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What are the advantages of an independent tour versus a cruise
Why book an Independent Shore Excursions on a Cruise
Embarking on a cruise vacation offers a thrilling escape from the everyday grind. While cruise lines provide a range of guided shore excursions, there’s a lesser-known secret that seasoned travelers swear by: booking independent shore excursions. This blog post aims to shed light on the advantages of taking charge of your own adventure and exploring ports of call at your own pace with independent shore excursions. Let’s hit the 2 major ones first, no need to beat around the bush:
Smaller Group Sizes and Intimate Experiences:
In a nutshell this is the key. Cruise line excursions inavariable involve large groups, which can limit personal interaction with the guide and create a less intimate experience.Not to mention have people waiting in large queues or being unable to get close to the actual attraction.
Independent shore excursions, on the other hand, tend to have smaller group sizes or even private tours. We try to limit gorup sizes to 10 or 12 people for example.This ensures a more personalized and engaging experience, enabling you to ask questions, delve deeper into local insights, and forge genuine connections with your guides, fellow travelers and locals. We often see tourists exchanging numbers with the owners of the coffee farm we visit. He is such a warm and friendly person, I have yet to see a tourist not end up laughing and smiling with him.
While cruise line excursions often provide convenience, they can also come with a hefty price tag. Booking independently can offer significant cost savings, allowing you to stretch your vacation budget further. By bypassing the cruise line’s commission and profit margins, you have the opportunity to find more affordable options without compromising on quality. Local tour operators and guides often offer competitive rates and personalized experiences that cater specifically to independent travelers.
This sounds the same as the previous point but really it´s not. We obviously see similar tours available on the ship to the ones we offer Howver aprt from price the value of the experience can be incredibly different. We have seen so often a 50 seater bus unload a never ending river of confused tourists, just to be shouted at through a microphone by a lonely guide somewhere up ahead. Only to see them get back on the bus a few minutes later. None the wiser and thoroughly bored.
Our smaller groups will blast right past the ship tours to go off the beaten path so to speak, really visiting the best spots, getting to know the people at the attractions and having a good time. We try hard to make sure our customers make friends with the tourists and local alike. We do that by having fun together.
Freedom of Customization:
Booking an independent shore excursion empowers you to create a tailor-made experience that suits your interests and preferences. Unlike pre-packaged tours, where you follow a set itinerary, independent excursions allow you to craft your own adventure. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a culture enthusiast, or a food lover, you have the flexibility to design an itinerary that resonates with your unique travel style.
We try very hard to make sure every tour is a success and one of the best ways we can do that is allowing each group t o be flexible. If we are having a great time watching the howler monkeys play in the trees, why not stay longer and enjoy it. If a group is having a good laugh at the beach why not get another round or two of cocktails.
Authentic Cultural Immersion:
One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is immersing yourself in the local culture of each destination. Independent shore excursions provide the perfect platform for authentic experiences. Engage with locals, explore off-the-beaten-path attractions, and savor regional cuisine beyond the typical tourist traps. With the guidance of knowledgeable local guides, you can gain insights into the traditions, history, and way of life that make each port of call unique.Tourist traps are the bread and butter of the ship tours. they insist on using large buses packed to the brim, with one group after another visitin the same place. This may be fine in the developed world, but Here in Manta the best locations would collapse. The best spots are almost always inaccessible to large buses due to smalle roads, lack of parking etc as well as lack of space for hundreds of people at a time. Even our smaller groups are staggered to avoid to many people in one place.
Booking an independent shore excursion during your cruise journey can unlock a world of advantages. From the freedom to customize your itinerary to the authentic cultural immersion and cost savings, independent excursions offer a myriad of benefits. Embrace the spirit of adventure, venture beyond the cruise ship’s offerings, and discover the true essence of each port of call. Experience the joy of exploring at your own pace, creating unforgettable memories that are uniquely yours. So, when planning your next cruise, consider breaking free from the traditional shore excursions and embark on an independent voyage of discovery.