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Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

Northeast Ohio
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Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

Or is there still enough space to book them pnce you are on the ship? I am booked on NCL's Grand Mediteranean and my daughter is on Carnival Paradise this spring.

ON, Canada
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1. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

If there are tours that you and/or your daughter have your hearts set on on taking, it's best to book in advance because they do fill up. Some tours will be available to book on board, but you might have to take your second choice.

Often people arrange private tours for groups of 6 or 8 (instead of doing a bus excursion through the ship). If that appeals to you, you might want to check out the Roll Calls for your cruises on Cruise Critic to see if anyone is looking for people to fill their tour: boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34

wirral
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2. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

They do get fully booked and disappointments follow.You can almost predict which ones will sell out.

Treasure Island...
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3. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

Yes they do sell out but not all of them. We do both, buy them before and on the cruise and have never had a problem. As said if you see something you HAVE to go on, l would book ahead.

Good luck and have fun. Hubie

Northeast Ohio
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4. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

Thanks for the advice. Normally we do things on our own but I'm starting to feel like I want a bit less hassle this time. There are particular excursions I want though and as I'm not one to settle for something less than what I want I will follow your advice and finalize my decisions soon!

Chatham, Ontario
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5. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

I agree: you should book ahead for tours you simply *must* do on your Mediterranean cruise. (However, I would check to see if a reputable local guide can offer the same tour cheaper or make it more personal in a smaller group than "ship's own".)

However, for your daughter's Western Caribbean trip, there are few excursions which sell out. One exception would be a dolphin swim at Chankanaab, and if she wants to do that, I'd book ahead directly, here:

dolphindiscovery.com/cozumel/cozumel-locatio…

If she is visiting Grand Cayman, I heartily recommend swimming with the stingrays. Again, I would book directly with a reputable guide like

https://www.captainmarvins.com/

or, to combine a stingray swim with Rum Point beach

www.nativewaywatersports.com/tour_details.htm

However, most other Caribbean excursions can be done by walking of the ship and hiring a taxi.

Edited: 17 March 2013, 04:16
Northeast Ohio
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6. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

Good advice Fannish. I'll be sure to tell my daughter about the dolphins and/or stingrays. That sounds exactly like something she'd be considering.

I've always been the intense travel researcher and the "do it yourselfer" combined with the "private guide booker." I've read that ship tours are pricey, less personal and often include the dreaded "shopping stop." And since I enjoy researching anyway, it seemed silly to take one. But I'm realizing that ship tours have a place and I think I've reached that place, at least on this particular cruise. For starters, I booked at the last minute. My research time is drastically limited and needed to plan our pre-cruise weekend. But there are also other reasons I've chosen to try the ship tours. I'm no longer turned off by the larger tour size. I’ve found that with 50 other people you can be as sociable or as isolated as you please. I'm somewhat leery of small groups in fact, because of the chance of getting stuck in a small van all day with the stranger you discover to be an annoying jerk. It's easier to avoid the rare jerk, find friends of common interests, or keep to yourself if that’s the sort of mood you’re in, when you are in a larger group. Stick near the guide and ask questions and the tour can work out quite fine. Plus, after studying the ship tour offerings and making my choices I started looking for the same things with private companies. I liked some of the ship's more expensive group tours this time, with longer durations that take you inside several ticketed sites. And what I discovered is that the private companies were going to cost me MORE. Yes, I could lower the price by forming a group (but I’m not inclined to do that). Or I could find something comparable on the roll call (which I still need to check out). Finally, once I’d decided to just suck it up and pay the price to the ship, I felt a huge sense of relief. It would be nice, for once, not to spend the afternoon looking at my watch and calculating how much time I have to get back to the ship. And I won’t have that kicking myself feeling when I arrive at the ship an hour early and realize I could have squeezed in one more museum and still gotten back on time. This should be our most relaxing vacation ever while still seeing as much or more than we would have seen on our own. The peace of mind might be worth the extra cost afterall! Now, if I can just figure out how to escape the required shopping stops…..

Chatham, Ontario
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7. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

Wow, you're exactly the kind of traveller I am - a planner.

I wrote a long (OK - book length, LOL) "top question" on the "best" way to see sights. I completely agree with your reasoning. Sometimes "ship's own" is the right way to go.

As for the shopping stop, you can always claim, "No, I'm tired. I'll stay on the bus with the driver".

European tour drivers tell the best stories. :-)

8. Re: Do ships shore excursions sell out prior to sailing?

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