We are taking our DDD readers aboard as we take a family cruise this summer! The second part to our series (insert first post link here) talks all about excursions. Excursions are like the icing on the cake to me! They can provide some once in a lifetime opportunities and activities, or a nice relaxing day on the beach! Granted, you can take a cruise and not book a single gosh darn excursion, if you’re like me…I want to take it ALL IN! Let’s dive right in, shall we? See what I did there…Dive….Water…Cruise… LOL! Here are the in’s and out’s to booking and enjoying excursions on ANY cruise line!
First and foremost, check out what is available. Carnival, the cruise that we are embarking on, has a whole website with all the excursions available once you book your cruise. It is easy to sort through by activity, cost, and port location. The excursions have a very wide price range, and tons of guest reviews to help make your decision easier. Are you looking for a beachy type day, or perhaps you want to visit local art galleries, or swim with the dolphins? Yep, its all there.
Secondly, keep in mind, you do NOT have to book excursions through the cruise line. Of course, there are MANY, MANY reasons to do so. If you are embarking on a slightly adventurous activity, like hiking, zip lines, or deep sea fishing, you may want to book through the cruise line. Why? Because the provider of that tour or activity has been guaranteed by the cruise line for you safety, liability, and other legalities. Booking outside of the cruise line, you might take a small risk on those things. Another, HUGE reason for my family, was the guarantee that we would NOT be left at the port if the excursion ran late or got delayed. Booking through the cruise line is insurance that the ship isn’t gonna leave without you. They know where you are, and you’re on a cruise supported excursion. If you book off site, you take the risk of being left. Yikes!
Third, look for age discounts. I’m not kidding in the least. And i’m talking about the younger the better in this case. We have young children, and vacationing with them is already crazy expensive, I get it. Sometimes excursions are just not an option for the budget. By taking our time and researching, 2 of the 3 excursions we booked, our youngest, who is 5 at time of trip, was F-R-E-E! That saved us anywhere from $50-100 for each excursion, about $300! That pretty much paid for one of the other excursions we took! Score! It is also very important to look at age requirements in general, one of the snorkeling activities required guests to be at least 8 years old…While that is OK for one of our kids, that meant an adult and our 5 year old had to sit out. No bueno.
Lastly, most cruise lines, will honor price drops. If you book an excursion through them directly, and find the exact same excursion elsewhere for cheaper, they will refund or credit you the difference. Win-win…you get the better price, AND the security of booking through the cruise line. It pays to research, research some more, and continually monitor prices!