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When It Pays to Book an Excursion through Carnival

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On 2/13/2020 at 10:03 PM, Organized Chaos said:

 

The fact that it was an excursion purchased through Carnival was irrelevant. Carnival had nothing to do with the incident. The blame falls on the stupid actions of a couple of tour company employees. 

 

It is not irrelevant to me.  When I book non-cruise excursions I research and do my due diligence.  I have experienced nothing but professionalism from private vendors I have booked with. The incident was a fluke and I have booked a couple other cruise excursions since but I always look for a non-cruise one first. 

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My DH has heart problems, and I am diabetic.  When we did the Power Catamaran to Isla Passion, the tour guide asked us both about health problems.  We said that we were OK, and when he asked why we chose this excursion we said that the Carnival site stated it was an "easy" excursion.  He shook his head, but when we got to the beach area, he had the chef bring a small truck to pick DH and I up in, and he drove us to the beach area, and back later in the afternoon.

 

There used to be in the small print on the Carnival page, that if the weather was inclement, you may be bussed back or forth from the "island", and if these folks were true mariners they would have known that the storm was coming in, and they should have requested busses to come get you.  So not sure who dropped the ball on your excursion. However I am with you regarding having the security of the ship's (who contracts the tours) promise to not leave without you and  to stand by their promise.

 

I do my own "excursions" in ports where I can walk to where I want to get to.  Belize-the museum (great by the way), snorkeling in Grand Cayman( a dive shop let us snorkel from their site), Cozumel, -spending a day at El Cid, Nassau, the Pirate museum.

 

We are booked to go back to Isla Passion in June, as last year we spent a wonderful day for my birthday there.  This June we are spending DH's 70th birthday there.  He asked, and we are going.

 

I am glad that you all made it safe and sound back to the ship. 

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Last Thursday in Cozumel, a large # of pax on Carnival excursion(s) were delayed getting back to the ship (Conquest) and arrived about an hour past last boarding time.  The ship waited for all of them to arrive and naturally did not sail without them

 

Guest services were paging 2 other pax who hadn't returned from their independent outing.  They just happened to arrive on a bicycle cab just as the last of the Carnival excursion folk were getting on the gangway.  Perhaps they were in contact with someone on the delayed excursion, perhaps they were just lucky.  Five minutes more and they would have " missed the ship."

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any reputable tour company has a direct line to the ship, and you don't know if they even were on a private tour or getting drunk in a bar

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We mainly book on our own including Europe and in many years we have never had an issue which is not to say that there is always the opportunity to have one. We did take the ship's excursion (another cruise line) to St. John from St. Thomas because the ferry  had reported issues and we decided to take the better safe than sorry route. I am sorry about your tour expereicne but glad you made it back to the ship safe and sound.

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16 hours ago, Linda the Book Lover said:

St. John from St. Thomas because the ferry  had reported issues and we decided to take the better safe than sorry route.

 

 

it's the same ferry, only one or two go back and forth, it's not a Carnival ferry

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3 hours ago, coevan said:

 

 

it's the same ferry, only one or two go back and forth, it's not a Carnival ferry

I reread my sentence and perhaps there may be a misunderstanding. The ferry is not Carnival Corp. which is why we went with the excursion instead of taking the usual ferry that goes back and forth from St. Thomas to St. John.

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On 2/15/2020 at 11:56 AM, marshhawk said:

I do my own "excursions" in ports where I can walk to where I want to get to.  Belize-the museum (great by the way), snorkeling in Grand Cayman( a dive shop let us snorkel from their site), Cozumel, -spending a day at El Cid, Nassau, the Pirate museum.

 

When we are in Nassau, my DH and I like to go to John Watling's Distillery. They give an interesting and historical tour and the grounds are lovely.  Then we walk down hill to Hill Street where Graycliff Hotel is.  The hotel property is beautiful. That's our do-it-yourself excursion.  We took our girls to the Pirate Museum, which was fun and very informative.

