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Phuket Shore Excursions, Day Tours & Trips from Cruise Port Terminal

Phuket is the second biggest island in Thailand surrounded by 36 smaller islands, just 862km away from Bangkok. This is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Thailand which attracts millions of visitors each year mostly coming to enjoy a peaceful vacation. Therefore, it attracts a large number of international tourists with numerous recreational activities, ecotourism, and sports. Known as the “pearl of Thailand”, Phuket shore excursions promise to bring wonderful experience and discover this incredible place:

Amazing scenery of bays and Phuket island, clean blue sea and white sand beaches stretching under lush green coconuts Ideal for underwater activities such as swimming, sailing, and diving Explore the abundant marine life in Phuket with sparkling coral reefs Phuket Recreation Center stages many dances and music. Especially, elephants and tigers performances, as well as the “Fantasea” show Various shopping centers selling traditional handicrafts, silk clothing, lacquerware, pearls, jewelry and antiques, all at reasonable prices

Do not miss any of the highlights of Phuket day tours with Shore Excursions Asia . Please contact us to get the best Phuket shore excursions .

Big Buddha of Phuket - Phuket shore excursions

Phuket City Tour

  • Duration: 6 Hours
  • Pick-up/Drop-off:  Phuket port/Phuket port
  • Highlights:   Big Buddha of Phuket, Karon Viewpoint, Chaithararam Temple (Wat Chalong), Phromthep view point, Phuket Old Town
  • Tour Customizable:  Absolutely! (Tell us your specific requirements in the inquiry form)

Panorama of Phuket - Phuket shore excursions

Panorama of Phuket

  • Duration:  8 Hours
  • Pick-up/Drop-off: Phuket port/Phuket port
  • Highlights: Phuket motor coach tour, Cashew Nut Factory, Two Heroines Monument, Wat Chalong Temple, Phuket Beaches

The Best of Phuket

The Best of Phuket

  • Highlights: Wat Chalong Temple, Hanuman World, Jungceylon shopping mall, Big Buddha

Phuket Sightseeing Tour

Phuket Sightseeing Tour

  • Duration:  8 hours
  • Pick-up/Drop-off: Phuket Port/Phuket Port
  • Highlights: the Karon View Point, Promthep Cape, Wat Chalong Temple, Thavorn Museum, Thai Hua Museum

Phuket Sea Cave - Phuket shore excursions

Phuket Sea Cave Canoe Adventure

  • Duration:  1 Day
  • Pick-up/Drop-off: Phuket Port
  • Highlights: Phang Nga Bay National Park - Thai-style lunch - Cashew Nut Factory

Snorkeling Tour at Koh Hae -Phuket shore excursions

Phuket Snorkeling Tour at Koh Hae

  • Highlights: Koh Hae snorkeling tour

Snorkeling in Phi Phi Islands - Phuket shore excursions

Island Hopping & Snorkeling at Phi Phi Island

  • Pick-up/Drop-off: Phi Phi Islands
  • Highlights: Bamboo Island - Shark Watch Tour

Phuket zip-line - Phuket shore excursions

Phuket Tarzan Adventure

  • Duration:  1 Day
  • Pick-up/Drop-off: Phuket
  • Highlights: Playing zip-line

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Phang nga bay.

Phang Nga Bay - Phuket shore excursions

Phuket Big Buddha

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Phuket Old Town - Phuket shore excursions

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Karon View Point - Phuket shore excursions

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Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Phang Nga Bay Phuket Excursion | Tour & Video Review

Picking a shore excursion that fits your personality is the most important criteria I think.  Luckily the Phang Nga Bay boat ride and islands tour seemed just up my alley, and the ONLY excursion that could have made me leave the comfort of my fabulous Mariner of the Seas Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand cruise to head onto shore and into a bus full of other guests!   If you’re looking for the best Royal Caribbean excursion during your cruise, come explore Khao Ping Kan (James Bond Island) and the Ko Panyi Muslim over-water village with me.

I had a wonderfully fun time, made even better by the company of my new friends Joanie, Barbara, and John (thanks again for adopting me!)

Things to know + Tips on Phang Nga Bay Excursion

  • The bus ride is actually 2 hours long, not 1.5 hours
  • You should wear sunscreen even when it’s overcast and you’re on the boat.  I was a bit burnt at the end of the trip and it hadn’t occurred to me to protect myself sadly
  • The Muslim village of Ko Panyi has some fabulous shopping, so don’t do what I did come out without cash.  There was a dress there I would have loved to buy!
  • Don’t be afraid to head up to the front of the boat to capture the best photos and videos with that colourful ‘v’ from the front of the boat, those are my favourite pics and images from the day
  • The queue is pretty crazy once you arrive back to Phuket to catch the tender so don’t miss the chance to use the loo after leaving the boat but before hopping on the bus (we didn’t and I personally really regretted it!)

Connect with Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Singapore season kicked off on October 17th, first on Mariner of the Seas with 41 sailings of 3 to 10 nights to popular destinations in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China till March 2017. Personally, I really want to go on the Salsa Cruise this December and their 2nd Cosfest Sea Cruise next February, which has to be an absolute BLAST.

For more information, visit the website for Mariner of the Seas by Royal Caribbean.

