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Skip This Excursion! Suggestions From All

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Name an excursion that you would not recommend to another cruiser and why?

My one piece of advice about excursions from personal experience is to be cautious about one that offers a lot to do even if it is all day. They seem like a good idea, but even if the excursion is 6hrs plus, you can expect to spend half the day on the bus, going from one 30min stop to another. I think it's better to choose one thing you really want to do and spend most of your time at one location. 

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Doing any 3rd party excursion, if it is suppose to return less than 90 mins to sail away.  G forbid that company has transportation issues getting you back, RCCL is not going to hold the ship.  Using the RCCL excursion, which may be 10-15 bucks more for the same type of excursion, guarantees you the ship will wait for you.

I can't recall where it was, but a few months back posters on this site or another forum  someone stated their bus broke down. and the ship waited about 30 more minutes because it was an RCCL excursion.  

Another reason we shy away from 3rd party is because 18 mos ago we sailed on Anthem.  48 hrs prior to the cruise, RCCL contacted us and said due to a hurricane, we were no longer going to Bermuda, but now New England.  Had we booked 3rd party we would have had to fight to get our money back, whereas, with RCCL, they just immediately credited our charge card.

The only time I would not use RCCL, is something like my upcoming cruise.  We could pay RCCL for the Graycliff's tour at a much higher cost, or do it on our own.  Same with the Queen's Anne Staircase.  Our ship will be docked for 12 hrs.  We don't have to worry about getting back to port in time, and we can just walk into Graycliffs on our own.  They close at 5 so I am not concerned about getting back to the ship on time.

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1 hour ago, Pima1988 said:

  G forbid that company has transportation issues getting you back, RCCL is not going to hold the ship.  Using the RCCL excursion, which may be 10-15 bucks more for the same type of excursion, guarantees you the ship will wait for you.

I can't recall where it was, but a few months back posters on this site or another forum  someone stated their bus broke down. and the ship waited about 30 more minutes because it was an RCCL excursion.  

Another reason we shy away from 3rd party is because 18 mos ago we sailed on Anthem.  48 hrs prior to the cruise, RCCL contacted us and said due to a hurricane, we were no longer going to Bermuda, but now New England.  Had we booked 3rd party we would have had to fight to get our money back, whereas, with RCCL, they just immediately credited our charge card.

All good reasons to use RCCL for your excursions. I know it costs a little more, but I like to think of the extra money spent as insurance.

Like most insurance, we all pay for it, even though we hope to never use it.

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I disagree on not using 3rd party excursions.  You simply have to know your times and book with someone reliable.  A lot of times the cruise line will charge almost double for the same excursion.  Most 3rd party excursions fully refund you if your ship does not arrive, just watch their terms of service.  Also, they are typically less crowded.  If you use a well known and highly rated 3rd party they will get you back to the ship on time.  Their livelihood depends on it.  If you are new to traveling and want to do something far from the port that is when you should stick with the cruise line.  Research will save you money and provide a very personal experience.

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On ‎4‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 10:54 PM, Hoski said:

I disagree on not using 3rd party excursions. 

The original post wasn't against using third party excursions - it was a recommendation against doing so if the planned return time is too close to sailing.

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2 hours ago, Matt said:
  • Blue Waters Escape in Falmouth
  • Bacardi Rum factory tour in San Juan
  • Bamboo Beach in Falmouth

I have to agree on Bamboo Beach. 

The beach was nice but the time on the bus getting to/from there was excessive, and you have only a couple of hours to be on the beach.  

I would add to avoid almost any Atlantis tour on Nassau 

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On 4/8/2019 at 9:59 AM, Matt said:
  • Bacardi Rum factory tour in San Juan

WHAT!?!?!  But they have RUM there!!! 🙂

When we went, even after being told 'no smoking' by all the staff there, one idiot lit up. He was all but body tackled by security. Certainly made the tour a little more exciting.

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:59 AM, Matt said:
  • Blue Waters Escape in Falmouth
  • Bacardi Rum factory tour in San Juan
  • Bamboo Beach in Falmouth

Must agree with skipping the Bacardi Rum tour.

Good points:

Lots of free rum.

Bad points:

It's a museum, you don't get to see the production facilities.  I've been on tours to distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, and Barbados and a massive brewery in Australia.  All included workroom floor access.  Sure there was a museum at each, but that wasn't all.  If they would have billed this as a museum visit, it would have been honest.

