Do you prefer a package tour or making your trip?

Travel Forums General Talk Do you prefer a package tour or making your trip?

Page
Last Post
11. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 332 posts) 3y 1 Star this if you like it!

Trebor, planning one's own trip does indeed involve a lot of research and planning.

I've no idea why you think package trips let you "cut loose" and "do your own thing". Quite the opposite when compared to independent adventure! Why tie yourself to some escorted company's itinerary and daily schedule if you could see and do what you want to on your own timetable? Better yet, do it without 35-45 people traveling with you every day?

Maybe there's some confusion between independent package tours, which only provide transport and accommodations for X number of days, versus packages which are for escorted group travel?

In either case, I'll ask how many package trips versus how many independent trips you've done to date?

[ Edit: Edited on 28 Apr 2021, 23:32 GMT by goodfish ]

12. Posted by Trebor Illusion (Budding Member 268 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting goodfish

Trebor, planning one's own trip does indeed involve a lot of research and planning.

I've no idea why you think package trips let you "cut loose" and "do your own thing". Quite the opposite when compared to independent adventure! Why tie yourself to some escorted company's itinerary and daily schedule if you could see and do what you want to on your own timetable? Better yet, do it without 35-45 people traveling with you every day?

Maybe there's some confusion between independent package tours, which only provide transport and accommodations for X number of days, versus packages which are for escorted group travel?

In either case, I'll ask how many package trips versus how many independent trips you've done to date?

If it's a hotel and transport and a group, it's package and I've done 2 of them to Amsterdam and I cut loose when I wanted to.
If you're in a package deal where you all have to stick together, just don't book them at all if you don't want to be able to cut loose?

I should imagine cruises let people cut loose in port for the day; unless it's a field trip or on a guided tour, why wouldn't you be able to cut loose and meet up at home time?

The ones I went on, people where taking the bus out, flying home later for an extra day in Amsterdam too, so coming back to London there was always more room on the bus; it's just whoever's selling you the package, I guess.
They're good to have a group from home to fall back on, but if you're all grouped and doing everything together, not so fun; just wear your wrist band / don't lose it deal, if you do your own thing.

[ Edit: Edited on 29 Apr 2021, 01:34 GMT by Trebor Illusion ]

13. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1897 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting goodfish

I've no idea why you think package trips let you "cut loose" and "do your own thing".

Having done some package tours even just a day tour it is nice having someone else handle all the logistics and you can just focus on the fun part of travel. However I would say over all I feel I can cut loose more travelling independently since you can't beat the fact you can do whatever you want to do with zero restrictions.

14. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2965 posts) 3y 2 Star this if you like it!

Quoting Trebor Illusion

I should imagine cruises let people cut loose in port for the day; unless it's a field trip or on a guided tour, why wouldn't you be able to cut loose and meet up at home time?

Cruises actually make it very difficult to do anything significantly off-piste, deliberately as they make much of their profit from selling shore excursions to the timid.

Time in port is limited, often 9-5 or 9-3, sometimes just 10-1, and the start time depends upon being cleared by the port authorities. In the case of a tender port it is potluck whether you'll get a tender quickly or wait two hours, and independents are at the back of the queue after the ship's excursion pax. They often berth in the middle of nowhere in an industrial port area, and keep the berthing location vague beforehand, which makes it harder to plan independent transport. I've even known them move the ship during the day. Probably the majority of cruises I've done have missed a port due to weather, and others have swapped days around because of logistics. This makes it hard to book an independent tour, or hire cars.

That said I've organised perhaps a dozen groups going on cruises together where we've successfully "hacked" the cruise and done our own thing, using a combination of hire cars, privately-booked tours using local operators, or public transport and hoofing it. Cruises have advantages for some places: You can cover a lot of ground in a short time, which works for some places with limited things to see and do. You wake up somewhere new each day with someone else having done the driving, and at the end of a tiring day ashore you know the food and accommodation is taken care of without you needing to expend any thought or energy. Addiitonally, arriving by sea gives a unique perspective and is the best way to see some places - I'm thinking sailing down the Lofoten Islands, or the Norwegian fjords, or previously departing Venice.

Lots of advance research is the key to figuring out whether you can hack a cruise for your own purposes. Many travellers do feel hemmed in by the limitations, and they don't want to spend their trip herded around with crowds of elderly people. I find when you put your boots on and head off early you can normally get away from the cruise pax and get a rewarding visit.

Post 15 was removed by a moderator
16. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 332 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Good stuff from Andy regarding multi-destinational cruises. I've not taken one so his word goes as far as the ins-and-outs of planning for one of those. I do know, from many years of forum browsing, that he's spot on as far as many ports being quite some distance from the city/town they're listed as being for (e.g. port of Livorno is approx. 50 miles/ 79 km from Florence.) That can create some expensive/complex challenges for individuals wishing to avoid expensive ships' excursions and sightsee on their own.

As well, at ports where passengers have to be tendered - meaning ferried to land from a ship anchored some distance away - those who've booked excursions are tendered first, cutting into the time others have for onshore sightseeing.

Ships, BTW, wait for no one. Miss embarkation times and you're on your own.

There have been umpty snags with rivers cruises as well, when the rivers were too high for the boats to get under the bridges or too low to sail at all. In those cases they've had to change the routes, change ports, bus everyone to a different city than planned, or cancel altogether.

Anyway, just to back Andy up, from much I've read from cruisers, he's illustrated how cruises may not always be as carefree a "package" deal as they might appear.

Leics, if we'd had a nickel for every post we saw asking how to get to/from Rome to/from Civitavecchia.... LOL, that's how I learned to spell that one by heart. HA!

[ Edit: Edited on 29 Apr 2021, 15:33 GMT by goodfish ]

17. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6433 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Lots of cruises say they go to X when in fact they dock at Y and X is quite some distance away...and many organised road tours use hotels which are some considerable distance from the city they're supposedly visiting. There often isn't a bus and taxi costs soon mount up.

>Leics, if we'd had a nickel for every post we saw asking how to get to/from Rome to/from Civitavecchia.... LOL, that's how I learned to spell that one by heart. HA!

We must have been asked question that at least several hundred times! It's how I learned to spell the place too! :-)

18. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2965 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting goodfish

Leics, if we'd had a nickel for every post we saw asking how to get to/from Rome to/from Civitavecchia....

Been there, done that. :)
Fortunately I was with a cruise company who were reasonable enough to offer a "Rome on your own" shuttle for a price pitched only slightly higher than the train.

19. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 332 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Well, whattaya know. We have ourselves a bonafide Civitavecchia been-there-in-the-flesh!
Sounds like you sure booked the right company, Andy, cause I hadn't heard of any that made it that easy to go it independently.

Then again, it's not like I've explored all the cruise options out there but if it was common, there sure wouldn't be the 1000 questions, now would there.

20. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2965 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting goodfish

Sounds like you sure booked the right company, Andy, cause I hadn't heard of any that made it that easy to go it independently.

I find the cruise industry quite dishonest, in that most companies lie about the price. There's the headline price, and then automatically added "tips" as a per-day charge. I won't do business with such companies.

Over the years I've used four cruise lines who are more straightforward and quote the real price; the only one still going in places I'm likely to go are Thomson Cruises, now rebadged Marella Cruises.

They also took a pragmatic view with port shuttles, often choosing to make some small revenue by offering it rather than letting it all go to public transport operators instead. (Sometimes. Other times when there was no public transport competition, it was just the full-on shore excursion.)