|Australian Cruise Magazine||
Shore Tours Do's and Don'ts
Horse riding with Carnival
We have all heard the story about the passenger who refused to pay $150 for a shore tour and booked a local taxi and saw the whole island for $50.
Or, the passenger who took the local bus and saw the island for two dollars.
What you don’t hear is the stories about the breakdowns and tyre blowouts or some of the old wrecks used for local private tours. You won’t hear of the hours of stop starts it takes for the local bus to get anywhere. And you won’t hear of the muggings, bad "restaurants" and tourist dives a private operator takes you.
Sure, there are deals to be had, but a shore tour is guaranteed to get you to and from the ship, gets you into local attractions and takes you to quality restaurants and shops.
The key to booking a shore tour is to go to the shore tour talks held on every ship. There you will get a full rundown of each shore tour. This is vital because, shore tour brochures never tell the whole story. ACM has booked on a Grand Tour of Noumea which turned out to be a boring historical tour of convict prisons. Had we gone to the talk, we would have known and not booked.
If you are still unsure, take the time to go and talk to the Tours Manager. The Shore Tours office is only open certain hours, so get there a few minutes early and you are head of the queue. Once you decide on a tour, book it straight away as the best ones tend to fill up
An important tip to remember if you are cruising in a group is to stipulate that you all need to travel together. One shore tour can have multiple buses and multiple departure
Another tips is to have an alternative shore tour in mind in case yours is cancelled on the day for some reason. Wet weather can often cause a tour such as a day on a deserted island to be cancelled last minute.
Once at the departure point, ACM recommends you ask a Ship Staff member if you are in the right place. Be early! Don’t leave it to the last minute to get off the ship as there are often delays and queues.
Not all cruise shore tours are good value. They are expensive and some are way over the top. Beware of shopping tours especially as the locals often take you to their local tribe member’s shop where they get a kickback for all you spend. ACM has even experienced a shore tour to the backyard stall of the tour guide’s family.
On a shore tour take a bottle of water from the ship, a jacket or jumper, sunscreen and photocopies of your ship ticket, passport and travel insurance.