Passengers making reservations for shore excursions offered by the cruise line know that the ground operators have been inspected for safety and security. The cruise line assures passengers that the tour companies they recommend are the best and most professional ones at each port of call.
Cruise lines carry their own insurance that covers the passengers and crew while they are on board the ship. That does not extend to shore excursions. The ground tour operators used by cruise lines must have excursion insurance that covers all emergencies and expenses.
Passengers can reserve shore excursions when they make their final payment for the cruise. They can book the shore excursion online or with a travel agent or representative from the cruise line. They can view each shore excursion destination online and learn more about it through videos and other information on the cruise line website.
Passengers aboard a ship are encouraged not to carry money. Their extras are charged to their cabin's account and they settle their bill at the end of the cruise. This includes shore excursions booked while they are on the cruise before the ship puts into the port.
Cruise ships are usually in each port for only a day. By booking the shore excursion through the cruise line, passengers do not have to deal with Mexican pesos, Costa Rican colones or other foreign currencies when they join the shore activity.
As an excursion operator, you will have the advantage of knowing in advance how many people are joining your tour or activity from each ship. The cruise line will actively promote shore excursions with the operators they know are reliable, giving you business over competitors who are not on their list.
There is often a line-up of excursion operators eager to sell tours to passengers as they disembark at various ports. The cruise lines discourage passengers from using these unknown ground services.
The cruise lines know the names of passengers they booked on tours and they will hold departures if necessary should there be an unforeseen transportation problem. This may not be the case when a passenger uses an unknown tour operator with unreliable transportation and probably no excursion insurance.
Passengers who want to see the sights will generally book a tour that includes a museum, church or castle and shopping for locally made goods. Shopping is a major attraction and many cruise lines have their own guides that take passengers on a shore excursion to reliable merchants.
The guided shopping shore excursion requires local transportation in a bus or van, depending on the port. The transport company must carry sufficient liability insurance in the event of an accident, even though the transporter may not be at fault.
Cruises to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and other tropical countries occasionally offer tours to botanical gardens, coffee, banana and cocoa plantations. A cruise that stops in Costa Rica may offer a shore excursion to the cloud forest and volcanoes with lunch and a shopping stop along the way. All of these tour operators and their destinations must have excursion insurance to cover the tourist who accidentally trips or loses something of value.
The shore excursion can involve extensive walking, occasionally over uneven ground. This can include a hike through the ruins of an ancient civilization such as the island of Delos in Greece. Other shore excursions such as the White Pass & Yukon Railroad in Skagway, Alaska, involve very little walking.
Ground operators offering sight-seeing tours should inform passengers in advance of the amount of walking involved and the terrain. They must also specify if they can accommodate people with wheelchairs and limited mobility. Their excursion insurance should cover these passengers.
Popular adventure tours in tropical locations include diving, snorkeling, ziplining, mountain biking, parasailing, sport fishing, small boat trips and horseback riding. Cruise passengers may rent paddle boards, surfboards, kayaks and jet skis.
Adventure excursions in Alaska include kayaking, glacier helicopter flights when the weather permits, fishing, hiking and even mountain climbing.
The reliable, insured ground operator is responsible for qualifying passengers when certifications for diving or prior experience is necessary for the activity. They must be willing to turn away people who do not qualify even if they booked the activity in advance. The cruise lines will process refunds for tours they booked.
If you are a tour operator, make sure you have adequate excursion insurance for your shore excursion so that you can contract with cruise lines and resorts and increase your business.
If you are a tour or excursion operator in need of excursion insurance, click here to get started on a quote.
Pacific Dawn in Lifou by eGuide Travel