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Am I the only one who is bothered by the decision to force all land excursions to be only those sponsored by the ship? I understand the rationale, but that is my line in the sand. Guess I won't be cruising anytime in the near future.

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As a health care professional who has witnessed COVID, the seasonal flu, pneumonia and other communicable diseases in action,  I understand the initial need for cruise lines to restrict passenger travel in ports.  This is a temporary measure and, although I don't like it, will accept it if my fundraising cruise happens this February.   

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Many people here have said they don't like the idea and/or won't cruise if that's the rule.  You aren't alone.

 

With masks, excursion rules, many other restrictions, and the potential of ship lockdowns/quarantines, we're done with cruising for now.  Other travel plans have been made 🙂

 

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13 minutes ago, bouhunter said:

Many people here have said they don't like the idea and/or won't cruise if that's the rule.  You aren't alone.

 

With masks, excursion rules, many other restrictions, and the potential of ship lockdowns/quarantines, we're done with cruising for now.  Other travel plans have been made 🙂

 

We agree, our next booking is May 2022.  I hate paying double for a tour with sixty of my new best friends that take 20 minutes just to get off the bus.

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Since you asked,  (not just to be contrary), we only do ship sponsored excursions. I'm sure others have valid reasons for not doing ship excursions but I find them convenient for our purposes.  We cruise just to cruise and don't worry about so many of the issues that people on CC claim will make or break their cruises.  To each his own. Here's hoping our May 2021 cruise is still a go, regardless of restrictions, which we'll adhere to.

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I like using ship excursions, too.  I like the peace of mind that Royal's on the hook if we miss the ship - no pier running for me, please.  As I usually travel with my kiddos (single mom here!), I do not need any extra stress.  haha!

With that being said, there are some ports I simply like to get off the ship and walk around, grab an ice cream cone and watch the world pass by.  Nassau for example.  

Chances are once this pandemic starts to wind down, that restriction will be lifted.  Time will tell.

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1 minute ago, Sea Dog said:

This will be temporary and not forever. I have no problem doing ship sponsored excursions. I will miss seeing the pier runners however.

 

I do love me some good pier runners...looks like i'll be on youtube this morning reminiscing about this cruising joy.  🙂

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with us the issue is not so much ship tours - vs pvt tours is is the idea of getting off the ship and walking around. Any Carribbean port will be closed for that. European ports will as of now be boreing.

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31 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

We agree, our next booking is May 2022.  I hate paying double for a tour with sixty of my new best friends that take 20 minutes just to get off the bus.


AMEN! 

 

And all of that's only going to get worse if 90% of the ship is taking RCL excursions.  I picture something like this:

7am: Ship gets into port. People are supposed to report to their tour-gathering location on the ship. Lines snake the entire length of the ship as there is only one entrance to each space.

8am: Theater and balcony and all three levels of MDR are utter chaos as the entirety of the ship attempts to squeeze into locations not intended to hold that many people. Various ship employees are trying to direct people to different locations within the room based on their tour choice, but it's like trying to herd feral cats because the general public is pretty stupid and incapable of reading or following simple instructions.

9am: Finally everyone is in their designated tour area, and the staff needs to assign people to a bus number.  Some buses hold 42 people, some hold 46 people, some hold 50 people.  The staff won't be given the actual number of seats their bus has, though, so it's kind of a crapshoot as they try to assign people to different buses.  The feral cats now become chipmunks with rabies as they have scattered all over the area to chit-chat with friends because they're bored silly after standing around for two hours, and getting family groups all together on the same bus number has the staff members looking like the cast of a Three Stooges film as they try to get it all figured out.

10am: Time to start debarkation.  Each staff member takes their assigned busload of people single-file to the gangway... only some people are missing now.  They had to pee / go back to their room for their camera / go get something to drink.  Everyone stands on the pier in the hot sun while the staff takes attendance on their clipboard and tries to figure out who is missing and how to find them.  

10:30: The march down the pier to the bus, everyone single-file like preschoolers, but people have to stop and take pictures of the port, pictures of the family with the cruise ship behind them, etc.  

11am: Arrive at the designated bus, and it holds 46 passengers and there are 50 people in this group.  Staff member asks for four people to volunteer to not go on the tour and get a 150% OBC as a refund for the excursion price.  Four people get trampled as 35 of the passengers surge forward in an attempt to be first in line to get out of the horror that is this excursion.  Ultimately nobody gets the OBC reward, because the four trampled dead people mean that the group now only has 46 people and can fit on the bus. Pier workers come to scrape the dead bodies into body bags, and everyone else starts to board the bus.

