‘I’m a cruise expert and there’s a key excursion mistake to avoid’

Thinking of booking a cruise? An expert shared her top tips for planning excursions, tours and day trips with Express.co.uk.

Rosalind Cuthbertson runs Frequent Traveller with her husband Alan and has cruised many times around the world. Cruise tourists usually have the option of booking their cruise through the company or using a third party operator.

She told Express.co.uk: “On a Caribbean cruise a few years ago, Alan, always the spontaneous one, decided to ditch our planned excursion in Barbados. Instead, we opted for a local guide who promised a unique experience.

“Hours later, we found ourselves at an impromptu street festival, dancing alongside locals and tasting foods we had yet to hear of. It became one of our most cherished moments.

“But here’s the twist, when we returned to our ship, we learned that our original, more ‘official’ excursion had been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.”

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Cruise passengers should check out all the options before booking an excursion. They might find a local tour guide is able to offer a better experience than the cruise company.

Rosalind said: “While cruise line excursions might offer the comfort of timely returns and smooth logistics, sometimes local third-party tours can be a delightful pocket friendly alternative.”

The cruise expert also issued a warning for first time guests. She said: “In your enthusiasm, it’s easy to get carried away. But don’t cram your itinerary.

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“Zero in on a few key highlights, giving yourself ample time to soak in the essence of each place. And here’s a nugget of advice from our many adventures, book those excursions early.

“Some experiences are so unique that they have limited spots, you would want to take advantage of them!”

Cruise passengers who overpack their itinerary with excursions might find they are too tired to really enjoy them. It’s good to factor in relaxation and down time into a cruise schedule.

Rosalind added: “Before you get lost in the allure of foreign lands, be mindful of dress codes. Some attractions, especially religious or culturally significant ones, might require specific clothing.

“And while you’re out exploring, always keep some cash, a card and a photo ID handy. We usually leave our passports in the ship’s safe and carry photocopies to be safer.”

Guests can ask the ship’s crew for advice if they’re unsure about dress codes or check the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice page.

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