No. of Recommendations: 2
"I'm particularly interested in finding out if it's worth booking the ship's shore excursions (which I see as a big money-maker for the cruise line) vs. self-guided touring in each locale."
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The thing to keep in mind when booking shore excursions is that if you book through the ship and you're late, they'll make sure you get on the ship. If you have not booked through the ship and you're late... well.... too bad for you!!! :-)

This factor is (obviously) more or less important depending on what kind of tour you are booking. Local, around the town--not so important, but outside, taking a bus or boat somewhere--I'd consider paying the extra to the ship folks.

Just my 2 cents.

Best,
AB
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