While going on a cruise can be a great way to go on an inexpensive vacation, if you are not careful, your shore excursions can easily eat up your budget. Here are some tips to help you save money on shore excursions while still having a great time exploring ports of call.
Skip Shore Excursions
This is the easiest one - but significantly less fun. You can always opt to skip the shore excursions and simply walk around town or hang out on the boat avoiding crowds. Many people find that being active day-after-day is not their favorite way to spend a vacation. Instead, spend your time on the ship sunbathing, reading or people watching. You may still want to opt for a couple of excursions during your trip, but cutting down on the number saves you money.
Compare Activities Offered At Different Ports
Depending on your itinerary, you may find that the same activity is offered in numerous ports. For instance, if you dream of whale watching, salmon fishing, or taking a jeep tour, these activities are available at almost every port in Alaska. However, the pricing may be more expensive at Icy Straight Point since it is more commercialized and designed for tourist activities, compared to Juneau, which is an actual city. Make sure to compare the costs at various ports because you may be able to do your favorite activity while saving money.
Plan Your Own Shore Excursions
With a little research work ahead of time, you can plan your own shore excursions. Figure out which attractions or activities that you want to do. Then, when you disembark grab a bus, walk, call a taxi or use the app to get a rideshare vehicle.
Negotiate With Local Tour Operators Once You Get Off The Ship
This is not advisable for new cruisers unless you are comfortable walking away. Similarly, while this tactic can offer significant cost savings ... it might also leave you with not being able to do the tour. However, the principle is simple. Tour operators will crowd around cruise ship ports trying to fill remaining seats in their boats, vans, and busses. You might be able to get the same excursion offered for $150 per person online for half that price because the operator needs to fill every seat possible with a paying guest.
Get on the Internet And Do Some Research
Do research beforehand by reading port guides, asking questions in forums and Facebook groups as well as looking at online sites like Viator that have plenty of excursions listed. What you'll find is that almost always these prices are lower than what you'll find on the ship since selling excursions is a big revenue generator for cruise lines.
Work With Your Travel Advisor To Find a Deal
Your travel advisor has access to his or her own knowledge and experience as well as a network of thousands of other people who have booked cruises just like yours. Through this network they can find deals on shore excursions that match you with what you want at the price you want to pay.