Do local tour operators often pair-up with NCL to charge $$$
I found the direct contact to a horseback tour in the Grand Bahamas, and decided to save $30 pp by booking directly with them instead of through NCL... But they tell me I can ONLY book with the cruise line. Is there a binding contract with NCL that in order for cruisers to enjoy those particular local excursions, it has to be through NCL? What if non-cruising visitors decide to try that certain tour operator the same day NCL cruisers descend? Are they automatically shut-out due to overbooking?
I end up booking for a Dolphin Close Encounter, since horseback riding soldout in the interim I was trying to get a reply. The dolphin tour is even crazier - UNEXSCO charges $75, but with NCL, they jack it up to $125 for the same UNEXSCO tour. Come on now, help a sister out and let me book directly so I can save $300.
In every port the ship's shore excursions are contracted with local operators..... and often those contracts call for exclusivity for their offered tours to service the cruise lines.
The cruise lines are able to negotiate the exclusivity agreement because they offer to deliver customers year round.
In some ports their are other independant tour operators who offer the same tours as those offered by the ships. However, in some instances there are not.... as in often the case with things like the dolphin swims.
You really need to research and get lucky to find the independant operators.... and you're right... if you do, you can save big $$$.