Monday, April 2, 2012

Get Taken to See The Sights (And Not Just Taken) With These Alternative Shore Excursions

You board the cruise ship. A guy snaps your photo, and then posts it on a big bulletin board with a price tag attached. Another fellow tries to sell you a special, umbrellaed drink. And the lady in the spa claims she can non-surgically erase the bags under your eyes for only $100.

While cruising remains one of the most affordable types of travel, the prices for all of the stuff they try to sell you once you're captive aboard ship would make a Turkish rug merchant blush. (And I post that as a person who *accidentally* bought a rug on my last visit to Istanbul and has regretted it ever since.)

Most over-priced cruise buy? Shore excursions.

Until today, most passengers gulped, sighed and handed over the money for ship-sponsored shore excursions, using the excuse: "If we get back late, the ship will wait". (Um, ever heard of a watch?). Or they explored on their own, sans guide, either on foot or by taxi. A final alternative: such companies as, or which set up group shore excursion, using vetted local operators. While the quality of the tours offerred by the last three players is high (small groups, creative itineraries), sometimes their prices are as steep as those of the cruiselines themselves.

Enter Viator the international leader in land-based day tours. Today it debuted a nifty new site that guides users to affordable shore excursions. has cruisers to input their ship, cruiseline and date, and then spits out options for every land day of the cruise. The excursions range from guided bus and walking tours; to transfers from the port to the sights; to hop-on, hop-off bus tours. Viator claims their prices are as much as 60% lower than the cruise line prices (it will, of course, vary by itinerary).

Santorini is a favorite Med Port Stop
As an added bonus, Viator is offering 10% off excursions booked before the end of April.

Tours can be booked as late as the night before arrival. At this stage, only the mass market cruise lines (Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Costa, MSC and Norwegian) are covered.

To learn more, click on the link above.

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