XOXO Angela

© 2016, Angela Carson and LuxuryBucketList.com. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

I am Angela, a location independent single mom from California (AngelaCarson on YouTube). At 21, I dropped out of uni to travel Mexico solo. I’ve explored 37 countries, living in Spain and India with my daughter, then China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and currently Indonesia as an empty nester. For more, check out the About Me page.

Find me on: Web

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Phuket Travel Guide: Making the Most of Your Day Trip in 11 Hours

royal caribbean phuket excursions

Exclusive to TTI readers: From now till 30th September 2018, book a 4-night Port Klang & Phuket Cruise at only S$399*. Applicable sailing dates: Nov 5 , Nov 12 , and Nov 19 . Promo code and other details below!

Roughly the same size as Singapore, Phuket is home to three-wheeled tuk-tuks, hills that are waiting to be explored and white sand beaches that offer fun water activities like snorkelling and parasailing.

While most people spend a couple of days here, this Phuket travel guide is written for those who wish to experience the best of Phuket with a limited time.

For us, we had 11 hours on land from our  5D4N Phuket and Penang Royal Caribbean Cruise . While Royal Caribbean Cruise Line provides  numerous shore excursion packages , we decided to take things into our own hands.

Read till the end for an ideal one-day itinerary for those here from the cruise!

Phuket Essentials

Phuket's Beach - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Getting around : Tuk-tuks are great for travelling short distances and usually cost between ฿100 – ฿400 (S$4.20 – S$16.80). If you’re travelling with limited time, we’d highly recommend  hiring a private driver in Phuket for 8 – 12 hours starting from S$90. You can plan your own itinerary or if you’re not the type to plan, these friendly drivers will be more than willing to offer recommendations!

Connectivity:  If you’re one who needs to be connected, even if it’s for a day, purchase your SIM Card  (S$5.99) at least 2 days before you board the cruise!

In your day bag: For those disembarking your cruise, don’t forget to bring an extra set of clothes, swimwear, a mat and towel for the activities you’re about to do!

Things to Do in Phuket

Zip line adventure with flying hanuman.

Flying Hanuman-RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Begin your day trip in Phuket with an exhilarating  zip-lining  experience with the 16 or 28 platform route.

The adrenaline will rush through your body as you cross sky bridges to abseil and zip line across this natural rainforest at  Flying Hanuman . The views are breath-taking, that is if the zip-line hasn’t taken it away already!

Flying Hanuman 3-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Lockers are provided before the flight and the experience will be led by 2 hilarious guides who will ensure your safety and welfare throughout. Don’t forget to pick up your Flying Hanuman complimentary shirt at the end of your adventure too!

The package also includes a delicious Thai-style lunch served after your adventure — choose between the Chicken or Seafood Phad Thai, both come with a fruit platter!

Cost: S$66.69 Opening Hours:  8AM – 5PM daily Address:  89/16 Moo 6, Soi Namtok Kathu, Wichitsongkram Road, Kathu, Kathu, Phuket 83120, Thailand

*Pro-Tip: Make your trek uphill easier by wearing sandals or shoes. You get to avoid worrying about losing your flip-flops too!

Explore an Upside Down House

Baan Teelanka-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Baan Teelanka is the perfect place to get creative with poses as you play around with the furniture in this upside down house.

Inside Baan Teelanka-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Mind-boggle your friends when you upload pictures of yourself with everything around you hanging from the ceiling! The staff will even help you get creative with your poses and get the right angles!

Entrance Fee:  S$14 Opening Hours:  10AM – 6PM Daily Address:  Baan teelanka, Koh Keaw, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Head to the Khai Islands for your  half-day 3 islands excursion tour . Alternatively, contact  Khai Island Travel  for a more private guide around the Khai Islands. Both provide speedboats that whisk you away to island-hop for the next 5 hours!

Speedboat - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

A guide will be present to bring you around. Refreshments are provided too!

Khai Nai Island

Khai Nai Island Sign - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Plenty of fresh seafood awaits you here at Khai Nai Island. Most people stop at Khai Nai Island for lunch and we can see, uh I mean, smell why! The smell of meats wafting through the area was insane, we couldn’t resist buying some despite arriving on a freshly filled lunch belly.

Khai Nai's Food Market - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Walk around, buy fresh seafood off the grill and head to any of the beach chairs that have peppered the white sandy beaches to enjoy your afternoon snacks.

Sitting at Khai Nai - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Khai Nui Island

Snorkeling at Khai Nui - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Snorkel amongst the rainbow tropical marine life and colourful reefs at Khao Nui. This is the ideal place for beginner swimmers and children as the waters are shallower.

Island Hopping Snorkeling-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Life vests and snorkelling gear are provided on the boat as well.

Khai Nok Island

Khai Nok - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Bathe in the sun on yet another sandy white beach or participate in even more water activities available here in the clear waters.

Water Sports at Banana Beach 

Banana Boating at Banana Beach-Phuket Day Trip Guide

An adrenaline junkie’s paradise, Banana Beach is a must for its wide variety of water activities like riding a banana boat (S$30), sea walking (S$62.50), scuba diving (S$62.5) and even parasailing (S$48) !

Cost: From S$30 Opening Hours:  10AM – 4PM Daily How To Get There:  Head to Ao Chalong Pier to take a 15-minute Speedboat ride to Banana Beach

Wat Chalong (Temple)

Wat Chalong-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Built in the 19th century, Wat Chalong is the oldest and most respected temple in Phuket. If you only have time for one temple to visit in Phuket, this is it.

