FAQs : Tours Questions
A shore excursion is an organized guided tour in a cruise ship's port of call. They are offered all over the world and virtually anywhere a cruise ship stops. There are shore excursions for almost any age or physical activity level. Whether you're into water sports like sailing or scuba diving; high adventure activities like white water rafting, hiking or biking; or less strenuous activities like shopping tours; bus tours, museums; or historical sites you'll find a shore excursion for almost any interest. We has special arrangements to offer selected shore excursion in the Caribbean and Alaska in advance and at a savings over onboard prices.
Of course you may be able to arrange your own tours, but why would you want to? When you book a pre-packaged shore excursion, almost everything is included for one low price - transportation to your tour or activity, admission or entrance fees for an attraction, and most importantly the services of a well-trained local tour guide. You're also assured that you'll see the most for your money.
By booking a pre-packaged shore excursion through our selection of excursions, you'll also save time and money. We've done all the thinking for you. You'll spend less time doing research and more time having fun. You get to choose from the very best and most popular tours in a port of call based on your interest and escorted by local experts who are familiar with the port, it's history, and culture. Furthermore, there's no waiting in line at a port's most popular attractions. When you're part of a tour, your tickets are purchased in advance and you move right to the front of the line, saving you time to enjoy the sites.
Shore excursions include transportation according to the itinerary, your tour guides, and entrance fees to the attraction you are visiting. Some excursions also include meals, drinks and refreshments depending on the tour. You can read more about what each tour includes here on this site. Fares for shore excursions are subject to change without notice.
It really depends on the tour. For example, in some of the European cities that you may visit are ancient. Their quaint, narrow, cobblestone streets have been in existence long before motorized transportation. To preserve their beauty, some cities and old towns are pedestrian only.
Most tours require some degree of walking; however, some excursions require extensive walking. Likewise, grand entryways and sprawling gardens of certain castles and cathedrals make walking and stair-climbing a necessity. Other tours can be very high energy. High adventure white water rafting in Alaska, bike tours, or scuba tours may require you to be in good shape before hand.Whatever your fitness level, we highly recommend comfortable, low-heeled walking shoes. Excursion descriptions usually contain basic information about required fitness levels, and for more information about a tour's intensity level, you can visit the shore excurions website or call the shore excursion desk.
Standards of transport vary considerably from country to country; however, excursions utilize the best quality transportation possible in each port. Air-conditioned vehicles are not always available. Guest wishing to travel together with friends should leave the ship together, as this will help the tour staff allocate space in the same vehicle.
For the convenience of their guests, some cruise lines offer shuttle bus service or those ports that are located a 1/2 mile or more away from the closest city center and do not have adequate local transportation available. (Believe us, finding local transportation is not a problem in the Caribbean. They will find you.) Schedules and days of operation are usually posted in the ship's bulletin. Taxis are also available if you elect not to take an organized tour.
Extending a gratuity to your guide or driver is strictly optional; however, in some countries, these personnel may anticipate that if you were pleased with their services, you will reward them in a monetary way. A commonly accepted guideline is $1 per person for a half-day and $2 per person for a full day.
Before you cruise, you can find all the information you would ever need right here on this site. Our World Travel Guide has extensive information on hundreds of countries and ports. You can also read about the most popular shore excursions here as well.
Onboard your ship, a qualified lecturer will hold informative talks on each port of call you visit. If you still have questions, many ships have a Port Lecturer that will be glad to answer them. You should also do a little research before you go. Your local library should have all kinds of books pertaining to your destination. Frommer's and Fodor's also have wonderfully informative books identifying local points of interest, culture, and history.
Most tour departure times complement the ship's meal service hours, so you can enjoy your meal aboard then go ashore. However, on some full day tours, or if you take more than one tour in a day, your return on board may not coincide with meal hours. A buffet, snack, or room service is usually available all the time.
Other countries may have more conservative ideas about dress than you are accustomed. Attention is drawn to this matter so as not to offend. Cruise lines suggest when visiting places of worship (cathedrals), you dress conservatively, avoiding shorts or sundresses. Attend the port lectures for guidance.
Guests should wear comfortable walking shoes at all times. When visiting ruins or walking on cobblestone streets, wear rubber-soled shoes. It's also smart to wear a sun hat.
Whenever possible, shopping time is allocated within the framework of the excursions. However, tours are not designed primarily for shopping.
Absolutely. Through a special relationship with Shore Excursions Group, we offer an extensive selection of the most popular Shore Excursions throughout Europe, Hawaii, the Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, and Alaska.
If you would like more detail on these excursions, please visit our shore excursions website (see Before You Go - Vacation Excursions on the menu above)
Shore Excursions Group utilizes many of the same tour operators that the Cruise Lines use. In other words, they use the same helicopters, bus companies, and visit the same sites the cruise lines use. The biggest difference is that you will be met by a private representative on arrival, reserve in advance and save time and money.
Since Shore Excursions Group uses many of the same tour operators as the cruise lines, there's plenty of reasons to pre-book your tours in advance . . .
Very. Shore Excursions Group was started by several former cruise line executives that have a wonderful reputation. Their staff has worked aboard the cruise ships for years and have developed relationships with the local port tour operators to assure that you'll have an enjoyable tour in each port they represent. We stand behind them and are confident our customers will enjoy the same tours that you'd find on a cruise ship at lower prices and with more convenience.
Most cruise lines, including any tours you book online with us and Shore Excursions Group, will provide a full refund for any tour cancelled by the operators due to weather or the ship not reaching port.
Yes, you do have the option to book your tour when you get on board ship; however, the exclusive excursions offered in advance to our clients cannot be reserved on board. These are only available to our special clients in advance and have nothing to do with those offered by the cruise line.
When you purchase your Shore Excursions online with us, you'll receive your tour tickets in advance of taking your cruise. There will be instructions on your tickets instructing you as to where to meet for each Excursion at each port.
We have provided you with the most popular excursions in the Caribbean and Alaska for advance booking. Other destination and excursions must be reserved directly with the cruise line and cannot be reserved through our exclusive excursion program.
Wherever possible, departure times are scheduled to permit participation on all of your chosen excursions. The local guides are considered top experts on local history and sights, offering you a chance to fully appreciate and experience their hometowns. The listed excursions are designed and organized in such a way as to maximize your time in each port and yet allow sufficient free time as well.
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