As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.
Save Money and Skip These Cruise Activities
If you are visiting some of the world’s most amazing cruise locations that are available to us all, then the abundance of activities and options found at every cruise port can be slightly overwhelming.
You will need to decide straight away whether you are going to go all out—hell to leather and pack heaps into every day—or whether you are more of a lazy day on a resort beach kind of cruiser.
Do you want to snorkel or do you want to jet ski? Do you want to hang out with turtles or do you want to parasail? These are the questions you will have to ask yourself for each port that your ship visits. To make the choice easier, I have provided the following selection of activities that can be just a little too much and really just turn out not to be that much fun and, in most cases, not worth your hard-earned dollars.
Let me know, what is the most overrated cruise activity that you have been on? Here are my five overrated activities that are really worth skipping on your next cruise.
5 Cruise Activities You Can Miss
- Cruise line approved beach and resort transfers
- Hair braiding
- Segway tours
- Village markets
- Glass-bottom boat tours
1. Cruise Line Approved Beach and Resort Transfers
No surprises here, this list isn’t a be-all and end-all type of list. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all either, but most of the time these things stand true to form where ever you might be cruising in this beautiful world of ours.
There can be certain benefits when a cruise line has approved or made arrangements for port day trips. If you are late back to the ship, they will be there waiting for you, for one. However, those benefits don’t come for free. Getting a cruise ship to organize and transfer you to a beach or resort can cost quite a bit more than either arranging it before you get on the ship or free handing it when you get off the ship at the port each day.
You can potentially save a lot of money if you look around and do your research. I find that most of the enjoyable stuff really isn’t that far away from the port, so you can either pick from one of the many cabbies that are at the ports or, sometimes, even just walk. I find walking to be the best as you see the locations from the perspective that they are meant to be seen, which is from the ground as a local would see it. More chances to see those sights unseen that can really make your trip.
Bigger groups are pretty much always going to save money booking as groups compared to per-person costs of cruise lines tours, so it pays to do your research before you book your shore excursion. I also take the time to compare the things that are inclusive in the costs when comparing like for like. Some cruise lines might put a little cherry on top as a sweetener, occasionally the local companies do too but not as often. Keep an eye out for things that are exclusive as some of my favourite locations, like Amedee Island, can be exclusive to cruise companies.
2. Hair Braiding
Don't even get me started! Each to their own but hair braids in a cruiser’s hair is a pet peeve of mine. I think it just looks weird when someone gets something done to themselves that is not even remotely connected to their own culture (when it is part of their culture I think it can look quite striking). It feels like some sort of cultural appropriation when a bunch of pasty tourists roll up for it though.
There is also the fact that I can not really think of anything worse than sitting under a hot tropical sun whilst some old lady pulls on my hair until my scalp hurts. Even worse would be standing around like the proverbial spare at a wedding whilst someone else gets it done, when I could be off exploring.
It might seem like a bold fashion choice on the ship but I bet you won’t keep them in past the next sea day or at best they might make it to disembarkation day before your head starts feeling the effects of having its hair pulled too tight for its own good.
3. Segway Tours
Maybe doing it once is okay, but I think Segway tours can be a bit much for getting the most out of your holiday. Not only can they be a bit unsettling for some, especially if they aren’t used to the way they work, but they also usually come with a nice long briefing on safety and a bunch of safety padding to put on which gets hot and uncomfortable pretty quickly.
The learning curve can be pretty steep, so you will probably spend a good deal of time practicing before you are confident enough to head out.
If you aren’t close to an interesting location, it can be a waste of your valuable time considering the traveling time. If they are housed at or around a scenic site or botanical garden, etc., then that is okay. Ultimately, most Segway tours just pad out the tour and take up your time.
4. Village Markets
Now don't get me wrong, I love a snow globe from a tropical island as much as the next person, but if you are looking for a souvenir from your cruise, little trinket markets full of stalls selling little bits and pieces might not hit the spot.
I will occasionally buy things from them for people back home but usually, I do it more to support the stallholders than those that I have left at home. So unless you want something hammy to take back home you can safely give the stalls a miss, but if you want to find a snow globe or something similar with the island's name on the side of it, then these are the place for you.
5. Glass-Bottom Boat Tours
Glass-bottom boat tours have got to be one of those things that you do at least once, as they can be a bit of fun and a decent way of seeing a variety of seas life with very little effort. Especially if you are a person that doesn't feel all that comfortable with snorkeling or using diving apparatus.
The problem with them is that unless they are in an exclusive area or fairly high-end you will find that you are likely to be jostling with heaps of other people on a boat that won't be super comfortable and likely damn hot.
The other thing that can get on your nerves is that the view from them can be easily occluded by even the slightest roughening of the seas, even in the relative sanctuary of a coral atoll. So even just make sure that you keep aware of what's what and even check what other people have said through reviews, cruise forums and groups. Glass-bottom boat tours aren't always the best way to see the sights.
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