Shore Excursions - exploring your Ports of Call!
Shore excursions (when you leave the ship to visit your port of call) can be some of the most exciting moments of your vacation. Adventures await onshore at each destination your ship takes you to.
While your cruise ship can be a destination resort in and of itself with countless onboard activities - these are just the beginning of your cruise vacation.
At each port, you can leave the ship and join a guided excursions on land that immerse you in the native culture of each of our exciting ports. Go wildlife viewing, hike a glacier or cycle through the countryside.
If bargain hunting is your sport, there's no shortage of markets offering a variety of unique items.
Land tours are mostly half to one day tours offered in a port city. They are a great way to enhance your cruise experience while seeing more of the ports your cruise brings you to. On board each ship is a Shore Excursion Office or Land Tour staff who arrange the off-ship adventures for you. There are charges for the guided tours and very worth the price. You can be secure in knowing that the tour operators are monitored by the cruise lines to ensure they meet and maintain the level of service provided to ships passengers.
Going on an organized tour, one sponsored by the cruise line has an advantage that the ship will wait for any of its overdue guests - no worries about the ship leaving without you.
You are certainly free to leave the ship and explore on your own but I believe for your own safety and security, it is better to take an organized, sponsored, tour unless you are very familiar with the culture and geography of the area you are visiting.
Many cruise Lines offer a complete selection of off-ship activities such as nature walks, whitewater rafting, helicopter flightseeing and beyond. The Shore Excursions are often described in detail in booklets provided with your cruise documents or in detail online at the cruise line's website.
Shore Excursions enhance your cruise vacation to create memories of a lifetime. You pay for these excursions through your on-board account and many cruise lines allow you to pre-book your shore excursions on-line once your agent has given you your cruise ID number.
The advantages to pre-booking your shore excusions are many.
Reserve in advance and be assured of your excursion choices.
Start your cruise knowing that everything you want to do is reserved and paid for ...
Excellent Alternatives to Cruise Line Shore Excursions
There are cost effective shore excursion offerings from very reputable companies other than your cruise line and at very attractive rates with depth and quality equal to or surpassing the cruise line. These companies offer a high level of knowledge and skill and will pick you up at your ship and return your there at the end of your off ship adventure.
In our experience, ShoreTrips seek out the best of the operators. They go directly to the source to determine who they feel are the best suited to deliver a great product. Shore Trips examine their equipment, hold their insurance, and build a relationship. They have met with every operator they work with and, by understanding the port of call and knowing the tour, they can confidently offer terrific activities. In addition, Shore Trips operators are all professionals in the travel industry and they guarantee to return you to your ship on time.
You can browse through all the offerings by signing-in to create your own TripPlanner® - an electronic mini-brochure of the ShoreTrips® that interest you.
Never Fear - their policy allows cancellation without penalty up to 11 days before your tour and always refunds in full for ship itinerary changes and weather-related safety considerations.
Remember your cruise ship is your own floating resort however a great part of the fun is getting off the ship and taking part in terrific activities that let you experience the ports of call. You won't be sorry... getting off the ship and exploring doubles the fun!
Did You Know?.CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 62 cruise line members represent more than 90 percent of global cruise capacity, with 482,000 berths on CLIA Member ships. With more than 22 million people cruising worldwide each year, the cruise industry will invest $25 billion to launch 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the industry will introduce six new oceangoing cruise ships and 16 new river cruise ships.
Top 2014 Cruise Trends (CLIA)
Rebound in luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) based on an improving economy and increased consumer confidence
Multigenerational and celebration travel increase for all passenger source markets with larger sized family as well as social/ affinity groups traveling together
Continued development and availability of technology to facilitate and lower the cost of onboard communications as well as to provide more efficient passenger servicing
Expectation of first-time passenger growth driven by the 95 million Millennial generation based on population size and positive experiences cruising with their parents
Cruise lines offering more all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities for increased ease in booking and ship enjoyment
Cruises increasingly attracting consumers seeking active vacations with extreme excursions, longer stays in ports for sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities
Seeing the world in comfort and ease, especially exotic locations, will continue to drive new itinerary creation and cruise ship deployment
Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers