View Full Version : Shore excursion IDEAS to save a few bucks?

07-19-2005, 12:24 AM
Hello everyone.....

Anyone have any shore excursion ideas they care to share which have saved a few dollars compared to booking through DCL?

I will begin with a few basic ideas we have used plus I'd like to pose a specific question or two:

1st) We have shared or gone solo with taxis at the pier to go to various beaches rather then through the shore excursions desk. IE - I recall we spent about $15~20 each way when sharing a large cab (truck) each way with another family. There were 2+2 kids in each of our families. The cruise ship would have charged about $125 for 2 adults and one child as one of our kids is an infant (otherwise free). So we saved about $80... which we were happy to spend on other things like Palo's, souveneers, photos or spa services.

2nd) With a large enough collection of families we have chartered aircraft for aerial tours - but NOT on a Disney cruise. We did this in Alaska last year. Also in Alaska we chartered a DUCK tour - it worked out to about $20 per person with a nearly full vehicle versus $40+ otherwise.

3rd) We lug aboard a few water bottles of drinking water bought just before boarding. Although we could refill empty bottles at the drinking fountain by the pool - we still like the cleaner taste(less) condition of store bought sealed bottles. We usually go through a couple dozen bottles between the 4 of us and the savings versus buying wather bottles from the ship is significant.


We are considering the Butterfuly Tour on St Martain - and we wanted to know if anyone else had hired a cab and gone there on their own? What is the cost to admit and what of transportation costs?

We were thinking of possibly renting a car on St Martin and hitting a few things on our own AT our own pace. This would enable us to hit the farm, Orient beach, and see things and stop to take pictures as we like.

So has anyone ever rented a car on St Martin - or St Thomas for that matter?

Thanks for your shore excursion idea contributions and special thanks in advance to any offering their experiences on St Thomas and St Martin car renting and B-Farm encounters!


Captain Crash

07-19-2005, 12:48 AM
We did a nice tour in St. Thomas for a family of four $50. We had not planned on doing this. My FIL got us into it and it work out great. We had a great tour and we even had a while at Sapphire Beach. Very nice. Since it was not a planned I have no idea how much we saved. Never thought to look.

07-19-2005, 02:39 AM
I guess ....

it took me a few minutes to find the SEARCH button - and I found another eastern cruise shore excursion listing - and after reading it I decided we were going to rent a car on st thomas and hit the butterfly farm - go to a beach or two and just sort of explore and run around. I just reserved a car through BUDGET rent a car with the UPROMISE discount code of X989300 and it cut about $8 off their online rate to only $42 for a toyota corolla - their smaller "intermediate". We almost rented the RAV 4 compact SUV - but we figured we would not need that - the additonal cost would have been $16. Total cost copares as $50 for the COrolla and $66 for the RAV4 for a rental picked up at 8:30AM and returned by 5:30 PM the same day from the cruise ship pier.

Includes taxes and fees and "free" PAE insurance (Personal Accident and Effects (PAE) protects you and your passengers, whether you're in or out of your rental vehicle, against expenses arising from accident, injury, and loss to personal property. ). LDW costs $9.50.

At any rate - we figure this is comparable to a taxi - but we can go where we want and entirely at our pace - we rented a car once on St Thomas and San Juan. It was not all that bad and it was a bit of an adventure all by itself! Plus it saved a bit.

Funny how we worry about saving a few hundred dollars after buying the cruise and airfare and everything else that goes with it! The savings are not all that big an issue I guess (nice just the same). BUT I must say we selected a competitive travel agency - and a low cost fare (but direct flight on American Airlines) - plus we are booking hotels through Hotwire for hotels in Orlando and LA. All this probably slices a thousand off the total vacation cost against an "average booking" through conventional means. AND it saves several thousand against booking straight up through DCL or a regular "full service" travel agent.

HEck - what am I saying - we get the same cabins and 98% of the same cruise experience - so it is OK to save a buck and have a little fun!

Now I have to research helicopter or fixed wing reservations in St Thomas. I read elsewhere that someone did a chopper in St Thomas and it cost no more than a dolophin experience. So - I gotta investigate that one!

Anyone try aircraft of either type - any recommendations or advice? We did do a fixed wing thing in Juno AK and Grand Caymen. The Juno was a charter and the Caymen was a straight up tour thing. The CHarter was a bargain by comparison and the AK charter was a 90 minute flight while the Caymen thing was something like 30 minutes or so = maybe a bit longer but nothing like the AK one - and the AK thing included a landing with our floatplane on a remote lake!

At any rate - any past flyers out there?



07-19-2005, 11:41 AM
Captin when are you sailing we are also going and are going to do our own thing this Feb Pres week. I am interested in getting info on things to do.

07-21-2005, 03:21 AM

we are sailing in about 5 weeks on Sept 3rd 2005. Have any specific Qs? :Pinkbounc

07-21-2005, 10:53 AM
Again, it is only a few dollars, but....
There is a tourist info booth right off where the ship docks. If you pick up one of their free booklets, it contains coupons for a few dollars off admission at the butterfly farm and Coral World. It isn't a huge discount...like $4 per adult, $2 per child. But...that is $12-16 at each place for a family of 4.

07-21-2005, 06:18 PM
The only thing I have is we just got back today from a land/sea and booked the dolphin encounter directly through the company and saved about $60 (including paying for a taxi there). It was REALLY simple (even with three kids) and saved quite a bit!

07-21-2005, 07:28 PM
what is the age limit for the dolphin encounter if you do it on your own

07-21-2005, 08:03 PM
what is the age limit for the dolphin encounter if you do it on your own
Three and younger are free with a paying adult. DM paid for observer, 2yr old free, Dad, 5 yr old, and 7 yr old full price for encounter. The girls loved hugging the dolphin and more...

07-21-2005, 10:55 PM
which island was this and what operator I would like to take the kids 3 and 4 yrs and what time did you book for ?

07-22-2005, 12:09 AM
I did this excursion on my own also and saved alot of money. It is on the Blue Lagoon Island. My kids said that this was the best thing they did on their vacation. My 3 year old was free. It cost us about 70 dollars a person and we booked for I think 12:00 because it was first at 9:00 in the morning but due to us leaving Florida late and needing to take some people to Castaway Cay we were late so they just rescheduled it to 12 or 1:00 P.M. I thought we would have gotten ripped off and not been able to do it because we missed our time but they stood good for it and let us come at another time. We didn't gwet lunch but we took our own from the ship so we saved alot of money like 250. for a family of 6 by doing it on our own.

Lorra :bounce:

07-22-2005, 08:23 AM
We did it this week in Nassau, on Blue Lagoon island. It is beautiful there. The staff was very nice and professional. They have a web site and phone number to reach them, it is www.dolphinenounters.com Check them out! ANY questions, just ask! I was also told if the ship does not dock, they will refund...don't know how true that is, but someone there, Steve, told me last week they would when I was worried about hurricanes! :earsboy: