7 Mistakes to Avoid When You Book Shore Excursions

Your cruise is booked, it's now a good time to pick out shore excursions. However, before taking your credit card, you should be aware of common mistakes that new cruisers often make. For instance, you end up on the brink of starvation during your zipline tour or you don't want to be a cruiser because the beach you chose is more than an hour from the cruise port.

We have gathered 7 mistakes to avoid when booking shore excursions for your cruise.

1. Not Comparing Prices

Cruise ship-sponsored shore excursions are popular choices thanks to their advantages such as being easy to book, providing convenience and offering a sense of security. But they aren't always the best option. If you're willing to take a look around, you will find an independent operator who provides a wonderful and safe experience for a shore excursion at a fraction of the cost you need to pay through your cruise line. 

Comparing prices is a short way to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. For example, you can choose a shore excursion provider like Holland America because they will find a better price on any tour you want. Additionally, they offer the Best Price Guarantee policy to refund 110% of the price difference in the form of an onboard credit. 

2. Waiting Too Long to Book

Have you set out on a particular shore excursion? If you wait too long to book, even if you're searching for a lower price or waiting for a better idea of the weather forecast, that tour could end up selling out. To reduce confusion when choosing a shore excursion, you can make a checklist and note your demand, then from that, you will find the best option for your cruise. Besides, we also highly recommend you should take a deep look at the series "Beautiful Beaches To Visit At Least Once In Life" to get more choices when choosing shore excursions.

3. Ignoring the Fine Print

When it comes to certain purchases, we usually breeze through or completely overlook the fine print. However, please take a clear look for shore excursions if you don't want to miss important details like the lunch is included or not, how much free time at a certain attraction, or necessary items you need to bring like closed-toe shoes or a bathing suit. Never overlook it because it could make or break your experience.

4. Not Budgeting Properly

Pricing for shore excursions is pretty obvious without any hidden fees. However, you also need to pay for the extra bucks depending on the excursion such as tipping guides, buying food (if lunch is not included), and other possible expenses. Don't assume kids will pay less than adults when making the budget. You can review some cruise lines and independent operators that offer lower rates for little kids.

5. Neglecting the Departure and Arrival Times

Shore excursions are designed to fit different schedules like half-and full-day options, however, you need to focus on the departure and arrival times. To make sure feasible times for you and your group, remember to double-check the tour time against your schedule with the tour operator.

6. Failing to Check the Distance

If you're running with a tour operator, it's essential to check how far the activity is from the port to ensure you'll have enough time for returning to your cruise ship, with a little wiggle room for unexpected delays. Additionally, if your tour needs a shuttle ride to the activity, you also must map it to know how long the drive is, such as 3 hours on a bus or an hour at a scenic village.

7. Not Checking Reviews

Don't just fall for the pretty advertised pictures you see because they might not describe what your shore excursion will be like. You can be introduced to the beach resort as a tranquil couple's retreat, but past visitors review it's a hot place for families. Reading shore excursion reviews before booking a shore excursion can help know more details such as how much time you'll spend at the main attraction or the schedule of your tour bus.


In addition to the 7 mistakes above, you also need to avoid unreliable tour providers. We highly recommended you should choose Shore Excursions from Holland America Line for the most spacious ships, award-winning customer service, delicious dining at affordable prices. Never miss using a Holland America Excursion promo code to get more savings for your shore excursion.