Shore Thing – 7 great tips for a grand day out

Planning ahead will almost guarantee a great getaway. Planning your activities and booking in advance can save you both time and money when it comes to making the most of your cruise.

1. Plan ahead

ShoreThing_PisaPisa, Italy

Booking excursions in advance with your travel advisor allows you the flexibility to budget and pay the cost before you set off on your cruise. It also helps you to avoid disappointment, as excursions do often sell out – the only way to guarantee your place is to book as early as possible. Booking in advance is also cheaper, as prices may well be higher once you’re on board.

2. Join the in-crowd

With excursions, you bypass queues. For example, Gaudí’s Sagrada Família basilica and Parc Güell in Barcelona are both very busy, and they are quite far apart, so they are much easier to enjoy on an excursion.

3. Speak to the experts

Talk through your itinerary with an experienced advisor – no doubt you won’t want to go on an excursion at every stop along the way, so work out what suits you best. Planning is the key to ultimate relaxation on board.

4. Guides

Use experienced guides rather than guide books. Many ports are suitable for tourists just to walk off the ship and explore. This may be the less expensive option, but you must go prepared: research public transport, and check for bank holidays or events that may affect your travelling time. A half day excursion may be more suitable.

5. In the know

At times, going it alone is more difficult and costly. At Livorno, for example, you have to pay for a shuttle to get out of the sprawling dockyard. Much better to book an excursion to Pisa. Ask a cruise specialist what the best options are.

ShoreThing_ParcGuellParc Guell, Barcelona

6. Don’t trip up

Treat each excursion as you would a day out in the UK. Think practically about your clothing – you don’t want to miss a once-in-a-lifetime visit because you’re wearing the wrong footwear or have nothing to cover your shoulders at a religious attraction. Take sun cream, water, waterproofs and a copy of your travel insurance policy or EHIC card if you’re in the EU.

7. Currency

Don’t be caught out without the correct money – speak to your travel advisor to ensure that you have the right currency for each of your excursions. Spare change is useful for tips and refreshments.

7. Before you leave…

  • Start your holiday early – relax and avoid the rush by booking a hotel at your port and staying there the evening before your cruise.
  • Park the car – it really is worth the extra few pounds to park at the cruise terminal rather than to park and ride.

Published 16th October 2015

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