Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Cruise Port Visits: Go On Your Own Vs Pay-For Excursions
Cruise Port Visits: Go On Your Own Vs Pay-For Excursions PDF Print E-mail

Q: We’re booked for a cruise next month. We’ve heard that shore excursions from ships are expensive. Would we save money if we just go ashore in ports to shop and explore on our own? FGS, Santa Fe NM

A: Once your ship docks, you’re usually free to do whatever you want ashore, as long as you’re aware of all safety concerns and when you must be back aboard before the ship is scheduled to sail.

Before you rule out excursions, know what’s included in each trip. For example, the cost may be $200 per person for a comfy bus ride, on-off sightseeing throughout the day, plus a sit-down local lunch.

Compare that with what it would cost to roam independently, considering taxi fares, meals and other expenses. If your plans are simple and mostly just wandering through the local markets , you can save most of the cost of the ship’s excursion.

However, there’s another very important advantage of booking ship-sponsored excursions. If the tour bus is late for any reason, the ship will delay sailing until all passengers are aboard. If you go out on your own, you are totally responsible for returning on time. If you’re late, the ship may sail without you.

This could cause considerable inconvenience and the need to pay for rush transportation, air or ground and other considerable expenses to get back to the ship or final destination. All would come out of your own pocket.


Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.