Tours offered by the major cruise lines are, for the most part, a very easy way to visit places we normally would not have an opportunity to experience.

However, we must use common sense when selecting tours offered by the ocean cruise lines. One very important question to ask ourselves is: Is the activity I am contemplating beyond my physical limitations? For example, if the activity involves strenuous walking, or climbing long flights of stairs, stay away from that particular tour unless you are physically able to do it.

The second issue to consider is to apply a liberal dose of common sense to what the tour operator is advertising. On a recent ocean cruise, we were told repeatedly that it was near impossible to venture out on our own because there was no transportation available from the cruise terminal to the city we were about to visit. Much to our surprise, we could see the famous Hop On/Hop Off buses right from our balcony, and a stop was right by the entrance to the terminal.

Another time, we were advised by the cruise office that upon reaching a particular port, all passengers had to debark the ship, but those continuing on the next cruise would not be allowed to exit the terminal due to customs regulations. This did not make sense to us, and upon arrival at this port, we encountered lots of locals passing out maps of the city and literature for anyone wishing to walk to the city from the port. At the very entrance to the port, the gracious security personnel pointed the way into the city, just two blocks away!

So, it is imperative that we apply common sense to everything we are told by the cruise lines and tour operators. If it does not make sense, it is probably better to investigate other methods of exploring the places on your own!