When you go on a cruise ship you will have options for excursions at the ports you visit. There are a variety available directly through the ship and there are also independent shore excursions.
I used to think it wasn’t worth it to book through the cruise ship because the excursions are typically more expensive than the independent shore excursions.
But I’ve gone on a bunch of each and I’ve realized I feel a whole lot more comfortable in a foreign country when the transportation and other variables are vetted by the cruise line.
I’ve gone on some independent shore excursions where we ended up in vans and were given high pressure upsells and it was a pretty uncomfortable environment. Also, these excursions often had lots of hidden fees.
In my experience, the cruise sponsored excursions have been straightforward about the price. Here is an example of a recent one I went on in Progreso, Mexico.
In this case, the excursion was to a private beach for Carnival and the price included the nice buses, food, drinks, chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, etc.
When I’ve gone to similar spots through independent groups everything was an upcharge and the beach clubs were public and not much cheaper.
In the end, you should do your research and decide what you think you’ll like best, but I’ve been converted to a cruise line excursion guy.