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Shore Excursions Snorkeling, SCUBA, sightseeing - discuss ports and activities

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Old October 9th, 2016, 02:39 AM
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Red face external shore excursion companies

We did a Norwegian Grand Mediterranean cruise in September 2016 and did 3 shore excursions with CRUISING EXCURSIONS.
We were nervous not having done shore trips with anyone but the cruiseline before, but Norwegians shore tours with basically the same itinerary were about 40% dearer than CRUISING EXCURSIONS.
We would like to recommend this company - excursions in NAPLES - Sorrento and Pompeii 8 hours, MYKONOS - walking tour and bus tour of the island - 4 hours & ROME on your own - coach transfer from Civitavecchia 8 hours. They were on time, signage made them easy to find once off the ship, guides' English was good and they had good local knowledge. Payment was online. They only thing to watch might be the cancellation policy as there are penalties in cancelling once your ship has set sail. JoyfromOz
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Old February 23rd, 2017, 09:36 PM
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I nearly always arrange shore excursions with independent companies.
However, it is often not as easy as you suggest.

Cruise lines usually charge more for the same excursion.
Why?
The cruise line and it's insurance companies require tour operators to prove that they have proper safety equipment and training, reliable equipment with adequate back-up safety systems, proper staff training, adequate communication, and satisfactory follow-up with the cruise line and the passengers when things go wrong.
All theses things cost money - and increase the price of your tour.

Then there is the liability issue. Cruise passengers are famous for legal actions whenever anything is not to their satisfaction. All the major cruise lines have massive liability insurance coverage for every passenger on every tour purchased through the cruise line.
If you happen to have a major illness or injury on a tour, and have to be airlifted halfway around the world in a private medevac jet (US$60,000), the cruise line's insurance can cover it.

Sure, you can save a bundle of money on an independent shore tour - if you are willing to gamble that there will be no problems, or you are wealthy enough to cover any surprise issues.

Last year my ship stopped at Komodo Island in Indonesia.
A group of pax decided to save some money by booking an independent local tour. The price was less than half the price the ship was charging.
The guide took their money and dropped them off at a remote beach, promising to return and pick them up in a few hours. During the beach visit, one of the male pax had a heart attack. There was nobody else there to assist as the group watched their friend die on the beach.
After several hours, the guide returned. When he saw the dead passenger, he jumped into his boat and disappeared.
The pax were able to flag down a local fishing boat and paid the fisherman to ferry them back to the ship.
The dead man's wife was hysterical, demanding to know what the cruise line was going to do to get her and her husband's body back to America.
The answer? Not very much.

If they had booked the ship's tour and paid the higher price, the cruise line's trained staff, with their working radios and medical staff, may have been able to save the life of the heart attack victim.
If not, the cruise line would have made all arrangements and covered the costs of repatriating the widow and the body.
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Old February 23rd, 2017, 09:44 PM
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We never book excursions through the cruise line and have booked independent excursions all around the world.

And what you said about the insurance offered by the cruise line, this is not necessarily true. The cruise lines contract vendors to provide the shore excursions and therefore the vendors are held liable.

Best advice, make sure you purchase independent travel insurance through your travel agent and enjoy the hassle-free independent excursions that cost less, are a whole lot less crowded, and are not as regimented as the cruise line's excursions.

We've booked hundreds of clients with independent excursions, so don't let those who don't know what they're talking about scare you into believing that's not the way to go, because whatever they say is usually not true.

Pete
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Old February 24th, 2017, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by storybookcruises.com View Post
We never book excursions through the cruise line and have booked independent excursions all around the world.

And what you said about the insurance offered by the cruise line, this is not necessarily true. The cruise lines contract vendors to provide the shore excursions and therefore the vendors are held liable.

Best advice, make sure you purchase independent travel insurance through your travel agent and enjoy the hassle-free independent excursions that cost less, are a whole lot less crowded, and are not as regimented as the cruise line's excursions

We've booked hundreds of clients with independent excursions, so don't let those who don't know what they're talking about scare you into believing that's not the way to go, because whatever they say is usually not true.

Pete
And what you said about cruise line insurance is not necessarily true - at least for the 11 major cruise lines I have worked for.
Yes, we do require the tour operators to have insurance. But that doesn't help very much when the passengers sue the cruise line after something goes wrong.
When the legal judgement goes against us - which happens quite often, we find it very difficult to go after a small tour operator on a remote South Pacific Island, and ask him to reimburse our quarter million dollar legal loss. Good luck waiting for that one.

Your recommendation on travel insurance is very good. However, the same people who try to save a few dollars by booking independent shore tours are also often the same ones who try to save a few dollars by passing on travel insurance. My experience shows that fewer than 25% of mass market cruisers bother to purchase travel insurance.

That being said, I always recommend booking independent shore excursions. But the average cruiser needs to be a bit wiser when booking them.
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