Plan and book shore excursions
Shore excursions are the salt in the soup of a cruise for most crusaders. After all, sea voyages are always “visual journeys”. Seeing and experiencing a lot is the motto of most holidaymakers. Usually four to five ports are visited per holiday week. Many opportunities for exciting land excursions so! No matter whether you decide on organized cruise trips of the shipping company or shore excursions on your own: You only have to unpack the suitcase once, because the “hotel” always swims with you! The world can not be discovered more comfortably.
If the cruise ship is in port, there are basically three ways to make the shore leave.
- Organized land excursions by the shipping company
- Land excursions on your own
- Organized land excursions by local tour operators
The vacationers are spoiled for choice. We are introducing many cruise ports on this website and we hope that these detailed harbor descriptions will be useful in your planning.
Organized shore excursions by the shipping companies
For each port visit, the shipping companies offer numerous organized land excursions. The offer is very large and versatile today. There is something for every taste. Of course, the language also plays a role in shore excursions. Here are the German-speaking shipping companies at an advantage. But also at Costa and MSC there are always many German speaking land excursions. Of course, the offer is noticeably smaller for English-speaking shipping companies.
If you want, you can check the shipping offer of the shipping company for weeks (or even months) before you travel, and you can already book cruise trips at this early stage. The travel agencies are happy to help if needed. On board, there is a well-staffed Landausflugsbüro, information events and Landausflugsfilme on-board television to inform the tourists. The cruise trips are an important additional business for the shipping companies. Accordingly intensive is advertised for it.
Land excursions on your own
The organized shore excursions are convenient but not cheap. And it is not for everyone to go ashore in a larger group and complete a set program. That’s why many experienced crusaders plan their shore excursions on their own. Those who have the time, inform themselves beforehand about the events in a port. For example on this website.
Often there are harbor buses or shuttle buses that provide for the transport out of the harbor. Maps can be obtained from the shipping company or at the local tourist office in the cruise terminal. It then continues on foot, by public transport or a taxi.
Taxis and rental cars are available virtually everywhere. Taxi drivers often offer fixed prices for certain routes and taxi tours. City tours with so-called hop-on hop-off buses are also popular. Here you can get off the bus at all stops and continue on one of the following buses. So everyone can customize the city tour. If you do not want to wait at popular sights, you can buy a “no queue” ticket in advance.
Organized cruise excursions by local tour operators
A good alternative is guided tours and shore excursions by local providers. In all ports, which are frequently visited by cruise ships, providers have specialized in this business field. The offer is now as varied as that of the shipping companies.
How do holidaymakers and local providers come together? Very good services are provided by booking portals such as Viator * or GetYourGuide *, just to mention the two most important examples. Here the local organizers can stop their offers. Customers will find a good overview of various activities, reviews of other landers and a secure payment process. Corresponding links we have deposited in each port portrait. You can also find the above offers in the category Land excursions.
The timely return to the ship
Anyone who plans shore excursions on their own, of course, is responsible for the punctual return to the ship. Cruise ships usually can not wait long for missing excursionists. The schedule is too tight for that. Therefore you should plan enough time for the return to the ship and take the day program with you on an emergency basis. On it one finds the contact data of the harbor agency, which helps in the case of the cases. At “My Land Excursions” there is an insurance for the case of late return to the shore excursion of local organizers.
Pilot, tender and the gangway
It pays to be on deck (or on the balcony) when the cruise ship heads for a new harbor. In the distance, the silhouette of a landscape or a city appears. You can feel the tension on board. More and more passengers arrive on the open decks, equipped with cameras and binoculars. The pilot boat goes alongside the cruise ship, the pilot jumps on the lowered Jacob’s ladder and climbs aboard. Once he has arrived at the bridge, he determines the course of the ship, with the responsibility remaining with the captain.
Seen from the lake side, cities have a special charm. The slow approach to the harbor has a special atmosphere. You can see how the cruise ship is maneuvered to the quay wall. It is always amazing how mobile the huge ships are. Every harbor is different, everyone is full of surprises. Some are far out, while others are almost in the center of the port city.
Once the cruise ship has docked, the port is bustling with activity. Buses, taxis, suppliers, visitors and curious people are already waiting for the arrival. First, the port authorities always come on board, customs and harbor police. Only when the authorities have released the ship, the passengers may go ashore. Sometimes, passengers who have booked an organized shore excursion are called first. So a big crowd is avoided. A short time later everyone can leave the cruise ship on their own. At the gangway the barcode of the boarding pass is scanned. So that one knows on board, who left the ship or who is still missing.
Some destinations have no or no adequate port facilities that can accommodate all major cruise ships. For example, the islands of Santorini and Grand Cayman. The cruise ship then anchors at a reasonable distance from the mainland. It is on the roadstead. The passengers board the tender boats, which then drive them to the coast. The maneuver is sometimes slow and time-consuming, especially in rough seas. The drive to the mainland can take 20-30 minutes, just as long back. This should be considered when planning the cruise excursions. If the sea is too strong, the landing flights literally fall into the water.
Of course you do not have to disembark in the harbor! If you know a harbor well or you do not feel like going on shore excursions, you can spend the day on board. The spa areas and fitness temples aboard the modern cruise ships always attract with particularly favorable offers during the lying times in the harbor. The ship is almost empty. If you’ve always wanted to sit alone in the jacuzzi on the pool deck, you’ll probably have the opportunity in such hours.
The links marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called affiliate / advertising links.
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