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Required to take a HAL excursion to leave the ship in future?


TomBeckCruise
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MSC would not allow a family to reboard after getting separated from their shore excursion.  Covid is the problem. 

 

All cruise lines  might decide to require people to take only ships excursions in order to reduce the chance of someone returning to the ship with the virus. I can understand that, but some ships excursions aren't desirable. 

I don't  recall a single ships excursion we've taken since 2008.  Our last excursion in 2008 on Celebrity was so disappointing.

If a "cruise line only" excursion is required it might not be for too long in the future.

 

 

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Until each line restarts we won't know with certainty what the protocols will be.  Even after restart protocols will change dramatically from cruise to cruise, month to moth as they gain more experience in the new operating environment.  What is true on cruise A will not be true on cruise D or G or even Z.   

 

That said it does appear that initially that in order to go ashore guests will be required to be on a ship-sponsored tour.  This is so they can better control whom passengers come in contact with as an effort to prevent the spread of covid between passengers, crew and locals in the ports.  This requirement may change or be waived for certain ports as time goes by.  While ship sponsored excursions are not preferable to most it appears they will be the only way, for the near future, to access the ports until covid is under control.

 

These are unusual times and we ALL need to modify our way of thinking about travel and be more flexible than ever when making travel decisions.  Sacrifices have to be made so we can control/stop the spread of this pandemic.

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6 minutes ago, strickerj said:

The cynic in me expects that, once the pandemic blows over, the ship excursions only policy will remain in place because the cruise lines will find it too lucrative to give up.

While that may be true in the short term, until we have an effective and widely in use vaccine for Covid, but if the only way I can get off a cruise ship in 2022 is via a ship excursion, then I have to sadly say that I won't be onboard any cruise ships. 

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19 minutes ago, drowelf said:

While that may be true in the short term, until we have an effective and widely in use vaccine for Covid, but if the only way I can get off a cruise ship in 2022 is via a ship excursion, then I have to sadly say that I won't be onboard any cruise ships. 

I feel the same way.  The only exception would be a port like St. Petersburg, where the alternative to taking a ship's excursion is to apply for and purchase a Russian visa.

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32 minutes ago, drowelf said:

While that may be true in the short term, until we have an effective and widely in use vaccine for Covid, but if the only way I can get off a cruise ship in 2022 is via a ship excursion, then I have to sadly say that I won't be onboard any cruise ships. 

Exactly how I feel.  oddly, Seabourn sent me a survey asking that exact question.  My guess is that the finger is in the air at CCL to see which way the winds are blowing.

 

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53 minutes ago, strickerj said:

The cynic in me expects that, once the pandemic blows over, the ship excursions only policy will remain in place because the cruise lines will find it too lucrative to give up.

 

I guess we are mutual cynics.  If that is the way of it for the future, I won't be cruising.  We'll fly and explore on our own. I take a lot of work to plan and it isn't a HAL tour except maybe once a cruise.  If they were better quality and smaller groups, we'd be on but not for what we have seen as of late.

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30 minutes ago, USN59-79 said:

I feel the same way.  The only exception would be a port like St. Petersburg, where the alternative to taking a ship's excursion is to apply for and purchase a Russian visa.

That is not true; it is what the cruise lines want you to believe. You can use an approved Russian tour agency and they supply the same visa waiver as the ship's cruise tours supply.

 

The one we used was Alla, but there are several others. And if you go to the Baltic boards on cc and look you will also find others and see that all generally get great reviews.

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5 minutes ago, kazu said:

 If they were better quality and smaller groups, we'd be on but not for what we have seen as of late

 

In order for the tour guide to remain in control of the group, it would have to be a smaller group.

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1 hour ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

 

These are unusual times and we ALL need to modify our way of thinking about travel and be more flexible than ever when making travel decisions.  Sacrifices have to be made so we can control/stop the spread of this pandemic

 

Well said!

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1 minute ago, rkacruiser said:

 

In order for the tour guide to remain in control of the group, it would have to be a smaller group.

 

 

Of course, that's why I prefer private tours.

 

One tour I did with HAL was unforgettable - the secrets of the Vatican.  It was very pricey but it did include the private guide and there were only 8 of us on it - so just like a private tour.

