When looking at shore excursions, I am torn between prebooking, and waiting until I'm onboard. My thoughts are like this (and yes...I *do* overthink everything! It's the geek in me )
If I prebook, I know I am going on excursions that I like. But I might find myself the lone single in a group of families, or I might hook up with someone (or a clique of someones) after that excursion is full, and have to choose.
If I wait to meet the singles group and try to schedule with others in the group, I might get shut out of excursions that those I meet are going on, and again be left out in the cold.
I could also wait, and try to figure out who I want to hang out with based on chat or message board posts, and try to plan things that way.
Or...I could pick one shore excursion on the trip to prebook that I really don't want to miss (maybe regata, or a swim with the stingrays/dolphins type thing), and then play it by ear from there for the rest of the trip.
What do you all think is the best strategy for shore excursions when travelling with a singles group?
Well let me just say that you will be with the singles almost every night at dinners, and shows on the ship, usually everyone ends in the disco late night, earlier they are scattered on the ship but you will keep running into people. Also if you participate in the singles activitys you will meet more of the group, the more singles events you join in.
Regarding shore excursions I would sign up for those you think you really want to take, so they don't sell out. You can switch your shore excursions with the cruise ship later as long as it's not sold out. You can cancell and get a credit on your charge account. I have done private excrusions that no singles were on but I was happy that there was a nice family with kids from my ship with me and I became friends with them.
I don't feel the need to be with the other singles 24/7 for me I like the ecco tours, swim with stingrays, dolphins and such. Please note after 3 cruises some of my best shore days were days I didn't do an excursion at all and just did my own thing.Such as the day I went to the Nassau zoo.
Read my reader review for Costa Mediterrenia for more details. If your in a port at night the singles will probally have a bar outing activity such as Senjor Frogs, so leave your nights on shore if this is something that interests you.
Carnival Mardi Gras 1987 (Bahamas)
Carnival Legend 2005 (Exotic Western Caribbean)
Costa Mediterrenia 2005 (Eastern Caribbean)
Carnival Pride October 2006 (Mexican Rivera)
Carnival Legend 2007 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Glory 2009 Western Caribbean
Carnival Liberty 2011 Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Spirit 2011 Western Caribbean
Carnival Miracle 2012 Southern Caribbean
Carnival Breeze 2013 Exotic Eastern Caribbean
Carnival Valor 2014 Southern Caribbean
Showcat is right. Once you have been on a couple of cruises especially to the same places you will quickly learn what there is to do and next time you go you might try things on your own. There are plenty of places for great information on all the ports of call.
I'm thinking that I'll pick one "must take" shore excursion to book early, and then play it by ear from there after boarding.
That is a good plan. If there is something you know you want to do, book it early that way you know you will have a seat if you will. Some of the more popular excursions do sell out as has been mentioned. Then when you are on the ship you can decide what else you might like. Perhaps you may meet some people and join them.
Some shore excursions are very expensive, and the cruise line makes a ton of money on them. I remember once when I was on the S/S Norway (no longer sailing) they had to use tenders to get into ports. The seas were unusually rough, so they did not want to chance going in, because passengers could fall so all excursions were canceled and money refunded. I overheard someone from the excursion desk saying they had really lost money that cruise and were going to have to hustle to try and make it up on the next one.
I think it is best to wait until you get onboard and meet your singles group and then decide if you want to go with some of them or take a break from them and go it alone. If the excursion you want is filled by the time you make up your mind, then you can try to find someone from your group to share cab fares, etc. and take your own private excursions. There are always plenty of maps and brochures about places of interest. And don't forget you can go online and find anything you want about any port you are going to. Cruisemates has lots of articles about ports of call.
Prefer to do both excursions organized and on my own; Singlescruise uses Shoretrips and I do their tours with my group of friends; maybe one port of call I do on my own. I like St. Thomas because I love the shops, the beach, etc. I do that island on my own. Jamaica - Ocho Rios...do as a group!!
I agree with Pat. I have had great success with assembling a group, and hire a cab driver for the day, and split the fee equally. You get a better bang for your buck, instead a scheduled tour. They keep you out longer, and you see more of the island. It doesn't hurt if you buy the driver a meal.
