National Geographic Traveler editor at large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips.
Here’s his latest advice:
Reader question: Should I book a cruise line’s shore excursion, or plan my own sightseeing tour?
My answer: Though some excursions are included in the price of sailing, you’ll generally pay more for an outing booked through a cruise line.
But you often get more, too. On my last shore excursion, our guide met us on the ship and offered lunch, ponchos, and a “no passenger left behind” guarantee.
Have your sights set on something unique? Consider enlisting a well-connected travel agent, suggests Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of the Cruise Critic website. “Just about the sky’s the limit,” she says, “as long as you remember to get back to the ship on time.”