Although there are numerous advantages to booking your own Vietnam Shore Excursions when cruising, there are several important aspects you should bear in mind before rushing into anything. Booking your own excursions will of course give you much more flexibility and freedom than what will be offered by cruise lines, and they will most likely be a tad cheaper too. Although there are a great deal of packages offered by cruise ships, you may not always be able to snap up exactly what is on your wish list. Doing it yourself offers you all the independence you could want, however you should consider the following points when booking shore excursions by yourself.
1) Research – This is a given really, be sure to thoroughly research the area and it’s customs, as well as the attractions you wish to see. Before deciding to book your shore excursions independently, you should have a quick glance at what is offered by your cruise liner first, you may be surprised. Nevertheless, booking independently will give you the freedom to customise your trip, meaning you can visit all the sights and museums that take your fancy.
2) Departure time – Although your ship will wait for you if you are on an official cruise excursion, anything that has been booked independently won’t carry the same privileges. If you are late, you will be left behind and will have to make arrangements to get to the next port yourself, which could come at a heavy financial loss for you and your party. The most obvious way to avoid this is to be cautious of the time. Synchronise your watch with the ship’s clocks and return to the port at least half an hour before the ship is set to depart.
3) Local currency – In numerous countries, US Dollars are in fact preferred, however there are plenty of destinations where you will need the local currency for snacks and souvenirs. You will also need local currency to pay for transportation, entry to attractions and to tip your guide, if you have one. The best way to prepare is by exchanging your currency before your depart on your cruise, however be sure to carry your credit card with you in case you need to pay a visit to the ATM at shore.
4) Specialist operators – There are numerous companies who specialise in shore excursions for small and private groups and they are a sure fire way of avoiding being ripped off. Generally, you will be in line for larger discounts if your group size is larger, therefore travelling with extended family or large group of friends is always worth considering. We are of the best shore excursion companies that you can research for our itineraries and policy at here:
5) Hire guides and local tour operator directly – Local tourism boards often provide lists of tour operators in the area and you could always use web sites like TripAdvisor to verify anything you find. You will often notice that some tour guides in the area are highly recommended and these are the ones worth paying attention to. Another handy piece of information to memorise is that individual guides and small companies are usually cheaper than what will be offered by your cruise liner.
One of the most important things to consider before booking any shore excursions is to evaluate what kind of traveller you are. Sure, booking through your liners’ official channels is the most convenient and dependable option, however it may not give you the flexibility you desire. On the other hand, booking independently may create a host of different problems and although it’s likely to be cheaper doing things this way.
See our full collection of tours to Vietnam via Shore Excursion or our complete range of private tailor-made holidays. We can help you see this strange cultural phenomenon for yourself, in some of Vietnam’s most bustling cities.