You love to travel, to explore new countries and foreign cultures? Especially cruises are a great way to explore many new countries in a short period of time and to get a first impression of the different nations, nature and way of life in those countries.
If I go on a cruise, I prefer not to book the excursions in big touristic busses, organised by the cruise companies, but to explore all destinations on my own.
Therefore, I try to find some information and do some organisation before the cruise actually starts.
It's pretty simple to get some ideas for your trip, and you often see places no official tour guide from a cruise company will show you, so just let me tell you how to organise those kind of trips by yourself:
I try to focus on excursion tips for cruises, but most of the tips you can also use for your next city trip or whatever ;)
1. Ask Google for the destinations of your cruise.
Combinations like "name of your destination + excurson tips" often lead you to many great travel reviews. You will find a lot of tips from other travellers, who have already been at your future destinations and who recommend on great spots or excursion providers on side.
2. Browse the excursion magazine of your cruise company.
Every cruise company will offer you a huge selection of excursions in all ports. Just browse the magazine (you will get it at the latest with your travel documents) to get a first overview about all attractions you may visit. Important: Check for example via Google Maps for the distance from the port to the attraction. Maybe, it's more comfortable to go there by cruise company bus but often it's much cheapier to just go by foot or take a taxi.
3. Search for a travel forum to find new tips.
In those kind of forums, you will find a whole community of people who are willing to help you organise your perfect, individual trip. There are mostly people who can help you with finding the next bus stop or the most beautiful beach next to the port you arrive. That's very useful, because for this reason I often got to the same or better places than the cruise companies offer, but in a much cheapier way.
4. Watch out for a thread that belongs directly to your cruise departure time.
I have do admit, that probably we owe it to one of those travel forums, that our caribbean cruise was the greatest vacation we ever had. Some forums do have own threads for every single cruise, so you are able to get in touch with your fellow travellers already before your journey starts. For this reason, we got in touch with a few couples so we were able to discuss and organise some excursion ideas even before the cruise took place. We developed a great community and had so much fun during the cruise - I have to say it would have been totally different and less amazing without them. We still meet from time to time, so you can really make new friends during a cruise.
But that's not the only reason why it definitely makes sense to find fellow travellers. Often, local providers or also a taxi are much cheaper if you join with a whole group.
You do not have time for own organisation? No problem because sometimes fellow travellers do also write postings that they are just searching for someone to join them. Benefit from the research of others and get some new ideas for excursions. Just try and enjoy your trip!
5. Cruise groups on Social Media are great!
You will find them like sand at sea. Facebook-groups for your cruise company, groups for your cruise date, groups for your destinations... You can join endless groups to get as many information as possible. Join as many groups as you like and benefit from them. You can ask questions or also help the others. Small advice: Use the search-option in the single groups. Many questions for ports, cabins and providers are already answered and you will easily find answers without asking again.
6. Search for Facebook-Groups for your cruise
Many fellow travellers start to open groups for certain cruise trips. Join them for the same reason like travel forums: Get in touch with the others, watch out for trips together and benefit from the research other ones already did.
7. Join also Facebook-Groups of cruises that took place in the past.
Most of the groups that were created to get in touch with fellow travellers will remain after the cruise took place. Join them and ask the members for their highlights of the cruise. Maybe, someone made good experience with a local trip provider or went to that beautiful, lonely white beach with tourquoise water that nobody else ever heard about before. Do not miss the chance to benefit from those ones!
Find local providers that will offer you same or similiar trips like your shipping company, but less expensive and maybe even more attractive. My reasons to join a local provider:
- Mostly you do your trip with a much smaller group. I prefer a little van to explore my destination than a big bus with 60 or more travellers.
- It's very likely that your provider is a local one who knows this area like nobody else. He will take you to places, no touristic bus will ever take you to.
- Many providers are rated, so you can check before booking if they keep their promises to do a great excursion.
- If you are interested, you can for example have a talk to your driver during the time to your next stop. Next to your cruise fellow travellers, you also get in touch with people who really live at the destinations and you get informations about the way of living there, you will never ever get from a cruise company scout. After a great day, you can not only say you got to know the destination but you also got to know the people who are living there.
9. : Pay attention to the payment terms.
Usually I like to book trips with local providers where I can pay on side or I do only have to pay a small deposit.
During a cruise, it may happen that you do not arrive at the port like scheduled. (for weather reasons or whatever...) If you have booked your trips with the cruise company it's no problem but if you book by yourself, it's your problem and you probably will not get your money back. So make sure to keep that in mind before booking expensive trips with local providers and pay them in advance.
My goal is to make cruises and expecially planning excursions by yourself much easier. In the next weeks and months, you will find more and more travel reports translated or new written in english on this blog. You also did a gread excursion on your own you want to share? Just let me know, I would be very happy to publish your experiences! Just send me an E-Mail!