 

 

Edited by ninjacat123

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I booked my one of my excursions with Carnival because I felt $40 vs $56 (x4) was worth not worrying about anything.   

 

But being frugal...I second guessed my choice 100x.   I mean $60 bucks was allot and the excursion was only for 3 hours.  So not pushing the time limit for the ship.

 

Based on this thread I just submitted a price form.  I will see if the 110% guarantee works.  Our excursion was to Stingray City in Grand Caymen so there were tons of options.   Our excursion was 2.5 hours and the $40 dollar one was 3 hours.   Waiting to see.  Will update everyone.

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We always book our excursions through Carnival for the peace of mind of safety & that the ship will wait for us. I have done the excursion price match guarantee should I find a better deal which is then given to us as OBC. 

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I just checked the excursion we booked next month and Carnival is about $44 cheaper for the four of us than booking through the tour company. It pays to compare.

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I have to admit...  I am amazed.  About two hours after I submitted a Carnival excursion best price guarantee for Grand Caymen Deluxe Stingray City Sandbar for Families vs  Stingray City Experience from Grand Cayman (Viator)  -- 54.99 Carnival vs 40.00 Viator

 

I got an email from Carnival saying:

 

Thank you for submitting a Shore Excursions Best Price Guarantee claim.

We are pleased to inform you that your claim was accepted and your Sign & Sail account will have an onboard credit (OBC) of $16.49 per person. Your OBC will show once onboard.  You may retain this email for your records.
 

How can you beat that.   I think I will investigate another Shore excursion...maybe.   But I applaud Carnival's customer service and their honoring of the Best Price Gaurantee.

 

https://www.carnival.com/request-forms/shore-excursion-best-price-guarantee.aspx

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On 2/12/2020 at 5:17 PM, Organized Chaos said:

 

Thanks for sharing. You have a heck of a story to tell for years to come. Thankfully, everyone came out of it ok and you'll be laughing about it in the future.

 

One of the biggest reasons people buy Carnival's excursions is for that peace of mind. To them, it's worth the extra cost. Nothing wrong with that, it paid off big time for you and yours. There's also times when Carnival's excursions are actually the cheaper ones. We're going on a cruise next month and in the last several months, I had been looking at a couple different excursions we were interested in. I was sure to check out the independent tour operators, too, and Carnival's was cheaper. For one of them, there were multiple tour operators who offered the same excursion, but Carnival's price beat them all. Yes, in many cases (probably a majority of them), Carnival's will cost more, but it isn't always the case and it's worth shopping around. Or if that higher price is worth the convenience and peace of mind to someone, I say all power to them.

Same here, my son and I have certified scuba at 2 ports for our cruise next month and carnival was cheaper to begin with.  Once we got the 10% off for BF, and then used gc, it was considerably cheaper for the exact same dive shop operator (I looked it up from the reviews).  I know it can be more expensive, but it is not always so. 

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as a fellow scuba diver private dives are much better, cheaper or not, not always about the $$$$. the experience of a private dive with a dive instructor and 4 or 5 divers is much more personalized than Carnival. 

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For people who prefer the cruise line excursions, that’s fine.  But for us there’s a lot more to it than cost savings. Agree that sometimes private operators are cheaper, sometimes not. But in my experience private operators have ALWAYS been better. Better tours, better experience, fewer guests. 

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I think it varies on port and excursion.  Certainly some excursions are more expensive through the cruise line and some are more crowded.  Others cost less and don't necessarily have a size issue.  Some ports really don't require any excursion and can be explored on your own either by foot or public transportation (up to taxi but not tour guide).

 

Most of our ship based excursions have not cost more than land based (often less), but we also don't tend to book shopping or beach getaways.  Ship catamaran snorkeling trips will generally be larger than private, but not always.  If it is just a transfer to a beach area the group size is mostly irrelevant, but you are on the ship's schedule.

 

You should research the port and excursions carefully.  Rarely is it totally a one size fits all answer.

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