When cruising to destinations near or far, chances are you’ll want to see parks, museums, historic buildings, castles and other popular attractions in your ports of call. While shore excursions with the cruise lines include tickets to must-see city sites, you may want to visit on your own and will need to purchase tickets for what you came to experience. When you only have so much time in port, you don’t want to waste it in line waiting for tickets. So plan ahead – and this is especially critical for the more popular visitor sites. Decide what you want to see most and, wherever possible, purchase your tickets on line in advance of your cruise.
For example, on a port stop last summer in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, I knew in advance that I wanted to see Edinburgh Castle, but not at the cruise line’s hefty price. As Edinburgh Castle is THE most popular place with visitors in all of Scotland, I knew lines would be incredibly long and form very early in the day. I went to the Historic Scotland website and purchased a 2-castle deal, which not only whisked us quickly into Edinburgh Castle, but also into Stirling Castle while on an independent Highlands tour from Glasgow. We simply printed out our on-line tickets and headed directly to the entrances of both castles, thereby skipping the long lines at the ticket counter and secretly laughing at the hundreds of people in the ticket lines.
Oh, and did I mention we saved money, too? By buying a multi-attraction ticket, we saved money off the individual ticket price. In the case of Historic Scotland, the more castles on your list to visit, the more you save, which is especially useful for those folks on a land tour of the country.
This summer, we will be visiting Alcatraz in San Francisco in advance of our Alaskan cruise on the Grand Princess. Knowing that Alcatraz is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco and sells out quickly, I booked tickets for the highly-rated evening tour the day it opened for sale. It’s a good thing, too. A week later, they were sold out – more than 12 weeks in advance!
For more on saving time and avoiding lines, read: Tips for Beating Long Lines on a Cruise Vacation