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drvmywifecrzy

Informal survey - do you plan paid activities for each port of call?

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 This isn't specifically Carnival related but I hope you will comment on the Carnival excursions that you do pay for as well as others.

 

During this weird time of no cruises, I'm trying to strike a balance between Carnival related threads and those that just relate to cruising where we can hopefully have good discussions without any politics or disparaging remarks ----in another words just hanging out as if we were on the ship sitting around the bar with a couple of drinks talking about what we like to do in different ports

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As we have been to most all the ports we are planning no excursions but will get off the ship and shop a bit , maybe a drink and a bite to eat

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I've been to the ports multiple times. it is like a been there done that for me. If i have OBC to spend, i will purchase a carnival excursion

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I plan stuff for most ports, with a few exceptions. I stay on the ship at Nassau, Belieze and any stop in Jamaica.  Those days we do the pool with our kid while it's empty. 

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Posted (edited)

We plan excursions in every port if possible. We want to see and experience the best sites and experiences each place has to offer from around the world. We want to experience the country or island as much as possible. You can not experience what ports in the world have to offer by staying on the ship or walking 50 feet into the port to buy a t-shirt. We make every possible effort not to repeat ports. There is too much to see and do in the world with my children that I will pay to make it a priority and spending $600-$700 in a port on excursions is commonplace with us. We have done some amazing things like climbing 4.5 miles up Pacaya volcano in Guatemala last year with my kids on our Panama Canal cruise. The day We cruise and say we have been to most ports so we do nothing when there is a whole world out there is the day we quit cruising. Going to Cozumel and shopping for a shot glass doesn’t quite cut it ......

Edited by tallnthensome

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Honestly, it depends on the port.  We have been to Cozumel so many times, we don't purchase an excursion from Carnival or private.  We usually just hang out at the port or take a cab to the beach.  In other ports, we may book a Carnival excursion or we may book privately.  Just all depends!  🙂

 

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Posted (edited)

We used to booked a lot of excursions in our early days of cruising.  Now we usually book only one.  We like to free style. We have had many fabulous adventures doing this.  Grabbing a taxi and asking the driver to take us somewhere off the beaten path.  You don't have too spend big bucks and you get the feel of the country you are in.  When you schedule an excursion,  you are still limited to see only what they want you to see.

Edited by Butterbean1000

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I always do a little research on the excursions at each port....whether I have been there before or not.  If nothing draws my attention, then it will just be getting off the ship...shop/explore a little.

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We're still fairly new to cruising.  On our first cruise we didn't book any excursions.  All the choices seemed so overwhelming and I figured there would be a lot to do in the ports.  It turns out I was mistaken.  lol

 

Now we book, and pay in advance, a Carnival excursion at almost all ports.  The exceptions being Half Moon Cay (I didn't see any reason to book an excursion at a private island) and Grand Turk (I wanted to visit the Salt House and the salinas) this year.  Going forward I expect we'll book excursions in advance for almost all ports.  The exception being tender ports.  I tend to get sea sick on smaller vessels in rough water.  Belize was absolutely no fun since I was queasy the whole time.

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We "plan" what we want to do in any given port.  In a new-to us- port of call, we may do a ship sponsored excursion if it appeals to us.  In ports where an attraction is far away, we may book that via the ship as well.  But once we have a sense of the lay of the land, we go DIY.  And for ports we have visited frequently, or don't particularly care for, like Nassau, Freeport, or La Romana, we stay on the ship.  For cruise line islands/ports like Half Moon Cay or Amber Cove we may get off and do the beach, but not anything else.

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We plan excursions for every port, ranging from adventurous to shopping and dining. It just depends how many times we’ve been to a port and what we seek to get out of in enjoying a port. 
 

There’s so much to do in many places that sharing those experiences with family is why we cruise, to build memories and share fun or relaxing times. 
 

Our kids still talk about the many family vacations we’ve taken and things we’ve done together so my wife and I know we’ve achieved our goal of building family and sharing life experiences. 
 

That means a lot to us and our kids enjoy cruising (and my wife now too) as much as I did when my parents took me cruising when I was a child. 

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When we first started cruising, we would book ship excursions for the different ports of call.  Now that we are seasoned cruisers, we book a shore excursion if we travel to a port we have never been to.  We never stay on the ship when we are in port and venture out on our own.  We love the water and will take a shared taxi to a beach where there is good snorkeling from the shore or book a snorkeling adventure through Carnival.

 

We are Diamond on Carnival and we are sailing to the Caribbean in October (hopefully) on the Breeze and one of our stops is in Bonaire, a new port of call for us.  We will definitely be looking at the shore excursions offered by Carnival.  I have never booked a shore excursion with an outside vendor and never will.  Some people are very comfortable doing this but not me.  I would much prefer to book a shore excursion through Carnival who will wait for us if there is a problem returning to the ship on time.  

 

Years ago when I first started cruising, I would take my grandson with me.  Therefore, a woman traveling with a small child has to consider options carefully while in a port.  I always booked shore excursions when he sailed with me through Carnival or other cruise lines I have sailed on.   My grandson is now 28 years old and we talk about the islands we have sailed to and the beautiful places we have visited.  I know he will visit these memories often throughout his life.

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26 minutes ago, JaxsMama said:

I plan stuff for most ports, with a few exceptions. I stay on the ship at Nassau, Belieze and any stop in Jamaica.  Those days we do the pool with our kid while it's 

46 minutes ago, Host Carolyn said:

 

 This isn't specifically Carnival related but I hope you will comment on the Carnival excursions that you do pay for as well as others.

