Planning a tropical vacation? It’s easy to enjoy your Caribbean cruise, no excursions required!
I discovered what paradise is. It’s seven days at sea in the Caribbean! Sun, water, food, and fun. And, above all, completely relaxing and refreshing. Our cruise stopped at 3 ports, and I have to tell you a secret, I didn’t book a single excursion. If you’re planning a Caribbean cruise you can thoroughly enjoy your vacation, no excursions required.
Staying On The Ship
All that free entertainment on the ship, you know the dining, shopping, relaxing, and fun, can still be had on port days. The only difference is way fewer people!
One of the more crowded attractions that I found on our ship was the mini golf course. See that empty course? Port day!
One of the other activities with a potentially long wait time was Boogie Boarding and Stand Up Surfing. Again, check these activities on port days and you might find a shorter line.
It is important to check each days activity schedule to plan what activities you want to enjoy while the ship is in port. I did find that hours for some activities, like the rock climbing wall, differed from days we were at sea.
Something that was always open? The pools! This shot was on a sea day, when everyone was on board. The picture at the top with the empty chairs? Yep, another port day.
Our cruise ship had three pools, including this kids splash pool. I really noticed how laid back kids got on port days when they stayed on the boat. I caught one kid literally rolling down some stairs. When he saw me he just sat up and grinned until I past. Then he went back to rolling! It’s a very different feel on the ship with so many fewer people aboard.
Do some sightseeing on the boat. Just taking a stroll through the common areas will expose you to some beautiful artwork throughout the ship. I loved this glass piece.
Of course you can always do some shopping! While the best deals were at the end of the cruise, some things will get snatched up early. Take advantage of fewer people on the boat to try some items on and take your time shopping.
You’ll find a variety of daytime activities offered on port days, from trivia and table tennis to dance classes and outdoor movies.
Massages and spa services can book up quickly on sea days. Take advantage of fewer people on board to make a relaxing appointment. Crowds at the fitness center keeping you away? Check out all the equipment without an audience. Port days are an opportunity to really enjoy some of the available cruise amenities.
Getting Off The Boat
Just because you don’t book an excursion doesn’t mean you can’t get off the boat and do some sightseeing!
Even though I didn’t book a single excursion I did get off the boat in each port of call. For one, I wanted to actually be able to say I had stepped foot in those countries. Two, it was nice to walk on solid ground from time to time.
Each port has the opportunity to book some excursions or activities once you get off the ship. These were all at a discount compared to prices you would pay for excursions booked prior to the cruise or on the boat. The one drawback is that some of the excursions booked through the cruise line or other insured agencies are guaranteed. Meaning, if your shuttle breaks down and you miss getting back on the boat the excursion company will help you meet the boat at its next stop or get you home. Hopping off the boat and negotiating directly won’t come with those guarantees. Know what time you are due to be back on the ship and allow plenty of travel time for any activities you enjoy.
Even with no excursions I played at the beach, ate the most amazing guacamole of my life, held a bird, and just enjoyed some amazing scenery.
In several of the ports I talked to families who were just enjoying their time at the cruise port. There are food and shopping vendors at each port, and you can easily spend some time wandering, shopping, and eating.
One of my favorite things about traveling is trying new food. I don’t get to eat things like corn ice cream at home! Which, by the way, is delicious.
Cozumel was easily the largest port we stopped at. And the one where you’ll find great photo opportunities with your girl friends.
If you want to explore beyond the port, but don’t want to book a specific excursion at the port, it was easy to find a taxi. In my experience the taxi companies I found at the cruise ports were all extremely professional. I was traveling in group of 4 when we left the port and we all fit in one taxi together and were able to get around easily.
Whether you stay on the boat or do a little sight-seeing, it really is possible to have a fabulous Caribbean Cruise, no excursions required.
Find out why a Caribbean Cruise is the ultimate Girls Trip experience!