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Your worst Shore Excursion bought from the ship


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22 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.  

 

I had a similar experience when I took a Baltic Cruise that stopped at St Petersburg and I joined a Ship's Excursion to the Hermitage - bypassing a very, very long Line of people waiting to enter the Museum. The downside of the guided tour was ..... not really enough time to enjoy all the treasures there - 

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The Rug Store in Istambul.  Apparently they thought all Americans were millionaires.  Showing rugs that cost many thousands of dollars.  No way to escape.

 

Can't remember the port, but one stop in Australia where the bus driver had no idea what the itinerary was supposed to be.  We were supposed to go to some kind of "Gnome City" which I had no interest in, but he said there was no such place.  We stopped at a place where we were supposed to "interact" with dolphins.  Nope.  Gift shop only.

 

Any of the fishing trips we booked.  Apparently since I was an older female they figured I couldn't fish when I was actually a very accomplished, experienced fisherman.  We never caught anything anywhere.  The guides also probably figured they would never see us again so didn't try very hard at all.  One trip in Alaska, every other boat with all males aboard came back with fish.  Us?  Nothing.

 

Any trip that had a shopping stop.  Many of them unscheduled.

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55 minutes ago, gooch47 said:

The Rug Store in Istambul.  Apparently they thought all Americans were millionaires.  Showing rugs that cost many thousands of dollars.  No way to escape.

 

Can't remember the port, but one stop in Australia where the bus driver had no idea what the itinerary was supposed to be.  We were supposed to go to some kind of "Gnome City" which I had no interest in, but he said there was no such place.  We stopped at a place where we were supposed to "interact" with dolphins.  Nope.  Gift shop only.

 

Any of the fishing trips we booked.  Apparently since I was an older female they figured I couldn't fish when I was actually a very accomplished, experienced fisherman.  We never caught anything anywhere.  The guides also probably figured they would never see us again so didn't try very hard at all.  One trip in Alaska, every other boat with all males aboard came back with fish.  Us?  Nothing.

 

Any trip that had a shopping stop.  Many of them unscheduled.

The key word their is unscheduled. Some people do love to shop, and that is fine. But when they spring that rug shop on you, that is definitely not a good thing.

 

And it's a shame that you ran into that sexist attitude on your fishing excursion. One would think that if you booked a fishing excursion, fishing would be something you are interested in.

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On 5/16/2020 at 12:45 PM, ontheweb said:

The key word their is unscheduled. Some people do love to shop, and that is fine. But when they spring that rug shop on you, that is definitely not a good thing.

 

And it's a shame that you ran into that sexist attitude on your fishing excursion. One would think that if you booked a fishing excursion, fishing would be something you are interested in.

Obviously I don't know for sure that it was because I was a woman.  I do remember on one trip each boat had four people.  On the one I was on, the only other woman on the whole tour was put with us.  And no fish.  We went on a tour at a lake near Haines, Alaska, and the guide was amazed I was the only one on the boat who could cast worth a darn.  

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My first cruise was in 2003 on Carnival with my the 16 yr daughter. We booked an excursion in Roatan (coxen hole dock), I think it was glass bottom boat but not sure.

Our bus went up a steep winding hill, not far from port. On the left side was cliff and ocean, on the right, houses with kids in the yards. At the top of the hill there was a stop sign and the bus stalled (standard). The driver couldn't get it started and then we start rolling backward down the hill. The driver was trying to steer the bus as it rolled down the hill picking up speed. I thought for sure we were going to hit one of the kids, of go over the cliff.

We finally stopped by slamming into a garbage truck that was stopped on the road.

The girl in the last seat took the worst of it, she was caught between the seat in front of her and her seat.

She kept screaming Oh My God, over and over till they got her out. I never heard afterwards how badly she was hurt.

 

Everyone was very shaken up.

When everyone was off the bus, the guide said they would send another bus and continue the excursion but we all refused and walked back to port.

My DH and I spent the rest of the day in the market near the port and she got her hair braided.

 

When we got back to the ship we went to the excursion desk and asked for a refund. We were told because they offered another bus and we refused that they would not refund.

They eventually changed their minds and gave refunds after everyone on the bus complained.

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7 hours ago, electro said:

When we got back to the ship we went to the excursion desk and asked for a refund. We were told because they offered another bus and we refused that they would not refund.