Frankly, I think you are safer in a private tour than on a 30-40 passenger bus with HAL.

But safety aside, I either want to explore on my own or most times, do a private tour to see things I haven't before.  We've seen the major sites.  We are into unique and different.  

If we have to, we'll do that flying.  Once I feel secure to do so. 

I won't trade the benefit of cruising to having someone slap a tag on my shirt/blouse identifying me as a tourist and being lugged around and not seeing what I want to see.  Sorry.

 

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13 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

I guess we are mutual cynics.  If that is the way of it for the future, I won't be cruising.  We'll fly and explore on our own. I take a lot of work to plan and it isn't a HAL tour except maybe once a cruise.  If they were better quality and smaller groups, we'd be on but not for what we have seen as of late.

Same, I don't think I'd stand for that either. Sometimes I just want to walk around on my own.

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7 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

That is not true; it is what the cruise lines want you to believe. You can use an approved Russian tour agency and they supply the same visa waiver as the ship's cruise tours supply.

 

The one we used was Alla, but there are several others. And if you go to the Baltic boards on cc and look you will also find others and see that all generally get great reviews.

 

Absolutely correct.  We have been to St. Petersburg twice (and it's worthy to visit twice)

 

the first time was on a HAL tour as we got all the "stuff" about needing a visa so we signed up (a long time ago).  I remember lines and lines for everything.

 

the second time I was wiser and we booked with a licensed guide (in our case, Alla tours but there a number of them) and they arranged the visas for us all

We had NO lines, pre-entrance and everything was figured out to a T.  

Our guide was great and although cost doesn't come into it (I prefer quality), even though it was pricey, it was still cheaper than HAL's.  It was worth every dollar even if it was U.S. 😉 

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8 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

 

Of course, that's why I prefer private tours.

 

One tour I did with HAL was unforgettable - the secrets of the Vatican.  It was very pricey but it did include the private guide and there were only 8 of us on it - so just like a private tour.

Frankly, I think you are safer in a private tour than on a 30-40 passenger bus with HAL.

But safety aside, I either want to explore on my own or most times, do a private tour to see things I haven't before.  We've seen the major sites.  We are into unique and different.  

If we have to, we'll do that flying.  Once I feel secure to do so. 

I won't trade the benefit of cruising to having someone slap a tag on my shirt/blouse identifying me as a tourist and being lugged around and not seeing what I want to see.  Sorry.

 

We agree .For us not being able to control our time ashore will keep me off cruises ......

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14 minutes ago, kazu said:

the secrets of the Vatican.  It was very pricey but it did include the private guide and there were only 8 of us on it - so just like a private tour.

 

The difference between visiting the Vatican Museum in a group and then doing it on my own (just with an excellent guide book) was an OMG! difference.  

 

 

7 minutes ago, doncarlos said:

I think you are safer in a private tour than on a 30-40 passenger bus with HAL.

 

I agree and that is a major reason why I think it may initially be a requirement that guests must accept if cruises from North America are going to begin again.  One must stay with the group and the group must be small enough for the tour guide to manage.  

 

During my career,  I have been responsible for "shepherding" groups of early adolescents on a variety of "shore excursions".  My "buses" held somewhat more than 40 young people.  It can be a major challenge to keep track of a group of people, to keep people doing what and when they should be doing whatever.  I am a "people watcher".  I have learned that trying to "herd" a group of adults is not significantly different than shepherding a group of early adolescents.  

 

So, yes.  If the cruise lines must impose a rule that you must stay within the confines of the cruise line mandated shore excursion in order to sail, at this point in time, it seems like a rather responsible rule to establish.  If one wants to cruise again in the near future.  

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In the Caribbean (where we only cruise once a year for 14-21 days we could care less about getting off at any port.   But when it comes to Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the world we would not cruise if we were prohibited from doing our own thing in ports.  That kind of policy would simply encourage us to take more independent land trips.   Although we love to cruise that comes second to our love of travel and the ability to do our own thing when on trips.  We have a 30 day Noordam cruise booked for next April which has a lot of Japanese and some Alaskan ports.  We have no plans to book a single HAL excursion in those places.   If that became a requirement we would cancel the cruise and might consider spending a month in Japan (assuming that Japan reopens to tourism) and use a JR Rail Pass to get around the country.

