How to make a memorable cruise

Let me be upfront….I’ve never been on a cruise. They just don’t appeal to me. I prefer to enjoy a city at my pace and not have to get back to my floating hotel room on time, but to each their own.

Recently, my mother decided she wanted to take a cruise to Alaska and that means it’s my job to plan the shore excursions.



She used Celebrity Cruises, which offers a plethora of shore excursions on its website. It’s easy to use their site and since you book with the cruise company directly, it’s their responsibility to make sure you’re back to the ship on time. Convenience though comes with a hefty price tag. I found their excursions $20-$50 higher at each port.

Instead, I decided to research activities then contact the vendors directly. Often, you’re using the same company that the cruise companies work with.

Vendors that target cruise customers get the industry. They understand the timing of the cruise ships and work to get you back on time. Of course, it’s still the cruiser’s responsibility to show up on time so there is a little risk.

Take the time to do your research at least a month before departure. The best slots (i.e. when your ship arrives) are often taken early. I’d rather plan my big activity early in the day rather than risk getting delayed. Be prepared to call the companies directly and make reservations. Ensure you get a confirmation email or at the very least the name of whom you spoke with in case something goes wrong.

I approached each port individually and left plenty of lag time, which worked just fine for my mother who enjoys popping into local shops. It got frustrating and overwhelming at times because there is a lot you can do, but really there are only a few items of actual interest.

Usually, I recommend scoping out restaurants ahead of time so you aren’t wandering into the worst-rated place in town. With a cruise, you’re better off just going back to the boat and eating the food you already paid for unless you’re interested in trying a local delicacy.

Finally, cut the staff at these ports some slack. No matter how prepared you are, dealing with 4,000 anxious people at once is no easy task. Why let a minor hiccup ruin your day?
How to make a memorable cruise How to make a memorable cruise Reviewed by Brandon on November 16, 2017 Rating: 5

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