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Old 01-26-2006, 10:02 AM
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Am curious the pros & cons of booking a shore excursion through NCL vs. an outside excusion company. Am going on the Jewel to Carribean 2/5-12/06.

Appreciate your advice, opinions or suggestions!
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:54 PM
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99.99999% of the time it is better to book your own excursions, mainly because of the price. I also prefer to deal with locals rather than have a more insulated cruise line experience. Before I started cruising I had been to Central America and the Caribbean, as well as to Europe many times. I am comfortable in a foreign country, with foreign currency and a different language. Still I was apprehensive about booking my own tours because of the time factor- an hour late and sayonara cruise ship. Everyone I talked to said "never book through the cruise line" but I still had reservations. When I got to my first port I realized that the cruise ship market is such that everyone you deal with is going to speak English, deal in US$, and definitely get you back to the ship in time. The money issue is huge- a $50 shore excursion can cost $100-150 booked through the ship. They tend to bundle something you want to do (cave tubing) with something you don't want to do (subpar Americanized lunch).

What ports are you going to? This might matter. You can check the port reviews section and find some tips. We would all be glad to refer you to tour operators that have served us well in the past.

Hope this helps you.

Carla
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:40 PM
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The two main advantages of booking an excursion on the ship or via the cruise line are
(1) the ship will not leave without you if a breakdown in transportation occurs and
(2) early departures from the ship in a tender port.

But it's true the cruise line charges more.

What I do? On short excursions that should be back with plenty of time to spare before the ship weighs anchor, book locally. On long excursions that barely gets back on time, book via the ship.
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Old 01-27-2006, 05:11 AM
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Thanks for your input! We will be visiting

Roaton, Honduras
Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Yes. Any suggestions of tour operators would be helpful. Thank you so much for your help!
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Old 01-27-2006, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by busy10splayer:
Thanks for your input! We will be visiting

Roaton, Honduras
Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Yes. Any suggestions of tour operators would be helpful. Thank you so much for your help!
Grand Cayman try Captain Marvins, Ocho Rios, Peat Taylor, Roatan, Victor Bodden
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:16 AM
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We have just come back from the Jewel, we left the ship mid cruise - it was so bad, I would certainly not book excursions with them, they cost the earth, so do the drinks and everything els, there is even a charge for the spa, at 60 dollars a week, plus the treatments, (^60 dollars for massage oil and 120 for the massage) they will soon empty your wallet if you let them ... so be careful with hidden costs !
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Old 01-29-2006, 03:53 AM
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Roatan beach: We did the NCL Tabyana Beach Party and it was worth it... no hassles getting there, the food was actually good, the steel drum band was very good, the snorkeling was maybe a 4 out of 10 but enjoyable none the less, the drinks were flowing ($$$ but no more than on the ship) and the price was okay considering that Roatan is a little rough around the edges and this tour requires absolutely no thought on your part. If I were to do it again I would do the canopy tour, preferably arranged on my own. Don't forget to check out the little market across the street (and down a block) from the ship. Good deals to be had there for sure.
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Old 06-22-2006, 06:05 AM
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You seem to have experience with booking excursions in Europe. I am wondering how easy it is to book them for places like Rome and Florance once you arrive. Do you reccomend doing this ahead of time or when you get into port. Also, is transportation by train from Livorno and Civitavecchia easy enough for a group of 10. Thanks for any advise you can offer.



Quote:
Originally posted by Carlalena1:
99.99999% of the time it is better to book your own excursions, mainly because of the price. I also prefer to deal with locals rather than have a more insulated cruise line experience. Before I started cruising I had been to Central America and the Caribbean, as well as to Europe many times. I am comfortable in a foreign country, with foreign currency and a different language. Still I was apprehensive about booking my own tours because of the time factor- an hour late and sayonara cruise ship. Everyone I talked to said "never book through the cruise line" but I still had reservations. When I got to my first port I realized that the cruise ship market is such that everyone you deal with is going to speak English, deal in US$, and definitely get you back to the ship in time. The money issue is huge- a $50 shore excursion can cost $100-150 booked through the ship. They tend to bundle something you want to do (cave tubing) with something you don't want to do (subpar Americanized lunch).

What ports are you going to? This might matter. You can check the port reviews section and find some tips. We would all be glad to refer you to tour operators that have served us well in the past.

Hope this helps you.

Carla
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 06-22-2006, 12:17 PM
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I've done both and will only book them thru the cruise line now. The obvious one, that the ship can't leave w/out you is a load off your mind. And i don't mind paying more thru the cruise line when i know i'm getting A1 service. You never know what you're gonna get or have to go thru with the sometimes inexpierenced locals.
 
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