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Old 05-07-2009, 12:23 PM
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I'm crusing in the Southern Caribbean in early July (Royal Caribbean) leaving from San Juan Puerto Rico and would like to gain some advice(review & rating) on the port excursions offered via the cruise ship and possible alternate options if the aforementioned port excursions offered are not a good idea or too expensive for what you get.

I've downloaded the "60 page journal" from the Royal Caribbeam website and have glanced at some of the reviews online. But there is so much info to the point of overload and is difficult to wade through.

Area there any good websites or other resource that can give a brief, straight forward, no nonsence review and rating of the ports and the excursions typically offered? Obviously, I most interested in the ports I'll be visiting.
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
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I'm crusing in the Southern Caribbean in early July (Royal Caribbean) leaving from San Juan Puerto Rico and would like to gain some advice(review & rating) on the port excursions offered via the cruise ship and possible alternate options if the aforementioned port excursions offered are not a good idea or too expensive for what you get.

I've downloaded the "60 page journal" from the Royal Caribbeam website and have glanced at some of the reviews online. But there is so much info to the point of overload and is difficult to wade through.

Area there any good websites or other resource that can give a brief, straight forward, no nonsence review and rating of the ports and the excursions typically offered? Obviously, I most interested in the ports I'll be visiting.
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:42 PM
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Hi snilan and welcome to Cruise Chat.

There is always an ongoing debate about purchasing excursions through the cruise line. On the plus side, you know that their tour operators are licensed and bonded, and, most importantly, if there is a delay and a ship's excursion is late in getting back to the ship, the ship will wait for you.

There are tour companies around, and kiosks on the piers of the different stops, that have similar or identical excursions for less money. There are some very reputable companies that do this. There are two issues to consider. First, as stated above, if there is a break down causing a delay in getting passengers back to the ship in time, the ship is under no obligation to wait for you. In fact, the ship doesn't even know you're on an excursion through another company. Secondly, folks not on an excursion purchased on the ship are generally allowed to get off the ship only after all the ship's excursions have been called to debark. Most outside tour companies know this and wait for you, but there is no predicting exactly when you'll get off the ship in each port, and I've heard of tours leaving before you can join them.

So it's a toss up to some people, and a "no brainer" one way or the other to other people. I'm sure folks here will give you their ideas and experiences.

Sandy
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:00 AM
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We use Shoretrips.com. If you use the search function and look for their name on this site you will see many good reviews from me about them here! They are US based, and insured. You won't save much money, but the group size will be considerably smaller than the ships. In Curacao, if you go there, we used a company called Actief. There really is no way to express how wonderful these people were. They were very aware of the ship's departure, had new vehicles, and great guides.

We had a horrendous experience through the cruise ship on our last cruise that almost had us missing our flight (and most of the other people on the tour). At that point a manager at Royal Caribbean indicated that the tours through the ship are really not vetted in any way, and that they only check into an operator if there are complaints and problems. I had not realized we were in such a caveat emptor situation. The way I see it the whole "missing the ship due to a delay" scenario is the only advantage in going through the ship.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:14 AM
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Hi snilan, welcome to Cruise-Chat. To me, it all depends on the port. If it's a new port or a port that speaks a different language, then I use the ship's tour. If it's a port I feel comfortable with, I'll do it on my own. There are a few ports where I would not venture on my own in the Caribbean. When I get to Europe (some day I will), I'm sure we'll do mainly ship's tours. There will be some ports that we'll do on our own since my hubby lived in Italy for a while. I've been to France and Germany and can read French, so I'd probably be game to try it on my own. Germany, at least where I visited, has almost everything available in English and many people speak English. Whatever we do, we always leave plenty of time to get back to the ship. I don't want to be waving from the dock as my ship sails away.
You can try using your "Find" feature in the upper left hand corner and type in your ports. It will pull up the posts made for that port. You might be able to find something that interests you and could just do research on that. We might also be able to help a little if we knew what your interests are. Hope this helps a little.
 
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