They eventually changed their minds and gave refunds after everyone on the bus complained.

 

My goodness:  given your circumstances, that was the least that your shore excursion manager ought to have done.  

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9 hours ago, electro said:

My first cruise was in 2003 on Carnival with my the 16 yr daughter. We booked an excursion in Roatan (coxen hole dock), I think it was glass bottom boat but not sure.

Our bus went up a steep winding hill, not far from port. On the left side was cliff and ocean, on the right, houses with kids in the yards. At the top of the hill there was a stop sign and the bus stalled (standard). The driver couldn't get it started and then we start rolling backward down the hill. The driver was trying to steer the bus as it rolled down the hill picking up speed. I thought for sure we were going to hit one of the kids, of go over the cliff.

We finally stopped by slamming into a garbage truck that was stopped on the road.

The girl in the last seat took the worst of it, she was caught between the seat in front of her and her seat.

She kept screaming Oh My God, over and over till they got her out. I never heard afterwards how badly she was hurt.

 

Everyone was very shaken up.

When everyone was off the bus, the guide said they would send another bus and continue the excursion but we all refused and walked back to port.

My DH and I spent the rest of the day in the market near the port and she got her hair braided.

 

When we got back to the ship we went to the excursion desk and asked for a refund. We were told because they offered another bus and we refused that they would not refund.

They eventually changed their minds and gave refunds after everyone on the bus complained.

 

I am surprised that they did not try to claim that the hill roll down was a preplanned part of the excursion.

 

DON

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We had a fishing tour in Alaska.  We had the early time slot.  I think it got done with at 10 am.  As we got on the boat the guide told us the fish would not bite until 10.  Truth.  We sat down inside.  My husband fell asleep,  I ate licorice. and we talked to the other couple out the boat.  Only got one bite and threw that back.  And, one of the guides was pretty rude. 

Also in Alaska the Homestead tour.  We thought we would see their homesteading set up.  What we did was sit in her livingroom where her mother and her told us about their family.  Very boring.

Also in Denali Park we took an 8 hour bus ride into the park.  It was pretty boring as we saw some birds and reindeer.  But I got a great picture of everyone in the bus behind me sleeping.  There were 8 seats of couples all sleeping.

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On 5/16/2020 at 9:45 AM, ontheweb said:

The key word their is unscheduled. Some people do love to shop, and that is fine. But when they spring that rug shop on you, that is definitely not a good thing.

 

 

The rug shop was not listed on our Ephesus excursion.   I complained about it to the shore excursions manager and got a full refund.  The funny thing is, I didn't go for a refund at all; I only wanted to see if they actually knew it was included.  She made the mistake of telling me if it was advertised, people wouldn't book the excursion.  That's when I changed gears and told them they were being intentionally deceitful.  Within a few minutes, I had a few hundreds dollars added to my OBC.  

Edited by Aquahound
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8 hours ago, Aquahound said:

 

The rug shop was not listed on our Ephesus excursion.   I complained about it to the shore excursions manager and got a full refund.  The funny thing is, I didn't go for a refund at all; I only wanted to see if they actually knew it was included.  She made the mistake of telling me if it was advertised, people wouldn't book the excursion.  That's when I changed gears and told them they were being intentionally deceitful.  Within a few minutes, I had a few hundreds dollars added to my OBC.  

Good for you. I wish I had thought to do that. I agree that it is deceitful, especially if they know that it would discourage the booking of the excursion.

 

There are people who do like shopping. It would be better to have separate excursions, one with and and one without the rug shopping.

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2 hours ago, ontheweb said:

Good for you. I wish I had thought to do that. I agree that it is deceitful, especially if they know that it would discourage the booking of the excursion.

 

There are people who do like shopping. It would be better to have separate excursions, one with and and one without the rug shopping.

 

I understand some people like to shop. But why would anyone pay good money for a tour and then want to spend the time shopping? In most ports, there is easily accessible shopping near the port that one can do on one's own time before the tour starts or after it ends. 

 

When I take a tour, I'm paying for an expert guide's time and knowledge, and for transportation. Not paying to indulge in an activity I could perfectly well do on my own!

 

From someone who's spent a fair amount of time in Turkey, on various cruises, land tours and just DIY from place to place -- you see the same rugs in the same shops in most places. Same with the leather and the ceramics. You're not going to miss out. Ephesus has a ton of shopping at the pier.

