Travel planning has come a long way, baby! Nowadays, you can plan your entire vacation from the comfort of your home. Simply log on to your favorite travel websites and book hotels, airfare, cruises and entire vacations. The same goes for cruise excursions.
When you book a cruise, whether through the cruise line, a local travel agent or a big internet agency, you’re given a reservation number. Simply log on to the cruise line’s website, key in your reservation number, and your now in control of your own cruise. From here you can see your cabin number, your dining preferences, download brochures and fill out all the necessary immigration with just a few keystrokes.
The most convenient feature of your on-line cruise account is the ability to book your shore excursions in advance. Several weeks before your cruise, your cruise account will list all of the tours available in your ports of call, and in most cases will list the most popular ones for that destination. If you have your heart set on a particular must-see attraction while visiting a port, be sure to book your excursion before you leave home. You will be assured a spot on the tour and still have the option to cancel without penalty once aboard within the time specified on your tour ticket.
Another benefit of booking your excursion in advance of your cruise is that you will avoid the madness and mayhem at the excursion desk on board. It always amazes me how many people book a cruise and don’t think about it again until it’s time to print their documents and pack their bags, with no inkling about what they want to see or do on the ship or in port. These are the folks scrambling at the last minute to book shore excursions, many of which may be sold out.
This advice holds true for those cruisers who prefer non-ship excursions, too. Small, local tour guides, in particular, book up early due to their ability to only handle a small number of travelers in a day. Be sure to arrange your tour early in the planning process, be aware of the guide’s cancellation and refund policy, and avoid disappointment.
For more on what other cruise features are available to book in advance, read: Savvy Cruisers Pre-Book Excursions, Dining Reservations and More