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Guided tours

Ever wondered what the benefits of a guided tour are? Of course, the opportunity to explore the destinations you visit is the most important but here are five reasons to choose a guided tour over independent travel that you may not have thought of:

Value

One of the most appealing aspects of booking a guided tour is the value for money. You won’t have to frantically search for the lowest price and best deal, organise transport or stress about where to visit during your time in port. Included in your excursion is the service of a tour manager, transportation and where necessary, equipment.

Many cruise lines such as Scenic, Emerald Waterways and APT Cruising include shore excursions in the overall price of their cruises.

Knowledge

Tour guides are usually local to the area you’re visiting, meaning their knowledge is exceptional. Local guides will provide you with an insider view, educate you on history and culture, uncover hidden gems that you may not find when going solo and pick out highlights of your chosen destination. Their knowledge is also often used to schedule specific activities and take you to certain areas during the best times.

If you do decide to go off by yourself, you can ask your tour guide for local recommendations. They’re always happy to answer questions too!

On many Hurtigruten ships you’ll find a dedicated Expedition Team, a university at sea. Not only do they hold interesting lectures, presentations and activities on board, but they also guide you on a tour of the local area. Hike through snow-capped mountains in Kirkenes, kayak in Ålesund or go cross-country skiing in Tromsø, all with your knowledgeable tour guide in tow.

Organisation

Booking a guided tour means the worry and stress of organising it yourself is taken away. You don’t need to create a timetable that works practically or religiously research the best places to visit during your time at shore, it’s all done for you.

Cruise lines establish schedules that are based on making efficient use of the tour time as well as your time at shore, taking into account visiting hours of museums, shops and libraries for example.

A guided tour means you don’t have to worry about a thing!

Safety

Guided tours are one of the safest ways to explore a new place. You may feel nervous when visiting a destination for the first time, but your tour guide will banish those nerves. Their knowledge of the local culture and often their ability to speak the local language will provide you with a sense of comfort.

All transport will be pre-arranged so no flagging down unknown taxis. Plus, there’s safety in numbers!

Social

Guided tours are a fantastic way to socialise (especially for solo travellers) as it’s likely you’ll all have the same thing in common – a love for travel! Shore excursions with likeminded travellers provides the opportunity to make new friends.

And, the more specific the tour, the more likely you are to make lifelong friends. Celebrity Cruises, for example, have an intimate cruise ship designed especially for the Galapagos Islands. The recreational focal point of Celebrity Xploration is undoubtedly the excursions you take upon reaching the islands. These excursions host just a few people, meaning you can enjoy your time ashore with likeminded friends.

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