This summer will be my first time on a cruise. My fiancee and I are looking to book shore excursions, but as I have never been on a cruise before, I don't know much about it. Do you/ should you book through your cruise line or are there much cheaper/ easier ways to do things? Thanks so much!
You have just opened the Pandora's Box of cruise questions. This is an age old arguement that has no real true answer.
Perhaps better addressed if you tell us a few things. 1) where are you going? (what ports and the hours).2) What do you like to do? (beach, snorkel, shop, historic sightseeing, other activities etc). 3) what would you consider your activity level?
4) how adventurous are you?
It would probably be easier to guide you to specific things rather than try to answer your question with a big generic answer.
There are advantages to booking through the cruise line, the main one being that if for some reason you are delayed getting back, it is up to the ship to wait for you. If you choose to do your own tours and are late, it is up to you to get to the ship the best way you can, the ship will not wait for you. There are usually plenty of tour operators waiting for the ship when it docks, and you can probably get the tour for quite a bit less than on board ship. We have done this, but always made sure we were back several hours before the ship was supposed to leave. You pay your money and you takes your chances/
I just got back from the Pride of Aloha July 4th cruise. I did at least one excursion every day. Some of them I booked on my own (usually on the days when we were staying over night at the port and not traveling), and some of them I booked through Norwegian Cruise Lines. I did save a lot of money by booking on my own but it was sometimes impossible since Norwegian bought a lot of the excursions out for the days when they were in port. Traveling to and from the excursion can be a problem. Some of the excursions would pick me up and some would not. It takes a lot of research and emailing ahead of time to find these answers. It was worth the research and we had a great time. You MUST do the ziplining in Kauai. It was the most fun of everything we did.