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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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MercedMike MercedMike is offline
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Default Independent and ship's excursions -- both have merit

Originally Posted by tropicalrez View Post
...I just want people to understand that the cruise ship want you to not trust travel agent because it puts money in their pocket. When booking a Shore excursion it is safe to book with Local island agents. It can save you lots of money, for example (zip line tour- cruise line, $85 per person/ travel agent $45) ...

Please feel free to add your feeling on this topic!
Well, this discussion has been going on at

Shore excursions

(with you and I as major contributors. Of course I always feel free to add my own arrogant opinions on practically every subject.)

It is a good topic and probably deserves a thread of its own.

Here is the last post I made on the other thread. Let's go on from there.

...Travel agents on the island are their to help you. They will do more to help you then the cruise ship and you can save money and get to enjoy more things on the island.
True, sometimes. A good independent tour with a reputable company or provider can do all those things. A poor independent tour with a flaky local operator who just rents a car with a microphone can be a huge disappointment. An independent tour can sometimes save money, but to do it right can frequently cost more than the ship's tour. You may get to enjoy more things, and you may not. An independent driver has been known to "hijack" his clients to a particular shopping area, and sometimes the passengers are not knowledgable enough to just refuse to go. Using an independent operator can work for those willing to do their research and comfortable with taking responsibility.

Cruise ship is all about making money.
Of course, just as independent operators are. Both make money by pleasing their passengers. Cruise lines very carefully monitor feedback on the tours they offer and the ones they have are usually very popular and go to the most demanded places. They are an easy, convenient and safe way of touring. Their prices range from competitive to outrageous. Simply going down the list of ship's excursions and choosing from their recommendations works very well. Novice cruisers, those visiting a port for the first time, and those who do not have the time or inclination for extensive research can use them and enjoy them.

The argument goes on and on, with most people seeming to favor exclusive use of one or the other. After many cruises we have fallen into a pattern of surveying the ship's excursions first, and usually choosing several of them. Then we will research independent excursions, and when there is a good reason to go independent, such as attractions not on the ship's tours, desire to arrange our itinerary a certain way, or my slight mobility limitations, we will book the independent tour.

But I certainly do NOT advise excluding either option. The mix works well for us and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

For an example of a cruise where mixing ship's and independent worked well for us, check out our trip report and pictures at "Black Sea Cruise 2009" and compare our ship's tour from Katakolon to Olympia with our private tour from Nafplion to Mycenae. Both were very good experiences for us.

Check out our reviews and pics of our 41 cruises at
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