Whether you are a first-time cruiser, or your first ship was the Mayflower, we have all the information you need to have a great excursion.

Why Should I Buy the Shipboard Excursion?

There are so many choices to explore the ports of call.

Here is why the cruise line’s program may be the best, and safest, option of infinite possibilities.

Fully Vetted

Tour operators are fully vetted and insured, including professional and often licensed guides


Local “touts” and rogue operators can be unregulated and/uninsured – engage at your own risk


Various cruise lines offer guarantees on their shore excursions


Full refund if the port is missed

Stay Connected

You won’t miss the ship if your tour is late returning for all aboard time

They're Local

Local Tour Operators are the experts on their destination and passionate about sharing it with you

Peace of Mind

You won’t miss the ship if you are late for all aboard time

Save Time

Earlier departure off the ship

Great Advice

Expert advice offered by dedicated onboard shore excursion staff


Operators work closely with the ships to adapt quickly to any last-minute itinerary changes to ensure you have a great visit


On larger vessels, engage the casino and onboard shop staff for recommendations. These shipboard facilities are closed on port days, they most likely have escorted the tours for the shore excursion department and can offer insight

You’re on Your Way!

But Now What?

While enjoying your cruise don’t forget the pay attention to a few details about your tour

Departure Information

Please be on the lookout for the tour departure information. It may be on the tour ticket you receive or, printed in the daily newsletter delivered to your cabin (especially if the ship is ticket-less).

Be on Time

Be on time.  Nothing is more awkward than you being the last to the coach and the reason for a delayed departure.  Yes, I have heard the other guests already on the coach “boo” the last to board.

Tour Check-in

Some tours require you to check-in at one of the lounges onboard to receive a sticker to be displayed on your person.  This allows the shoreside staff to identify you and direct you to the correct tour. Remember to make the sticker visible on your outer-most clothing (often guests receive the sticker, only to cover it up with a jacket or scarf).

Trust the Experts

Follow the directions given

Watch the Time

Yes, the tour will depart without you if you are late.



The tour is what you make of it.  Stay close to the guide and note their directions and suggestions. Ask questions, engage the guide

Be respectful of the guide and your fellow guests. Avoid speaking while the guide is addressing the group and if you must speak move away from the group

What if you decide to leave the tour? This happens, maybe you are tired or found something you want to explore further.  No problem, but please advise the guide, otherwise they may be looking for you and delaying the tour while they try to locate you.

Differently-abled and limited mobility guests

Although you may make use of mobility assistance and occupy a limited mobility cabin or suite, do not assume the tour office is aware of your needs or limitations.

Please visit the tour office or desk to discuss your selection of tours. They are quite used to assisting limited mobility of otherwise differently abled guests

There may be private vans or taxis that are wheelchair/scooter accessible in the port, ask the tour staff

Here are some determining factors and information guests who use wheelchairs and scooters

  • Usually the operator will reserve the two front seats of the coach for guests with limited mobility.
  • Guests who request these seats should request to pre board before the other guests for the coach.
  • If you require a motor coach with a wheelchair lift, please make the request of the tour office as soon as you have decided on your tour section.
  • Who needs a coach with lift?  If you are fully confined to the chair and cannot negotiate the steps to embark the coach you will need a coach with a lift.  If you can embark the coach normally the chair can be stored under the coach (this storage ability varies greatly across the globe).
  • Note – the wheelchair or scooter to be stored (or any part of the scooter, if it dismantles) usually cannot weigh more than 50lbs/23kg/4 stone. This is the maximum weight a driver is permitted to lift (again this varies by country, some may not be permitted to lift any portion of the equipment).

If you need a lift coach, please note the following:

Most, if not all, scooters do not fit within the lift dimensions

  • Larger wheelchairs with larger dimensions will not the lift
  • The combined weight of the guests seated on the wheelchair or scooter cannot exceed a set weight (approximately 500lbs)
  • You may not be permitted to disembark the coach at every stop.  On short stops (i.e. photo stops) the guest may remain on the coach.  This is so that the itinerary of the tour does not get delayed
  • In some cases you must be able to embark and debark the transport without assistance or by being carried by a family member of traveling companion.  There may be a requirement that all guests onboard the transport must be able to evacuate the transport in the event of an emergency by their own will.
  • Communication is the key to a great experience ashore

The Question of Gratuities


Gratuities for the tour guide is at your discretion


 Driver gratuities are also at your discretion


We recommend offering each gratuity separately to the driver and guide


On some luxury brands,  there is a no gratuity policy onboard. In this case no gratuity is expected by the driver and guide, but they are accepted and appreciated

You’re in Good Hands

Cruise lines place hundreds of thousands, (if not millions,) on shore excursions annually with very few issues or incidents. They, and their partner local operators, are experts in the logistics of the operation and the satisfaction of the participants.

Rest assured you are in the company of safe and experienced guides and staff no matter how remote the destination.

For Tour Operators

Become a member and a voice for your industry. Participate in the survey, find the right client contacts, shape the future of shore excursions.

For Cruise Lines

Explore the benefits of your free membership; find an operator, learn about a port or participate in the survey

Still have questions?