 

On a land tour to Turkey I took a number of years ago, there were a mother and daughter on our coach who were big shoppers. We started our tour in Istanbul, where they even skipped some of the included touring in order to shop for a rug. The morning we left Istanbul, they were full of stories on the bus about how they picked out their one of a kind rug and the great price they got. They had assurances that it was woven by tribeswomen who never repeated the same design, pattern and colors exactly. 

 

Then a couple of hours later we stopped at one of these roadway centers they have in Turkey, a sort of autogrill with restrooms and shopping. Lo and behold if they didn't see the exact same rug here, at a much lower price. Then they also saw it again in Cannakkale, Izmir, Ephesus....  It became a kind of standing joke.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I understand some people like to shop. But why would anyone pay good money for a tour and then want to spend the time shopping? In most ports, there is easily accessible shopping near the port that one can do on one's own time before the tour starts or after it ends. 

 

When I take a tour, I'm paying for an expert guide's time and knowledge, and for transportation. Not paying to indulge in an activity I could perfectly well do on my own!

 

From someone who's spent a fair amount of time in Turkey, on various cruises, land tours and just DIY from place to place -- you see the same rugs in the same shops in most places. Same with the leather and the ceramics. You're not going to miss out. Ephesus has a ton of shopping at the pier.

 

On a land tour to Turkey I took a number of years ago, there were a mother and daughter on our coach who were big shoppers. We started our tour in Istanbul, where they even skipped some of the included touring in order to shop for a rug. The morning we left Istanbul, they were full of stories on the bus about how they picked out their one of a kind rug and the great price they got. They had assurances that it was woven by tribeswomen who never repeated the same design, pattern and colors exactly. 

 

Then a couple of hours later we stopped at one of these roadway centers they have in Turkey, a sort of autogrill with restrooms and shopping. Lo and behold if they didn't see the exact same rug here, at a much lower price. Then they also saw it again in Cannakkale, Izmir, Ephesus....  It became a kind of standing joke.

 

 

 

The HA HA I reacted was towards your fellow cruisers and their "one of a kind" expensive rug.

 

As for shopping, we also do not understand. When we did a Florence on Your Own excursion we had prepaid online timed tickets for the 2 major museums. And of course we also admired the art in a city that is all but an art gallery. But it seemed everyone else on the tour was there to shop.

 

We did buy some gelato since it was very warm that day, but I don't think that counts as shopping. LOL We actually saw something we were going to buy as a souvenir but did not want to schlep it around all day and it was not there when we got back to our meeting place to take the bus back. But we can live with that.

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3 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

I understand some people like to shop. But why would anyone pay good money for a tour and then want to spend the time shopping? In most ports, there is easily accessible shopping near the port that one can do on one's own time before the tour starts or after it ends. 

 

When I take a tour, I'm paying for an expert guide's time and knowledge, and for transportation. Not paying to indulge in an activity I could perfectly well do on my own!

 

I completely agree.  It’s one of the reasons we rarely do HAL tours anymore and opt for either DIY with some research or a private tour with research 😉 

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My worst tour was a number of years ago.  We were in Lisbon and because of the time we were leaving it was impossible to do a Fado show unless we signed up for HAL’s.

 

DH really wanted Fado, pricey tour but I booked it.  The worst experience ever.  Crammed in like sardines, rushed out before we even had coffee and dessert (rushed so badly that a lady fell in the road and was nearly run over) and the Fado (when you could hear it) was not even real Fado.

 

When I went to complain to the shore excursion office, I got the “you are the only one to complain”.  When I went to our follow up meet and greet there were 5 other couple who had gone and were complaining.  So we all went together to the shore excursion office.

 

Their reply “if you knew so much about Fado, you shouldn’t have taken a HAL excursion”.

 

Nothing was done and yes, I escalated.  Fortunately, my next two times to Lisbon, I made sure I either had an overnight or we went pre-cruise and were able to enjoy fabulous, authentic Fado (and good Portuguese food).  


As a result, I rarely do ships’ tours now unless there is no other solution.

