My answer: We usually mix it up. Ship's tours always provide a basis. For special places or special needs, we will book a private driver. On rare occasions we will DIY by local transportation at the port.
Bus tours, hiking, helicopters, bikes, boats?
We like most bus tours, or small vans. Many cruises are good, and we love the "ducks" in various ports. My DW likes helicopters, especialy over volcanoes. Biking, off road, trail bikes -- UM, not for us!
Famous sites or "get to know the people"?
I want to see the Acropolis and the Sydney Opera House, not sit in a bar or on a beach mingling with the locals.
Art, history, ruins, scenery, botanical, active?
World Class Museums like the Hermitage or the Acropolis Museum are OK, but they get old fast. I admit I do like ruins, from Mykonos to Tulum. Scenery from the bus window is about all I get. Botanical gardens, yawn. Active excursions I leave to the young and young at heart!
It took this months Med cruise for me to actively do excursions. We had ports in Croatia, Sicily, Rome, Naples, Florence & Monte Carlo.
This being my 1st cruise in Europe,and with some walking restrictions, I found out that, if I go back again, I would love to do private tours, in the larger ports.
Dubrovnik,and my choice of Taormina, in Sicily, were easily done with ships tours. We took an interesting Jewish Heritage tour in Dubrovnik...quite interesting. Taorimina was a day of shopping, eating & browsing,and just drinking in all the picture postcard views.
I do enjoy historical tours,and we went to Herculaneum. Walking on history was really a dream I had for years. Granted in my mind it was Pompeii, but Herculaneum was more doable for me.
For Rome and Florence we did ships tours, on our own. As an afterthought, I would have loved to had private tours. I did miss Rome, but in Florence, having an experieinced guide, driving you up close to the sites, with personal insights, would have been great.
The one place we had a private tour, [Monte Carlo]got canceled due to high seas. I would have loved to have seen the difference in having a one on one interaction, with an experienced guide.
I think, mixing up tours, easier and longer days, makes for a more interesting and less strenuous cruise.
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator