I am on the Inspiration in Feb. I have heard a lot of chatter about shore excursions booked on the ship and over the internet. The independants are suppose to be less expensive, while the ships, you get the first shore tenders. How much money will I save or how much time will I save ??? I plan to do Sting ray city, cave tubing, and maybe Isla Passion jeep tour. Please help me with some facts... thanks
I strongly recommend private tours (I've tried both and not been impressed with ship tours - too expensive for what you get). on the other hand, all private tours have been excellent. for example, stingray city - we used nativeways - $25 for three hours verses $50+ on ship. we had a small boat with about 12 people and two guides who made sure everyone got to feed and hold a ray. while there, we saw many huge boats with ship tour passengers - no personalized service. they all HAD to wear life preservers, even though we were only in 4 feet of water. I was very impressed with our private tour - picked us up at the pier and dropped us off after. No hassles. Much hype is made about the ship tours being the only ones that guarantee that the ship will wait for you if you're late. In my opinion - this is all hype to sell their own tours. If you are smart, you'll plan your priavte tour and make sure you have plenty of time. private tour companies rely greatly on their reputation, so they're going to do everything possible to get you back on time. if you allow extra time for these "just in case emergencies", you'll be fine. i think you get more bang for your buck from private companies. another thing you mentioned was getting the first tender - this too is hype. everyone still has to line up to get a tender number - just get there early and wait in line to get a number. we were always in the second or third tender, which only put us about 15-20 minutes later arriving on shore (if that!). My advice is book privately, line up for tender number early, and MAKE SURE you have plenty of time to get back. If you want private tours, post a message asking people who they used and you'll get lots of suggestions. Hope this helps!
We too are cruising on the Inspiration in February (the 29th). We are planning on booking the majority of our shore excursions ourselves. We want to take the Atlantis submarine while we are in Grand Cayman and the cave Tubing (with X-Stream) while in Belize. We have done LOTS of research so far so please let me know if you have any questions!
Two sides of the coin on this. Private tours will usually save you anywhere from 10-30%. Ships tours get tendered first if you tender. Ships tours meet safety requirements set by the cruiseline and gty that you will receive what is offered in writing. If they don't, you have recouse with the ships personel. If there is a delay they will hold the ship for tours booked through the ship. They will not wait at all for independant tours or individuals and it is your responsibility to meet the ship or get to it at your own expense. If you are not comfortable in a foriegn country on your own, take the ships tours. If you have never been to the port, take the ships tours. If you are adventurous and speak the language and feel comfortable on your own, go on your own. Not all ships tours are offered by private parties.
We booked 2 of our shore excursions already for our cruise in March on the Inspiration.
We are doing the stingray tour with nativeways and the cave tubing with xstream.
It was cheaper booking ourselves then thru the cruiseline. I have the ship tours on the inspiration that I got from someone thru email with prices if anyone needs them. Just send me an email and I'll email them to you. They are for belize, cozumel, costa maya, and grand cayman.