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Your worst Shore Excursion bought from the ship


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Practically never do ship's tours after several less than stellar experiences--a lot of them involving looong stops for shopping at very touristy places.  One tour in Grand Cayman was especially bad because the bus was not only full but overbooked and they made some of us sit in jump seats that pulled down in the middle of the aisle, meaning anyone who sat there was pinched in a narrow uncomfortable seat, couldn't see much, and it made getting in and out of the bus a nightmare for everyone.

 

I suppose there are a few places where because of logistics we might consider a ship tour.  But it hasn't happened in about 10 years.

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Travelled to Rome from Civitavecchia for the day. The blurb promised "several hours at the enchanting Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps".

 

We got there, and the Trevi Fountain was shrouded in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. It was empty of water, and they had rigged up a plastic bowl with a photo of the Fountain in better days behind it for tourists to throw a coin in.

 

True to the blurb, the guide disappeared and left us for at least 90 minutes.

 

I found some details online that the works had started 4 months previously, during which time the ship had been in Civitavecchia at least EIGHT times. 

 

Back on board, the Excursions Desk tried to say they were unaware of the refurbishment of the fountain. When l showed them the internet article about how long it had been closed, they gave up and refunded half the trip cost.

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We really wanted to go to the Salem Museum in Salem MA and booked a ships tour.  Spent more time at the shopping stop, which was not mentioned in the description, than we did at the museum.  The museum tour was by groups and crowded so we were rushed through with more time for shopping in the gift shop.   The bus was late so got stuck in traffic and the driver would not put the a/c on.  A number of us complained and got a partial refund.

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4 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We really wanted to go to the Salem Museum in Salem MA and booked a ships tour.  Spent more time at the shopping stop, which was not mentioned in the description, than we did at the museum.  The museum tour was by groups and crowded so we were rushed through with more time for shopping in the gift shop.   The bus was late so got stuck in traffic and the driver would not put the a/c on.  A number of us complained and got a partial refund.

They never do mention the shopping stop. I know our tour in Turkey did not.

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On 5/10/2020 at 9:31 AM, Aquahound said:

 

I totally agree.  Cruise line excursions are a thing of the past for me.  I stopped booking them years ago.  I have no patience anymore for the crowded buses and the tourons who hold everyone else up because they can't grasp the concept of time. 

 

My Pet-hate are Excursions that "offer" a Sit-down-Lunch-Break during the Tour!! Don't get the Passengers enough Food while in the Ship? Can't they just ....SKIP LUNCH ....one time? Such Lunch stops take 1-2 hours out of any Excursion and are a total waste of time.  Cruise stops in any Port are usually too short anyway - and while in a port, I want to see as much as possible - NOT spending time in a local Restaurant. 

So, I peruse the available Excursions carefully to maximise my Shore time - and don't book any Excursions with meal breaks. If I want to sample the local Cuisine - I just venture out by myself and find a LOCAL Restaurant - where LOCAL People eat.

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4 minutes ago, awinkl said:

 

My Pet-hate are Excursions that "offer" a Sit-down-Lunch-Break during the Tour!! Don't get the Passengers enough Food while in the Ship? Can't they just ....SKIP LUNCH ....one time? Such Lunch stops take 1-2 hours out of any Excursion and are a total waste of time.  Cruise stops in any Port are usually too short anyway - and while in a port, I want to see as much as possible - NOT spending time in a local Restaurant. 

So, I peruse the available Excursions carefully to maximise my Shore time - and don't book any Excursions with meal breaks. If I want to sample the local Cuisine - I just venture out by myself and find a LOCAL Restaurant - where LOCAL People eat.

The only time I had a listed lunch stop was on a full day excursion to the Yukon. A lunch stop was necessary. On my trip to Nassau, the description said a sampling of local food. Since it was scheduled for after lunch, it never occured to me that it was a restaurant stop, where we were to buy our own food. 

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1 hour ago, awinkl said:

 

My Pet-hate are Excursions that "offer" a Sit-down-Lunch-Break during the Tour!! Don't get the Passengers enough Food while in the Ship? Can't they just ....SKIP LUNCH ....one time? Such Lunch stops take 1-2 hours out of any Excursion and are a total waste of time.  Cruise stops in any Port are usually too short anyway - and while in a port, I want to see as much as possible - NOT spending time in a local Restaurant. 

So, I peruse the available Excursions carefully to maximise my Shore time - and don't book any Excursions with meal breaks. If I want to sample the local Cuisine - I just venture out by myself and find a LOCAL Restaurant - where LOCAL People eat.

