As much as we love cruising as an easy way to see new ports, we also love to see those ports away from the 3000 other people onboard the ship. With that in mind, I began looking for a more independent shore excursion option. In the past, we have booked our own shore excursions with local companies, and we have also booked through the cruise line. Both options have drawbacks, though, so I was hoping to find a middle ground that would offer the best of both worlds. Ideally, I wanted to find something that offered the convenience of booking an all-inclusive excursion, but the flexibility and variety offered in an independent tour. Basically, I wanted to call the shots, I didn’t want to feel like I was on a cattle car tour, and I wanted to wade past the typical tourist options and find something unique. Enter Triptelligent
How Triptelligent Works
Triptelligent is a shore excursion marketplace that connects cruise line passengers with local tour operators. Think of it as the Etsy of shore excursions. Triptelligent provides the online interface to allow tour companies to connect with passengers without the cruise line taking a cut in the middle. Statistically, that allows the tours to offer up to a 30% discount to passengers, and those passengers can feel good about sending their dollars more directly into the local economy.
Triptelligent has an easy to use interface that allows guests to pop in their ship and cruise date to generate a list of shore excursions available in each port. Booking is simple and comes with a less/more promise. You get more variety, with fewer crowds, and lower cost. Triptelligent also promises that there are no hidden fees and they will get you back to the ship on time.
Our Triptelligent Experience
Our first port of call on a recent cruise was the island of Roatan of the coast of Honduras. I knew very little about the island and the research that I did turned up only cruise line shore excursion options. As a way of researching options, I popped on Triptelligent to see what might be available. At first I saw some offerings that were similar to the cruise line, but I was pleased to see that the cost was lower. It was also helpful to see the number of passengers that would be allowed on each tour, so that I could be sure I wouldn’t be traveling with a huge group.
Of course, I wasn’t looking for the standard offerings-that’s why I had come to Triptelligent. They did all the legwork for me by flagging the unique experiences that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Their prices were reasonable enough that I almost booked a private island tour, but a secluded island getaway to Little French Key caught my eye and I couldn’t go back. Before my Triptelligent search, I had never heard of what would become my favorite place in the entire Caribbean.
I booked the reservation through the secure website and received a confirmation with instructions for how to meet our tour once we were in port. I appreciated that the instructions included the name of the tour company and the operator, so that I could be sure I was meeting the right guide. I also appreciated the option to pay online rather than carrying a large amount of cash into port. Once in port, our local guide met us and took us from the cruise pier to our island paradise. Everything from start to finish was smooth and easy.
At the end of the day, our guide returned us to the cruise pier and we both had offered sincere gratitude to the other. He was grateful to be able to connect with us, and we were grateful to have experienced a unique and memorable look at the culture of Roatan. As cheesy as it sounds, it never would have happened without Triptelligent.