Hello, Thank you for using this service. I wish to introduce myself. I am a Research Librarian with 20+ years of experience.
Checking some of the very good travel sites online and here are some tips for booking a shore excursion:
1. As for prior, You can book it before you leave or onboard before you arrive. Sometimes, popular shore excursions sell out before the ship docks. Most research shows that is not usually the case though.
2. The cruise line doesn't actually operate the excursion; it contracts with a local tour operator. You can cut out the middleman and book ahead of time with online sites that can offer better prices than what the cruise line charges. Some of the main sites online you can google by the names PortPromotions, PortCompass, ToursPortSide Tours, and Shore Trips.
Sometimes there is a chance that you can bargain with the tour operation just before they leave as they may have some open spots at lower costs.
Best bet though is to go with the tour as if you go at it alone, then there is a chance you could run late and the ship may not wait for you!
As a long time public librarian, I like to recommend the series "Lonely Planet" as they do a great job on travel. Your local public library should have a copy or the bookstore in your area.
Are you suggesting that I can be on the same exact excursion with people from my cruise, even if i book directly w/ the tour operator?
Also, Depending on the cruise line you will have to pay for the excursion when you reserve it, or some will charge it to your onboard account. Each cruise line is different
Carnival wants their money upon selection.
That I am not sure as I would think that the people on the same cruise might have to book with the same online operator as there could be more than one excursion and you might be in a separate group.
Then again you might save money over others that paid regular price. Kind of like going to a sporting event or theater show and the person next to you paid more or less than what you paid.
I see. To be clear, let's use an example. Suppose Carnival has "scuba adventure" for $100/person. And let's say I figure out who the tour operator is, and purchase directly from them for $60/person. Would I be scuba diving side-by-side w/ the Carnival people?
And if i did that, I would assume Carnival would have no liability for my experience.
It that is the case with Carnival as listed above that each cruise line has its own rules, I would check with the links I sent above to see if they have a better rate than what the cruise line offers.
Well I do see you say most excursions do NOT sell out. That is good news.
One site is telling me that booking with an outside group sometimes has smaller groups which I would think is a good thing. The site expert tells me that it all depends though on the port of call.
Most important is that if this is an excursion that you really want to go on and could make or break your vacation, go ahead and book it with carnival as I would hate for you to miss out if this is something very popular and you wait until the last minute. Most do not sell out but maybe not take any chances. All the sites are telling me to research the excursion before you go so check out the lonely planet guides at your local library. Save money that way and get some good research.
That is good to know. I wonder if there is a way to leverage Carnival to lower their price? Probably not...
Never know unless you ask. Could not hurt....
If you are using a travel agent, have them do the work for you on getting a better rate.
Contact info: http://www.carnival.com/core/contactus.aspx
is Lonely Planet a book?
Yes it is. A great series of travel books. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/
Have a great trip and please let me know if there is anything else I can help with. Also please go ahead and rate my answer so that I can get an understanding if I helped with your question. Have a good and safe trip!
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