 

On the other hand, years ago, we did the Vatican secrets tour with HAL (long time ago), VERY expensive.  It ended up being a very small group (8 of us) and was fabulous.  Our guide was incredible - one before we entered and a Vatican guide inside.  Sadly, these are rarely offered so....  From there, I realized the benefit of private tours 😉 

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1 hour ago, kazu said:

Fortunately, my next two times to Lisbon, I made sure I either had an overnight or we went pre-cruise and were able to enjoy fabulous, authentic Fado (and good Portuguese food).  

 

 

Wish I'd been able to do that Fado evening with you guys before the Prinsendam trip!

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1 minute ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Wish I'd been able to do that Fado evening with you guys before the Prinsendam trip!

 

I wish you could have too!

 

Senor Fado is fabulous.  It’s just a small intimate spot.  Just a couple - 3 singers but both owners are top Fado stars and only do this 2 -3 times a week.  They often have other artists come to join in and improvise.  Her voice is beyond magnificent and their daughter is now a famous Fado performer too and has a lovely voice.

He always asks us not to critique the food as the place is about music, not food.  The food is fabulous.  We went with another couple the first time (I made the reservations and deposit) and we were all enchanted.  The last time, we basically had most of the tables.  Everyone enjoyed the music and food.  Everyone was enchanted (thankfully). 

If you get to overnight in Lisbon, it’s in Alfama, very close to where the ship docks but a hefty uphill climb (going down is easy).  They will also offer to call you a cab if you want.

 

Walk ins are very rare.  Pretty much reservation only.  Well worth it IMO.

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1 minute ago, kazu said:

 

I wish you could have too!

 

Senor Fado is fabulous.  It’s just a small intimate spot.  Just a couple - 3 singers but both owners are top Fado stars and only do this 2 -3 times a week.  They often have other artists come to join in and improvise.  Her voice is beyond magnificent and their daughter is now a famous Fado performer too and has a lovely voice.

He always asks us not to critique the food as the place is about music, not food.  The food is fabulous.  We went with another couple the first time (I made the reservations and deposit) and we were all enchanted.  The last time, we basically had most of the tables.  Everyone enjoyed the music and food.  Everyone was enchanted (thankfully). 

If you get to overnight in Lisbon, it’s in Alfama, very close to where the ship docks but a hefty uphill climb (going down is easy).  They will also offer to call you a cab if you want.

 

Walk ins are very rare.  Pretty much reservation only.  Well worth it IMO.

 

Alfama is my favorite part of Lisbon and where I usually stay. Once I attended a special show in the crypt of the Se Cathedral (only 20 spots) with a master guitarist. I just happened to be on the square when I saw a small line forming at the door of the cathedral and I got the last spot. It was fantastic.

 

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5 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Alfama is my favorite part of Lisbon and where I usually stay. Once I attended a special show in the crypt of the Se Cathedral (only 20 spots) with a master guitarist. I just happened to be on the square when I saw a small line forming at the door of the cathedral and I got the last spot. It was fantastic.

 

 

My favourite spot too.  We did a fabulous private walking tour in Alfama and discovered a lot.  It was supposed to be a 3 hour tour but the guide knew we were interested and the 6 of us ended up with a 5 hour tour and finished with easy instructions on getting to the Time Out Market.

Wow on the Se Cathedral.  That’s lovely ❤️ 

 

I still owe you so many thanks for the wonderful info you sent me on Tarragona and saved me some research.  We really had a fabulous day there.  It will be a favourite memory and I am so glad our little group went.  Thank you ❤️ 

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We have also enjoyed many long walks in the Alfama District.  But when it comes to fado our "go to" place has long been Senor VInho (not too far from the Alfama) which is a venue that has been around for 45 years.

 

Hank

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We've only done 8 cruises so far, but haven't had a ship-booked excursion yet that we haven't enjoyed. We've booked a few on our own, too. Only had problems with one of those. Maybe we've just been lucky, but I'd like to think the effort I've put into researching them beforehand has played a role as well. YMMV

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On my first cruise, being a newbie, I did all ship excursions.  On one walking excursion in San Juan, the guide was so soft spoken most of us couldn't hear her.  Then we were touring El Morro and she totally lost me, my XDH, and another couple that we shared our dinner table with.  We didn't worry.  The 4 of us just continued touring El Morro on our own and made it back to the ship with a little shopping on the way. 

 

Now I just do independent excursions.  I've found so many unique excursions that the cruise lines just don't offer.  They are always so much better and so much cheaper - except Alaska where they are just flat out better.

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