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cinnamon

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We will be on the Sapphire Princess sailing on 6th January. We normally prefer to make independant arrangements for our shore excursions but have come up against a problem. In some ports, epecially Dunedin, Princess has already contracted all the local tour operators for the days that the ship is in port. Therefore we cannot book anything on our own.

 

One of the companies told me that last season, many cruisers who had not booked with Princess were left wandering around Dunedin with nothing to do as all the available transport (boats, trains and buses) had been chartered by Princess. She advised me not to get left behind, and book with the ship. I do not blame the small companies as this is valuable business for them, but it does seem like a cartel.

 

We will bite the bullet and pay Princess's inflated prices where we have to in order to see what we want, but I wandered if this is a problem that other members of this board had come up against.

 

Cinnamon

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Dear Cinnamon

 

We did the Princess cruise Sydney - Ackland in 2002 and loved it.

 

We did all of our own toures except for Dunedin where we took the princess Taieri Gorge Train tour. If I had it to do over I would do the Albatross colony tour instead as this train although very nice was nothing special and the gorge was not overly deep or spectacular.

 

In Hobart we booked a private car tour to Port Arthur with a driver/guide named Ralph who was excellent - unfortunately I have misplaced his e-mail address. However if you can find him go with him - we did not save any money over what we would have paid with Princess but we sure saw a LOT more.

 

In Christchurch we just went ashore and took the city bus to downtown - once downtown we went into the visitors bureau and booked a half day city bus tour that actually returned us to our ship.

 

In Wellington we went ashore and just took a taxi tour of the city for 2 hours.

 

In Melbourne we went ashore and took the ships shuttle bus to downtown where I had a free walking tour booked through the Melbourne visitors bureau via their web site.

 

Hope this helps

 

Ann

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Cinnamon and Ann,

 

That was all very helpful information. Does anyone know when Princess will put the shore excursions on their website?

 

Carol

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2dogcarol - We also did Aus-NZ cruise but, in Feb 2003. Booked most excursions in advance on our own - no problem. Did some with the ship due to port time, etc. Will be doing the same thing for return NZ-Aus cruise. Check the Princess website - a list of Aus/NZ excursions are listed there by port. Probably won't be available for advance order until about 60 days prior to sail date. Also - check Viator & ScenicPacific, Grayline, etc., for independent excursions - worked well for us. Hope this helps. SeaFish

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Ann, Carol, etc.

 

You can go into your Cruise personalizer and fill in your immigration form on line (saves time) and also, customize your plans with regards to diet, etc.

 

http://www.princess.com and drill down to Already booked, cruise personalizer. When you get it up, it will tell you that you cannot book shore excursions yet.

 

You put in your first name, last name and booking number. Our booking number is 6 characters, 2 letters, a number and 3 more letters. It then shows all your data. You can request various things, bed configuration, bathrobes, all kinds of stuff. Keep checking until they let you view and book your shore excursions.

 

I understand Princess does not charge your credit card until you actually take the tour; unlike some other cruise lines who bill promptly.

 

You will be shocked at some of the prices.

 

Johanna

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Hi Cinnamon,

 

The shore excursions for our Sapphire Cruise have just been released. The website says they'll be released 60 days out, but ours were a week or so early.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Jim

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Hi. Yes it is a problem with large cruise ships in NZ ports of call, with over 2500 passengers visiting quite small communities, many small independant companies are booked up with the Cruise ship tours, however, in most cases there are always some independant operators [and they must all be properly registered as tour companies, with full passenger service licences, trained drivers, and safe quality vehicles] who can provide a great local tour at affordable rates. Its best to book in advance if you can though. This can be done via the internet [usual search process] or via site like www.purenz.com or the local information centre in each port [ i have a list of their addresses]. If you want some help on this let me know when and where you are cruising. Self drive car hire is another option but more stressful and you dont get the local guides who can really make your day go well. Try a local taxi company, again are are registered but try to find a driver who is a local and knows the area, the meter is not used on these types of trips so negotiate a rate for the day. NZ is a great country but with just a few hours in port you need a good guide to show you the best parts.

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Just a note for anyones information, Despite what the ships newspaper may say before you get into a port, all of the New Zealand ports have good and reliable taxi services, which in most cases offer more competitively priced tour packages than other tours offered onboard. (Taxis prices' are per vehicle not per person and are alot more personel and flexable)

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