 

During this weird time of no cruises, I'm trying to strike a balance between Carnival related threads and those that just relate to cruising where we can hopefully have good discussions without any politics or disparaging remarks ----in another words just hanging out as if we were on the ship sitting around the bar with a couple of drinks talking about what we like to do in different ports

We always get off the ship for excursions or atleast look around at the shops. 50/50 on getting off at Freeport anymore though we dont care much for it just a bunch of over prices junk that has a "made in bahamas" sticker over the actual made in china print..  

 

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Just going on the typical western, eastern, southern Caribbean cruises over and over is boring. Ship and private excursions are more crucial when cruising to Europe, Panama Canal, other worldly destinations even Alaska ..... Going to Nassau 20 times presents an exploration problem. 

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I plan on doing something.  My traveling is to visit the country, not the port.

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We focus mostly on adventurous excursions so will book several trips with the cruise line depending on the port. For diving we like to book any boat dive through the ship. We also like to do a snorkel and/or catamaran tour and if we don’t know the port we are more likely to go through the ship. We do try to go to new countries with our cruises and since we are new to cruising we are able to get in a few new countries with many of the Caribbean routes. 

 

We focus on the Caribbean for now due to ease of travel to get to the home port plus both my husband and I were stationed overseas at several locations and have been to many of the places cruise ships go in other parts of the world (to include being stationed in Greece and Hawaii!) The Caribbean is one area we both lacked. 

 

We had a land vacation to Grand Cayman last fall so for our cancelled cruise on the Legend last week we had planned to do a snorkel on our own at one of the great spots from shore we discovered previously. We had booked a dive in through the ship in Roatan and a catamaran tour in Cozumel. We weren’t sure what to do in Belize and none of the excursions interested us because they were so far from the ship (and we had already done them on a land vacation). Hopefully I will get reimbursed soon for the excursions!

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Posted (edited)

It depends on the port. For a new port I will do a lot of research on the port. I will look at all of the carnival excursions. Then I’ll look at all of the excursions on a few other websites that sell them. I’ll look at things that aren’t even excursions that I can do on my own.

 

Some people have this thing against giving the cruise line money for excursions for some reason. I understand if the cruise line doesn’t make money there won’t be any cruises so it’s fine with me.

 

I don’t like getting off of the ship super early and most carnival excursions leave super early so if possible I do like to do my own thing or book a later excursion with an outside vendor.

 

If it’s a long excursion like Dunn’s River Falls from Montego or Lamanai from Belize I will book through carnival. If it’s something that will get me back in plenty of time I’ll look at outside vendors and either book with them  or look into a price match with carnival.



 

 

Edited by Saint Greg

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4 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:

It depends on the port. For a new port I will do a lot of research on the port. I will look at all of the carnival excursions. Then I’ll look at all of the excursions on a few other websites that sell them. I’ll look at things that aren’t even excursions that I can do on my own.

 

Some people have this thing against giving the cruise line money for excursions for some reason. I understand if the cruise line doesn’t make money there won’t be any cruises so it’s fine with me.

 

I don’t like getting off of the ship super early and most carnival excursions leave super early so if possible I do like to do my own thing or book a later excursion with an outside vendor.

 

If it’s a long excursion like Dunn’s River Falls from Montego or Lamanai from Belize I will book through carnival. If it’s something that will get me back in plenty of time I’ll look at outside vendors and either book with them  or look into a price match with carnival.



 

 

I think we do the exact same thing! I have found the prices by the cruise lines very comparable when I look at Excursions discussed on other vacation boards; for the exact same excursion. Atlantis is an exception. I particularly like to go through the ship if the excursion is far away. If there is something the ship doesn't offer (like the shore dive at Coki beach in St. Thomas) I will do that on my own. I agree about the early excursions, the reason we chose diving in Roatan over Cozumel had to do with the time the ship pulled into port, I didn't want to get up too early!

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A big part of the excitement of booking a cruise for me is researching the ports via other websites and specifically CC's Ports of Call.  I have discovered excursions that Carnival doesn't offer yet, like The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  What a gorgeous place! Or beach bars like Jack's Shack in Grand Turk (not really an excursion but a great place to chill) or Pirates of the Caribbean Extreme zip line in Roatan, Honduras.  Through CC I have also learned about great Carnival excursions that I may have not considered.  We also do DIY in ports we have visited often.

Having said all that, CC has been a big influence on what we do at each port👍 

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If it is a new port for us (which are now few and far between, unless we to go to Europe, which we are starting to explore) we usually do a ship excursion if time is short in port, or if a sight we want to see is far from the ship.   We also do private excursions in new ports, as long as there is plenty of time to get back to the ship if something unforeseen happens.  For some of the "older" ports, we just go off the ship and walk around the port a bit, then head right back on the ship.  For ports such as Nassau, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, St. Thomas we may not even venture off the ship, and just use the mostly deserted ship as our "port."

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We plan an excursion for most ports. My DH is all about port exploration, and he doesn’t like to waste a minute. We do some cruise line excursions and some independent. For ports far away from sites, we exclusively book cruise line excursions to minimize risk. Sometimes, we will rent a car, walk, take Uber/taxi, or a HoHo. 

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9 hours ago, drvmywifecrzy said:

Not always but if there is something I want to 100% do I will pay in advance

Once we've booked the cruise we look at what excursions are available in each port and see which ones interest us. We then book them starting at final payment date. If we don't see an excursion that we fancy then we usually just do a beach day.

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We always book something ahead with the locals. Usually our first stop at each island we've done an island tour to get an idea of things the island has to offer. Then when we go back, we have more of an idea of things we want to do. Regardless, it's always with a local though and never through the cruise line. 

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I have a cruise planned for July, if it sails. I will be looking forward to having the ship with fewer people on it so we will take at least one port day to enjoy the ship. 

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