Carnival to expand Shore-Ex Program, Private Tours and more

By ,   July 14, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

Carnival Cruise Line expanded shore excursion offerings, added customized private tours and new landside experiences, as well as family-friendly enhancements with fun complimentary beachside activities and free tours in select ports for kids under age five.

Carnival’s new options, according to a statement, offer nearly 1,200 unique landside experiences in over 50 ports of call throughout Mexico, Hawaii, Bahamas, the Caribbean, Canada, New England, Central and South America.

The tours include:

Cozumel (‘La Casa en la Playa’). The 5-hour “Tour of the Year” offers a luxury experience that is limited to 30 participants who have access to a beach house with 5-star service for the day, wait staff and personal chef. Participants can learn how to cook Mexican cuisine, make Margaritas and mojitos.

Ocho Rios (‘Eat, Drink & Dance’). The tour is designed to please passengers’ palates through Jamaica’s unique culture, music and food. After tasting spicy samples at traditional jerk hut, passengers can enjoy a meal at Miss T’s Kitchen ( featured on Food Network, Guy Fieri’s Family Vacation). The day goes on with a visit to a bar on the beach where mixologists create Jamaican rum cocktails and ends with spirited reggae dance lessons.

Ocho Rios (‘Jamaican Home for the Day’). This day-long tour offers passengers their own Jamaican home for one day. There they can relax and enjoy home-cooked island lunch.

Cozumel (‘Photo Safari & Beach Expedition’). Over the course of 2 days, the tour starts with a 1-hour photo seminar onboard including tips on camera equipment, photo composition, lighting and more. The following day the tour continues with a visit to a national park and Mexican beaches.

St. Thomas (‘Eat, Drink & Walk’). This “walking culinary/culture tour” starts with a drive through the countryside to St.Peter Mountain Great House and Botanical Gardens, home to diverse animal and plant life and an observation level where passengers can see the 15 islands of the Virgin Islands chain. Guests can try 24 different island rums and learn how to make banana daiquiri and island-inspired food.

New Family-Friendly Tours:

Carnival offers new “family friendly” shore excursions in ports throughout the Bahamas, Mexico and Caribbean, with tours providing parents the ultimate in value, convenience and flexibility. Kids age 5 and under receive complimentary beach excursions with the paid tour of their parents. Sample excursions include:

Freeport (‘Family Beach Escape’). This tour is designed with all-ages appeal and begins with a ride to a breathtaking resort close to the beach. Kids can enjoy activities, such as treasure hunts, face-painting and sandcastle-making competitions, while parents relax under oversized umbrellas with a cool tropical drink. Lunch is included.

Cozumel (‘Island Beach Escape for Families by Power Catamaran’). After a power catamaran ride, guests arrive at Passion Island, which offers clear turquoise waters and white-sand beaches along with full resort facilities. Passengers of all ages can enjoy water trampolines, pedal boats and volleyball, while kids play in their own special beachside area. A Mexican-style buffet is included in the price.

Nassau (‘Family Treasure Hunt with Lunch at Blue Lagoon’). Participants will have to discover hidden treasures and answer trivia questions to win the Pirate’s Bounty. Then, families can soak up the sun and enjoy a grilled lunch at Blue Lagoon Island, a top destination in The Bahamas.

Montego Bay (‘All Inclusive Family Beach Resort Getaway’). This tour is hosted at the Seawinds Beach Club inspired by the Mediterranean. It includes lively entertainment and a complimentary buffet lunch. Families can enjoy fun water sports like snorkeling and kayaking.

Valued-Added Options

For those seeking a more authentic experience, there are unique private tours operated via motor coaches, yachts, even helicopters taking passengers on off-the-beaten-path excursions. These options showcase non-traditional sites typically not available to others, all under the guidance of experienced locals.

With Carnival’s new ‘on-board lounge tour dispatch system’, tours depart from a shipboard venue astour operators come onboard to meet shore excursion participants. Carnival Cruise Line is the only operator in the Caribbean with local tour operators involved with the enhanced service option.

Programs and Offerings

All of the new offerings complement Carnival’s Shore Excursion Best Price Guarantee. It is the only one of its kind in industry providing a 110% refund in the form of shipboard credit should clients find a better price on similar tours.

Each of the 24 ships of Carnival also offers a shore excursion desk with experienced staff members to answer any questions passengers may have and recommend particular tours. The shore excursion section of Carnival’s web site has been revamped to include enhanced navigation, a greater variety of videos and photos, and on-line reservations for desktop and mobile devices. Guest-written reviews of the options ashore are also available.