Originally Posted by You
I know enough about some of the places but am unsure what to expect at the ports on my August cruise. Can anyone tell me any information about accessibility/proximity to cities/beaches/points of interest at the following ports?
Most of these ports have far more attractions than you can possibly see in a day. The ship's shore excursions, tend to be "all day" affairs that leave the pier between 8:00 and 8:30 AM and return between 5:30 and 6:00 PM, with lunch included, are generally the best way to maximize what you can see in the time that you have available. Here are some siginificant considerations.
>> 1. Many of the major attractions tend to have very long (often 2-3 hour) queues for general admission, so you'll spend a lot of time waiting to get in if you try to see them on your own. The shore excursions, by contrast, have reserved group times at each attraction so they bypass the queues and go in within a few minutes of arrival.
>> 2. Several of the actual destinations are a considerable distance from the ports of call. The ship's shore excursions provide seemless transportation.
>> 3. Most excursions do provide ample time for shopping or independent exploration after visiting their scheduled attractions. Nonetheless, if you really want to see these destinations on your own, there's usually a "shore excursion" with a title of the form "<City> on Your Own" that basically consists of round trip motorcoach transportation between the pier and the destination city. Upon arrival in the destination, the guide gives a brief orientation and instructions as to where to meet for the return to the pier, then sets you free for the whole day. These "shore excursions" will maximize your free time in the destination city, as you won't have to allow time for connections and for traffic or other complications interfering with your return.
Have a great cruise!