Rome rules as most popular port

Vatican - Rome

Shore excursions specialist Cruising Excursions reveals its 2016 top sellers and 2017 hot tips

Cruising Excursions has revealed its five best-selling tours for 2016. They include Rome: the complete tour; Pompeii, Sorrento & Positano View; Picturesque Pisa and Famous Florence; a two-day St Petersburg tour; and Panoramic Athens.

Last year the shore excursions specialist recorded double-digit growth. Simonne Fairbanks, chief operating officer, says: “Rome was particularly popular with the Jubilee. We also had a record year for shore excursions in the Baltic. We introduced a new three-day Essential Collection tour in St Petersburg, due to the increase in cruise ships porting there for two nights.”

She added that the company was keen to work with more agents, explaining there were a number of benefits in place for the trade:

“Our prices are transparent – the consumer pays same as travel agent offers,” she said. “Agents receive up to 16% commission, which adds up, especially when agent books multi-port packages. Agents also receive Port Points from cruisingexcursions.com’s loyalty programme.”

The company also claims its prices are lower than those offered by cruise lines, it guarantees to get clients back to their ship on time, it gives full refunds if ships don’t make it in to port for any reason, and it uses English-speaking tour guides.

Global options

St Petersburg
St Petersburg

This year, the company has added a raft of new destinations. These are Tauranga, New Zealand with a Tauranga Highlights excursion including Mission Station; Yukon Dog Sledding in Skagway, Alaska; city tours in Manila, Phillippines; Pearl Harbour and Honolulu tours offered at Oahu, the third largest island of Hawaii; city tours and 4WD Safaris at Papeete, Tahiti; a highlights tour in Phuket, Thailand; Lekursi Castle and Blue Eye Spring tours at Sarande, Albania; a city tour at Thessaloniki, Greece; and a full day touring in Yangon, Myanmar.

When cruisingexcursions.com launched in 2011, the company featured 240 European excursions at 60 Mediterranean ports. That number has now risen to 12,000 excursions in more than 700 ports worldwide.

It is also increasing its range of tours, with more specialist small group and private tours on offer. These include horse trekking in Corfu, a Secret Gardens Walking Tour in Lisbon and The Royal Forbidden City in Tianjin.

In addition, the number of tours offering wheelchair-adapted vehicles has increased, such as Panoramic Athens and a private tour of Gibraltar Rock, Barbary Apes excursion.

Managing director Damien Mooney said: “Our product continues to evolve and our portfolio to grow. We are continually adding, enhancing, tweaking and improving the excursions we offer and revising the ports we offer them from, listening to our customers and taking notice of our market intelligence.”

He added that the company had invested in sophisticated software to track the itineraries of all cruise ships, so it could offer excursions to coincide with ships being in port and add new destinations when needed.

BEST-SELLING EXCURSIONS IN 2016 PORT:

ROME CIVITAVECCHIA
Tour name: Rome the Complete Tour
Need to know: Duration eight hours; price from £65pp

PORT: NAPLES
Tour name: Pompeii, Sorrento & Positano View
Need to know: Duration eight hours; price from £67pp

PORT: LIVORNO
Tour name: Picturesque Pisa & Famous Florence
Need to know: Duration eight hours and 30 minutes; price from £75pp

PORT: ST PETERSBURG
Tour name: Shared Group Tour – 2 Day St Petersburg
Need to know: Visas included; price from £199pp

PORT: ATHENS PIRAEUS
Tour name: Panoramic Athens
Need to know: Duration six hours; price from £64pp

HOT TIPS FOR 2017 PORT: 

GDYNIA (BALTIC SEA, POLAND)
Tour name: Gdansk Tour & Oliwa Cathedral
Need to know: Duration four hours; price from £30pp

PORT: RAVENNA (NORTHERN ITALY)
Tour name: Bologna Highlights
Need to know: Duration five hours; price from £37pp

PORT: TALLINN (ESTONIA)
Tour name: Small Group Tallinn Lower Town With Beer Tasting Tour
Need to know: Duration four hours; price from £60pp

PORT: VOLOS (GREECE)
Tour name: Half Day Volos & Mount Pelion Tour
Need to know: Duration four hours; price from £37pp

PORT: KHASAB (OMAN)
Tour name: Khasab Dhow Cruise With Snorkelling Tour
Need to know: Duration seven hours; price from £68pp

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