For the best views, take the climb to the top tower. It will be worth it!

Note, do wear clothes that cover your shoulders, legs, chest, and stomach as a sign of respect. Avoid wearing expensive shoes to reduce the risk of theft as you might have to remove them when entering the halls.

Entrance Fee:  Free Opening Hours:  7AM – 5PM Daily Address:  70 หมู่ที่ 6 Chao Fah Tawan Tok Rd, Tambon Chalong, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83130, Thailand

*Pro-Tip:  Arrive early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid tour groups. They usually arrive at 10AM – 12PM.

What to Eat and Drink in Phuket

Tamachart restaurant.

Tamachart Restaurant-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Highly raved amongst locals and expats,  Tamachart Restaurant  is the place to go if you’re looking for authentic local cuisine at reasonable prices. An array of dishes are served in a cosy but spacious treehouse, and cost around ฿120 or S$5 per dish on average.

Cost: Average of ฿120 or S$5/dish  Opening Hours:  10.30AM – 11.30PM Location: 62/5 Soi Phutorn, Phuket Town

The Phad Thai Shop

The Phad Thai Shop-Phuket Day Trip Guide

You can’t leave Thailand without having their signature Phad Thai dish (฿50/S$2)! Portions are huge and come with generous amounts of tofu, vegetables and a choice of shrimp or chicken here at the Phad Thai shop.

Phad Thai-Phuket Day Trip Guide

The Phad Thai Shop also offers noodle soup with beef or chicken if you’re craving for something soupy!

Opening Hours:  8AM – 6 PM Daily; Closed on Fridays Address: Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100, Thailand

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Thailand is the 4th leading producer of sugar canes, and that is why a young French couple decided to set up home in Phuket and founded  Chalong Bay Rum Distillery . This Natural Rum consists of only locally grown sugar cane, leaving out the typical molasses in the production process.

Drinks at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery-Phuket Day Trip Guide

This distillery provides hourly guided tours from 2PM to 6PM daily in English, French, and Thai. Included at the end of the 30-minute tour is a complimentary glass of cocktail mixed with their own rum!

Guided Tour Cost: ฿450 (S$18.50) Opening Hours:  11AM – 10PM Address:  14/2 Moo 2, Palai soi 2, Tambon Chalong, Amphur Muang Phuket, Phuket 83130, Thailand

Kopitiam-Phuket Day Trip Guide

If you’re like me, eager to taste people’s take on Singaporean food whilst overseas, head on down to Kopitiam ! This is perfect for the cruisers who are missing your local Singaporean food too.

Owned by the Bumrungwong family, the menu has a variety of Thai-Chinese cuisine like Phuket Style Grilled Pork, Singaporean favourites like Char Kway Teow, Hokkien Mee and Bak Kut Teh as well as authentic Thai dishes like Tom Yum Koong.

Cost:  ฿105 – 145 (S$4.30 – 6)/dish Opening Hours: 11AM – 5PM, 6.30PM – 9PM Daily Address:  14 & 18 Talang R., Phuket Old Town, Muang Phuket, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Our Phuket Day Trip Itinerary — Ideal for Cruisers

9am: dock and meet your driver.

Shuttle Back To Ship - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Depending on the season, the Voyager of the Seas docks at two different ports — Phuket Deep Sea Port (Ao Makham) or Patong Beach. If you’re at the Deep Sea Port, cater 30–40 minutes of buffer time as it takes time for the shuttle boats to leave and reach the ship.

If, like us, you’ve booked the  Flying Hanuman  package as your first activity, make sure to confirm this with the concierge on the cruise beforehand as the driver will need to know where to pick you up.

Alternatively, there are many taxi drivers at the entrance of the port will be available to bring you around. You’d need to bargain a little according to your plans and should cost around ฿1500 (S$60).

*Pro-Tip:  If you’re not in a rush to explore Phuket, we’d recommend scheduling your activities later and waiting an hour to two before disembarking. This way, you’d get to avoid the massive crowds scrambling to explore Phuket the moment the ship docks.

Read Also:   5D4N All-You-Can-Eat-Play-Chill Getaway Guide on the Voyager of the Seas with Royal Caribbean

10AM: Zipline and Lunch at Flying Hanuman

We’d suggest you do the 16 platform route if you wish to cover other activities during your day in phuket. this hour long activity was more than enough to satisfy the adrenaline junkies in us..

One thing great about this package is that lunch is covered and you don’t have to waste time figuring out where to eat!

12.30PM: Island Hopping with the Half-Day 3 Island Excursions Tour

Island Hopping 2-Phuket Day Trip Guide

Get a change in scenery from the suntanning decks of the cruise with this  half-day 3 Islands Excursions Tour .

Island Hopping-Phuket Day Trip Guide

We enjoyed our time laying on the sand with Pina Coladas in hand on one island, snorkelling at another and savouring the fresh seafood at our last. It felt like we accomplished a lot within what few hours we had!

5.30PM: Head Back to Enjoy the Rest of Your Night!

Heading Back-RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

After a whole day of activities, it’s time to head back to the cruise to freshen up for Formal Night.

