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Do cruise lines offer ship visits or experience days?

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I’m just trying to research whether or not some cruise lines give people the chance to visit their ships for the day. I’ve read a few comments on here and on other sites where people have mentioned that they have “visited” ships before for a look around. Is this an option to do? If so can anyone offer any advice on which cruise lines do this? It would be great to be able to view a cruise line before actually booking just to see what it is like on board before spending a large sum of money.

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Yes a few cruise lines do offer experience days where the public can get the chance to go on board and enjoy lunch and get a tour of the ship where can view cabins, pools, bars, lounges etc. P&O Cruises charge £25 for this and they also offer Family Days so you can bring the family on board for the day to get a taste before booking your family cruise. I also believe that Holland America, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Saga also offer something like this (?), though I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

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I have cruised with quite a few lines now and I never knew that they did this. I always thought it was just company officials and agents that were given the opportunities to visit the ships, especially at the time of new ships being launched. I often see a few comments on here where people have mentioned "visiting" a ship so perhaps that's what they were talking about.

Has anyone done one of these? Are they worth doing or is it a bit much to see and do in one day?

Where did you find that information from Seven Seas?

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I always thought they were for agents up until recently. I found the information in regards to P&O Cruises' tasters days over on their site here. It seems that Saga charge £26 for their taster days which also include lunch. They've currently got taster days on offer for Saga Sapphire in Dover and Southampton according to their website http://travel.saga.co.uk/cruises/ocean-cruises-with-saga/ship-taster-days.aspx

Edited by The Seven Seas

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Yes, many of the cruise lines do and at various ports around the country although to be fair they are mainly at Southampton and also Dover, which is where I co-hosted a party of 80 just over a week ago on Saga Sapphire. My next two are Celebrity Eclipse on the 4th June followed by Crystal Symphony on the 10th. It's a case of knowing where to find them and they get booked up very quickly. They also vary in cost with Cunard being the most expensive, at least they were last year. As I am sure everyone appreciates it would be wrong for me to advertise the company that do this as whilst they are not another forum and don't sell anything they are involved in the travel industry.

Edited by Oldworldtraveller

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My son is taking my husband & I on RCI 's Navigator of the Seas for my husbands 70th birthday on 12th May and we were desperately trying to get my daughter on board for a pre-cruise drink/celebration as she is unable to join us on the trip. Even though he has travelled  many times with RCI (as have we with Cunard & others including RCI)  again, as has happened before when we have tried to get someone on board pre cruise, our pleading letters have not even been answered by any of the cruise lines let alone allowed this! Where are we going wrong Oldworldtraveller we have been cruising since 1997 beginning to get a complex about being ignored??!!  We have even had massive problems finding somewhere where my family can even wave us off,  can you share your secrets please, even though this time I fear again we are too late?

 

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6 hours ago, Nimrod said:

My son is taking my husband & I on RCI 's Navigator of the Seas for my husbands 70th birthday on 12th May and we were desperately trying to get my daughter on board for a pre-cruise drink/celebration as she is unable to join us on the trip. Even though he has travelled  many times with RCI (as have we with Cunard & others including RCI)  again, as has happened before when we have tried to get someone on board pre cruise, our pleading letters have not even been answered by any of the cruise lines let alone allowed this! Where are we going wrong Oldworldtraveller we have been cruising since 1997 beginning to get a complex about being ignored??!!  We have even had massive problems finding somewhere where my family can even wave us off,  can you share your secrets please, even though this time I fear again we are too late?

 

None of the major cruise lines allow casual visitors  ,mainly I would think for security reasons,and the amount of work and cost involved ensuring they leave the ship? But Lots have ships Visits which are not free Well worth checking there web sites to see whats available...Davybe.

PS The Mayfair park in Southampton  near the gate is a good point to see ship's leaving?

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Thanks  Daveybe, wasn't aware of these actual ships visits until I'd seen the above blogs. Sadly I'm still living in the age of P&O's Canberra days and the Posh club where you were always given the opportunity to visit new ships to their fleet, could wave goodbye on the quayside with brass bands and streamers  every cruise and less security. Looks like I'm going to have to stop living on my happy memories and "get real" to how it is today, so sad though!!

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We were fortunate enough to win a magazine competition to go on one of the Princess boats whilst docked in Southampton. One of those lucky times when we happened to be down south visiting rather than in our Leeds home when it came up. Had a great day with free cocktails, entertainment and speciality restaurant meal with unlimited wine too. We also got $100 vouchers foe future onboard spending if we book a cruise with them so it would be rude not to :-). Fantastic tour of the ship including all cabin classes which allowed you to fantasise and galley kitchens with samples too. I hadn`t realised you could buy such experiences though.

