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 ShoreTrips.com, PortCompass.com or PortPromotions.com 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. ShoreExcursions.Viator.com 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|
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.