It might seem early to return back to the ship but you’ll need to factor in travel time, especially if the port is at the Deep Sea Port.

5D4N Penang and Phuket Royal Caribbean Cruise

royal caribbean phuket excursions

Don’t stop at just visiting Phuket! Visit Penang too when you travel with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line on the Voyager of the Seas for 5 days and 4 nights! Get to visit 2 different destinations on top of an All-You-Can-Eat-Play-Chill Getaway Cruise , the most fuss-free way to spend your vacation!

If you enjoyed reading this Phuket Day Trip Guide, check out our Penang or Port Klang day Trip Guide as well! Let us know in the comments below if you have any other recommendations.

Book Your Holiday with Royal Caribbean Now

From 1-25th September 2018, book a 4-Night Port Klang & Phuket Cruise at only $399* exclusive to TTI readers!

Simply select from the following dates:  Nov 5 , Nov 12 , and Nov 19 , select ‘ Balcony ‘, key in < RCTTI > under promo code and enjoy the discounted price of S$399*/pax on your ‘ Spacious Ocean View Balcony ’ rooms!

*Excluding taxes & fees

This post was brought to you by the Royal Caribbean International .

For more travel visuals, follow us on IG @TheTravelIntern . 

A post shared by The Travel Intern (@thetravelintern) on Aug 25, 2017 at 8:03pm PDT

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10 comments.

Very informative post. I have a few questions. When going on excursions and hiring drivers to take you around. Do they usually understand and can communicate in English?So, there will be no issues with communication. Also, since you are travelling to multiple countries, do you have to exchange your currency with that country’s currency or do they take us dollars? And where should you exchange currency if needed? Thank you!

There are many atms and currency exchange places in Phuket but nope they don’t really accept US Dollars. Usually I prefer to have local currency on hand. For the drivers, most only know basic english. We used google translate for tougher instructions and didn’t have much problems.

I have booked a Royal Carribean cruise as well and is planning what actitivities to do in phuket. The half-day 3 Islands Excursions Tour (Klook) mentioned in this post looks interesting. By any chance would you know whether the round-trip transportation provided the in the package can pick up from the pier Royal Carribean cruise dock?

Hi Crizalo! When will you be heading to Phuket? The ship docks at different places depending on the season (due to weather). So if the pick-up point is out of Phuket Town, there may be a surcharge from the operator.

Hi, I have booked a Royal Carribean cruise And is planning to do the half-day 3 Islands Excursions Tour (Klook) mentioned. By any chance would you know whether the round-trip transportation provided the in the package can pick up from the pier Royal Carribean cruise dock? We will be docking in Phuket on 23rd Jan.

yup! They did for this group but do write in to double confirm just before your trip!

For your transpo from the pier is included in your klook purchase?

It depends on the season that you arrive because the docking location is different based off the waves and water levels. There may be a surcharge depending on where the ship docks. You can find out from Royal Caribbean after you have a date in mind!

Hi, I have also booked a Royal Caribbean Cruise to Penang & Phuket. We are travelling in a large group of 10 adults and 4 children. Mostly elderly. Where would you recommend for our group to visit – given that all the adventurous tour will be out of the question.

Hi Kathleen,

You can consider some of these things in our other articles! https://thetravelintern.com/destinations/asia/thailand/phuket/

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' class=

Else go on your own and enjoy beach and around on your own?

' class=

Book a driver online (use search bar at top right) and get a van 12 seater to go wherever you want.

The only catch is that you must ensure you leave enough time to get back to the boat as it will not wait for you

royal caribbean phuket excursions

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royal caribbean phuket excursions

  • Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean Shore Excursions Reviews

trev71

By trev71 , December 20, 2016 in Royal Caribbean International

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3,000+ Club

I remember my last cruise you were able to go on Royal Caribbean official website and log in to book an excursion and be able to read reviews from other guests who took excursions. Did they get rid of that I cant seem to find any

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Cool Cruiser

cruzgryphon

Yes they have gotten rid of that feature which is too bad.

While it's possible to find some reviews on here (cruise critic), having specific reviews of specific excursions was really helpful. Guess they weren't helping the bottom line very much or maybe the excursion companies didn't like seeing the bad reviews that public (those that had bad reviews). It would be interesting to be a fly on the walls of the board rooms where they make those decisions (or maybe in this day and age email servers) :)

Life is Good Cruising

Life is Good Cruising

They took the reviews away.

I noticed they took this away a few months ago. I agree it was very useful, but most activities you can still easily find reviews on Google with this website, TripAdvisor, yelp, etc

luckyprincess

luckyprincess

It's a shame they took them away I agree! I have gone to the ports of call boards and looked for them there and also the website that reviews trips with a little owl logo. I always make sure to do a good review and if I can a linked video review when I go on an excursion and post either here or there.

20,000+ Club

Yes they have gotten rid of that feature which is too bad.   While it's possible to find some reviews on here (cruise critic), having specific reviews of specific excursions was really helpful. Guess they weren't helping the bottom line very much or maybe the excursion companies didn't like seeing the bad reviews that public (those that had bad reviews) . It would be interesting to be a fly on the walls of the board rooms where they make those decisions (or maybe in this day and age email servers) :)

They would not also want to publish bad reviews on the cruise itself. Not surprising in business.

