Can you really save money on shore excursions?
Today, we’re brainstorming 10 ways to save money on shore excursions, and sharing some DIY strategies to help you save some scratch so you can cruise more often. When cruising comes back, our budget will be smaller, and our facebook community wanted to talk about this too.
We’ll start of with a list of 10 general ideas
- Book your own excursions
- Rent a car (Alaska and Cozumel are good places for this)
- Create your own photo safari on shore
- Go on a mission to find free wifi (restaurants and bars)
- Consider ONE splurge excursions and DIY the rest
- Take a Cab to a beach
- Ask the shipboard staff (excursion staff or cruise director staff)
- Resort for a day
- Walk around or book a walking tour (with caution, this can be a shopping trap or boring)
- Get a massage- it may not be cheap, but it’s cheaper than on the ship. How to find a spot? Ask in the forums.
A few more strategies include
- Set a daily spending budget that covers onboard and onshore expenditures so you’re not tempted
- Eat on the ship
- PACK SMALL BILLS SO YOU DON’T OVERPAY OR OVER TIP
- Walk just outside the terminal to get a cab
- Pack your own water
- Pack some snacks (use ziplock bags and grab some sandwiches)
Now let’s talk about booking your own excursions, and a few things you must do
Alright, so what’s so important that we felt the employ some simple tactics and reduce the risks that come with booking outside the cruise line. Even after over 30 cruises we still employ this same formula to minimize risk.
- Do your research through well known cruise forums and review sites. Examples:
- Trip advisor
- Forums and roll calls at Cruiseline.com, and Cruise Critic
- Cruise Critic
- Use Instagram– follow a hashtag for that city
- Read reviews. Look at photos, choose a highly rated provider.
- Get something in writing confirming your meeting place, departure time, and emergency contact info for the tour provider in the event your ship is delayed or port call is cancelled.Carefully review their cancellation policy. EVERY provider should offer a full refund if the ship fails to dock.
- Confirm the excursion 1- 2 days before by phone or email. It may be overkill, but it can’t hurt. This is a good time to be sure you understand your meeting place. Be sure to pack the email and phone number of the excursion provider. Get wifi package to ensure you can communicate with the provider
- Watch ship vs. Shore time. IN certain ports, the ship does not change their clocks to match the shore time. There’s lots of ways to research this, starting with reading the daily newsletter. Double check this with the customer service team AND the shore excursion desk on board. As a rule of thumb, we like to ensure we are BACK to the ship not one, but TWO hours before all aboard time. When you’re packing for your cruise, consider PACK A WRIST WATCH (or learn to change the time on your smart watch). To be safe, give yourself at LEAST an hour or two to grab some breakfast and get off the ship.
- What you can do the day OF the excursion to make sure things run smoothly? Allow extra time, pack some cash for gratuities, your photo ID and pay close attention to what you should bring with YOU– the excursion provider will explain all of that to you. Pack a light shore day bag..speaking of a shore day bag.
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