11:30-12noon: Boarding the bus, picking seats, changing to another seat because this window doesn't open, saving a seat for a family member at the end of the line and getting into a fight with another passenger about how there is a rule against saving seats, and people claiming that their suite status outranks someone else's Diamond-Plus status so they get first choice over the prime seat locations. Finally every butt is in a bus seat.

12noon: Nobody can find the bus driver.  Excursion is cancelled. Money will be refunded to your onboard account.  Have a nice day.
 

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1 hour ago, brillohead said:

Arrive at the designated bus, and it holds 46 passengers and there are 50 people in this group.

Like many other things, busses will have have capacity limits, like maybe 1/2, so very unlikely they can overfill the bus.

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We stopped doing shore excursions if we had been to a port on a prior cruise, so not a big deal for us. When we visit a new port, we always take a ship-sponsored shore excursion that shows us the island. Generally, after we've seen what's available on the island through that excursion we don't bother doing another (or even getting off the ship). The only bummer for us is that we have good friends in St. Thomas, and we try to visit with them whenever our cruise makes a stop there. That's not likely to happen anytime soon.🙁

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47 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

Like many other things, busses will have have capacity limits, like maybe 1/2, so very unlikely they can overfill the bus.

 

They assume the bus holds 50 people so at 50% capacity, that allows for 25 people in the group. When they get to the bus,they find out it only holds 46 people. 50% of that is 23 so they now have "overfilled" the bus. 2 people are not going to be allowed to board.

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2 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

This will be temporary and not forever. I have no problem doing ship sponsored excursions. I will miss seeing the pier runners however.

We like to walk off sometimes and explore a port, town, island on our own.  As in real life outside the excursion bubble.  Our most memorable guided visits have been with an individual guide and just us.  Entire days spent with a local person one on one, not with 20-50 strangers on a bus...

 

We won't be on a ship anytime soon, but if we were, we would miss the pier runners too! 🙂

 

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We prefer private excursions because the groups are smaller and more personable.  Our next scheduled cruise is for Thanksgiving 2021....with 22 family members. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary.  The outings we have planned will be nixed now.  We may have to rethink our anniversary plans! 

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9 minutes ago, davekathy said:

No problem taking a ship only sponsored shore excision if we want to see or go somewhere in particular. But not being able to wander around in the ports on our own sucks!  👎👎

Me too.  There is a difference to me between taking an excursion and just exploring a port on our own.  For instance this most likely means we stay on the ship in Nassau. 

 

That said, there is no way this alone would keep us from cruising. 

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8 minutes ago, Domino D said:

Me too.  There is a difference to me between taking an excursion and just exploring a port on our own.  For instance this most likely means we stay on the ship in Nassau. 

 

That said, there is no way this alone would keep us from cruising. 

If RCG decides our March 2021 B2B Caribbean cruise is a go we'll go and adjust accordingly and enjoy ourselves. Hopefully by September these restriction will be lifted and we can enjoy our September 2021Canada/Pacific Coastal cruise in the manor we prefer and have done. 

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From a newbie cruiser who did a majority of ship tours, now it's zero ship tours for me. I feel that private tours are markedly better (freedom, value, timing, everything) especially with Europe itineraries. 

Without being able to do my own thing, I'm on hold regarding cruising for a while until things get back to some kind of normal.... I've got land trips to Egypt, Thailand/Angkor Wat, Krakow/Prague/Vienna over the next few of years to strike off my bucket list anyways ☺️

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Indeed!...For instance...in Malaga Spain we love walking to the La Guardia sherry Bar and having a great time....then off to Pimpe's for a great early lunch. Some shopping or sight seeing on the way back to the shuttle...back on the ship by 1PM.

 

Barcelona we take the local bus to the Columbus Statue and then stroll the Ramblas...cost - 3 Euro total.

 

Grenock...we always take the locals free tours. These are wonderful....great guides. The locals are trying to get passengers to stay in their area instead of rushing off to Glasgow or Edinburg.

 

So many places we simply stroll around. Until this returns to some form of normalcy, port days are going to be very boring for us....

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4 hours ago, brillohead said:


AMEN! 

