We are thinking of booking this cruise this week and yes the shore excursions do seem a bit pricey. My mother traveled on this line about 2 years ago to similar ports and she and her husband decided to do much of it on their own. They found some great cab drivers that gave them great tours that gave them a personal experience without having to pony up for a private car through the cruise line. I guess this is a risk and can be hit and miss. Researching ahead of time is key to find out where you want to go and what you want to see instead of depending on the cruise line.