Shore Excursions on your cruise can be one of the most exciting (and most expensive) part of the trip.

This is when you get to see and visit new places and do interesting things “on shore”.

Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland Shore excursion on British Isles

Cruise itineraries offer varieties of shore excursions to match various interests, locations, and budgets.

Depending on your cruise itineraries various shore excursions can be pre-arranged thru booking online with your online cruise personaliser, cruise agents, while you are onboard you can even arrange it thru the shore excursions or you can arrange it yourself.

Joining cruise excursions can enrich your travel experience of each destination especially if you are a type of traveller who loves adventure, experiencing new cultures and discovering new things.

There are also the mellow side of cruise excursions where you can just simply do a bit of sightseeing and relaxing.

On our British Isles Cruise with Princess Cruises we did a mix of sightseeing and other active excursions in Dublin, Belfast (Giant’s Causeway), Greenock (Glasgow), and Invergordon (Inverness).

12 Days British Isles Cruises on Royal Princess

While onboard Royal Princess, our Princess Cruises shore excursions were arranged by Rachel from PR team and Timothy from the Shore Excursions team (He is also featured on the reality ITV series “The Cruise”).

With the Shore Excursion superstar Timothy from the ITV series the cruise

They did a great job in arranging everything and showing us a lot of the highlights of the British Isles. You can read more of our British Isles Cruise here.

Princess shore excursions offer a Best Price Guarantee on shore excursions and they are happy to offer you 110% of the price difference if you find the same cruise excursion for less in other providers.

They also have the “Guaranteed Return to Ship” privilege for all the cruise excursions that are pre-arranged directly with Princess Cruises.

So now, let’s discuss what sort of shore excursions that will suit you!

Sail with around the British Isles with Princess Cruises

British Isles (with Dublin overnight)

12 nights | Royal Princess

Prices from £1114 per person, (based on two guests sharing an inside stateroom)

All prices include accommodation, all main meals and onboard entertainment.

British Isles (With Dublin overnight)

12 nights | May 1, 2019 | Crown Princess

Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call are – Guernsey(St. Peter Port), Cork (Cobh), Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow (Greenock), Invergordon, Edinburgh and Le Havre (Paris/Normandy).

Prices from £1719 per person, with $100USD onboard credit,  a bottle of red or white wine and a complimentary speciality meal per person (based on two guests sharing an inside stateroom) – offer valid until July 2, 2018.

Book your 2019 British Isles Cruise here

Different Types of Shore Excursions 

One of the main sources of income of the cruise ships are the shore excursions.

There are various types of shore excursions that you can do to enhance your travel experience.

Group Cruise Excursions

The most popular cruise excursions in any cruise lines. Depending on your cruise itinerary and how popular the destination is, it is recommended to pre-booked this in advance.

Big tour buses cater for a massive group of passengers (maybe around 50 passengers) in this type of cruise excursions with a tour guide.

Since this is arranged by the cruise company itself, you have the “guaranteed return to ship” privilege.

Group tours comes in big volume. So as the group progress on their tour it may take some time to steer the whole group, hence it will take some time to do anything so make sure you are ok with this.

Private / Tailored / Small Groups Cruise Excursions

Cruise companies like Princess Cruises can also offer special excursions if the passengers prefer to have extra flexibility and convenience to travel at their own pace.

Private and tailored cruise excursions can be personalised depending on the wishes of the passengers and move along on their own pace.

Small group cruise excursions can accommodate up to 25 guests. It is personalised as the group can have their own mini-shuttle that can also move on with the tour at their own pace.

Do-It-Yourself excursions (Independent tours)

If you are on a tight budget on your cruise you can just plan and do your own excursions in each port.

There are some instances that cruise ships will provide a free shuttle to the nearest town for you to explore.

You have to do a lot of planning and coordinating to make sure everything will run smoothly as planned. Unlike the shore excursions that are pre-arranged by the cruise line, this type won’t have the “guaranteed return to ship” cover.

Various Cruise Excursion Travel Style Preference:

Depending on your preferred travel style you might also have to consider these when you start planning and booking your shore excursions.

Sightseeing or Adventure Type Shore Excursions

Depending on your mobility and how active you want your cruise excursions to be it is worth checking the level of activity beforehand.

It varies in different destinations; some excursions don’t have a lot of strenuous activities such as museum hopping, food tour or culinary experiences, or a bus tour around the city.

