You have booked your cruise and you intend to be pampered during your trip. At the risk of disappointing you, and to guarantee you the best experience, you still need to prepare your stopovers. Don’t worry, the work is pleasant and it’s probably a great way to feel like you’re on vacation before your time!
The deal will be different depending on whether you plan to do the excursions or not. Review the different options available to you, and the mistakes and omissions you should avoid.
On holiday, you don’t want to impose things on yourself and you want to be taken care of from A to Z. Even if not all excursions are worth doing, some of which frankly don’t bring you much, others clearly make it easier for you to visit. We think of all these tourist attractions that are not easily accessible, these places that clearly deserve a guided tour, and these sports activities that are so much easier to do in good company… On the other hand, you will easily admit that these excursions to the beach or which end in a shopping session can be done without much difficulty by an escort and a mode of transport (at least when it is nearby).
In any case, your stopovers can be booked at different times and places: when you book your cruise, at your ship’s reservation office, on dedicated terminals, or simply by picking up the phone to see the cabin. Dial 3131 on Costa’s ships (9:30am to 11:30am and 5pm to 9pm).
And at the rate that technology is coming on cruise ships, we will no doubt soon be able to book and pay for our excursions with a simple electronic bracelet or directly on our connected watch. Easy for the passenger, profitable for the company: why not go in this direction?
It makes sense, using the company’s services will always be slightly more expensive than doing it alone. And it must be acknowledged that this simplicity can sometimes be worth a few extra euros.
In addition, the companies skilfully accompany cruise passengers in search of new experiences. This is the case of MSC or Costa, which offer bike tours. When sports activities are combined with the cultural and historical discovery of a city, many cruise passengers do not hesitate to take part. Watch on channel 5 of your cabin television on Costa, you won’t be able to miss the pictures of your next excursion….
If getting off the boat in a foreign country doesn’t scare you more than that, if you feel resourceful enough to get back to the ship on time, if you don’t plan to visit in a group, or if you just want to stay free of your desires and movements, you will still have to make some preparations.
First, remember to bring comfortable shoes for walking. If you have a recent smartphone, remember to record the maps of the cities you are interested in offline. Take advantage of it, many mapping applications offer this function for free (Google Maps, Microsoft Maps on the latest Windows…). This will prevent you from consuming your Internet package during a cruise.
Another predisposition to take before going to a stopover and even getting on the boat is to leave a copy of your identity papers and some of your cash (or other means of payment) in your safe. You will not be completely helpless in the event of loss or theft of your belongings. And because you can never be too careful, choose an anti-theft bag.
The most forward-thinking people will even be able to provide a small first-aid kit in case of an accident, and the less multilingual among us will necessarily install this application to automatically translate all the texts, signs, menus, panels… that we take pictures of.
Take the time to do all these steps before boarding the boat and discover the list of essential applications for cruising!
It should be noted that companies often broadcast a TV programme on excursions that take place the next day on a dedicated channel. Admittedly, you can see a show that is primarily promotional, but cruise passengers who stop over on their own will also be able to discover the city’s major points of interest to visit. A good complement to your online or printed tourist guide if you have one. The only drawback is that French is rarely the language used to present these tourist attractions.
Did you know that a few searches on the Internet could save you valuable euros? Yes, rather than taking out your credit card in two steps to pay for an excursion whose main interest is to get you from point A to point B, sometimes it is enough to use local modes of transport to save money. Feel free to search the websites of railway companies or taxis to find out the rates charged. This will allow you to compare and pay in full knowledge of the facts. Don’t worry; booking a train ticket abroad is often made easier, especially because the texts at station terminals are available in many languages, including French.
Each cruise line has an interest in having you make the stopovers. We were telling you, not all of them are relevant, but some of them are really worth looking into. Some players in the sector are also competing in ingenuity to attract cruise passengers with new innovative services. One example is the Audiopen de Costa system, which allows cruise passengers to visit a city in an “autonomous, fun, alternative and economical” way. Count about 10 euros to rent this small pen-shaped equipment that will act as an audio-guide during your stopover (at Costa only), or download some on your phone.