Independent cruise excursion suppliers completely rely in dependability, a good reputation, and the knowledge that they will get guests back to their ship/tenders on time. They must stake their businesses on this, and simply do not fool around. Naturally, since cruiselines do lose a great deal of business to them, there is a lot of discouragement offered on board, and a even greater deal of "thrashing" against the shore independent suppliers. Go with them - they're smaller, provide unique, personalized tours, are far more fun than being with large groups, and offer some pretty different tours in most if not all, ports. And they have very good vehicles - check them out and that will build up your confidence. Go especially for the native, in-country suppliers, as against the larger guys who seem to have operations in several countries, some with local representation. The net should tell all - and ask questions - ask, ask, ask.