The cruise lines make it very easy to book directly through them. However, there are typically trade-offs. A tour booked directly through the cruise line will typically accommodate hundreds of guests. Youíll be broken into groups and begin your tour.
The downside of this is that youíll almost never deal with the owner of the company providing the tour and the quality of the tour is in many cases largely dependent on the quality of your guide. And unfortunately when comparing tour experiences with fellow passengers itís not uncommon to find some had a fantastic experience while others much less so. Itís hard to maintain high level of quality when processing large volumes of passengers.
Youíll rarely know the name to the company that provided your tour Ė even after youíve taken the tour.
Independent shore excursion providers typically are small business owners that deal with a small number of cruise ship passengers. More often than not youíll be dealing directly with the owner. And because youíre dealing directly with the company (rather than a nameless provider through cruise line) the excursion company is focused on providing you the best possibly experience.
The links below will get you started: