Cruise expert warns guests of common excursion mistakes

Erica Silverstein, at the Points Guy UK, shared her top advice for booking excursions. She said there are a few mistakes that a lot of cruise guests make.

When the ship is at a port, cruise guests will usually have the choice of exploring on their own or booking an excursion.

Erica said: “Cruise line shore excursions try to cover the most popular sights and attractions in a destination, but your ship might not offer a tour to every interesting spot in or near the port.

“If you don’t do your own destination research and only make your tour decisions based on what the cruise line is offering, you might miss out on an activity you’d enjoy more.”

Although cruise line excursions might be tempting, there might be another activity guests would enjoy more.

Guests should take their own time to do a bit of research on their destination to make sure they’re going to see the attractions they want to visit.

Erica added: “Can you tell the difference between an overcrowded tourist trap and a fabulous site from the shore excursion description?

“I can’t and neither can anyone else, the marketing copy is designed to sell the tour.”

To avoid making this mistake, guests can check out reviews online to find out more about an excursion.

Many cruise lines even have excursion reviews on their website so guests won’t have to do an extensive search for more information.

Erica warned: “Cruise lines provide a lot of details about a shore excursion, from how long it lasts to how much physical activity is involved and how you’ll be exploring.

“Yet so many cruisers don’t bother to read the full description or the fine print. Skip this step and you won’t realise that the bus tours passes by, rather than offers time inside a famous cathedral or museum, or that there’s no free time or food included.”

Cruise tour operators are always operating on limited time as guests have to be back at the ship for departure.

This means that the tour might not be able to cover all of the city’s main attractions within one day.

Guests should make sure they read the fine print so they know exactly which attractions they’ll be getting the chance to visit.

But while cruise line excursions can be an easy way of seeing a destination, guests shouldn’t feel limited.

Erica said: “Cruise line tours are convenient, but they’re not always the most customizable or economical option.

“If you’re travelling as a family or with a group of friends, you may do better by hiring your own guide for the day.

“Not only could it be less expensive than five or six shore excursion tickets, but you’ll also be able to create a tour based on your interests.

“Even couples travelling alone might find more affordable group tours offered by independent operators or tour options not offered by the cruise line.

“Online message boards and Facebook groups can be an option for finding other travellers on your cruise ship interested in joining you on a private tour.”

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