What’s more exciting than taking a cruise vacation? Exploring all of the exciting ports along the way! No matter what your destination may be, your cruise vacation will certainly include stops at exciting ports where you can do everything from shop and dine to hike and swim. If you are taking a cruise that highlights shore excursions, you are definitely in for a treat!
A cruise shore excursion can be defined as “A tour of the port of call or a specific attraction prearranged by the cruise line and guided by professionals (belonging to the crew) or locals.” The duration and type of cruise shore excursion offered will vary greatly depending on the type of cruise. For instance, a 14-day Mediterranean cruise may feature cruise shore excursions that last several hours or even overnight, while shorter cruises, such as a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise may feature cruise shore excursions that last an hour or two.
If you’d rather spend most of your time exploring on land, rather than at sea, choose a cruise that focuses on excursions. Repositioning cruises and freighter cruises are a great bargain, but they may not be the best choice for excursion enthusiasts, as they tend to spend the majority of the time at sea. Just about every other type of cruise vacation will offer cruise shore excursions.
Excursions are optional, and in most cases passengers will have the option of taking a guided excursion or exploring on their own. Because excursions can be pricey — ranging from $35 or less per person up to $150 or more per person (depending on type of excursion) — some passengers may opt to spend the day at port (onboard) or simply take a self-guided tour. While this is a great way to save money, a guided excursion is an experience that for some, you can’t put a price on.
There are many different types of shore excursions — some may require a guide, others do not. The following list includes just a few examples of the types of cruise shore excursions available:
Exploring local gardens, museums, and zoos
Glacier tours or tours of ruins via helicopter
Golfing, hiking, kayaking, or sailing
Historical bike, bus, jeep or walking tours
Horseback riding along beaches, or through wildlife
Pub-crawls (popular among young couples and singles)
Reef and wreck tours via glass-bottom boat or submarine
Snorkeling and scuba diving
If you’re interested in booking a cruise shore excursion, it’s easy. Most cruise lines will allow you to select and book your shore excursions when you book your cruise. This is the absolute best way to book your excursion as you will bypass the stress and hassle of standing in line at the excursion desk. Additionally, cruise excursions tend to fill up rather quickly — long before you board the ship. If you book in advance you can take your time and browse through the seemingly limitless options, and those options will actually be available if you choose to book.
FYI: The cost for cruise shore excursions is usually in addition to the cost of the cruise. For more information about cruise shore excursions check out www.cruisecritic.com and www.cruisereviews.com.