCL coordinated ones do not.  For me, paying the higher fee is worth it to prevent the anxiety.  

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19 minutes ago, larry_s_taco said:

Good idea. Did you have any trouble getting back to the ship on time while doing the independent tours? 

Thanks

 

3 minutes ago, Sauer-kraut said:

 

Tour operators know that their reputation will be mud if they don't get you back to the ship on time.  Often they are more flexible and can detour or work around known congestion or  road hazards.   I have not read any trip report on the European ports boards that anyone ever complained about missing the ship.

Sauer-kraut is absolutely right on this.  We did the Bliss this past summer and had private outside tours in each Italian port as well as Barcelona.  Competitive prices, intimate local knowledge, know all the shortcuts, and NO crowds and buses from the ship - well worth it.  Plus reputable companies “guarantee” you back to the ship on time.

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Sailing12Away, 

I just read your review on the cruise. The detail is great. Thanks for all of the tips. 

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