Ladies, if this is your first cruise, I would suggest that you book any shore excursions thru the cruise line. Independent tours are generally less expensive BUT you will be on your own if there is a problem with your tour guide, returning to the ship on time, etc. Booking excursions thru the cruise line will alleviate any concerns about where to meet, mode of travel, duration of trip, safety, and timely return to the ship. Once you are an experienced cruiser, I believe you will be more comfortable booking thru independent tour operators. There are a lot of seniors and single women cruising who might feel vulnerable in a foreign location. Women who are accustomed to traveling with a male companion might feel more comfortable and adventuresome than a female who is traveling alone or with other women.