Many cruisers explore options of Tour Sharing, but don’t want to be stuck with strangers in cookie cut tours that lack the personalized attention and flexibility of private tours.
The great news is that tens of thousands of cruisers have successfully created their own private shared tours with fellow cruisers to benefit from the savings without sacrificing on quality of service and flexibility.
Fortunately Shore Excursions are the easiest tours to share as you are always guaranteed a few thousand fellow cruisers being in the same place at the same time as you.
Creating your own private tour sharing group is by far the best tour sharing option as you are in control of:
* Which Tour you want to book and share
* WHO to share your tour with (ideally other like minded cruisers who share your interests)
* The Number of Persons in your group for more comfort inside the vehicle and savings.
By knowing your tour mates in advance you will, essence, be touring with “friends”, not complete strangers you’ve never met before.
10 TIPS on Tour Sharing – your best Malaga Shore Excursions!
1. Agree on the tour itinerary in advance
Sharing a tour is not just about sharing costs, but sharing interests. Touring with like minded tour mates makes for a far more enjoyable touring experience.
By everyone agreeing in advance on the tour itinerary (usually suggested by the tour company when booking the tour of your choice), the tour goes smoothly, on schedule, and everyone sees what they’ve agreed upon in advance without compromises that would leave you less than satisfied with your visit.
If a Licensed Tour Guide is booked, it should be for everyone in the group participating together.
Splitting up between Guided Tour and Self Touring makes it easy to get lost places such as the Vatican and risk arriving too late to the ship. If a tour guide is booked for any specific sites, all participants should agree to partake as it would save costs and ensure everyone will complete the walking tour on time and proceed forward as a group without unnecessary delays.
2. Provide the Tour Company your group members’ contact information
Depending on the tour you book, it may require you to book tickets online in advance (such as Alhambra Tickets in Granada), price and information on additional Admission Tickets and/or tour guides, and other tour and service details that is imperative for all tour members to obtain prior to the tour date to be well informed in advance.
By providing the tour operator with the Lead Name and Email Address of all other parties joining your tour, the tour provider will have the opportunity to contact everyone with important tour information.
This is also recommended in case the Tour Leader (the person who organized and booked the tour), may not be immediately reachable via email or phone, other members who can be quickly reach can relay important tour information to the other tour members.
3. Tour members must agree on Cancellation Policy of Tour
Different companies have different policies regarding tour cancellations. It’s important, that as a group, you agree on what the group will do in case some group members need to cancel last minute, or are a No Show on the tour date.
When the number of persons in the group change so does the price of the tour, and ultimately so does the share of each participating tour member.
It’s important for any parties who cannot participate on the tour to inform the Tour Leader and the Tour Company in advance so the cost of the tour will be adjusted to reflect the new number of participants – and the new “per person” shared cost.
If some tour members fail to show up on the tour date, the tour fee may not be reduced if a specific vehicle (such as an 8 passenger vehicle) has been committed for your group.
The participating tour members would have to agree in advance on sharing in the new costs in case some group members are a No Show, or agree that the No Show party compensate those who did participate in the tour. This is entirely up to the group to decide in advance when committing to sharing a tour and its expenses together.
As a group, it’s recommended to reconfirm with each other a week prior to the tour date to ensure everyone will be participating in the tour as planned.
4. For optimal comfort inside the vehicle choose a comfortable group size
While you save the most when booking for 8 (as maximum passenger capacity for vehicles to be able to access the Port and Rome city center), you’d be sacrificing personal space and comfort as 8 passenger vehicles tend to be more crowded and offer less space to accommodate additional seats.
A more comfortable number of passengers per vehicle is 6.
5. Stay together during your tour
While guests in a group are sightseeing on foot away from the parked vehicle (and the driver), it is highly recommended for everyone in the group to stay together in order to prevent group members from straying too far from the group and get lost.
Huge crowds and similarly looking streets and alleys can make it easy to get lost if separated from the group. The same applies when visiting the Vatican – the Vatican is a very large and confusing place making it easy to get lost.
Getting lost from the group creates unnecessary delays that can cause the entire group to miss important sites on the tour, or arrive too late to your ship.
6. Stay connected with your tour mates
Another great reason to create your own group in advance is exchanging numbers to stay connected regarding shared tour matters.
With international phone and data plans so easy and inexpensive these days, it’s wise to have a working phone during your travels. You can reach members in your group who may be late disembarking for the tour pick up to ensure they don’t miss their tour, and if separated from the group you can call your other group members or your driver for assistance.
7. Book a private Tour Guide wherever recommended
While for most of the tours an English speaking Driver offering general information is sufficient, there are some locations where a private Tour Guide is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Ronda and Malaga.
8. Avoid Last Minute additions
To prevent disappointments on your tour, avoid adding new tour mates last minute (or on the same tour date).
By increasing your group size, you may also need to increase the size of your vehicle.
Not all vehicles are 8 passenger vehicles… some have 6 or 7 passenger seats. Vehicles are assigned based on the number in your group. If you booked a tour for a group of 6, and a 6 passenger vehicle is provided on your tour date, it would not be possible to accommodate 8 persons should 2 more join you without advance notice to the company.
Availability for different size vehicles may not be guaranteed last minute on busy port days, therefore it’s important to inform the company as far in advance as possible of additions to your group to ensure a proper size vehicle is available.
Also important to prevent disappointments during the tour when new persons join your tour last minute is to provide them with ALL the tour and service details so they are also well informed in advance and fully understand what type of tour they have joined. If new members join your tour without understanding what type of tour and expenses they committed to can lead to unpleasant experiences for the entire group.
If you wish to add other cruisemates to your tour group last minute, remember these few guidelines:
Contact the Tour Company first to confirm availability for new group addition, new tour price, and any other information pertaining to larger group size
If confirmed, provide the company with the Lead Name and Email Address of the new tour members.
Provide new group members with detailed information about the tour itinerary, the type of tour service, and prices of all that is involved (admission tickets, tour guide, etc…).
Remind your tour tour mates to book their tickets in advance and provide them with the links to book online as quickly as possible. Cruise ship concierge can also assist with booking tickets online and printing copies of vouchers.
9. Have fun with new friends!
Sharing your day with fellow cruisers should not be just about saving money, but having fun with newly made friends.