That is too bad. I am pretty avid on Trip advisor, I always want future guests/customers to know my honest thoughts. Out of the 100's reviews I have ever written only 3 have been bad. I also learned you have to take some reviews with a grain of salt.

Ill just have to research my other excursions on here I guess

voyager70

As someone else suggested google the name of the excursion and you can usually find reviews on tripadvisor. Shame they stopped showing reviews on the Royal website - I found them really helpful.

The last few RCCL excursions we have taken were poor. I have decided they are my last resort.

Reviews of the locations or activities but not actually reviews of RCI excursions which is what people may want. Just because an excursion is by A private company doesn't always mean that the tour is superior to one by RCI.

the perfect fit

when we went to book for our family of 11 wde relied on reviews quite a bitwas very disappointed with them being gone we sent a complaint to rcl maybe others should too let them know lot of people miss them

island lady

island lady

Funny though...RCI still has two buttons when you look at each excursion and

related excursion number. One button for reading reviews, and one for posting

a review. It simply takes you to a blank page that says "website not available

DNS server cannot be found"

Bummed out as well, since I always enjoyed reading those very helpful

reviews when trying to select an RCI hosted excursion. Makes me go to

the "other travel websites" and look more closely at independent excursions.

RCI shot themselves in the foot on this one.

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Phuket, Thailand Shore Excursions

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Phuket Shore Excursions Reveal Delightful Secrets

When your cruise to Asia takes you to Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, shore excursions will reveal the island’s best kept secrets, including the locations of some of the world’s best beaches, awe-inspiring sea caves and lagoons, incredibly beautiful temples, and tropical fruits and flowers that are beyond beautiful.  

On popular Phuket shore excursions, travel to the island’s northern tip to journey through Phang Nga Bay National Park, where hundreds of limestone cliffs rise over the sea. Board a hong (sea canoe) to explore sea caves and interior lagoons created by wind and sea over centuries.  

Cruise through the waterscape of Phang Nga Bay National Park and pass those same limestone cliffs en route to James Bond Island, so called due to its role in the Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”. See stilt houses built over the water, and visit a cave temple filled with statues of Buddha.

Island hop on snorkel-and-swim Phuket cruise excursions to some of the island’s best beaches. Travel by speedboat to Ko Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don islands for some of the best snorkeling anywhere. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the impressive karst formations along the way, then spend quality beach time at Bamboo Island, one of Phuket’s most idyllic spots.

If resorts are your style, spend a day at the Centara Grand Beach Resort on secluded Karon Beach from your cruise to Phuket . Enjoy the resort’s many amenities, including adult-only pools with a swim-up cocktail bar. The resort offers secluded areas to stroll the beach, swim in dazzlingly blue waters, or bask in the sun. Kids of all ages can enjoy the waterslides, and there are kid pools and play areas as well.  

See the island’s most important cultural and natural wonders on guided Phuket shore excursions that begin at Promthep Cape on the island’s southern tip for unparalleled views of island, sea, and sky, then on to Big Buddha Temple atop the Nark Kerd Mountain. Visit Chalong Temple, the most revered monastery in Phuket, and Saphan Hin Chinese Shrine, the site of an annual vegetarian festival.

Food lovers will find much to love on a chef’s discovery tour that begins with a trip to Banzaan Fresh Market, where you’ll learn from your Celebrity chef about local fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and how to select the right spices to flavor Thai dishes. Enjoy lunch at a local Thai café, and visit the Cashew Nut Factory. Back on board your ship, you’ll savor a small-group dinner prepared with Phuket-inspired ingredients from the day’s culinary exploration .

Learn More About Celebrity Cruises® Shore Excursions

royal caribbean phuket excursions

How to find a cruise excursion you’ll actually enjoy

Ben Souza has had some unforgettable shore excursions. On a cruise from Singapore to Thailand , he and his wife visited an elephant sanctuary, a high point in their dozen years of cruising. On a Caribbean voyage, he booked a tranquil day at a Bahamas resort. The property turned out to be ratty, with a trash-filled pool and a mediocre beach.

Unlike the animal encounter in Phuket, he wishes he could wipe that outing from his memory.

“If I had been on my own private tour, I could have left and went to a better place to relax,” said Souza, the editor of Cruise Fever who has sailed on 75 ships with 18 cruise lines.

For passengers, the land is as important as the sea. Many travelers choose a voyage based on the ports. However, because shore time is limited, they must be savvy when planning their excursions.

The most convenient option is to sign up for an outing through the cruise ship. The cruise line makes the arrangements and vets the operators, which is especially important in destinations with safety concerns. Onboard credits apply to excursions. In the event of a cancellation or disruption, the cruise line will issue a refund. Most important, the captain will always wait for tour groups to return, even if they arrive past the scheduled departure time.

“Some guests value having the cruise line handle everything,” said Michael Consoli, who owns a travel agency that specializes in cruises. “So they just have to leave their house and come home.”

Booking an excursion with the cruise line comes with disadvantages. If the trip requires a minimum number of guests, the ship will cancel outings that do not meet its quota. Alternately, if too many people sign up, you may feel like a lost lamb in a flock. On a recent Royal Caribbean excursion in St. Kitts, we waited in a broiling parking lot while the guide tried to find us a spot on the packed tour bus. He finally plopped us down on a hard jump seat that blocked the exit.