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11 hours ago, Nimrod said:

My son is taking my husband & I on RCI 's Navigator of the Seas for my husbands 70th birthday on 12th May and we were desperately trying to get my daughter on board for a pre-cruise drink/celebration as she is unable to join us on the trip. Even though he has travelled  many times with RCI (as have we with Cunard & others including RCI)  again, as has happened before when we have tried to get someone on board pre cruise, our pleading letters have not even been answered by any of the cruise lines let alone allowed this! Where are we going wrong Oldworldtraveller we have been cruising since 1997 beginning to get a complex about being ignored??!!  We have even had massive problems finding somewhere where my family can even wave us off,  can you share your secrets please, even though this time I fear again we are too late?

 

Hi Nimrod,

I sympathise with you but the cruise lines no longer allow friends on board for a farewell drink. The days of hearing over the tannoy system ""All ashore thats going ashore" are long gone.  The world has changed and security now is paramount. 

There are however places to be waved off from. In Southampton there are various vantage points such as Mayflower Park and Town Quay.  At Harwich you can get almost along side the ship and Dover you can get close to both terminals 1 & 2. Not sure about Liverpool  because everything is being changed there.

Hope this helps

OWT

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It's a great shame that such visits are no longer possible as we've met up with friends in port before that have never cruised and would have loved to have took them on board for a drink. Sadly, it is the way of the world and we cannot fault the cruise lines for doing their utmost to keep us all safe and secure.

I hope you find a solution Nimrod, I'm sure it would be lovely for your husband to have your daughter with you.

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18 hours ago, Oldworldtraveller said:

Yes, many of the cruise lines do and at various ports around the country although to be fair they are mainly at Southampton and also Dover, which is where I co-hosted a party of 80 just over a week ago on Saga Sapphire. My next two are Celebrity Eclipse on the 4th June followed by Crystal Symphony on the 10th. It's a case of knowing where to find them and they get booked up very quickly. They also vary in cost with Cunard being the most expensive, at least they were last year. As I am sure everyone appreciates it would be wrong for me to advertise the company that do this as whilst they are not another forum and don't sell anything they are involved in the travel industry.

Thanks for the info OWT. I understand you not sharing the company involved but it's interesting to know that such events do occur. I wouldn't be overly keen on P&O for example as I've cruised quite a few times with them now and know what to expect, the same applies with Celebrity. I would however look into doing such an opportunity with Cunard, and perhaps even MSC having heard such good feedback on their ships of late. I'd also like to see a few more NCL ships too. It sounds like it would make for a really good day out.

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If you google "Cruise ship visits " a number of sites will web site will appear ,mainly run by Commercial Travel Companies but you may find some run by a cruise line....Davybe 

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10 hours ago, Oldworldtraveller said:

Hi Nimrod,

I sympathise with you but the cruise lines no longer allow friends on board for a farewell drink. The days of hearing over the tannoy system ""All ashore thats going ashore" are long gone.  The world has changed and security now is paramount. 

There are however places to be waved off from. In Southampton there are various vantage points such as Mayflower Park and Town Quay.  At Harwich you can get almost along side the ship and Dover you can get close to both terminals 1 & 2. Not sure about Liverpool  because everything is being changed there.

Hope this helps

OWT

Thank you OWT and Sammy Sun for help and sympathy.  Will try and find this Mayflower Park & Town Quay, unfortunately although Harwich is very near to us it's always Southampton we seem to sail from and it is a hideous journey and we always end up just going straight to the port so don't know Southampton very well. Usually it is our family that drive us there and it is so sad especially when we did our World cruise to see them (especially my young grandchildren) like little dots in the car park only knowing it is us because we are on our mobile phones (which like us are old and not smart!!!)  It was made even more poignant  on that cruise because so many of the ports gave us fantastic send offs with people so close to the ship we were able to talk to them as they waved, in all honesty at no time did I feel security was compromised, but as you so rightly say the world  has changed, and not for the better I feel? Do wonder though if I were  a so called VIP or TV personality/celebrity instead of Mrs Ordinary Passenger my family would  have to wave me off from the car park, especially on  a 70th Birthday?

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Mayflower park is next to the tall Holiday Inn hotel & is assessed by car from the ferry terminal entrance. Ships from Mayflower & City terminals go right past it & it is where lots of people park to watch them. You would probably be able to see your family from the ship but I'm not sure about the other way round unless they used binoculars. If leaving from the other 2 terminals Mayflower would be no good for you.

