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


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I  typically make plans for every port, a cruise ship excursion is typically my last choice - but if its all that's available (only happened once in all my cruises - could find no private excursions at all offered in La Coruna) then I'd do a ships excursion.

 

I am moving away from itineraries I've done many times before, with my age & budget I am focusing more on bucket list cruises.  So fewer cruises, but hopefully to places I really want to see.  Although I did do a Mexican riviera cruise last fall - my 3rd time on this itinerary.  And in Puerto Vallarta we made it to the Botanical Gardens, and an absolutely wonderful restaurant there on site.  It was fairly inexpensive for an excursion as we did it on our own - the only hard part was finding a taxi not hell bent on ripping me off, getting there from the port.  But we made it, didn't pay more than we should have - and so worthwhile to see the beautiful grounds.  Even if you've been to a port many times - its still such a short time we are there on a port stop.  So my thought is you can go to the same port 10+  times and maybe still have plenty of things to see or do that are new.  

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I am a planner.

There, I said it.

I plan every stop.

In ports I think might be a little sketchy I'll book thru carnival.

Most times I do the research and book independent.

The info is out there(here on CC) you just have to dig it out.

All that being said................damn, I miss cruising😣

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We're doing Nachi Cocum in Cozumel; doing the catamaran/snorkel/sting ray swim in Montego Bay, and probably do a walk about in Grand Cayman. That's what we have planned so far. That may change though as we've not paid for any excursions yet...too soon to tell. 🙏

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I like to plan something at a "new" port.  We are close to Diamond cruisers, so for most ports we already know what we want to do.  Next year we are planning a cruise to Hawaii, so we'll most likely plan an excursion at each port of call.  All of them are new to us, and we want to see and do as much as possible!

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We do plan something at every stop but that's because we don't cruise to places multiple times.  We want to go places where we haven't been before.  I want to go and do and see everything, sitting on a beach all day would be my personal hell.  It depends on our level of confidence with the area and feeling of safety as to whether we book through the ship or not.  In Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe we will book things on our own.  We're heading back to the Caribbean for the first time in over a decade.  We didn't have children on previous trips and I remember some pretty shady areas with lots of pushy vendors.  I expect we'll book ship excursions for most of that trip.  

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On 5/2/2020 at 9:13 AM, Joe817 said:

We're doing Nachi Cocum in Cozumel; doing the catamaran/snorkel/sting ray swim in Montego Bay, and probably do a walk about in Grand Cayman. That's what we have planned so far. That may change though as we've not paid for any excursions yet...too soon to tell. 🙏

 

I could NOT get waited on at Nachi Cocum. I had to go up to a waiter and ask for a drink. Very annoying. I left early. Better service on the ship.

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Our next cruise is a shorty to Freeport and Nassau. Currently, I'm thinking that in Freeport we will take a group taxi (not a Carnival excursion) to Taino Beach and hang at Toni Macaroni's Conch Experience.  If they aren't open, then we will probably stay on ship.

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I am an intense planner.  We pick the cruise for the Ports.  When we first began cruising 25 yrs ago, we used the ship's excursions, but now I book almost all with outside vendors.  Mainly because I can get off the ship and to my destination before the hordes of excursions drop off  people.  I like it to be quiet and take pictures without strangers in the background.  I like to find out of the way places to visit and that takes planning and drivers.  We have snorkeled with seahorses, climbed to top of Mayan ruins with no one but the guide, hit Cozumel's beaches and been the only ones for 2 hours. I will say a time or two it has been a little scary.  So do be careful.  

Now that said:  The Caribbean is cheap to have individual drivers and cars, but some islands are too scary to be on an individual tour.   Europe you have to find small group excursions, because everything is expensive there, but never have we been worried.  

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If we find one that looks interesting, we will reserve it ahead of time.  Sometimes we just get off and shop or walk around.  At Grand Turk, we will stay at the beach and swim.  A few times we have went with outside vendors.  If we've been to an island several times, we'll just stay on the ship.  

 

For our upcoming cruise on the Mardi Gras, there are tons of excursions listed and not one of them strikes our fancy.  I'll find one that looks interesting, then read the reviews and see that what the description of the excursion says is nothing like what it really is.  Most of them say it's not worth the price you have to pay.

Edited by RWolver672
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I always try to plan something in each port... mainly because it's usually my daughter and I sailing (she just turned 17) and I like to do fun things with her when we're on vacation!

 

We discovered the Ardastra Gardens excursion on our last cruise to Nassau and had so much fun that we plan on doing it again when we cruise again.  (the actual gardens were very small but so much to see!  and the bus ride was a BLAST - our driver was truly enjoying his job  LOL)

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We have only done 3 Carnival shore excursions and 1 excursion through an outside company. We usually just go out on our own. We've done day passes at resorts on our own, taken a cab to the beach, or just explored. Personally, we like being able to go where we want to go, when we want to go.  We have had a lot of fun every time we've ventured out on our own.

 

That being said, we have enjoyed all of the organized shore excursions we've done.  My two favorites were swimming with the stingrays in Grand Cayman - we used Moby Dick tours for this excursion and it was fantastic, and going to the Xunantunich ruins in Belize.  The ruins are hours away so I only considered doing this through Carnival so that we didn't have to worry about getting left by the ship if our tour was running late. 

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Depends on the port. If I've been there many times, I wont do much more that shop or not even get off the ship.

 

If I haven't been there before, I try for a Carnival excursion that is more cultural, so I can learn something about the people and history of the location.

 

I also do research about the locations so I can go out on my own if I wish.

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We only pre-book excursions that really look interesting and those are usually in a port we've never visited. I doubt we ever take another excursion in any Caribbean port, but Canada/New England and Alaska/Hawaii will always have things that lure us off the ship and onto an overcrowded bus.

 

I don't know that we'll ever cruise out of Europe. If we did, then there'd be an excursion in every port for certain.

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Depends on the port, if there is something that I am really interested in I'll do an excursion, either through Carnival or through a private tour company.  My next cruise we're going to St. Kitts (still up in the air about what I want to do there....my Mom is 77 so while I'd love to hike the volcano it's too much for her), St. Maarten (booked the 12M regatta through Carnival), San Juan (doing our own thing walking the Old City), and Grand Turk (beach and Jack's Shack).

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