Fitness- or fun-focused, there seems to be something for everyone as cruise lines commonly rate tours anywhere from ‘easy’ to ‘strenuous’ and everything in-between. But how do active travelers weed out tours that would have no interest at all, then focus on those that do? We have three tips you will not find elsewhere, custom designed and proven to work for finding the best excursions for active travelers.
Cruise Line, Third-Party Vendor Or DIY
First, let’s assume we are going to book tours through the cruise line and not a third-party tour operator. That’s not a bad idea anyway as many cruise lines have price protection guarantees that eliminate the need to book elsewhere. Still, those third-party vendors do have value.
Pick a port, any port, and a cruise line tour that looks like it might be a good fit. Now search for a similar tour at a third-party website. Shoretrips.com will work. Compare descriptions to verify the activity level that the tour is rated for by the cruise line. Often, there is a rather noticeable difference. A tour rated ‘strenuous’ by the cruise line may be rated ‘moderate’ by someone else less concerned about liability issues. Cruise lines commonly rate tours a bit more active than they might actually be in an abundance of caution, considering average passenger age, mobility and other factors.
Let An Expert Have Final Say
Check before going on a tour believed to be great for active travelers, a stop by the ship’s shore excursion desk if those tours were booked before boarding. Shorex people will take one look at you and know if a chosen tour is a good active traveler choice.
Actually, back that up a bit to embarkation day. A stop by the shore excursion desk for that same reason is a good idea but brings another benefit as well. As the shorex staff goes over your chosen tours for the entire journey, they can take a more global view of your plans. A quick chat will reveal that you love hiking, walking, running, cycling, or whatever your active lifestyle love might be. They can make that happen for you.
Do Not Give Up
Those who book in advance of boarding: make notes about tours with a focus you can not find on your own. Say Hiking is your passion. It will probably not be on the list of tours from the cruise line but it might be possible. As they say ‘all you can do is ask’ and that ask may be well worth it if you end up hang gliding over some amazing place you will remember for the rest of your life.
Plan In Advance, Not On The Fly
I was standing on a lovely private island, one of the Hundred Islands chain in the Philippines. Everyone was enjoying a lovely day when two other passengers approached one of the ship’s crew who was also ashore, asking/declaring “We’d like to book a private tour of these islands now”.
Huh? This will probably stay in my head as about the worst example of planning ever. Granted, these were not active lifestyle travelers but this was ‘beach day’ and there were no tours to be had.
Actually Read The Descriptions
This is not a time to spring into action because you scan the tour description and see ‘hiking’. You would be reacting to what ‘hiking’ means to you which might be entirely different than what the tour operator has in mind. Commonly skipped over initially, that decision a regret later: the two hour bus ride it takes to get to the place where that hiking is done. You’ll get to the hiking but if it’s two hours each way and the tour is scheduled to take 6 hours, your time hiking will be two of those six, not the ‘whole lot more’ you thought it would be. A self inflicted wound to be sure but very common.
A worse situation to be in: On the bus, complaining to everyone else on the bus about the long bus ride that they already knew about because they did read the description.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com