 

And all of that's only going to get worse if 90% of the ship is taking RCL excursions.  I picture something like this:

7am: Ship gets into port. People are supposed to report to their tour-gathering location on the ship. Lines snake the entire length of the ship as there is only one entrance to each space.

8am: Theater and balcony and all three levels of MDR are utter chaos as the entirety of the ship attempts to squeeze into locations not intended to hold that many people. Various ship employees are trying to direct people to different locations within the room based on their tour choice, but it's like trying to herd feral cats because the general public is pretty stupid and incapable of reading or following simple instructions.

9am: Finally everyone is in their designated tour area, and the staff needs to assign people to a bus number.  Some buses hold 42 people, some hold 46 people, some hold 50 people.  The staff won't be given the actual number of seats their bus has, though, so it's kind of a crapshoot as they try to assign people to different buses.  The feral cats now become chipmunks with rabies as they have scattered all over the area to chit-chat with friends because they're bored silly after standing around for two hours, and getting family groups all together on the same bus number has the staff members looking like the cast of a Three Stooges film as they try to get it all figured out.

10am: Time to start debarkation.  Each staff member takes their assigned busload of people single-file to the gangway... only some people are missing now.  They had to pee / go back to their room for their camera / go get something to drink.  Everyone stands on the pier in the hot sun while the staff takes attendance on their clipboard and tries to figure out who is missing and how to find them.  

10:30: The march down the pier to the bus, everyone single-file like preschoolers, but people have to stop and take pictures of the port, pictures of the family with the cruise ship behind them, etc.  

11am: Arrive at the designated bus, and it holds 46 passengers and there are 50 people in this group.  Staff member asks for four people to volunteer to not go on the tour and get a 150% OBC as a refund for the excursion price.  Four people get trampled as 35 of the passengers surge forward in an attempt to be first in line to get out of the horror that is this excursion.  Ultimately nobody gets the OBC reward, because the four trampled dead people mean that the group now only has 46 people and can fit on the bus. Pier workers come to scrape the dead bodies into body bags, and everyone else starts to board the bus.

11:30-12noon: Boarding the bus, picking seats, changing to another seat because this window doesn't open, saving a seat for a family member at the end of the line and getting into a fight with another passenger about how there is a rule against saving seats, and people claiming that their suite status outranks someone else's Diamond-Plus status so they get first choice over the prime seat locations. Finally every butt is in a bus seat.

12noon: Nobody can find the bus driver.  Excursion is cancelled. Money will be refunded to your onboard account.  Have a nice day.
 

Based on all the reviews from MSC, Tui and Costa sailings in Europe all requiring ship based excursions, they have no problems and everyone is enjoying themselves and happy to be able to cruise and explore ports.       

Let's remember ships are going to have reduced capacity and at first I don't think excursions will sell out as a lot of cruisers will play the watch and see game.     

 

And let's remember RCL will most likely only go to their private islands CocoCay and Labadee.    

MSC and Costa was offering some great package deals on their excursions.    such as 3 excursions for 100 euros in Italy.       

 

All depending on the island I just may feel safer staying on the ship and enjoying even less people at the pool deck.    Or just take an excursion to a beach to swim snorkle in the beautiful caribbean sea. 

 

We'll all get thru this.    It's not going to be the end of the world if you have to take a ship excursion. 

Plus we can all hope the future vaccine will be a game changer for all of this. 

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It's causing me to cancel my 2021 Alaska cruises.  

 

I'm okay with the concept of ship excursions given the pandemic IF they had optimized pricing to reflect their monopoly that the Healthy Sail panel recommended they do.  Instead they jacked up prices.  The bigger issue for Alaska are those long hours in port.  Those long days and long hours of sunshine in the past meant you could do a guided excursion in the morning and self explore for hours in the afternoon doing something else.  

 

Now, or at least in 2021, there is no self exploring.  After a morning excursion, sitting on a ship all afternoon looking at a port for hours through a window is not the Alaska experience I seek.  I could consider two ship excursions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon but Alaska excursions are pricey.  Now that they have jacked up excursion rates even higher the notion of taking two ship excursions becomes ludicrous.  

 

So I'm cancelling my two 2021 Alaska cruises because of the shore excursion policy and inability to self explore.  I can wear a mask all day long and I get it, it's the pandemics fault but it's the not way I want to experience Alaska.  I'll bank the money and save it for a future trip when I can self explore.  

 

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