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Shore excursion purchase required to go ashore?


Ken Edgar
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In reading the sail safe requirements for my upcoming cruise on Nov 14 out of Puerto Rico on Explorer of the seas, if I understand it right, even though my wife and I are fully vaccinated, we will not be allowed to go ashore at 4 of the 6 port calls except as part of a shore excursion.   Now I am trying to decide if I should cancel and rebook at a later time or push through anyway.   This will be my 1st ever cruise but typically I enjoy exploring on my own so not sure if I will like being part of a group at most of these stops.   What are others doing?  Am I making a bigger deal out of this then it is?  

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I don't think you are making a bigger deal than it is.  To have that many ports affected, it definitely is a big deal, especially if you booked the cruise for the ports.  I would say push it to a later date, but we can't predict when it WILL be better.  You may just end up kicking the can down the road a little bit and still have the same results.  You have to make the determination based on your costs whether it would be worth it for you to still take the cruise that you originally booked under these requirements.  I'm sure there are travel costs to Puerto Rico to factor in as well.

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Nope, you're not making this a bigger deal than it is.  It is a big deal, and the rules continually evolve.

 

You have to decide if just being in the Caribbean, in the sun, on a beautiful ship, overrides the inconvenience and uncertainty of covid restrictions.

 

I've discovered restrictions and requirements that were unknown to me until after I actually booked my two upcoming cruises.  I understand the ships have to cruise for the company to remain in business, but now I think had I known of all the restrictions and covid testing requirements, we should have waited. 

 

Now let me expand a little after originally posting the previous lines...

 

Your first cruise?  I still think the canned tours available from the ship remain a wonderful option.  Don't discount that experience.  After many cruises and many different tours, both freestyle and prearranged, I've grown to prefer the prearranged group tours, be it it on a trolley, tram, bus or railroad.

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Thanks for the advice.  I am still pretty much on the fence and I guess I have up to 48 hours before sailing to decide.  Maybe the prearranged tours would be nice to do our 1st cruise.  Most of them I would consider due to cost restraints are rather short though only maybe 2 to 4 hours so that still means chilling on the ship the rest of the day while in port, maybe there are things to do on the ship though as well.   And yes, there is the non refundable airfare to consider unless I just stay in Puerto Rico the whole time I had originally planned the cruise which is also an option.   

Does anyone know how the future credit works?  Is it 100% what I paid?   I cant even remember how much it was as it was so long ago and don't see it listed in my account.   Thinking maybe trade for an Alaska cruise next summer, always wanted to do that.  

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8 hours ago, Ken Edgar said:

Thanks for the advice.  I am still pretty much on the fence and I guess I have up to 48 hours before sailing to decide.  Maybe the prearranged tours would be nice to do our 1st cruise.  Most of them I would consider due to cost restraints are rather short though only maybe 2 to 4 hours so that still means chilling on the ship the rest of the day while in port, maybe there are things to do on the ship though as well.   And yes, there is the non refundable airfare to consider unless I just stay in Puerto Rico the whole time I had originally planned the cruise which is also an option.   

Does anyone know how the future credit works?  Is it 100% what I paid?   I cant even remember how much it was as it was so long ago and don't see it listed in my account.   Thinking maybe trade for an Alaska cruise next summer, always wanted to do that.  

You should get 100% in a FCC.  I would start by pricing out cruises that you may want to use the credit on - how much extra you may need to pay is always a consideration.

I am definitely a person who likes to plan my own excursions but this would not be a deal breaker for me.  Plan a morning excursion, and then come back and relax by the pool.  

 

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8 hours ago, Ken Edgar said:

Does anyone know how the future credit works?  Is it 100% what I paid?

You will get back port taxes/fees in cash (to whatever card you paid with). Then the rest of the cruisefare will be an FCC in the amount of fare for each person on the reservation.

I like a mix of tours and exploring on my own depending on what I can find at each port that interests me. I hate the idea of having to pay to be driven to a beach just for the sake of getting off of the ship. That doesn't jive with me, but I'm also not a big beach person. It hurts to pay for beach time when I live in Florida, no matter how awesome the beach is! I'd rather stimulate a port's economy through supporting private tour operators and businesses, but I understand that some ports aren't ready for the potential risk that unrestricted tourism can bring. 

It's a little different for me as I'm a frequent cruiser, so I know that what works best for me in this current environment is to book a cruise at a price point that makes me happy to just stay on the ship at all the ports. If I was booking for specific ports, it definitely would be another story.

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Can you share which ports you can not get off in without a excursion purchase?  I am booked for January and things might change by then but would like to be prepared if they do not.

PS I suspect the on-board entertainment will be offering more things to do on ship when in port than they did pre-pandemic.   I have cruised RC, Princess, Carnival and Disney with RC being my favorite if I am not traveling with small children (Disney wins with small children.)

Thank you.

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1 hour ago, Rottimom said:

Can you share which ports you can not get off in without a excursion purchase?  I am booked for January and things might change by then but would like to be prepared if they do not.

PS I suspect the on-board entertainment will be offering more things to do on ship when in port than they did pre-pandemic.   I have cruised RC, Princess, Carnival and Disney with RC being my favorite if I am not traveling with small children (Disney wins with small children.)

Thank you.