Edited by 2torts
Missed word

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I have never done one these tours, but my friends have, and had a very enjoyable time they are in a group, have a ship tour, a very good lunch in the main restaurant and also get a goody bag. 

They have to go through security and get a day pas, I understand the charg, can be anything from £40 to £50.ad far as I know they are. Done from a online site, ships visits, I don't know the web site.

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Yes, it is a great idea to visit ships before sailing on them which enables the cruiser to check out things which may not be so obvious. My wife and I have visited ships from RCI, Saga, Holland America, MSC and several of P&O's., although I suppose we are lucky living within reach of Southampton and Dover which is where most visits occur.

As a result of visits we discounted a cruise on MSC 'Opera' as we didn't like the cabin layouts/space, and decided that we weren't keen on 'Oceana's' balconies as they were sheltered and not fully open.

Our favourite visit was in Dover to Oceania's 'Marina' which included a 7 course tasting menu for lunch - fabulous! As a result of this we have been on 2 cruises with Oceania, and not been disappointed. To be fair, this was arranged through an agent (not Bolsover, but no names no pack drill). Main stream lines, P&O in particular, can be booked direct.

It is a great idea for non-cruisers who are dubious about the benefits of a cruise, and of course there will be an incentive to book a cruise on board or shortly thereafter - at least a refund of the cost of the visit, or perhaps £100 discount. In any event, £25 or so is surely a reasonable price to pay for lunch including wine. 

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This is an interesting topic. I wasn't aware such opportunities existed to Jo Public. I'll consider this in the future, when looking at a new cruise line perhaps.

It's not a huge amount of time to spend on board though from what I've read on here. From experience, does it feel a bit rushed? I can just imagine feeling like I was a bit pushed off, prioritised below full paying passengers.

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That's a good point raised CJW. I haven't tried something like this before so I can't comment from experience but if you're a paying guest, which most of these days sound like they are, then surely you will be treated well. I'd imagine they treat you particularly well as they will look at you as potential new passengers so will want to roll the red carpet out in an attempt to impress you. I would expect a few deals to be offered on the day as well, am I right OWT? If they want to have any chance of you booking then they'll need to impress so that wouldn't worry me too much.

I do agree that it's not a lot of time to have on board though. Whether or not you'd be able to get a proper feel of a ship, I don't know but I certainly intend to look out for them now I know they exist.

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6 hours ago, CJW said:

This is an interesting topic. I wasn't aware such opportunities existed to Jo Public. I'll consider this in the future, when looking at a new cruise line perhaps.

It's not a huge amount of time to spend on board though from what I've read on here. From experience, does it feel a bit rushed? I can just imagine feeling like I was a bit pushed off, prioritised below full paying passengers.

Have never found them rushed but it is of course in the hands of the cruise and shore staff. Personally I think you get a good overall feel for the ship and certainly see a lot of it. Surprising how much ground you can cover in a couple of hours. The one I co-hosted on Saga Sapphire last month went like this:

0930 Meet terminal 1 for coffee in the departure lounge.

1015 Through security and board the ship in groups of about 15.

1030 Guided tour of the ship to include cabins, lounge and entertainment areas, pool and spa areas and dining areas other than main restaurant.

1230 Lunch in the main restaurant. (4 courses with choice of wine)

1430 Disembark the ship.

Yes sammy sun, quite often members of the sales teams complete with offers will speak with you. 

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On ‎4‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 6:05 PM, Nimrod said:

My son is taking my husband & I on RCI 's Navigator of the Seas for my husbands 70th birthday on 12th May and we were desperately trying to get my daughter on board for a pre-cruise drink/celebration as she is unable to join us on the trip. Even though he has travelled  many times with RCI (as have we with Cunard & others including RCI)  again, as has happened before when we have tried to get someone on board pre cruise, our pleading letters have not even been answered by any of the cruise lines let alone allowed this! Where are we going wrong Oldworldtraveller we have been cruising since 1997 beginning to get a complex about being ignored??!!  We have even had massive problems finding somewhere where my family can even wave us off,  can you share your secrets please, even though this time I fear again we are too late?

 

The days of visit for a day while in port for family or interested are gone. It I better to contact your Travel Agent or major cruise forum  admin to see what might be available. Cruise lines will take a Travel Agent(S)  or major group  for a day tour of the ship and provide a lunch. The issue is to do with security and ensuring the guests have left the ship . At times they will provide a meet and greet

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