Excursions organized by cruise lines can also feel like a highly touristy way to see a port destination. During our trip aboard the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise , shore excursions ranged from a $59-per-person beach day, including chair and umbrella reservations, to ethically questionable wildlife experiences like an “Up-Close Encounter” with dolphins.

The cost is also higher than booking with a third-party operator, because cruise lines place a premium on extras. Independent travelers can save 25 to 40 percent on tours they plan themselves, according to Souza. On a Hawaii cruise, he arranged an island adventure that was nearly identical to one offered by the ship, except for the price.

“We all ended up on the same river cruise together. The only difference was we took different buses to get there and everyone who booked through the cruise line paid double,” he said.

Organizing your own excursions has additional benefits, such as greater flexibility, smaller group size, a wider variety of activities and a more personalized experience.

“If you want a truly unique experience while traveling,” said Souza, who organized a side trip to Capri for an upcoming Princess cruise that stops in Naples, “sometimes you just have to do your own thing.”

For advice on planning shore excursions, we spoke with cruising experts and tapped into our own seafaring adventures. Here are our top tips.

1. Book excursions as early as possible

Cruise lines open up reservations weeks or months before the ship’s departure date. Consoli said excursions sell out on luxury cruises that offer free shore activities, such as Regent Seven Seas and Silver Sea. The limited spots also fill up on mega cruise ships with thousands of passengers, such as Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas .

“When you have a ship with 7,000 passengers, it’s going to be harder to get excursions,” he said.

If you change your mind, you can often cancel without penalty, depending on the ship.

You should also plan ahead if you are booking with a local outfitter. Tours and guides can be hard to come by on busy cruise days or during peak travel periods.

2. Stick with cruise lines on complicated outings

When deciding between a ship’s excursion and your own, consider the complexity of the outing. If the adventure involves several modes of transportation or long distances, signing up with the cruise line is the safer bet. On the other hand, if the excursion is close by and straightforward, you can easily make your own arrangements.

“If I was going to Cozumel and I wanted to do the pyramids or ruins on the mainland, I would book a tour through the cruise line because you’re leaving the island and you want to make sure you get back on time,” said Doug Parker, guest host of Cruise News Today . “But in Nassau, where I can see the ships from most places on the island, I would … do something on my own.”

In some countries that require tourist visas, only passengers who are touring with a licensed operator can disembark without the document. Souza discovered this arrangement on a Mediterranean cruise that stopped in Algeria and Tunisia. Consoli said China recently introduced similar restrictions.

3. Research tour options before the cruise

Part of the appeal of cruising is that the company oversees every detail. However, you should still read reviews of excursions posted on Cruise Critic , Tripadvisor or reputable cruise blogs to guide your decisions.

If you strike out on your own, carefully research the guides and operators in your destination, including the ones who solicit business inside the cruise terminal. Check their credentials and ask to see pertinent licenses.

Many cruisers use the same outfitters as landlubbers, such as Viator and Tours by Locals . Shore Excursions is also popular. You may also be able to find your own activities like cooking classes and food tours on Airbnb Experiences .

Parker said some excursions, such as hop-on/hop-off buses, are a set price, regardless of whether you book through the ship or the outfitter. However, if the purveyor has an online promotion, you might save a sliver of money.

If you book your cruise with a travel agency, the agent can also arrange private shore excursions. In addition to overseeing the planning, the adviser provides a safety net and can reschedule or cancel the tour on your behalf. Consoli said some planners, such as himself, do not charge for this service; they earn their commission through the cruise line and tour operators.

4. Look outside the terminal for better prices

Tour operators, rental agencies and taxi drivers hike up prices in cruise terminals. For lower rates, venture a short distance away from the disembarkation point.

If you take a cab to an attraction where taxis seem scarce, arrange a pickup time. Ilana Schattauer, who blogs at Life Well Cruised , recommends hiring the driver for the entire excursion.

“If I was doing something that was a little bit off the beaten path or if I wanted to go to a more secluded beach, I would have the driver stay with me,” she said. “Or I would book a tour where the tour guide and driver stay there.”

During our Margaritaville at Sea sailing, we used Google Maps to find a scooter rental company in Grand Bahama. Around 9 p.m. we called Bullseye Car Rental , a local agency with strong reviews. Despite the late time, owner Raymond Bowe answered on the second ring. He knew our cruise schedule, offered to pick us up and drop us off from port, and gave us clear instructions for where to find him when we docked. The total for the day’s rental: $49, including transfer and helmets — about half the cost of taking the cheapest shore excursion from the cruise line.

5. Ask locals what to do, eat and drink

If you haven’t planned your off-ship day down to the minute, talk to taxi drivers, shop keepers and other locals to get tips. Crew members, who are often familiar with the ports, also are great resources.

In Grand Bahama, Bowe was an invaluable source of intel for how to spend our day. We’d made no plans and instead took Bowe’s suggestions for beaches and restaurants.

That’s how we ended up at Bernie’s Tiki Hu t , where lunch for two — Bahama Mama cocktails and a fresh lobster tail fried on the spot — cost $35. We ate on the beach in front of the tiki shack, then swam in the sea before driving down to Terry’s Conch Salad Stand . Owner Terry Pratt showed us the process of breaking a live conch out of its shell and preparing it into a Bahamian ceviche. It was $11 for a bowl and far better than anything we ate on the ship.

