TRAVEL THERE: BOOKING OUR SHORE EXCURSIONS
For some people, cruising is all about the boat. The more days at sea they have, the happier they are. For me, it’s all about the ports of call and shopping for shore excursions is one of my favorite activities. The cruise and air were booked. Our ceremony was scheduled and I had a dress. We’d been talking shore excursions for a while and now it was time to book them.
As much as I love travel, I have never had a yearning to be a travel agent. I love researching museums and shopping for hotels, but booking everything makes me crazy, even when it is just for Bill and I. Doing it for anyone else would drive me mad. How Sandra Rubio at CTC Travel puts up with me and the rest of her travelers, I have no idea. I think I’d quit after one day at it.
Initially, all this folderol was supposed to be easier, because we were going to book things as a group. Only our friends at Celebrity Cruise lines decided to disallow groups on this cruise. Then to make matters worse, our friends the Bagley’s went ahead and booked their cruise with their own agent before I’d even told them who my agent was.
Hello Celebrity! Not everybody that is traveling together books together and you should not make it so difficult to schedule excursions and dinners together. The problem plagued us throughout the process, but never was it more frustrating than when we were trying to book the shore excursions.
Deb, Bill and I were easy. I just booked us online and Deb wrote me a check. Viktorya was up in New York. She hadn’t bothered to go online and figure out the process, so she was booking everything through Sandra. Meanwhile, Jim was working out of town somewhere, trying to put in a full day’s work while I bombarded him with emails. Even if I had wanted to book the Bagley’s stuff and just let them pay me back, the Celebrity site wouldn’t let me, because we weren’t on the same booking and that’s why I was pretty mad at Celebrity. Yes, it was fairly stressful.
Choosing the Excursions
Now, I’d been shopping excursions since August and had quickly identified the ones I wanted, but I was also aware of the fact that I had a group of people who might not appreciate my penchant for spending my days wandering through the museums and historic houses of the world. Deb would go wherever I wanted to and love everything we did, but my husband, for one, would only tolerate so much museum stuff, so I had to balance museum time with other adventures.
I’m also a little more adventurous than Mr. Bill. My favorite day of our Danube Waltz cruise was a day on our own in Vienna. I’ll just say Mr. Bill didn’t feel the same way. He finds guideless wanderings in foreign countries a little nerve-wracking. It’s one thing to get lost in an American city and something else completely to not have a clue in say, Florence, and not know the language.
Budget was a consideration also. One of the things we loved about river cruising was that shore excursions were included. That way, you don’t have to hear the cash register in your head ring out each time you choose an adventure. And may I just say the Celebrity adventures were pricey – at least the ones we picked out.
So come back next week and I’ll tell you how it went.