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4 Must-Know Tips For Choosing The Best Shore Excursions

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One of the most exciting parts of a cruise holiday is shore excursions, or the activities you do during each port stop. After booking the cruise, you’ll be given a cruise schedule, which includes all the port stops. It also contains the time you have for each stop, so you can roam around and explore the area. 

Most people say that the best parts of their cruise vacation aren't those times they’ve spent on the ship. Cruise holidays are more memorable when you explore each city or town where your ship docks. 

That said, you’ll likely come across a pretty extensive range of shore excursions in every port of call. Hence, it’s best to know some of the tried-and-tested tips on choosing and booking the best. Doing so will enable you to take full advantage of this opportunity. 

On the other hand, every traveler will have their preferences and desires, so be intentional with your choice. This is crucial to ensuring that your cruise trip is everything you imagined it would be and more when you return home. 

Here are a few of the must-know tips on choosing the best shore excursions:

Plan Ahead 

Once you’ve paid for your holiday cruise, that should signal you to start booking your shore excursions. Don't wait until the last minute to do this. Like any other trip, early planning gives you more time to ensure you’ll have the best shore excursions that suit your preference. 

Meanwhile, many cruise companies may not allow you to go down the ship during each port stop if you don’t have a planned shore excursion itinerary. Consequently, you can avoid unnecessary anxiety on your trip by pre-booking and planning your activities. 

Book With A Travel Agent Or Independent Shore Excursion Provider 

One of the go-to ways of booking shore excursions is to choose the ones the cruise companies provide. Even veteran cruise travelers usually take this route, too. The reason makes perfect sense: booking shore excursions with the cruise company is less stressful, more accessible, and more practical. 

Cruise companies may sometimes offer good deals and discounts for passengers who book their offered shore excursions. Regarding the time, you don’t have to worry about the cruise ship leaving you even if the tour takes longer than expected. The ship will wait for you because the excursion is part of their cruise package. 


However, if you’re up for a little adventure and don’t mind forgoing the usual comforts, booking your shore excursions independently could be a better choice. Compare the rates and book early, and you might get good deals, too. On top of that, you can have some privacy with your tours. You don’t have to mingle and deal with crowds of other travelers from the same cruise ship. 

Lastly, it’s possible to choose more personalized shore excursions when booking through independent agents. They can tweak the tours according to your liking, so you’re not stuck with the usual tour given by the cruise company. 

Know When To Board

Always remember the all-aboard time. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not at all impossible to forget about this detail. When booking shore excursions, be sure to opt for those that finish at a time that allows you to be back on the ship for the all-aboard time. This is when all passengers must be back, as the ship will leave for the next port shortly. 

Don’t keep the time frame between the end of the tour and the all-aboard time too short. Make room for detours—like buying souvenirs and food—and even delays and traffic stops, if applicable.  

Research About Each Port 

Before choosing and booking shore excursions, learn the basics about each port. This means researching first, so you’ll know about the must-sees and must-dos in every port. You can book shore excursions that allow you to see and visit the attractions or tourist spots that the city or town you’re docking in is best known for. 

For example, what’s a trip to Rome without making a wish at the Trevi Fountain or having gelato by the Spanish Steps? Or, if you’re in Barcelona, this place is best known for Basilica Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum, and Las Ramblas.

Book Your Shore Excursions Now 

Note that your choice of shore excursions can make or break your cruise holiday. So, make the most of those hours you have on the tour. Nothing beats planning early both for the cruise activities and the shore excursions. That way, all you’ll have left to do is pack your bags, show up on the cruise ship, and enjoy the rest of your vacation.

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