Shorexpert’s ‘high five’ shore excursion tips


1. Book your tour through your cruise line.

It is my sincere, professional opinion that you cannot go wrong with booking your shore excursion through your cruise line. More so than ever in today’s day and age. Read my thought provoking post on why I believe it to be the best option here.

2. Make sure you read the tour description thoroughly.

Its really important to make sure that the things you want to see and do in a port of call are the ones listed up in your chosen shore excursion description. If in doubt, ask your cruise line for help and advice. Share with them the things that you really want to see and experience. If they don’t already have the answer, they will then approach ‘us’ (the appointed tour operator) for advice on how to make sure that you get to see and experience exactly what it is you want to. So please read that on-line tour description carefully, and check to make sure that the sites visited are in line with those that you are looking to see and experience.

3. Be honest with yourself about your fitness level.

Hmmm. Now this is a topic that is dear to my heart. I have filled out countless forms for cruise lines asking for all sorts of information on how many steps are in included in the tour, how far passengers are expected to walk, what the activity levels are and so forth. This is my time to respectfully ask that you be honest with us and yourself. When you are at the delightful stage of planning your time ashore and choosing your shore excursions, please read the tour description carefully and be candid about your mobility and fitness levels. Is ice climbing or caving really such a good idea with a recent hip replacement? And 200 meters of walking on a gravel path may not sound far, but perhaps have a ‘dry run’ twice around the block at home first before committing to a tour? You want to keep up with your fellow passengers and observe the tour timings. Return to the meeting point at the appointed time. Be a thoughtful tour delegate – your fellow passengers will be most appreciative if you keep to the timings and observe the guide’s instruction.

4. Have a check list for items you want or need to bring with you.

Alongside the obvious camera, water bottle, lightweight jacket and sea pass. How about adding a note pad to the list so you can make some observations about the things your tour guide is sharing with you?
I say add it to ‘the list’, as a list it has to be if you are too get the most out of your shore excursion. Hat, sunglasses, sunblock, closed toe shoes with rubber sole, any medication you might need etc.
Read the tour description provided by your cruise line carefully, and prepare for your day ashore accordingly. Also check the weather forecast. Rain doesn’t mean disaster or a less enjoyable tour experience, especially if you are prepared for it. Oh, and with regards to the camera/smart phone. Is the battery fully charged? Check, check and check again. Preferably the night before! Let’s try and avoid that awkward, pier-side ‘walk of shame’. There is nothing worse than having to dash back to the ship for something, especially under the disapproving eye of your fellow passengers.

5. Do a bit of revision on the destination ahead of your tour

This is personally one of my favourite parts of travelling. Reading novels associated with the destination in the run up to my vacation. Be that Hemingway ahead of a trip to Cuba, or Laxness ahead of a trip to Iceland. You get my meaning. Travel guide books are great and prove valuable information on many counts, but there is something about a novel that transports you to the very heart of a destination. I am a great fan of audio books and have spent many a long haul flight ahead of a cruise, engrossed in the power of words. A wonderful way to prepare for the glorious time that lies ahead and to ensure that your shore excursions are more enjoyable. That said, I actually finished the ‘Old man and the sea’ on a return flight from Cuba. Thus ending my vacation in an almost melodramatic, but somehow fitting way.

Do you have any tips or hints that you think will benefit your fellow travellers?
If so, please do share the love!




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