 

I am so with you on this one. Hate long lunch stops when there are things I want to see....

 

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2 hours ago, awinkl said:

 

My Pet-hate are Excursions that "offer" a Sit-down-Lunch-Break during the Tour!! Don't get the Passengers enough Food while in the Ship? Can't they just ....SKIP LUNCH ....one time? Such Lunch stops take 1-2 hours out of any Excursion and are a total waste of time.  Cruise stops in any Port are usually too short anyway - and while in a port, I want to see as much as possible - NOT spending time in a local Restaurant. 

So, I peruse the available Excursions carefully to maximise my Shore time - and don't book any Excursions with meal breaks. If I want to sample the local Cuisine - I just venture out by myself and find a LOCAL Restaurant - where LOCAL People eat.

 

I totally agree with you.  I don't like the long sit-down lunches either.  I would much rather grab something mobile and local like the gyro I had in Santorini, the pizza in I had Naples, or the blackened mahi I had in St Kitts. 

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45 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

I totally agree with you.  I don't like the long sit-down lunches either.  I would much rather grab something mobile and local like the gyro I had in Santorini, the pizza in I had Naples, or the blackened mahi I had in St Kitts. 

Love the pizza in Naples , we went to hear Sophia Loren speak a few years ago and we had chance to ask her her favorite food, she replied I am from Naples so it is pizza. 

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I often take ship excursions as I travel on my own.Just easier sometimes.  Most generally give you what they state in brochure and I get to see lots of different sights.

However last year on Queen Elizabeth Northern lights tour, travelling with my daughter we took the ship’s tour to view Northern Lights.

First we stopped at side of road with traffic going past continually, then in car park, well lit, of a golf club and then a lot of driving around in circles.  We saw lights at end of tour, but also saw them from the deck of the ship about an hour later.

Spoke to excursion desk and pointed out what brochure offered and what we got.  Full refund.

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It feel a lot of the problems with ship tours..... they try to go to the best places, which are sometimes a few hours away.....

 

and nothing like to stuffed into a bus for 3 hours get out look around and get back in the bus for another 3 hours. home...

 

Really if you are going on a cruise you get a glimpse of a city....   and that is it.... you want more do a land tour....

 

Cheers Don

 

PS we have never done a ships tour... do our own... .

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On 5/9/2020 at 7:40 PM, Hlitner said:

I confess to being outspoken on this topic, but the worst cruise ship excursion was ANY cruise ship excursion.  Early in our cruise life (mid 70s) we quickly realize that most cruise line excursions were similar to cattle calls with 50-60 folks being crammed in a bus, instructed to follow the leader, taken to places that give kick-backs to the tour company and guides, etc.  

I must be an outlier because DH and I have had several good ship excursions.  I suspect it was more the type of tours we took though.  Our first cruise was to Saint John, NB where we did Carnival's pub crawl.  The guide was informative (even if he did misquote/misapply 1Timothy 6:10) and our walking group was small - less than 15 people.  When we returned to Saint John on Princess we took their Kayak and Lobster lunch tour which I couldn't find during our time apart from taking the ship excursion.  While it was a larger bus group it was still a great time and everyone seemed to be respectful of our time.  We had a great kayak excursion in Freeport with Carnival too, and our limited hours almost dictated a ship based excursion as it took almost our entire time.

 

When we went to Halifax we walked to the Citadel on our own and were very glad to do it on our own schedule versus the ship tour - much more relaxing that way 🙂 

 

My worst excursion was on our second cruise when I didn't know any better.  On our stop at Cocoa Cay we booked the nature hike (fairly reasonable at under $20 and was informative), but the guide was definitely on island time and we were late starting plus we could have just walked the path for about as much enjoyment - even without the history and detail.

 

On 5/10/2020 at 1:44 PM, jeremyosborne81 said:

Istanbul was better when it was Constantinople, but we can't go back to Constantinople.
It's been a long time gone, Constantinople.
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks.

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way 

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Our worst excursion was a snorkeling trip in Loreto, Mexico.  Our group had ~40 people, but there were other groups using the same area.  For those of us who didn't have our own snorkeling gear, they dumped some boxes on the ground and everyone got to scramble for equipment.  I ended up with flippers and a mask, but no snorkel (probably just as well; I doubt they do any kind of sanitizing between trips).  There were no instructions on how to use the equipment.

The lunch they served us was pre-packaged sandwiches and bags of chips.  There were dozens of bees flying around the picnic area, and one little girl got stung.

The worst part was the 'outhouse'.  There were 2 'seats' facing each other, with no door in between.  The seats were disgusting, and there was no toilet paper.  I was forced to wait until we returned to port.

