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How far in advance should I book excursions?

A shore excursion can refer to any kind of activities that are performed at any port of call.

By Cruise Booking Team

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1. What is a shore excursion?

If you are new to cruising and have just begun, you may not be acquainted with the lingo. A shore excursion can refer to any kind of activities that are performed at any port of call. Cruise shore excursions are usually activities that are covered off the ship when the ship is docked at a port. Unless you book a luxury all-included cruise, shore excursions are not included in your cruise fare. That is why it is recommended you keep a portion of your travel budget to book tickets for shore excursions.

The first thing to do once you start planning your cruise trip is book your tickets. There is no twisted way of saying this, but as soon you start booking your tickets, you should book your shore excursions as well. There may be recommendations from people who will ask you to wait for the prices to decrease to save a few bucks, but the difference will not be worth the risk of missing out on bookings. Excursions are capacity controlled and book up quickly.

2. Why should tickets be booked in advance?

According to the cruise lines, every year tourists start booking shore excursions earlier and earlier. There are times when people start enquiring about the upcoming season even before the current season is over. This is because the demand for some of the highlights of shore excursions like helicopter riding and snorkeling outweighs the supply. A helicopter can seat 6 people at one go which makes it difficult to accommodate more people, making the list of per-day riders small and availability less. Tickets for helicopter rides get sold out months before the season kicks off in May.

3. Are cancellations allowed?

It is recommended that you start getting your bookings in order as soon as possible. This will ensure that you and your party will get access to those limited availability seats and with that guarantee, you will not have to rush for last-minute bookings and be unsure about getting seats. Some shore excursions offered by cruise lines give you the benefit of canceling your bookings for any reason until 7 hours before the start of the cruise trip. Cancellations are made easy so that if there are any last-minute changes in your plan, you will not lose any money. Check the cancellation policy when making your reservation.

Also Check: A Short Guide to Duty-free Shopping on a Cruise

4. When are pre-bookings accepted?

Cruise lines tend to make it easier for passengers by opening bookings for the upcoming season from as early as October of the previous year. For example, if you plan on taking a cruise in the month of May-June 2023, you will be able to book your tickets already by November-December 2022 or even sooner. The sooner you start booking your tours, the better chances you will have to skip last-minute rush hour booking.

5. Is it mandatory to book a shore excursion?

Just because your cruise is docking, it does not mean you have to book a shore excursion. Besides some places like St. Petersburg in Russia that require a specific visa permit to leave the ship, you are free to roam about at ports where the ship docks. You can check out the local places, grab a taxi to go to a place you have read about or get to a restaurant to try out a local delicacy.

There are endless shore excursion options. To know more about them, head to your cruise line’s website and find out the itinerary of the shore excursion that your trip will provide.

Header Image by sitthiphong at Freepik

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