Shore excursions are a subject of debate among cruise travelers. Are they worth it? Can you have similar experiences without paying extra money? These are the questions that many find themselves asking before paying for shore excursions. On the surface, it may seem like one extra cost that you don’t want to worry about. However, there are some good reasons as to why you might want to invest in them.
Before we get to that, though, let’s talk about the price of shore excursions. There are indeed some excursions that are included in the price of your trip. In that case, there’s pretty much no reason not to go on them. It’s generally pretty easy to find out if any of these adventures are part of your fare, but if you’re not sure, contact the cruise line or your travel agent. Most of the time, though, you will be paying an extra fee for each shore excursion you go on. In general, you can expect each tour to be somewhere between $50 and $200. If you plan on joining in on one or more, consider working them into your budget before you leave.
But still, the question remains: are shore excursions worth it? One of the main factors that goes into determining that is your style of travel. Are you very independent, preferring to experience everything on your own? Or do you like to explore everything in a hands-on, educational, and contextualized manner? If you fall into the latter camp, shore excursions probably will be worth the money. You get to explore a new area with a guide who knows it quite well, and that means you will see things and learn facts that you may have otherwise never come across.
Another reason you may want to consider paying for shore excursions is the sheer simplicity of it. You don’t need to worry about planning, logistics, or gathering up enough energy to go out and do something in a new location. All you need to do is follow the leader and get ready for some amazing sights. This also makes it great for family vacations. Because there’s so much less to worry about, it makes coordinating the whole family much easier. You can also typically find good rates for children under 12, and many cruise lines allow kids under 3 to come along for free.
In the end, whether shore excursions are worth it or not will depend on your unique situation and travel style. There is no “one size fits all” answer. You can certainly have fun with or without shore excursions as part of your vacation, so just make the choice that works for you!