While being onboard a cruise ship is a highlight, the destination experiences one has ashore, at ports of call, are an opportunity to create memorable experiences for your cruise vacation.
Are shore trips at ports of call included in my cruise price?
Excursions and activities ashore are usually not included in the price of your cruise vacation. The exceptions to this are river cruises and Regent Cruises, which include excursions as part of their all-inclusive price. Occasionally cruise lines may include select shore excursions - check with your TravelStore cruise expert.
What type of shore excursions do cruise lines offer?
Most cruise lines offer a wide range of optional trips ashore which, depending on the destination, including everything from basic city sightseeing tours to active outdoor adventures like snorkeling or white water rafting. The cruise line does not operate these excursions themselves, but contracts them with various third party companies.
Can I arrange my own shore trips?
Of course. You’re free to spend time ashore on your own, if you prefer, or arrange alternative activities. TravelStore can arrange more private options than the cruise lines offer, as well as customize activities that meet your needs and interests, providing a more fulfilling vacation.
Clients often tell us one of the highlights of their cruise was the customized shore experiences we arranged for them, because it was more personal and more memorable. We invite you to allow us the opportunity to personalize your cruise vacation and arrange at least one (if not more) customized excursions for your cruise. You can also shop here for shore excursions for your cruise.
Is there a reason to book shore excursions with the cruise line or TravelStore rather than on my own?
The benefit is we work with our established, reputable suppliers overseas, providing you the extra measure of assurance that the company operating the excursion is insured and vetted. Should something go amiss, they and we will do what we can to remedy the situation.
Many of our suppliers, as well as the cruise lines, also provide a guarantee that should something occur and you miss returning to the ship prior to sailing from a port, they’ll arrange for your transportation to the next port of call.
Are there any other things to consider regarding excursions at ports of call?
In many ports, such as on an Alaska cruise, you can get off the ship, which docks or tenders near the heart of town, and enjoy a walking tour on your own and, with a little research, get some good ideas of what there is to see or visit. In other ports, the heart of town is quite a distance away, where walking or taking a taxi is not very practical. On Mediterranean cruises, for example, the ports for Rome and Florence are over an hour’s drive away, each way. In some cases safety concerns, and taking a local taxi, may not be advisable in certain ports.
Cruise lines and our own overseas suppliers will always consider safety, comfort and vehicle cleanliness. Relying on a local taxi on your own may not provide a clean vehicle or one with air conditioning in a hot climate, or a driver who is as conscious about passenger safety, or one that speaks English well enough to communicate with.
Are customized, private shore trips more expensive?
- The cost of a privately guided excursion arranged exclusively for one couple, requiring a private car and driver, compared to the price to join a group excursion on a large motor coach, will be more expensive, but also much more private and customized to your interests. For a family, or two couples traveling together, the cost is often comparable.
- By arranging private excursions with your TravelStore consultant, you will enhance and enrich your experience.
- Private shore excursions will provide you with more time, and better use of your time.
- When you consider the benefits, the higher cost of a privately arranged excursion provides far more value.
TravelStore’s extra amenities with select luxury cruise lines, like Silverseas, Seabourn and Crystal Cruises may include a complimentary private car and driver at a select port of call during your cruise.
I’m not sure what I may want to do ashore. Can I wait till I get onboard the ship to review and book my shore excursions?
You can reserve shore excursions once you are onboard the ship, though by waiting till then you risk not having your first choices available, as the best excursions do sell out with advance reservations made online. Because your time ashore in any port of call is quite limited, arranging your shore excursions in advance is highly desirable and helps maximize your time. While planning your cruise, you can also get ideas on shore trips available in various ports of call here, though keep in mind we can customize just about anything you desire beyond these ideas. Your TravelStore cruise expert can also help guide your decision.
When can I reserve my shore excursions?
We can plan and arrange custom excursions for you anytime after your cruise reservation is confirmed and deposited.
For cruise line-operated excursions, after you’ve paid for your cruise, most lines allow you to access their shore excursion selections online, and request reservations in advance. (You can also make reservations at alternative dining restaurants on your cruise ship, which we encourage you to do before while these options are available.)
For additional questions, please ask your TravelStore consultant when making your cruise reservations.