9 Cruise Shore Excursion Day Tips

The planning for Cruise vacation is incomplete without considering the shore excursion. It’s obvious to think about it, as you get unique experiences, cultural tours, adventure activities, and much more.

But along with its exciting perks, it can be the worst day if you don’t plan it properly.

Yes, you heard it right. Imagine being late returning to the vessel and missing departure. Sounds shocking, right?

Like this, many things must be taken seriously on shore excursion day to enhance your experience.

I’m Zoe, and I have been cruising since my childhood. Since then, I’ve made dozens of mistakes on my voyages, wasting time and money. But never mind, practice makes a man perfect.

However, in this article, I’ve shared dozens of tips that will save your shore excursion day from ruin and make it enjoyable.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump into it.

Tips For The Shore Excursion Day

1- Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

The first and most important tip for shore excursion day is planning.

It’s always better to have plans in your mind and arrangements made ahead, like booking taxis, etc.

As I did on early cruises, I would highly recommend booking cruise excursions online and in advance to prevent last-minute issues that could lead to wrong decisions.

Plan, research, and choose the shore excursion depending on your preferences, and then book it simply.

This will let you tackle potential issues before they even arise. Also, you’ll have much time in the last few days to plan your activities and visits efficiently.

Pro Tip:
Check the reviews of the shore excursion before choosing and booking it to ensure you’re making the right decision.

Doing so will solve half of your onshore adventure day, making everything smooth. Plus, it will reduce stress and save time, allowing you to utilize more time for exploration and enjoying activities.

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2- Be Punctual

Be Punctual

Being punctual is highly important on the port excursion day, especially if you’re a lazy or absent-minded person like me.

Make sure you have the ship’s departure time in mind so you can arrange your activities and visits accordingly. If you don’t, you can miss the ship’s departure.

I often experience dreams about missing the departure, so whenever I wake up, I check my timings, LOL!

Remember, you’ll be asked to arrive early for the departure time (mostly half an hour). For example, if your ship’s sailing time is 9-5, you’d be asked to return by 4:30 at the latest.

For this reason, I would recommend setting alarms and reminders to arrive early at the ship.

Pro Tip:
Make sure to check your itinerary frequently; in some cases, cruise lines make changes to it. So, always check if you’re following an outdated or the latest timing.

So, during shore excursions, be punctual to maximize your time onshore, engage in scheduled activities, and arrive early at the ship.

3- Bring Some Cash For Small Shopping Or Driver Tips

Bring Some Cash For Small Shopping Or Driver Tips

Let’s look at something crucial: Cash for your shore excursion day.

Whether you’re a shopping lover or want to give a tip to your trusty driver, having some cash on hand is very important.

If you’re planning to use a credit card, don’t because credit card service might not be available in some local shops.

So make sure to have cash in hand to save your favourite purchase.

Now, you must consider the currency issues and use the money on the port day.

But worries not because the US dollar can make all the difference, as it’s commonly accepted in many Caribbean ports to facilitate tourism.

When you visit, you can see signs in shops displaying prices in US dollars and the local currency.

So, I recommend bringing some cash to make small purchases of up to $20.

Pro Tip:
Disembark early to make the most of your visit. This allows you to spend more time onshore, engaging in more activities before they become crowded.

4- Dress Appropriately

Dress Appropriately

Choosing appropriate attire on a port day is also very important as you have to be active all day to enjoy activities.

So, being comfortable is very essential.

 For this reason, I recommend wearing highly comfortable clothing that is light and comfy.

Especially if you’re planning for a hike or exploring the historic landmarks of the area, comfy clothes are shoes play a vital role. 

If I talk about myself, I always go with lightweight fabrics on shore excursion days, like cotton or linen. 

Pro Tip:
If you love a pant shirt, wear a loose-fitting T-shirt or tank top paired with comfortable shorts or pants.

So, in the end, the choice is yours. Listen to your heart, but make sure to keep it comfy.

5- Bargain At Local Stands And Markets

 Bargain At Local Stands And Markets

If you’re an old buddy in the cruising scene, you must be familiar with the fact that most ports are tourist traps because they’re so expensive compared to the local market.

So you need to be sharp while shopping on port day. Always bargain at local stands and markets, even if you buy a small thing. And never go with the asked price.

This will get you some great deals on souvenirs or goods. However, make sure you bargain respectfully and with a friendly attitude.

Remember to start with a reasonable offer and be willing to negotiate. This will allow you to engage in an authentic cultural exchange while saving money.

6- Pack Essentials

Pack Essentials

Packing for cruise vacations is one of the most challenging tasks. If you make it, half of your burden will be removed.

Things get worse for new sailors, especially when they don’t know how to pack efficiently.

Likewise, the excursion day requires special essentials that you should pack for a hassle-free experience.

That’s why I recommend packing them, but don’t make it overburden as things might get difficult to manage.

I’ve mentioned the items I pack for the port day; you can change the list depending on your preferences.

You can pack sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, a water bottle to keep you hydrated, snacks to keep your energy levels up, and a hat and sunglasses.


7- Bring a Credit Card For Large Purchases

This tip might seem strange, especially since managing items on port days can be challenging, especially for careless people like me.

However, I still recommend bringing a credit card with you for emergencies and potential large purchases.

But make sure to take care of it; otherwise, if it gets lost, you’ll have another headache.

I always use cash for small purchases (below $20), but once I get into large purchases such as jewellery like gold or watches, it’s best to use a credit card service.

Pro Tip:
Be careful with your credit charges, especially in the Caribbean, where purchases are typically made in US dollars. This might not apply if you’re in Europe, Asia, or other places where the US dollar isn’t widely used.

8- Don’t Bring Food Off The Cruise Ship

This is one of the most important factors to consider.

Many places on your cruise itinerary have strict rules about taking certain foods off the ship.

And guess what? I’ve made this mistake multiple times when I was new to the scene.

So remember, typical foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat are off-limits. In some situations, you can only bring dry goods and packaged snacks.

I recommend double-checking the food rules of the place you’re visiting, as some countries impose fines on cruisers who break them.

Pro Tip: 
Check your daily planner for guidance, or ask the cruise staff if unsure.

9- Follow Safety Guidelines

This is very important to understand, especially if you’re sailing for the first time.

Some ports might have a bad reputation and a high crime rate, so it’s crucial to prioritize safety. In these areas, it’s important to stick to the tourist areas and travel in a group.

So, I recommend staying informed about the local safety regulations provided by the cruise staff. Also, remember to bring your ID, cruise card, and emergency contact.

One more important thing: keep yourself hydrated and exercise caution when exploring unfamiliar areas, especially crowded tourist spots.

Pro Tip: 
Stick to well-known and reputable tour operators for excursions and use only authentic transportation options.

In the end, stay in groups and enjoy your port day.

Final Words

Hopefully, you now understand how to make the most of your cruise excursion day.

In conclusion, consider the four terms I mentioned in this guide to ensure you’re selecting the right area for your cruise.

After that, follow these simple tips, and genuinely speaking, they will take your port day to an extra level.

Have a safe and enjoyable cruise experience.

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