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Avoid Cruise Ship Rip-Off’s
Seniors on the Go
by Ed Perkins
Shore excursions. I advise you avoid the cruise line’s excursions. Your cruise line will almost surely pitch its own shore excursions for each port: In fact, many lines now try to lock you in by pre-selling excursions as part of the cruise package. Unfortunately, in my experience, many cruise lines’ shore excursions suffer from two key problems.
- They’re usually overpriced, compared with what you can buy on your own.
- And they usually waste too much time in assembling and herding tour members around, especially with overly long stops at souvenir stores that give kickbacks to the cruise line or sightseeing company. Instead, I’m big on arranging my own shore excursions.
You have several options:
- Find a local sightseeing tour after you hit land (for less than the cruise line charges)—you’ll find them at most ports.
- Pre-arrange an independent excursion through an online agency. Among the ones I know are http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/?Click=4913
- Hire a local cabdriver to take you around the area, going where you want to go and avoiding the tourist traps.
- Rent a car for a day—many rental companies either have port offices or meet ships.
- Use local public transportation or just walk—at many stops, the main attractions are close to the port.
Your choice depends on where you are and what your interests are. Taxis and rental cars work out best when three or four people share the cost.
Port homework is easy these days. Start with one or two current cruise guidebooks: Both Fodor’s and Frommer’s publish them for the main cruising areas. Other publishers offer more specialized cruise guides—browse Amazon.com or a local travel bookstore.