Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Cruise Line Excursions: 6 You Should Take And 6 To Avoid

Difficulty: 0

What are the cruise line shore excursions you should avoid

and which are the ones you should absolutely take?

I'm Gary Bembridge,

this is another of my cruise tips for travellers.

I want to share with you some ideas around shore excursions,

the ones that I always recommend people take

and the ones that I recommend you should avoid

and why, and what the options are.

Here are the six cruise line excursions

that I recommend you actively consider not doing.

So, the ones that I don't do.

First of all, panoramic bus tours.

Basically sitting on a bus, driving around

and it depends which side of the bus you're on,

whether you're going to get the pictures.

What I prefer to do instead is use the hop on, hop off bus.

Hop on, hop off buses will take you to all of the key sites

in a port and you can choose when you want to get off,

when you want to stay, when you want to get back on

and often they will start and end in the cruise port,

so you can easily manage your time.

So, I don't do panoramic bus tours.

Secondly, I never do excursions which have meals included,

because what I've found is

the meal just dominates the excursion.

So I've done it in Shanghai, I've done it in Hong Kong

and I've regretted it,

because we had these so called traditional meals,

but they took up two or more hours of the excursion

and that was two or more hours that I could've been out

seeing those places.

So I never take excursions which include big meals.

I also never do excursions that include beach breaks

or entrances to resorts.

If there's beaches nearby and there's great beaches,

you'll find in the port there are always cab drivers

that will know the ports, take you there,

they'll arrange to come and collect you again

or there will just be a ferry service,

you know buses ferrying you to and back or bus services.

The same with resorts, I don't pay,

because you're just basically paying a premium.

You can often buy resort passes online anyway.

So, if you're going to a beach break,

you're paying a huge premium and you don't really need it.

I also tend not to go to museums

or key historical sites on a cruise line excursion.

The reason for that is, again you're in a big group,

you're walking around.

Parts of it just may really be dull

and you want to move on and look at other things.

Also, what I tend to do is, I'll look at the museums,

you can look on sites, for example Google,

it will tell you the busy times and the quiet times

and I'll then prebook tickets and go when it's less busy.

And often it's less busy when the tour groups aren't in.

So, you'll often find after lunch for example,

going in the afternoon to the museums and historical sites

you're going to have a much better time

and you're not going to be rushed through by the cruise line

or having to look at things that you are not interested in.

So museums, key historical sites,

I would normally do by myself.

The other type of excursion that I would never take

with a cruise line are ones that involve shopping.

Because, bear in mind that they're likely

to be getting kickbacks,

they go to take you to certain places.

If you do want to go shopping and exploring,

simply ask onboard, ask the shore excursion desk,

ask the crew, and get some tips and advice

on the best place to go shopping.

Don't go with the cruise line,

because they're going to steer you in certain ways.

The sixth excursion that I wouldn't normally do

through a cruise line is cycling tours, Segway tours.

You'll find that those are not run by the cruise line,

they're run by independent providers

and there are loads of them that you can find either

near the port or certainly online before you go

and it's just much more efficient

and often be much smaller groups.

Either, whether you are hiring a bike

or you actually going out on tour.

So I find that just paying a big premium

to use the cruise line, they're normally at the port anyway

and your basically paying a premium for you to walk

to the hut where you can do it anyway to pick up the bike.

So what are the six cruise line excursions

that I would normally take,

if they're offered by the cruise line?

First of all, if the ship is a long way

from the place of interest,

so like Osaka, or as I mentioned, Rome.

Places in Guatemala that I've been to.

I would take the cruise line and if they

don't have the simple one to take you there,

I would go on an excursion with them just because

the hassle and the stress of going really far distances

and probably the cost,

it often ends up being much more efficient.

So that's one excursion I would take for sure,

if the ship is far away from the places of interest.

The second one that I do, is I would normally do

if they have a proper focused food and wine culinary,

particularly if it's going to a local home

and learning how to cook the food.

I find that those are quite hard to organise online

although you can independently but you'll normally find,

they've found really great little places you can go,

whether it's to vineyards or to specific home visits.

Cruise lines are getting better and better

at offering those, and those I would often look at to take,

if it's a particular culinary thing

I want to do in a particular destination.

The third one, if it's a very complex place I'm visiting.

So, as I mentioned in Iceland, it's quite a complex,

it's an eight hour trip around multiple sites

and getting around there is quite difficult,

it's quite remote.

You can do it independently, but it's just much easier,

because you find the cost saving is not always that great

and the reassurance,

particularly when you're going long distances,

of knowing that you've got the reassurance

that the ship will wait, for me is the thing that sways it.

The other excursion I take is if I am looking

at a very high value excursion,

so the dog sleighing one that I did in Alaska,

also we wanted to go on the Skagway train once

on the premium service.

These are quite expensive excursions

and they are often the cruise lines

can get you a really good deal,

because there's often not a lot of capacity,

So actually I just much prefer,

if I'm going to spend a lot of money on an excursion

to actually have the reassurance of the cruise line

and some of the vetting that they would have done

before I spend that amount of money.

Course, you can do it independently,

you probably would save, but once you're paying a lot

for an excursion, the savings you make are great,

but actually if you're spending a lot of money,

the actual reassurance that the cruise line can give you

and sometimes the pampering that's linked to it,

for me is the thing that sways it.

The fifth type of excursion that I would do

through cruise line is when they're offering

special access or unique access.

Give you two examples;

once I was on a Silversea cruise in Saint Petersburg

and they had the opportunity to get into

the Hermitage Museum an hour and a half,

maybe two hours before it opened and that was magical,

because before the thousands and thousands, thousands

of people arrived, we got to tour the museum

and that was really special.

So that's the sort of excursion I would book.

I was on a Windstar cruise last year I think it was

and we had the opportunity to go on an evening opening

of St Marc's Basilica in Venice.

Now if you've ever been to Venice, it's crazy busy,

there's huge lines and it was just a group of us

from the ship, I think it was maybe 30, 40 people

that got in, in the evening, into the basilica

and it was just us in there.

So those those sort of things for me are kind of priceless,

because you could only do those through the cruise line,

so I would always do those through the cruise line.

The other one that I would do is, if there

are very special events or activities

that the cruise line does.

So, for example, some cruise lines have very special tours

with partnerships on Unesco sites,

where you get some behind the scenes stuff,

that you don't get elsewhere.

So something unique like that.

Or they maybe have evening concerts so,

different places I've been on,

I was on a Seabourn cruise once around the Greek islands

and they had some evening concerts in some beautiful ruins,

which again was exclusive and different.

So those the sort of things that I would do

if you can't do them anywhere else.

There's a lot of good reasons why you should do

an excursion with a cruise line,

but don't fall into the easy trap,

just because it's easy and you're worried

about the ship waiting for you.

Ask yourself those questions about;

is this cruise line excursion the right thing for me?

Are there other things that are more important?

And really, hopefully those six things

that I would always do with the cruise line,

six things that I would never do with the cruise line,

have helped you navigate your way

through cruise line excursions.

I have many more videos of cruising tips and advice,

so why don't you watch one of them, right now.

The Description of Cruise Line Excursions: 6 You Should Take And 6 To Avoid