6. Give yourself at least an hour for the return

If you have ever left an airport during a long layover, this rule will sound familiar: Don’t cut it close . Give yourself an hour or two before final boarding time.

“If the ship is sailing at 4, I try to be back at 3,” Parker said.

Schattauer reminds cruisers that in some destinations, such as Caribbean islands, the small roads can get congested, especially when passengers are returning to the ships around the same time. She said a few years ago, she rode a shuttle to Magens Bay on St. Thomas. The trip to the beach was a quick 15 to 20 minutes. The return took an hour longer. Because she gave herself a two-hour buffer, she arrived at the terminal before the ship sailed off.

How to find a cruise excursion you’ll actually enjoy

Royal Caribbean's family-friendly private island is about to get more crowded with Gen Xers

  • Celebrity Cruises will sail to Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay for the first time.
  • The cruise lines target different demographics, but the business case is solid.
  • The private island is scheduled on 47 of Celebrity's itineraries this year.

Insider Today

Royal Caribbean's family-friendly private island is about to get a bit more crowded — with Gen Xers.

On April 21, Gen X-beloved Celebrity Cruises will voyage to Royal Caribbean International's Perfect Day at CocoCay for the first time, marking the start of a Celebrity-CocoCay bonanza: The premium cruise line plans to visit the family-friendly getaway 47 more times before the end of the year.

According to Celebrity, these itineraries will both double its year-round Caribbean offerings and launch its first weekend cruises . And travelers are hyped: A handful of these sailings are halfway or close to selling out.

Fares start at about $277 per person for a three-day roundtrip cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in which the Caribbean island is the only destination on the itinerary.

Travelers familiar with Celebrity and CocoCay might be scratching their heads

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity share the same parent company, Royal Caribbean Group .

For the most part, that's where their similarities end.

Royal Caribbean's private island is a tropical dream for cruising families dotted with sprawling beaches, clubs, a zipline, and a waterpark. The private destination is colorful, loud, kid-friendly, and generally the antithesis of what travelers might find on Celebrity's ships.

Celebrity's stylish vessels do offer children and teen programming. But if you want the exciting water slides, fun rides, and rock climbing walls of the popular mass-market ships, you're better off looking elsewhere.

Compared to Royal Caribbean's ships, Celebrity is best if you want to be on a premium, trendy, and more subdued cruise.

Related stories

If it's not obvious, the two brands are vying for different guests. Royal Caribbean goes after multi-generational families, while Celebrity's target demographic is Gen Xers, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the then-CEO of Celebrity Cruises, told Business Insider in 2021.

Celebrity sails to 300 ports on all seven continents — why this sudden push for the private Caribbean island?

In short, cruisers love Celebrity's upcoming Caribbean destination .

Last year, Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, told analysts that CocoCay had seen robust demand, including from repeat travelers.

About two-thirds of Royal Caribbean's Caribbean-bound guests will stop at CocoCay this year. And most of them aren't complaining: "The vast majority of people love the islands," Patrick Scholes, a lodging and leisure research analyst at Truist Securities, told Business Insider in March.

But for the two brands' parent company, there are more benefits to private island cruising besides guest satisfaction.

CocoCay is one night's sailing from Florida's major cruise ports, reducing the visiting ships' fuel consumption and costs.

More importantly, these private destinations keep more profits in-house.

A day pass to CocoCay's waterpark can exceed $100 per person. Entry to the recently opened Hideaway Beach costs up to $89 per person. Nearby, an afternoon at the more luxurious Coco Beach Club could be shy of triple that cost.

Even the complimentary parts of the island have splurge-enticing amenities like rentable cabanas and snorkeling gear. And because there's no need to rely on other excursion operators, Celebrity's parent company gets to pocket more profits.

Most of Celebrity's 2024 cruises to CocoCay will be on two of its largest ships: the 3,849-guest Celebrity Beyond and 3,480-guest Celebrity Reflection. That's plenty of guests ready to spend big on the popular private island.

But that doesn't mean Celebrity cruisers will be fighting kids for beach chairs

It is possible to escape the hoards of families at Perfect Day at CocoCay. For example, the new Hideaway Beach is rowdy, boozy, and thankfully adult-only.

While not kid-free, on the other side of the island, the Oasis Lagoon pool has become the de facto hot spot for afternoon ragers "packed with intoxicated people having a really good time" on one end, and children on the other end, Bayley told reporters in late January.

If nothing else, at least there won't be any kids drinking at the island's more than 10 bars.

Watch: Inside the world's biggest cruise ship that just set sail

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    1. Re: Do recommend Royal Caribbean Shore Excursions at Phuket. Book a driver online (use search bar at top right) and get a van 12 seater to go wherever you want. The only catch is that you must ensure you leave enough time to get back to the boat as it will not wait for you. 2.

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    Find and plan your next Royal Caribbean cruise to Phuket on Cruise Critic. Choose from a variety of sail dates and departure ports for your Phuket Royal Caribbean cruise. Find a Cruise

  8. Phuket Cruise Reviews (2024 UPDATED): Ratings of Phuket Cruise Port

    1 - 10 of 133 Phuket Cruise Reviews. ... Read over 133 detailed Phuket cruise port reviews and find great tips to enjoy Phuket including shore excursions, local activities and must see attractions.