 

Hank

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7 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

That kind of policy would simply encourage us to take more independent land trips.  

 

That is quite understandable.  

 

Is a competition becoming more evident?  Which is more important to one?  Cruising?  Or, being able to visit a location without "cruise line rules"?  

 

 

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Herd is an interesting expression ........ we cruise for a variety of reasons . ...in the Carib. it maybe for the no hassle factor [ no homework ]....on trans ocean it may be the ship as a destination ...in Europe or So. America  it is for the joy of on your own [ esp when we can manage the lingo] ......we will not be part of a " herd'  lest it be  "locally mandated " [ think Galapagos , parts of Antarctica, parts of Russia ] .....

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I know I am in the minority here but I much prefer the safety of being on a ship excursion. In my 20+ cruises I have only done independant tours 3 times. # One was terrible, #two was just ok then #three was fabulous. Patrick's Tour Bora Bora, arranged by my best friend Kakalena.

That being said I would not like to have to take a ship tour to get off the ship. Sometimes, in English speaking ports I like to just wander around.

 

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1 hour ago, lazey1 said:

I know I am in the minority here but I much prefer the safety of being on a ship excursion. In my 20+ cruises I have only done independant tours 3 times. # One was terrible, #two was just ok then #three was fabulous. Patrick's Tour Bora Bora, arranged by my best friend Kakalena.

That being said I would not like to have to take a ship tour to get off the ship. Sometimes, in English speaking ports I like to just wander around.

 

I agree with you, Jane.  We are coming up on 30 HAL cruises next July and have always used ship excursions, which overall have been perfectly fine....and I am a perfectionist.  The most recent was Dec. 2019 into the Amazon Rain Forest with a small group.

I am really missing cruising with my 3rd cruise (Antarctica/Solar Eclipse Cruise) this year cancelled.  I am willing to make sacrifices if that is the way it must be.

Karen

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

 

The difference between visiting the Vatican Museum in a group and then doing it on my own (just with an excellent guide book) was an OMG! difference

 

Totally agree on small groups but ...

 

An excellent guide book doesn’t get you into the room where the Pope prays before he accepts his position.  

Have you seen the Da Vinci code?  And all those key chains?  That’s what our guide had and we skipped the crowds with the secret entries and exits he had other than a couple of spots.

It was amazing.

A guide book can’t take you to little spots that regular tourists aren’t allowed into.  

 

I found the same thing in a couple of other places and there are times when a guide is really worth it.  Divide it by 8 and it doesn’t cost much (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ephesus), etc. 
 

These people can really enlighten you on the history that you won’t find in a guide book IMO.

 

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4 hours ago, TomBeckCruise said:

All cruise lines  might decide to require people to take only ships excursions

I'm thinking it's not the cruise lines requiring it, but the countries that are allowing cruise ships to port only if they can guarantee their passengers will not mix with the locals somehow.

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Totally agree on small groups but ...

 

An excellent guide book doesn’t get you into the room where the Pope prays before he accepts his position.  

Have you seen the Da Vinci code?  And all those key chains?  That’s what our guide had and we skipped the crowds with the secret entries and exits he had other than a couple of spots.

It was amazing.

A guide book can’t take you to little spots that regular tourists aren’t allowed into.  

 

I found the same thing in a couple of other places and there are times when a guide is really worth it.  Divide it by 8 and it doesn’t cost much (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ephesus), etc. 
 

These people can really enlighten you on the history that you won’t find in a guide book IMO.

 

 

No disagreement with your post.  

 

I left the Museum and St. Peter's that afternoon realizing that there was still so much that I had not been able to see.  One can absorb only so much at a time.

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We normally do Private Tours with a small group, or just a few friends and sometimes just myself and DH and shy away from Ship Excursions.   We have been on a few Small Group Excursions through the Ship though that were very good.  Carib Cruises we rarely get off the Ship anymore so it wouldn’t make a difference for us.

 

For other Itineraries if it means having to do Ship Excursions in order to Cruise, yes, we would definitely  Cruise.  

 

 

 

 

 

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