9. Self-Arranged Excursions are Often Better/Cheaper than the Ship-Sponsored Tours
Cruise lines always try to sell you on their own packaged shore excursions. They emphasize that they’re the only ones to guarantee the ship won’t leave without you should some unforeseen delay occur. However, these are considerably overpriced compared to similar tours you could easily arrange on your own without the cruise line mark-up. These expensive ship-sponsored tours usually involve crowded motor coaches with flocks of cruisers following a tour guide’s flag around a set itinerary like sheep. Often, factory gift shops and tourist-trough restaurants are on the agenda. With a self-arranged tour, you have more freedom and flexibility to design the more intimate, authentic, self-paced experience you want. Most local tour operators are professional and want to treat you right lest a bad online review impact their business. With a little internet ingenuity, you can arrange a local tour before you arrive, or you can find many enterprising guides at the port as soon as you descend the gangway. You can also buddy up with fellow cruisers to share the cost of a taxi van tour for the day. Just get an early start and make sure you head back to port well before the ship sails off into the horizon.