  9. The 10 Best Phuket Thailand Cruise Excursions & Shore Trips

    The 10 Best Phuket Thailand Cruise Excursions & Shore Trips. Destinations / Asia Shore Excursions. Lower Prices than Cruise LineHigher Quality, Smaller ToursMoney Back GuaranteeGuaranteed Return to Ship24/7 Traveler Hotline41,300+ Customer ReviewsCustomer Reviews4.7 / 5. Our tour development team is currently working on new wonderful excursions ...

  10. Phuket Travel Guide: Making the Most of Your Day Trip in 11 Hours

    If you enjoyed reading this Phuket Day Trip Guide, check out our Penang or Port Klang day Trip Guide as well! Let us know in the comments below if you have any other recommendations. Book Your Holiday with Royal Caribbean Now. From 1-25th September 2018, book a 4-Night Port Klang & Phuket Cruise at only $399* exclusive to TTI readers!

  11. Do recommend Royal Caribbean Shore Excursions at Phuket

    4,060 posts. 213 reviews. 158 helpful votes. 1. Re: Do recommend Royal Caribbean Shore Excursions at Phuket. 6 years ago. Save. Book a driver online (use search bar at top right) and get a van 12 seater to go wherever you want. The only catch is that you must ensure you leave enough time to get back to the boat as it will not wait for you.

  12. Royal Caribbean Cruise Excursion Phuket Thailand Phang Nga ...

    Phuket Thailand Excursion Singapore Royal Caribbean Cruise Day 4Spectrum of the SeasSites: Phang Nga Bay, Koh Panak Caves, James Bond Island, Panyee IslandPh...

  13. Royal Caribbean Cruises to dock weekly in Phuket, Thailand

    Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship docked in Phuket, southern Thailand, for the first time in several years.At an event in Phuket yesterday, Royal Caribbean revealed that the Spectrum would be visiting Phuket once a week in the coming months. Phuket is a 'core destination' on Royal Caribbean's four- to seven-night Southeast Asia cruises, alongside ...

  14. Best shore excursion in every Caribbean cruise port

    The River Tubing, Rainforest Drive, and Hibiscus Falls excursion offered by Royal Caribbean provides the best of Dominica's natural beauty with an active adventure. The tour begins with a tubing adventure and visit to Hibiscus Falls, a 40-foot waterfall leading to an emerald green pool perfect for taking a swim. Following a visit to the falls ...

  15. Ahoy Phuket, here comes Spectrum of the Seas

    Royal Caribbean International's Spectrum of the Seas is exploring deeper into Asia with longer sailings on 4- to 7-night cruises in which Phuket will be a big attraction along with Penang and Port Klang in Malaysia. Going further, in 2023-24, itineraries will include Vietnam, China and Japan. Angie Stephen, vice president and managing director ...

  16. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

    I see Royal Caribbean offers an excursion to an Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket, Thailand. However, there are two or three elephant sanctuaries and they don't say which one the excursion goes to. Does anybody know which elephant sanctuary Royal Caribbean excursions go to in Phuket?

  17. Shore Excursions

    Page 1 of 154. All Activity. Home. Royal Caribbean. Shore Excursions. Discuss what to do when your Royal Caribbean ship brings you to the various ports of call around the world.

  18. Royal Caribbean Shore Excursions Reviews

    December 29, 2010. Fredericton New Brunswick, Canada. #1. Posted December 20, 2016. I remember my last cruise you were able to go on Royal Caribbean official website and log in to book an excursion and be able to read reviews from other guests who took excursions. Did they get rid of that I cant seem to find any.

  19. Phuket Shore Excursions & Cruise Excursions

    See our Phuket shore excursions on CelebrityCruises.com. Visiting from {country-flag} {country-name}? Go to site. Favorites. 1-888-751-7804 CONTACT 1-888-751-7804. Need help? 1-888 ... Royal Caribbean Group. Royal Caribbean International; Celebrity Cruises; Silversea; So much more than a suite The Retreat® isn't a place. It isn't an amenity.

  20. How to find a cruise excursion you'll actually enjoy

    On a recent Royal Caribbean excursion in St. Kitts, we waited in a broiling parking lot while the guide tried to find us a spot on the packed tour bus. He finally plopped us down on a hard jump ...

  21. RC Excursions review site

    Below is what I was thinking for a start. I've been thinking about this because I think it'd be nice to have an actual star rating for some of the RC excursions, and I'd also love a place to discuss each one indivdually. This would be for Royal Caribbean cruises only, as I've now booked my 4th, it looks like I'll be using them for some time to ...

  22. Cruise hack lets you preview Royal Caribbean add-on costs before you

    Started in 2010, Royal Caribbean Blog offers daily coverage of news and information related to the Royal Caribbean cruise line along with other relevant topics of cruising, such as entertainment, news, photo updates and more. Our goal has been to provide our readers with expansive coverage of all aspects of the Royal Caribbean experience.

  23. Celebrity Cruises Will Soon Sail to Royal Caribbean's Private Island

    Royal Caribbean's family-friendly private island is about to get a bit more crowded — with Gen Xers. On April 21, Gen X-beloved Celebrity Cruises will voyage to Royal Caribbean International's ...