Originally Posted by Silentcal
Is it more cost effective to go on your own at ports or use the excursions that the ship provides?
It's almost always more cost effective to do it yourself, however it does depend upon the port you are visitng and how comfortable you are there.
You should know what time allboard is for the port because these time are strickly enforced. The captain doesn't wait for passengers, unless there are ALOT of them on one of cruise lines shore excursions. It's not great when you are left behind!
One of the things that we used to do is just walk around the port/town/city we were visiting, but we found that we really missed alot of information about what we were seeing. Now we usually book something in advance of the cruise or go with a shore excusion offered by the cruise line.
Several of the Canadian port cities have 'hop on hop off tours' which are really great and affordable ways to visit the cities. You should start your planning/research now so you can be prepared with ideas when you arrive.