Last updated: 12:09 PM ET, Fri August 28 2015

Make the Most Out of Your Vacation With ShoreTrips

Tour Operator | ShoreTrips | Janeen Christoff | August 25, 2015

Make the Most Out of Your Vacation With ShoreTrips

PHOTO: A visit to Stingray City with ShoreTrips.


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If you are looking for a unique way to experience the ports on your next cruise – or a way to enjoy a cruise port that you are visiting on vacation, ShoreTrips offers some unique opportunities. The company creates shore excursions and activities in 420 cruise ship ports of call and 180 cities throughout the world.

“Though we got our start creating quality shore excursions for cruisers, anyone traveling to one of our tour destination cities can enjoy one of our tours,” says marketing manager Heather Dorsey. “You don't need to be taking a cruise to book with our tour operators.”

ShoreTrips offers a wide variety of excursions.

“We do historic city tours, food tours, winery tours, ecotours, kayaking, whale watching, helicopter glacier tours, biking, hiking, whitewater rapids, fishing and more,” says Dorsey.

The company prides itself on having unique, distinctive tours such as ring-side seats at Thai boxing, cooking demonstrations, Vietnam war tunnels tours, flightseeing tours, misty fjords, bear-viewing, canopy zipline tours, private crab catch. The variety, depth and breadth of the product is impressive. To see for yourself, visit ShoreTrips website and choose your destination.

Taking a ShoreTrip

While cruise lines also offer a wide variety of excursions themselves, what ShoreTrips owners Barry and Julie Karp have put together is special.

“What makes us unique is that the Karps personally vet every tour,” says Dorsey. “We don't operate like some other travel companies who may just search online to select their tour operators. We personally meet every operator, take their tours, make sure they exceed our expectations for quality and professionalism.”

Another thing that sets ShoreTrips apart is that they don’t work in conjunction with the cruise lines.

“We offer completely separate shore excursions,” says Dorsey. “However, we ensure that our tour operators do have good relationships with the harbor masters to ensure that our guests always make it back to the ship on time. If there are any unforeseen circumstances, our operators are using their relationships to connect with and work with those in authority to ensure that no one is ever left behind. We move approximately 500,000 cruise passengers a year, with very few complaints, but rather high praise from vacationers who didn't realize there were better, more enjoyable tours than those tours offered by the cruise lines.”

Another reason ShoreTrips receives high praise is its customer service.

“You can talk to a friendly, knowledgeable ShoreTrips excursion coordinator 24/7,” says Dorsey. “We have regular business hours seven days a week and an agent on-call for off hours. That means if someone is in Cambodia and losers their tour voucher, they have someone to turn to and get help.”

ShoreTrips team is also on top of cruise schedules and is adept at responding to changes.

“If a cruise changes its itinerary, or port times change, there is someone on our end who will rearrange details to ensure our customers are completely satisfied,” said Dorsey.

Here is one testimonial showcasing how ShoreTrips navigates these types of hurdles:

“When we got onboard our ship, they changed the itinerary due to Tropical Storm Ana. I called ShoreTrips and, over the phone they switched everything so we could still get to all our excursions even though the port days were changed. A while later, the ship changed back the itinerary to the original itinerary, so I had to call ShoreTrips again. Both times, ShoreTrips was so wonderful over the phone, and all our excursions went without a hitch. Much easier than the long lines we had to wait in onboard to change the two excursions we had booked with them,” said a passenger in St. Kitts.

Dorsey also stresses that guests do not have to be on a cruise to enjoy one of ShoreTrips excursions.

“One of the things I'd like readers to know is that travelers don't actually have to take a cruise to take one of our trips,” said Dorsey. “Someone could absolutely book our excursions first and then weave their vacation around it.”

Dorsey does recommend planning ahead.

“Most people taking a cruise are looking for excursions after they have booked their sailing,” she says. “It definitely makes sense to plan ahead, especially someplace such as in Alaska where tours can and do get filled up.”

Dorsey also suggests that travelers book with a travel agent.

“Having agents book your ShoreTrip for you means that you can tap into their knowledge and expertise in an area,” she says. “Travel agents know what may be the best thing to do with the limited time in a port versus searching the Internet or making an educated guess.”

While Dorsey says that it is hard to single out one tour that is the best, she did note that the tour operator is offering a special on excursions in the Western Caribbean and she said that ShoreTrips' stingray tour is one of its most popular in the region.

“Our Stingray City tours are some of our most popular tours,” she says. “It is the same Stingray City all the other tours go to, but in a much better way. We use Cabin Cruisers rather than the big 100-person barges the cruise ships use. We anchor away from the crowds and, typically after they've left, to give our guests a more natural, authentic experience.

For more information on ShoreTrips or the booking deal, visit ShoreTrips.

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