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Cruise lines don’t want you taking our tours.

It makes sense: why would a cruise line want its passengers booking excursions with local guides, and cutting into the profits they make when you book a spot on one of their group tours?

The ships do a great job of scaring passengers into thinking the only “safe” option is to spend time on shore with them. Why? Because you won’t get back on time, and the ship will leave without you! Getting left behind sounds like a nightmare, and the cruise lines book an awful lot of spots on their group tours to people who are scared of missing the ship.

We're here today to share something the cruise ships don't tell you: ToursByLocals guarantees you will return to your ship on time. And if, for any reason you don’t, we pay your food, accommodation and transportation expenses to the next port of call.

Since 2009, we’ve delivered over 100,000 shore excursions in ports of call all over the world. Guess how many times we’ve had to employ the terms of our shore excursion guarantee?


Once in Nice, where a major road back to the cruise port was blocked by a sudden wild fire. And once in Lisbon, where a street demonstration obstructed the route back to port. In both cases, we helped the travelers arrange comfortable accommodation for the night, and had them safely at their next port the next day.

The other 99,998 times, the guides delivered the travelers back to the cruise ship in plenty of time to board and set sail for their next port.

Want to read the details of our No One Left Behind Guarantee? You can review it here.

Also, we should probably mention that under our Force Majeure policy, if for any reason your ship can’t dock, and you miss being able to disembark at a port of call, we’ll refund the full amount you paid for your tour, no questions asked.

Now, that we’ve taken care of the fear mongering, here are just a few of the things cruisers are missing out on when they don’t hire a local guide:

✔ Exploring at their own pace
✔ Getting off the beaten track, rather than just seeing the main attractions
✔ Designing their own customized itinerary
✔ Having genuine conversations with a local expert and new friend
✔ Contributing meaningfully to the local economy
✔ Visiting the charming little cafes and restaurants that can’t fit crowds of 60 people
✔ Spontaneity and flexibility in the day’s schedule
✔ Bathroom breaks only when they want them!
✔ Having a unique dinner-time story to tell back on the ship

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already understand the value of a private tour with a local guide. And if you’ve got any friends who are still on the fence about whether it’s “safe” to take a non-ship tour, feel free to send this their way. You might just help them travel better on their next cruise.
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