Here’s the part for the November protocols.  I only see 3 ports that are affected. We are on a November cruise and had to book some excursions. We normally just wander around so this was our only option to get off the ship in the ports we’ve never been to. My advice is to just roll with it and enjoy the trip, even if you stay on the ship.  

 

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/the-healthy-sail-center/getting-ready-to-cruise

A578E675-8DAC-476E-A067-A688A504809B.jpeg

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Yes, I was booked on the Nov 14th Explorer of the seas, in addition to the 3 ports listed above, St. Johns, Antigua was a 4th on the list that must have just been removed.   The only other 2 ports we would get full access on our trip was St. Martin and St. Thomas, this is why I decided to cancel our trip and will book something next year with the credit.   Instead I was able to make arrangements for a few days in Puerto Rico since I had airfare already booked and then a week at a resort in the Dominican Republic.  

I can see you are a very seasoned cruiser.   This was our 1st and until I know how I will like it, didn't want to be stuck on the ship as much as it was seeming we would be until we know how we like it.  This is the reason I booked the one I did with 7 day cruise stopping at different port everyday.   I had also booked an inside cabin thinking we would only be on the ship each night getting off during the day.  

Does anyone know how long it takes to get the FCC credit issued?   Just wanting to start looking at the next cruise.   Will the internet and drink packages automatically get refunded?   I submitted the cancellation via the online form.

Thanks

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29 minutes ago, Ken Edgar said:

Yes, I was booked on the Nov 14th Explorer of the seas, in addition to the 3 ports listed above, St. Johns, Antigua was a 4th on the list that must have just been removed.   The only other 2 ports we would get full access on our trip was St. Martin and St. Thomas, this is why I decided to cancel our trip and will book something next year with the credit.   Instead I was able to make arrangements for a few days in Puerto Rico since I had airfare already booked and then a week at a resort in the Dominican Republic.  

I can see you are a very seasoned cruiser.   This was our 1st and until I know how I will like it, didn't want to be stuck on the ship as much as it was seeming we would be until we know how we like it.  This is the reason I booked the one I did with 7 day cruise stopping at different port everyday.   I had also booked an inside cabin thinking we would only be on the ship each night getting off during the day.  

Does anyone know how long it takes to get the FCC credit issued?   Just wanting to start looking at the next cruise.   Will the internet and drink packages automatically get refunded?   I submitted the cancellation via the online form.

Thanks

we were the same way with our first cruise, we booked a 4 night one as a test and within a few hours had known we should have done a longer cruise 🙂

The standard line is that it will take 30 days to refund your cruise planner and 30 days to get the FCC,but of course timing could be different in reality.  I’d you haven’t cancelled your cruise already, then you can go into the cruise planner and cancel them to get the refunds faster than Royal’s process.  
 

I would also recommend using a travel agent, even if you only use them for cruises.  I’m the planner of the family and plan all our trips,  but with cruises I utilize a travel agent.  They can help navigate the cruise waters during smooth seas (normal times) and especially in rough seas (Covid).  We use an agent with MEI travel (a sponsor of the blog), but the most important thing is that you have a good agent  that you can work with.  

link to @Matt’s post about travel agents — https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2020/06/15/top-things-you-didnt-know-travel-agents-can-do-your-cruise-vacation

Good Luck!

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Thank you for posting which ports.  This is very concerning as I have plans with a private excursion on St. Lucia.  This is odd because St. Lucia's website says it is open but that you just have to submit an online travel registration form to receive Travel Authorization.  I am more then happy to do this before I leave for the cruising if it means that I can get off the boat and do my own thing.

If anyone else is going to St. Lucia in November can you try to get the Travel Authorization and see if the cruise ship with honor it to let you off the ship then post what your results were?

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On 11/1/2021 at 7:51 PM, Reigert2008 said:

Here’s the part for the November protocols.  I only see 3 ports that are affected. We are on a November cruise and had to book some excursions. We normally just wander around so this was our only option to get off the ship in the ports we’ve never been to. My advice is to just roll with it and enjoy the trip, even if you stay on the ship.  

 

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/the-healthy-sail-center/getting-ready-to-cruise

A578E675-8DAC-476E-A067-A688A504809B.jpeg

 

Vaccinated Guests
Fully vaccinated parties may book a shore excursion or visit most ports freely — with the exception of those listed below, which will require tours for all guests who wish to go ashore, regardless of their vaccination status.

  • St. Lucia (November visits)
  • Barbados (November visits)
  • St. Kitts (November visits)

So it says with a "tour",  not that we have to book with RC. For adults. Is that correct?

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31 minutes ago, Junglejaney said:

 

Vaccinated Guests
Fully vaccinated parties may book a shore excursion or visit most ports freely — with the exception of those listed below, which will require tours for all guests who wish to go ashore, regardless of their vaccination status.

  • St. Lucia (November visits)
  • Barbados (November visits)
  • St. Kitts (November visits)

So it says with a "tour",  not that we have to book with RC. For adults. Is that correct?

Could be wrong but 1st paragraph that you have omitted says RC have worked with local tour operators in ports of call to ensure they follow RC healthy sail plan and these tours can be purchased on cruise planner  so im thinking you would have to book any tour through RC for these 3 ports 

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