Will you get a better price if you wait until you deboard to get a tour or for something to do or should you buy it on ship? We are taking a northern curise to Canada and the northern states leaving New York and a lot of the things that they have listed in advance I'm not interested in. Thanks for your advice.
Not all areas have tour operators right near port to plan when getting off. There are several 3rd party companies online that offer excursions similar to the cruise lines and they tend to be cheaper, but may not include things like transportation from port to the activity so you have to add taxi fare and a bit of hassle.
Many people will rent a car or do things on their own but then you should do some research ahead of time of things to do in port. Simple things like hitting a beach, shopping, or finding a local restaurant can be done last minute but if you want to fit many activities in the 8 or so port hours planning is key to do it on your own.
Hiring your own tour guide is another option but will cost more while getting rid of the work.
The Canada/New England cruises are awesome! We absolutely loved every part of ours.
We did the Hop On/Hop Off buses in a couple of ports, which is always a wonderful way to sightsee and get around a city without spending alot of money.
But there were always cab drivers and others in every port wanting to take you around, so it depends on what you want to do and where you want to go.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
Hi Bill, What kinds of excursions are you interested in. A lot of the time, what the cruiseline offers is basically what you can find in the ports. Do your homework and you may find an independent tour operator that has an excursion you are interested in, but keep checking what the cruiseline has listed...
We are doing a Canada/New England cruise this year . We've been to Canada 17 times and to the New england areas numerous times . We will book wshore excursions 3 months before our cruise leaves and will do so with the cruise line .
If you give yourself some time to research the options you will definitely be able to find independent operators offering excursions for the time you are in port. But as the post above said, it will be a little more hassle to arrange than to go with the planned excursions from the cruise – you may have to get yourself to a meeting point. But it can be worth it, especially when you are not thrilled by the excursions on offer from the cruise. Much better to plan something you really want to do rather than spend money on a trip for the sake of it. Plus, for a great experience in the city all you really need to do is walk and explore! Get a guidebook and find a good restaurant, or visit an interesting museum.
I would imagine that it would really depend on where the ship takes port. I would also recommend that you take the time to plan ahead of time. You know where the ship will take port so you can take the time to plan ahead and figure out what you would like to do while you have time in different places. You should even be able to locate different services that do tours in those different places. This will help you gain a more clear picture of whether you can wait until you get there, or if you will have to purchase tours while you are ordering your cruise.
It is always a good idea to do port research before you go. Decide what you want to see and investigate local tour operators. These days, you can also go on the cruise line website and compare those prices to what the cruise line is offering.
Whichever way you decide to go - it is usually to your advantage to book early. But be sure about the cancellation policies. Most cruise lines allow you to cancel anytime up to 24 hours before the tour leaves. A private operator may not be so quick to give a refund (but they may charge less in the first place).