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From the Ship Tours

Are you taking them, or are they taking you?

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Cruise ships in Greece and elsewhere rely on shore excursions to generate a substantial part of their income, and these seemingly must-have add-ons can pack a wallop to the pocketbook.

But the truth is, most cruises aren't much fun if you don't accept the offerings in port - which are always touted as limited in size, with deadlines to register and a general sense that if you don't opt for the tour, you're missing out on the best parts of the trip.

Greek Cruise Ship Tours

The downside to these ship-organized tours is that the time is often very limited, and what time is spent at the site is usually equalled or exceeded by the time spent trapped at an "authentic factory" of some kind, where tour participants are offered "bargains" on rugs, ceramics, doodads of all kinds. The problem is, the cruise ship and/or the tour guide is taking a cut of all the sales from that particular busload of souvenir-hungry tourists. The "special prices" you receive are special - they're usually substantially higher than what an average person could get with a a few moments spent in mild bargaining.

Consider the Costs of Shore Excursions

The price of the shore excursion itself usually far exceeds what an independent traveler would pay for the same thing. Most Greek sites are inexpensive, with an admission of 4 - 7 Euro, and transportation by taxi both ways will usually cost a maximum of 20 Euro even for substantial distances - though confirm the cost beforehand - and the taxi will hold several people. By bus, it's even cheaper.

Other Considerations about Shore Excursions

The undeniable upside to these tours is that they can make the most of limited port time, transportation is entirely arranged and is the responsibility of the cruise ship, and frankly, a ship is unlikely to sail without passengers if one of their own buses breaks down. If you're on your own independent tour, and you're late returning, you run a risk of seeing that great white ship slowly receding toward the horizon, though, in practice, this rarely occurs. Awkward bus schedules and taxi availability can scuttle your plans at the last instant. If you like guided tours, they always include a guide fluent in your language.

Next Page: What Greek Shore Excursions Are Worth Taking

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