One thing I have always wanted to do is rent a moped, and have an island driver take me on a tour, instead being confined to a bus or van Has anyone done this?
Here is my advise.....
First of all make sure you can get your money back if you change your mind about the tour. I guess it depends with what company you plan to book your tour with. If you can't get your money back then play it safe and buy it later when you are position you are going.
Secondly..... Talk is cheap because you can make a lot of plans with the singles in cyberspace and when the time comes for the tours.... none of them have signed up...... they just talked about it.
My last comment is to book the tours YOU REALLY WANT..... because it doesn't really matter who is on the tour with you. You will all be sharing in the experience that will be one of a kind. I am a Californian and it takes one person to put in a light bulb and 9 persons to share in the experience.lol. That is the Californian in me.
People can really let you down when you meet them in person. Let me give you an example; there was a single guy that I really didn't know who made dinner plans in advance for 10 persons for a pre-cruise dinner at the Queen Mary ship on the night before our cruise. VTG was having their pre-cruise party on the Queen Mary so we all thought it would be nice to have dinner on the ship and then go attend the party at the Bar Place. This is what really happened. The restaurant was super expensive so the only people that showed up was me and the guy who planned the dinner. So....you see what I mean. It is best to make your own plans because you never know who you are going to meet anyway.
I like to book tours that look interesting and I don't really care who else shows up because usually some really nice people show up.
One more thing.... you may have tons of fun talking with singles in cyberspace and when you get on the ship you may only see them one time when they say hello to you and then you never see them again until the day you are leaving the ship. That has been my experience with some singles. I usually end up hanging out with a group of singles that I have bonded with and I never know in advance who those single are until I notice how we start to hang out.
I have had many nice experiences talking with singles before going on a cruise but I never make plans in advance with them so that way I am free to book whatever tour I want. It leaves the door open for me to do what I really want to do.
Some singles talk really nice to you on the message board but when you meet them in person you find out they are not really compatiable on the ship. That has been my experience too.
I will be leaving this coming Saturday on the VTG Singles Carnival Triumph and I have been having fun talking to the singles on our private message board but I have a feeling I will be hanging with singles who never communicated on the message board and it is okay with me. I know I will meet some nice singles to hang out with BUT....I will not make tour plans with them. I will book what looks interesting for me so in case I change my mind I will not have disappointed anybody. Angel gal
Hi Showcat! I am already packed for my cruise. I am only taking one piece of luggage and one carry-on. The only tour I plan to book is the Everglades tour because after the tour is over they take you to the airport.
I have 6 cruisers that I have cruised with before with VTG.... plus I have a really good gal friend to hang out with on this cruise.
I plan to write a cruise review when I return. Angel gal
I don't think it is fair to judge who you want to hang out with on your cruise based on chat rooms or emails. Just swap information, share excitement, and when you get onboard and meet in person then you can decide who you will make new best friends with. When cruising, always keep an open mind and don't be so serious. It's meant to be a fun adventure.
Pat is totally right in that you can't judge people by the message board conversations and the plans you make on the message board. My own experience has been that it is a bunch of bull of other singles wanting to be your friend and hang out with you because once they are on the ship they find their own new friends to hang out with and they leave me in the dust. I have seen it happen many times. I also leave negative singles in the dust too. That is why I choose my own shore tours based on what I like.
One more thing, I once had the experience of some gals wanting to walk around a port with me. I told them to meet me outside near the ship at 10a.m. When I got there I didn't see them at all. Then I saw two of my vtg single friends...... so I took off with them and went into town together and had a great time. Later in the evening on board a friend told me that some gals had been looking for me and had wanted my cabin number. "Duh". What was so hard about meeting outside off the ship?
My worst experience recently was making plans with Cruise-Critic.com members and this website cruise-mates.com. What happen is that we had a great party with free drinks and snacks paid by the ship's company. We were all supposed to wear necklace beads to identify ourselves on the ship during the week. I wore my necklace beads but I noticed nobody else was wearing them. After the party I only saw a few of the 50 people that showed up for the party. I really don't think that anybody should base their activities based on what is said on any message board. I was truly disappointed and I vowed I would never make plans with anybody on a message board. Talk is cheap. Angel gal