Purchasing a cruise excursion through the cruise line is the best way to see the sights at any port of call. The cruise line personnel know the guides and the services offered. They have checked vehicles and other conveyances for safety and security. An adventure cruise excursion such as ziplining or parasailing has also passed inspection.
Booking a cruise excursion in advance has the following advantages:
If the activity requires certifications such as SCUBA diving, you will know in advance that you must qualify.
The activity may require previous experience. This is common with mountain biking and mountain climbing excursions.
The pre-booked activity will explain how much walking is required. This is important for passengers with limited mobility.
The cruise line knows that the tour operators they contract with will deliver what they promise with the cruise excursion or activity.
Cruise lines require all vendors offering excursions to have liability insurance. The cruise line cannot guarantee your safety once you leave the ship but they want you to have a happy and safe shore experience. For this reason, all contracted cruise excursion operators' insurance is verified.
In the event of a rare mishap, the cruise line knows that the excursion operator will take care of emergencies including medical costs.
A mishap can be as simple as a vehicle problem that causes you and other passengers to return to the ship later than expected. The cruise ship has your name and ship personnel know where you are and who is with you. They usually delay departures until all passengers are on board.
Booking a cruise excursion through the cruise line even before you begin your journey guarantees that you will have a place on the desired tour. You also pay for it in advance and you do not have to pay with pesos or other foreign currencies. If you book the excursion while you are on the cruise, it will be charged to your shipboard account. You pay this at the end of the cruise.
Beware of hawkers
You will find a number of people waiting to sell you shore trips and tours at the dock when you disembark from the cruise ship or shore boat in many ports. These hawkers are there to promise you anything and everything. They have not been vetted and approved by the cruise line. They may not have reliable vehicles, facilities and insurance.
The cruise excursion you signed up for in advance with the cruise line will have a special guide there to greet you and a list with the names of participants. In many cases, there will be special coaches or vans with the name of the cruise ship on it to take you to the excursion sites. The tour company may also have its name on the bus or van.
Cruise lines often contract with bus lines and vans to carry passengers from the ship to shopping areas or other sites without a cruise excursion. Use these insured conveyances and avoid local buses and taxis when possible, especially when you are not familiar with the area.
The cruise ship activity coordinator will tell you which areas of a port are safe and what areas to avoid. This is important if you are walking around on your own and are not on a cruise excursion.
The cruise lines provide a wide choice of cruise excursions and activities to give you an opportunity to safely see new ports and their attractions. Take advantage of their knowledge. They offer you the best so that you will enjoy your cruising experience.