The adventure type cruise excursions can involve some outdoorsy type of activities and would definitely require a good amount of physical strength like nature walks, trekking etc.

Half Day or Full Day Tours

Another thing to consider when booking your shore excursions.

Check how long the cruise excursions will run so you can plan your personal schedule ahead of time.

This is to make sure you have enough time in between excursions or joining any other activities onboard.

Few others shore excursion tips:

Booking shore excursions in advance

Early birds catch the worm!

To make sure you won’t miss your slot on a must see place that has been your dream to visit, book your cruise excursions in advance.

Especially if the itinerary is a popular one, it can easily sell out in no time.

Time management

Being on a cruise will require good time management to make sure to be back onboard on the dot or else the ship will sail away without you (this is if you don’t have the guaranteed return to ship).

Allow extra time to come back onboard if tendering (using a tender boat to go back onboard the ship) is required.

Tender boats also have their own schedule and you wouldn’t want to miss the last one.  So always be aware of your time.

If you are doing your own excursions set off early if possible to make use of the time you have.

Setting off early can also mean that you can beat the queues and the big groups of your fellow passengers.

Destination research and planning

It is always good practice to do a little research about the destinations that you will be visiting on your cruise.  This will be vital if you are doing your own excursions at each destination.

You can use various travel resources like Lonely Planet, Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor to help you learn the ins and outs and the where to go places in each destination on your itinerary.

Rent a car / Taxi

Renting a car or taxi can also be an option when you want to do an independent shore excursion.

Just make sure that you have a valid international license and pre-arrange with the car rental or taxi company to pick you up at the port.

Know your ship and port schedule

Checking how busy the port will be can make a lot of difference if you are planning to do your own shore excursions.  This will help you in planning ahead on where to go and which place to visit first.

If the port will be busy it can be a hectic place to be.

Pre-book destination attractions

If you are doing your own shore excursions it is also advisable to pre-book your attraction tickets in advance.

This would mean on some occasions that you can beat the queue and save some precious time while you are roaming around. Most attractions give some advanced or online booking discounts so that would also save you a few pennies!

Check your destination currency

Cruising and waking up to a different country every day is fun. When you are onboard there is no need to use cash when you are purchasing anything as you can charge it to your account using your cruise card.

However, when you go on the shore you have to make sure that you have the correct currency if you want to make any purchases or use it for transportation.

Your best option is to get some cash out from a cashpoint/ATM. Currency exchange rates onboard won’t give you the best conversion rates.

Having cash on hand prior to your cruise will sometimes put you at an advantage especially to avoid some international bank charges.

Tipping guide on your shore excursion

Tipping your tour guide and/or driver is optional.  However, it is encouraged and would be considered a nice gesture that you appreciate their hard work in giving you a great experience on your shore excursions.

It is encouraged to tip on a per person basis, maybe around $1-2 for a half day cruise or $3- $5 for a full day cruise. However, if you are feeling more generous, feel free to give more.

What to wear for cruise excursions

Depending on your shore excursions and destinations, wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes if you will be walking around towns or trekking.

Or maybe due to the destinations, cultural appropriate clothing maybe required.

Shopping During Shore Excursions

If you are joining a group excursion, you might not have enough time to go shopping.

However, if you are on private or independent excursions, you can definitely squeeze a little shopping time in if you wish.

Just make sure they are not prohibited items onboard or are over the alcohol limits onboard and even your luggage allowance if you are flying back home!

On some occasions, the security will hold the items for you and return it on your disembarkation day.

Sail with around the British Isles with Princess Cruises

British Isles (with Dublin overnight)

12 nights | Royal Princess

Prices from £1114 per person, (based on two guests sharing an inside stateroom)

All prices include accommodation, all main meals and onboard entertainment.

British Isles (With Dublin overnight)

12 nights | May 1, 2019 | Crown Princess

Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call are – Guernsey(St. Peter Port), Cork (Cobh), Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow (Greenock), Invergordon, Edinburgh and Le Havre (Paris/Normandy).

Prices from £1719 per person, with $100USD onboard credit,  a bottle of red or white wine and a complimentary speciality meal per person (based on two guests sharing an inside stateroom) – offer valid until July 2, 2018.

Book your 2019 British Isles Cruise here

So next time on planning or booking your next shore excursions, make note of these suggestions and tips to make sure that your cruise excursions will go as smoothly as possible.

Have you got other cruise excursion tips?
Share it in the comment box below!

Shore Excursion tips
cruising tips for a perfect cruise excursions