How many people will be on a tour ?
Most of our tours are "small group" tours, usually no more than 10 or 12 persons. We offer some tours that are very popular and these may have up to 24 persons on the tour. As we do not know until a few days prior to the tour date how many people will book a particular tour then we can not guarantee the size of the group, but large tour numbers are very uncommon. Often tours will run with the minimum number, just 4 or 6 persons.
What if a ship arrives on a different day to that scheduled ?
If a ship arrives on a different date to that scheduled, then we will be aware of this change and will reschedule the tour to take place on the day the ship arrives when possible. There may be some instances where this is not possible in which case we will offer an alternative similar tour or offer a 100% refund to you.
What if the ship arrives earlier or later on the day than planned ?
If the ship arrives late, then the tour will be scheduled to begin as soon as possible, but allowing at least 30 minutes for passengers to disembark and join the tour. In such cases please make every effort to leave the ship as soon as possible to avoid keeping others on your tour waiting. If the ship arrives earlier than expected and is therefore departing earlier, we would ask you to leave the ship as soon as possible so that any changes to the tour departure time can be advised to you.
Can I bring extra people on my tour ?
This may be possible if we have spare seats on our tour vehicles. If you wish to do this then please contact our local tour guide as soon as possible and we can then make suitable arrangements. If there is a large group wishing to join one of our tours then we may be able to arrange an additional vehicle and guide at short notice, but this can not be guaranteed. If you wish to bring additional persons on a tour then please make sure you have suitable local currency to pay the additional charges.
What if we do not get back to the ship in time ?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. In 15 years of operating this has never occurred on one of our tours. All tours are planned so that we have plenty of time to be back at the ship with a suitable allowance for any delays. While we are unable to guarantee this will never happen, our experience and careful planning make it highly unlikely. It would however be wise to make sure that your holiday travel insurance did cover for such situations, as if the next port of call is in another country then the cost of flights etc. would be considerable. In some cases even when you have booked a cruise lines own tour they may have to depart the port before you get back if you are too late, this is due to the ship having to sail according to the tides. They do of course then arrange your onward transfers and accommodation as needed.
What happens if I fall ill on a tour ?
Our guides and drivers are First Aid qualified so will be able to assist should you feel unwell or have an accident. If your illness is serious we will make contact with a local medical practitioner and or take you to the nearest medical centre or hospital. You are requested to advise us of any preexisting medical condition or allergy so that we can be suitably prepared. We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible and ensure you will be taken back to the ship should you need any treatments.
Are you able to assist if I use a wheelchair ?
We can assist with persons using wheelchairs but these must be of a lightweight collapsable type, that can be easily loaded into our vehicles. You must be able to get into and out of our vehicles without the need for special hoist or ramps as these are not normally provided. We can arrange for specialist vehicles which can cater for mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs, but these will need to be pre-booked and will entail additional charges. Guide Dogs are carried with pleasure without additional charge.
Can children be taken on the tours ?
Yes, we offer special child and infant rates on most tours, details are given on the tour information page.Â Child ages are usually from 4 to 15 years of age but do vary with each tour and company, please check the booking terms and conditions that apply to each, details of the relevant age range are shown on the "prices" tab.Â It is a legal requirement in New Zealand that children under 150 cm high must use a booster seat and children less than 4 years old must be carried in an approved child restraint in all self drive rental vehicles.
If you are unable to provide your own suitable child seat or booster then we may be able to arrange hire of these for a small additional charge. For children and infants under 8 years of age travelling in a Passenger Service Vehicle [ tour coach or minibus driven by a professional driver], the use of a suitable child restraint is mandatory but only if one is available. If no suitable child restraint is available the child or infant can travel but it is recommended that they travel in the rear section of any such vehicle.
Can I request changes to a tour on the day ?
If you have booked seats on one of our small group shared tours, then we must follow the itinerary as given in the tour details, as others on the tour will not be pleased to miss out on things they were expected to see. However, as our groups are often small, the guide may be able to make some small changes to the days plan to accommodate your requests, perhaps a little longer at one location, or some additional stops to see things along the way. Our tour guides pride themselves on giving great personal service so will do their utmost to make sure that all persons on the tour have the best possible time. If you wish to do an additional activity then you will be required to pay any additional fees. If the group as a whole wants the tour to be extended then this may be possible for a small additional charge.
Can I receive a refund if I do not take an included activity on the tour ?
Refunds for parts of a tour or activities which are included in the tour program but are not taken are not given. If an activity is not suitable we may be able to arrange an alternative if available at no extra charge. We will do everything we can to make sure you have the best possible time.
If I am unable to join a tour on the day can I have a refund ?
Refunds are only given if a ship is unable to make port. If you do not join a tour for any reason then no refund is given unless you are able to give advance notice. The refund amount depends on the notice period given, details of which are given in our booking terms and conditions. If you wish to transfer your tour to another passenger then this is fine.
Can I request a foreign language guide ?
