From Travel Pulse
While cruising has long been known as an affordable vacation option for families, it’s often the cruising “extras” that get you. Your cruise fare may include your room and three meals a day, for example, but that doesn’t mean it includes alcohol or dining at specialty restaurants.
Worse, cruising might get you to several ports but offer nothing for you to do while you’re there. Unless you want to explore on your own, you may need to book a cruise excursion for at least some of your stops while at sea.
Unfortunately, cruise excursion prices tend to hit customers with some serious sticker shock. Prices offered by cruise lines are often a lot higher than you can get elsewhere, and for the same thing.
That’s why you should always try to book your own cruise excursions—either through a website that specializes in excursions and tours or with credit card rewards like Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Book Excursions with Viator.com
If you want to do the same cruise excursions you can find on your ship, look no further than Viator.com. This website offers many of the same excursions your cruise line offers—and often with the same vendors—without the markup you’ll pay for the convenience of booking on-ship.
The key to booking your own excursions here is making sure the trip times line up with your cruise stops—and of course, knowing where you’ll be picked up. A lot of excursions offered through Viator actually pick up at cruise ports if you prefer, but you should definitely make sure.
Lastly, you should make sure an excursion you book yourself will have you back at the ship hours before you depart.
You don’t want to get stuck in a foreign country because you were late—especially just to save a quick buck.
Do a Non-Excursion
A lot of excursions offered through cruise lines are for trips you could do on your own. If your desired excursion is to a local beach, for example, you can often skip the group trip (and the expense) and just get a taxi to the beach yourself.
The Cruise Critic forum is a great place to find information on creative ways to conceptualize a DIY cruise excursion that costs almost nothing.
Book Cruise Excursions with Chase Ultimate Rewards
Last but not least, don’t forget that you may be able to use rewards to book cruise excursions depending on where you’re going.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best programs for this since it lets you search for “activities” in your port cities and book the same excursions offered on Viator.com.
Through Chase, you can pay for excursions with rewards points, cash or a combination of the two. Keep in mind, however, that the same rules of thumb apply as if you were booking on Viator.com.
Make sure you know where you’ll be picked up and when, what’s included in the trip and what time you’ll be back at port.
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