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On 4/12/2019 at 3:53 PM, 4ensic said:

Bad points:

It's a museum, you don't get to see the production facilities.  I've been on tours to distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, and Barbados and a massive brewery in Australia.  All included workroom floor access.  Sure there was a museum at each, but that wasn't all.  If they would have billed this as a museum visit, it would have been honest.

Sad that they changed it.  When I went (granted, it was 20 years ago), they walked you through the entire process and you got to see everything.  One of the reasons I remember it is because the bottling line had Bacardi Silver and a bottom shelf "5 O'Clock"-type brand coming off the same line.

What distillery/ies did you visit in Barbados, @4ensic?  I've been to the Mt. Gay distillery (the one in the north end of the island, not the visitors center in St. Michaels) twice and got to hang out with the soon to be retired Master Blender Allen Smith.  We also visited the small St. Nicholas Abbey operation, and the West Indies Rum Distillery that produces Plantation, Bumbu, and a bunch of other products.  Even got to sample a distillate that came off their newly restored Vulcan still - kind of cool to have a sample of the first batch to come off that still in 140ish years!

Yes, you could say I'm really "into" rum. 🙂

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2 hours ago, bcarney said:

Sad that they changed it.  When I went (granted, it was 20 years ago), they walked you through the entire process and you got to see everything.  One of the reasons I remember it is because the bottling line had Bacardi Silver and a bottom shelf "5 O'Clock"-type brand coming off the same line.

What distillery/ies did you visit in Barbados, @4ensic?  I've been to the Mt. Gay distillery (the one in the north end of the island, not the visitors center in St. Michaels) twice and got to hang out with the soon to be retired Master Blender Allen Smith.  We also visited the small St. Nicholas Abbey operation, and the West Indies Rum Distillery that produces Plantation, Bumbu, and a bunch of other products.  Even got to sample a distillate that came off their newly restored Vulcan still - kind of cool to have a sample of the first batch to come off that still in 140ish years!

Yes, you could say I'm really "into" rum. 🙂

Hi @bcarney,

Our tour group was disappointed when the guide said the tour was a "historical" one, but the 3 free drinks seemed to put everyone in a better mood.

I went to the Mt. Gay Distillery in the early 00's.  It was one of the first distilleries I've been to.   Smaller tour group and had a formal tasting of all Mt. Gay rums around a big horseshoe bar.

You'd enjoy the Philippines - rum is the most popular spirit by far.  Too bad Tanduay's US exports are so limited - they turn out a full line from 65 proof budget stuff ($1.60 a 750ml bottle) to 15 year old premium ($18 a bottle) for domestic drinking.   In my town, the 65 and Dark (80 proof) are all that's available.  Emperador (Spanish Brandy) is also popular and priced about $2.25 a bottle.  With San Miguel beer at 60 cents a bottle, rum is actually a budget drink.

Hope to get to the distillery on Luzon within the year.

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38 minutes ago, 4ensic said:

You'd enjoy the Philippines - rum is the most popular spirit by far.  Too bad Tanduay's US exports are so limited - they turn out a full line from 65 proof budget stuff ($1.60 a 750ml bottle) to 15 year old premium ($18 a bottle) for domestic drinking.   In my town, the 65 and Dark (80 proof) are all that's available. 

I'm somewhat familiar with Tanduay - they were exhibitors at the Miami Rum Festival last year (won a gold medal) and I was able to taste their products. They don't currently sell in my state, however.  They also just recently became the #1 selling brand in the world.  Someday I'll be able to add them to my collection.

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If you go to St. Kitts avoid the "Coastal Cruise, Beach & Steel Band"

We went and our excursion was combined with a Celebrity ship and it was way too crowded!  There were not enough seats for everyone so about 30 people on the lower deck had to stand each way (1-1.5 hour boat ride to the beach) and then once we got to the beach it was deserted except for a lone man renting umbrellas.  There were 18 umbrellas with 2 beach chairs apiece for about 200+ passengers on the boat.

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Avoid Dunn`s River Falls.  It can be very dangerous. We actually are doing more and more 3rd party excursions and they have all been really good and never an issue. Several have policies that give a full refund for various reasons. Yes RC has a lot more protection for you when using theirs.  Pretty much a personal preference.  

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