Rome Stories and Tips

Option 1 - SHORE EXCURSION DESK ON-BOARD

– Booking it is very easy. If you want to book it ahead of time prior to boarding, you can do so online or over the phone if you prefer. Online is easier… simply go through the cruise company website, pay the full amount and guarantee yourself a seat in the bus. Yes, you have to pay the entire amount of the excursion and if you need to cancel, you can cancel 48 hours prior to the excursion and you will get a credit back to the credit card you booked it with or a credit in your shipboard account. Doing it online will guarantees you a seat on the bus. Some popular excursions sell out and won’t be available online once a certain amount of seats are sold. For example, the tour I wanted to book in Athens was sold out 3 months prior to departure HOWEVER, I found that once on-board, and they will open it back up and add more seats or add buses.
PROS or ADVANTAGES: 1) Guaranteed seat on the bus 2) Guarantees you are going to return to the ship on-time. I doubt the cruise ship will leave 50 or so passengers behind especially if they are sponsoring the excursion. 3) NO HASSLE. It’s easy to book and very mindless. Just choose which tour and itinerary you want and go. Decide on board the ship if you want.
DISADVANTAGES: 1) They are going to be the most expensive way to go. I’ve checked pricing and ship board excursions compared to other companies online offering you the same itinerary and you will expect a 10 to 15% more expensive compared to similarly itineraries in city tours offered by Viator for example. Not all the time but most of the time so make sure you do your research prior. 2) Expect to be in big buses along with 50 other people. In fact, expect to be with the company of multiple buses. For example, in Athens, there were 20 buses of people from the same ship going to the same places so it gets a bit crowded. 3) Expect delays. Not all 50 people in your buses to be on-time. I have spoken to many guides to many destinations and I can tell you buses of 50 people or so is NEVER on-time because there is always 1 person getting lost or simply not respecting time of others etc. Again, I will go over one of these examples when I go over my Athens excursion in detail.

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