If your understanding of English is limited we are often able to provide foreign language guides. Additional charges will apply and if needed we suggest you book a private Signature Class tour for your party. Please advise us as soon as possible if a foreign language guide is required.
I am in a large group on the cruise, can you cater for us ?
Most of our tour groups are for small groups of 10 or 12 persons. However we can cater for large groups of up to 100 persons and have a lot of experience with tours suitable for large groups. Each itinerary would be tailored to suits the groups interest and size, as often many of our small group tour itineraries are not suitable for larger groups. Please contact us for details.
None of the tours you list meet my requirements ?
If our standard tour itineraries listed do not meet your requirements, then please look at our Signature Class range of tour options. These allow you to select a vehicle to suit the group size, you can specify how long you want the tour to last, and also where and what you want to do. Anything is possible so let our team of experienced tour coordinators create your very own special tour.
Can I book a tour with you on the day ?
You may be able to contact us by telephone on the day of the ship arriving in port to book a tour, but this will depend on the availability of seats. In some ports we have Shore Trips vehicles available for ad hoc tour requests on the day, but these can not be guaranteed. It is recommended that you contact us at least one day prior and we will endeavor to arrange a tour for you, but to be sure you can join the tour of choice we do advise booking before the cruise begins.
Can I get my Travel Agent to make my tour bookings ?
Yes, we are happy to work with all accredited Travel Agents, just give them our contact details and the tours you are interested in and we will liaise with the agent.
Are your Shore Trips Tours cheaper than tours booked on the ship ?
In most cases our tours are better value than tours booked through the ship. We achieve this by working directly with the tour company providing the tour [often ourselves], cutting out the middle men who mark up tour charges considerably. Tours booked on board the cruise ship are often provided for large groups, traveling on 50 seat coaches, whereas most of our tours are small personal groups of 12 or less persons, allowing you to receive more personal service, visit destinations large groups can not and see and do more in your time ashore. Check out web sites such as Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor for references and recommendations by other satisfied customers.
Can I pay for my tour on the day ?
No, tours must be paid for in full to confirm a booking. There is a cut of time of 48 hours prior to a tour, after which online bookings are no longer accepted. In such cases you can call the office and we can try to assist [NZ office hours 9am to 5pm daily] or email us. There may be cases where additional persons can be accommodated on the day, in such situations payment will be required in local currency or by credit card, but we can not guarantee availability.
Some tours have a box saying book now. What does that mean ?
Tours with "instant booking" in pink next to the "read more" button, means that you can book this item immediately and make a direct payment. Tours that do not have this need to be enquired about first. This means that the supplier will be sent your booking request and they can then accept or decline your booking request. If they decline the request it could be that there are no places available or that the tour is not operating on the day you want.
When I request a tour it will not let me make a payment for it. Why ?
This is because the tour is an "enquire" type of tour, only when the supplier has accepted the request and the database is updated to show the tour has been "reserved" will you be able to pay for the tour. Your "Show Bookings" screen in your "My Cruise" account will show you the total value of any tours or other items which are in the various stages of processing, these are: "enquired" [awaiting the supplier to confirm availability] "reserved" [confirmed by the supplier as available and spaces reserved for you] "paid" [a tour that you have now paid for and is awaiting confirmation by the supplier] "confirmed" [the tour is now fully confirmed and you can now print off your booking voucher] "expired" [this shows that one of the steps in the above sequence has over run its allowed time. In these cases you will need to submit a new request]
Do children need special child seats on the tour vehicles ?
Yes, in New Zealand and Australia, children up to 7 years of age must travel in a suitable child restraint seat in all self drive rental vehicles and private vehicles. If travelling in a Passenger Service Vehicle, [tour coach or minibus driven by a professional driver] then the use of a suitable child restraint is mandatory but only if one is available.
Some tour start and end times fall outside the ships ETA and ETD, what happens?
For most tour the tour start and end time can be adjusted to suit the ships arrival time [ETA] or its departure time [ETD], as the tours are run just for the cruise ship passengers. Some tour are also run for the general public [such as water based activities] and these tour can not be adjusted so will not be suitable for you. In such cases a warning is given when you try to book these tours and you should contact us for more information. Please note that cruise ships are now changing their ETA and ETD in port more frequently. If in doubt please contact us to confirm in case of last minute changes.
Can I bring food from the ship to have during the tour?
No, this is not permitted and if caught doing so then you run the risk of a large fine. This is the information that the ship must announce each day when you arrive in port:
New Zealand biosecurity regulations prohibit the removal of ships stores from the vessel. Items that cannot be taken off the vessel include:
fresh fruit and vegetables
meat of any kind
prepared meals (including sandwiches)
any other food items
flowers, seeds, or plants
Only commercially-bottled drinking water is permitted to leave the vessel without permission of the MPI quarantine inspector.
Passengers and crew may be asked to present their hand luggage, including backpacks for inspection to the MPI inspectors stationed at the gangway.
For more information see: www.mpi.govt.nz/importing/border-clearance/vessels/arrival-process-steps/cruise-ships-and-passengers/