Off shore excursions

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May 1, 2018
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in case something happens, the ship will wait for you.
Most cruise lines don't make that commitment. They will hold the ship as long as there is no impact on their operations. Otherwise what they do is cover travel costs to re-join the ship at the next available opportunity. On many occasions, the ship will need to leave the current port, arrive at the next port, or pass through a specific navigational bottleneck at specific times so the ship may simply not be able to wait for a late excursion.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Most cruise lines don't make that commitment. They will hold the ship as long as there is no impact on their operations. Otherwise what they do is cover travel costs to re-join the ship at the next available opportunity. On many occasions, the ship will need to leave the current port, arrive at the next port, or pass through a specific navigational bottleneck at specific times so the ship may simply not be able to wait for a late excursion.
It's a definite cost/benefit analysis as there's a cost to keeping the ship longer in port vs the cost to get those on the late excursion to the ship at the next port. It's probably the one benefit of going on a ship tour with a ton of people -- if they have to put up 100 people in a hotel and then fly them to the next port it'll cost a lot of money so the ship will probably wait around a bit to avoid it!
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Just to jump on the 3rd party bandwagon, remember that these tour companies make money off of good reviews from fellow tourists. Put in a bit of research, but I guarantee you, had a tour company messed up badly enough for a cruise passenger to miss the ship, it would be all over social media. It is in their best interests to make sure you arrive back in time. Part of that falls on you, to make sure they are aware when all aboard is. Just make sure to take your daily itinerary or the like with you that has the time for you to be back on board with you. Many times with the private tours, you get better tour guides (sometimes, not always) and you can take a tour to your preferences. Plus, you will not have to wait with 100's of others, as you can possibly be off earlier than the ship's excursions.

There are only a handful of places where I would say that booking through the cruise line is worth it, this is not one of those. That is just in my experience and my opinion.
Tanya's always full of common sense, and her reminder to take your daily information with you is a very good one. It seems that some cruisers do not take the warning about "reading your daily news" every day in case anything changes. Cruisers are also warned to confirm the boarding time every time they set foot on the gangplank in a port. I've read about people who "didn't notice" that the actual departure time was 3 hours earlier than what was printed in the brochure 8 months before when they booked the cruise. They saunter back to the dock, only to wave goodbye to their ship. It's pathetic.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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We've cruised to Hawaii several times.

We've rented cars at port stops. I do not recommend that. We generally used a company I'll call H. Our experience was not diferent from friends who use N, A or E. The rental car locations are usually away from the port, although some will have cars in port. Rental locations operate on Hawaii time, which is useful if you are sipping banana daiquiris on a veranda. In Maui, the rental car location was at a hotel at some distance. They picked us up in port. When we returned, there was nobody present and nobdy to drop the keys with. (And I'm sure Chris would not recommend just leaving a car; that's another thread.) In Kauai, the rental locations were at the airport. We were picked up in a van and deposited at the airport. Fortunately, I was second in line. There was no Hertz Gold. Everyone had to line up. And be pitched on insurance and gas, despite having a profile already in the computer. Friends at the end of the line reported an hour wait. When we returned, the H location had insufficient capacity to haul folks back to the ship. And that's after getting N and E to help out. Their attitude? "Take a cab." We got back in time, but others did not, and the ship departure was delayed. (Not an issue for us. We were on our balcony sipping banana daiquiris watching the late arrivals.) Part ofd the delay was that the guy who drove the van was also one of the two guys who worked the counter. Notice I used "van," the singular.

I share the concern about taking ship tours with 40 people, except at Pearl Harbor, once the Arizona Memorial is open, as the ship tour may have passes for the launch to the memorial (very moving) that you might not get if you just line up. Or take a small group tour which has the passes. While you can go on your own, if the memorial is open and you do not get launch passes you will regret that. (There are other things to do at Pearl: the Missouri is there, as is a submarine, and a museum. There's plenty to do to fill a day.)

I don't have a concern about taking private tours in Hawaii. From my experience, Hawaiians (a) speak English, (b) take dollars and American Express, and (c) if you get left behind, Hawaii Air will get you to the next island. Your cell phone will work in Hawaii.

I also heartily encourage signing up for the Cruise Critic Roll Call, as did a previous poster. While we did not do so in Hawaii, in other ports we have booked private tours with people we met through Cruise Critic.
 
Apr 9, 2019
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Ummm.... Hawaiians speak English because Hawaii is a U.S. state. They take dollars because that is the currency of the U.S., of which Hawaii is a full part.
Besides Hawaiian Air, there is now also Southwest for interisland flights.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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“I don't have a concern about taking private tours in Hawaii. From my experience, Hawaiians (a) speak English, (b) take dollars and American Express, and (c) if you get left behind, Hawaii Air will get you to the next island. Your cell phone will work in Hawaii. ”

Hawaii is in America- they should speak English and take US$ and credit cards.

We picked up our rental car from the airport offices and not a hotel and has no problem dropping them off - there was always several people at the office and the bus was there. You were actually lucky there was anyone at a hotel pickup because they often have very limited hours.

We were able to see twice as much renting a car then we would have on an excursion.

But I agree with you 100% that this is not a cruise I’d worry about missing a port in as it is very easy to fly to the next island.
 
Feb 28, 2018
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I’m planning a Hawaiian cruise on NCL. Should I book my off shore excursions through NCL or find other alternatives (what do you suggest)
We booked local third party excursions exclusively: a nine passenger van, not a 40 passenger bus. Pickup and return to ship pier on time. local guidance in each stop for snacks, rest rooms, "don't miss sights" and immediate accurate answers to questions about the area. We compared what we sw with other passenger's comments about what they saw and did on the bus, and we did more. Also, cheaper.,
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Ummm.... Hawaiians speak English because Hawaii is a U.S. state. They take dollars because that is the currency of the U.S., of which Hawaii is a full part.
Besides Hawaiian Air, there is now also Southwest for interisland flights.
Lighten up, guys, SoCal was making a funny. Banana daiquiris for breakfast, anyone?
 
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Jun 10, 2019
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After some six/seven months of awaiting this Hawaiian trip and doing tons of research (this site, Cruise Critics, Trip Advisor, etc.), we finally made our trip a couple of weeks ago. We ended taking four NCL shore excursions for a price of $1000 ($50 credit per excursion). For peace of mind and being able to leave the driving to someone else, we didn’t object too much to paying the price. Thanks to the advice from one and all on Elliott .org. you have all been informative and insightful. I will continue to read your forums.