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16 hours ago, ColeThornton said:

 

 

Here's today's quick history lesson.   🙂

 

https://www.historytoday.com/archive/new-amsterdam-surrendered-english

 

Thanks for the history lesson 🙂 

 

I was quoting another part of the They Might Be Giants song that JeremyOsborne81 posted 😉 (fun blast from the past, thanks 😄 )

 

To go off topic even more (sorry) - I don't know if your screen name came from the movie or something else, but I always hear Swede Larsen from El Dorado when I see your name 🙂 

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4 minutes ago, pacruise804 said:

 

Thanks for the history lesson 🙂 

 

I was quoting another part of the They Might Be Giants song that JeremyOsborne81 posted 😉 (fun blast from the past, thanks 😄 )

 

To go off topic even more (sorry) - I don't know if your screen name came from the movie or something else, but I always hear Swede Larsen from El Dorado when I see your name 🙂 

 

 

Correct!  Gotta love The Duke.  🙂

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On 5/10/2020 at 9:59 PM, Heidi13 said:

 In the Vasa Museum she was dreadful, reading the signs, so I wandered the museum myself.

 

I visited this Museum as part of a Stockholm city tour during a Eurodam Baltic Cruise shore Excursion.  My visit to the Museum was "unguided" and I enjoyed viewing the video and wandering through the exhibits.  I really appreciated the near immediate access to the Museum rather than joining the long line of other folks waiting to enter.  There was just so much to see, I wish I was able to have had more time there.  

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16 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I visited this Museum as part of a Stockholm city tour during a Eurodam Baltic Cruise shore Excursion.  My visit to the Museum was "unguided" and I enjoyed viewing the video and wandering through the exhibits.  I really appreciated the near immediate access to the Museum rather than joining the long line of other folks waiting to enter.  There was just so much to see, I wish I was able to have had more time there.  

We had a couple of hours in the Vasa Musuem, could easily have spent the entire day, as it was one that I hadn't heard of before. Thoroughly enjoyed touring it without the guide.

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4 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

We had a couple of hours in the Vasa Musuem, could easily have spent the entire day, as it was one that I hadn't heard of before. Thoroughly enjoyed touring it without the guide.

 

If I ever return to Stockholm, another visit to the Vasa Museum and a visit to the Abba Museum will be on my priority list!

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As much as possible we stay away from the ship's excursions and always go for local tour operators in the destination. I don't want to waste a lot of money with touring with a big group and we always feel rushed!  

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6 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I visited this Museum as part of a Stockholm city tour during a Eurodam Baltic Cruise shore Excursion.  My visit to the Museum was "unguided" and I enjoyed viewing the video and wandering through the exhibits.  I really appreciated the near immediate access to the Museum rather than joining the long line of other folks waiting to enter.  There was just so much to see, I wish I was able to have had more time there.  

 

We had an almost identical experience, though I think it was a Princess cruise excursion.  I thoroughly enjoyed skipping the long  line with because we were with the tour group, then being released to doing the museum on our own.   

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4 hours ago, ldubs said:

 

We had an almost identical experience, though I think it was a Princess cruise excursion.  I thoroughly enjoyed skipping the long  line with because we were with the tour group, then being released to doing the museum on our own.   

 

And we did the Vasa museum on our own -- and were the very first people in line when the museum opened. No line. (My 13-year-old son loved it -- there could not have been a better attraction for him at that age!)

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15 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

And we did the Vasa museum on our own -- and were the very first people in line when the museum opened. No line. (My 13-year-old son loved it -- there could not have been a better attraction for him at that age!)

We were also lucky enough to get to the Vasa Museum as it was opening and with no long line. We really found it fascinating.

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16 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

If I ever return to Stockholm, another visit to the Vasa Museum and a visit to the Abba Museum will be on my priority list!

 We drove past the ABBA museum, but didn't stop. Definitely want to visit it next time, as I still remember watching their Eurovision win in 1974.😀

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Ship shore excursions have pretty much been what I have expected. I have never been locked in a shop, our shopping stops have been for clean restrooms and not overly long. I did not see anyone buy anything at the cameo workshop near Herculaneum or at the fur coat shop on our Delphi tour.

 

I have been bugged by incorrect tour descriptions that don't match the tour. Instead of visiting two neolithic sites on Malta, we viewed the tent covering the second from afar. The in room info system and the tour booklet said we would tour the Braun-Menendez Mansion in Punta Arenas. We did not, it was closed. The shore excursion staff's excuse was that the tour was described accurately on the order form, two incorrect descriptions, one correct.

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