Once you’ve booked your cruise one of the next decisions you need to make is whether you should do a shore excursion or not. Personally I think booking a shore excursion depends on the person who is travelling or the port you are visiting.
After booking the cruise it is important to do some research on your ports to see whether it is worth booking an excursion. I visit whatsinport.com as this gives a good amount of information about each cruise port so that you can make a decision whether to book an excursion. It can also be good to take a look at what excursions are on offer for your cruise as there may be an excursion that you wish to do as it may offer a local experience, which you possibly wouldn’t be able to do on your own.
There are some ports that you will visit whilst doing a cruise where you are best to book an excursion through the cruise line, for example if your docking at Civitavecchia you will be docking here to access Rome which is at least an hour away. For ports like this I think it’s best to book an excursion as you are guaranteed to be back on board the ship as they will have to wait for your return due to you being on an organised excursion. Another port which I think is best for booking an excursion is Livorno where you dock to visit Pisa and Florence.
Booking an excursion does allow you to have the chance of having a local guide. These guides can also take you to places that you would not normally go to if you venture off on your own.
Ports that I have visited on a past cruise where I don’t think you need to book an excursion include:
Port that I have visited on a past cruise where I think you are best to book an excursion include:
Le Havre, France (Paris)
There are some people who like to book an excursion for most ports so that they can have a guided tour around the destination they are visiting. If you do decide to book an excursion you need to be prepared for them to be potentially expensive and look at the activity strength of them to make sure that it is going to be suitable for you. When looking at the excursions they will give the following information:
Length of time for excursion
Whether there are specific clothing requirements
There are also people who like to be able to do their own thing once they get off the ship and explore the destination on their own. When getting off the ship on your own it is important that you take note of what time you have to be back onboard by and that you are keeping a check on the time. If you are not back for the ship at the time you are meant to be there is a good chance that the ship won’t wait for you, this is something that I have seen happen on a past cruise I’ve done. When you get off a ship at your port there is often someone there who is able to give you some information on the port or give you a map. There is also sometimes a tour bus there which you can get on to take you around your destination or a taxi which can take you to where you want to go. Some ports offer a shuttle bus which will take you to the main town, this will either be free or have a small charge.