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Top Tips When Taking a Shore Excursion from Invergordon

🚢 Invergordon Cruise Port Tour Guide for +10 years

Are you coming to Invergordon cruise port?

Thinking of taking a shore excursion from Invergordon?

Here are my top tips to have an even better day in the Highlands.

Links You Might Find Helpful:
Private Tour Operator Shore Excursions from Inverness
More Private Tour Shore Excursion Options

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Head the Right Way at the End of the Gangplank

If you are taking a ship-organised excursion then you need to turn left when you reach the bottom of the gangplank and head to the coach park.

For all other privately organised trips and tours turn right and follow the green pathway to the exit barrier. Once you have passed out of the port gate cross over at the pedestrian crossing. You will find private companies will be there with a banner.

If you have an organised taxi tour, turn right immediately after the security gate (don’t cross the road) and you will find all the taxis there.

Why Do Cruise Ships Stop in Invergordon?

Invergordon is the main port giving access to Inverness, Loch Ness and much of the Northern Highlands. Cruise ships can offer excursions to the Isle of Skye, the Castle of Mey, several distilleries and castles as well as multiple options for visiting Loch Ness, by stopping in Invergordon.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Don’t Go Out Too Early

The ship will advise you of the boarding time for your tour. There is no point going out early as guests are held back at the main security barrier until the coach is ready for boarding. This is to minimise the number of people in the coach parking area for health and safety reasons.

There are no facilities or seats on the way to or in the coach parking area. There is also no cover so if the weather is bad you will need to stand outside.

Some ships have scanners to scan guests onto ship excursions. Generally, this limits the number of coaches that can be boarded at any one time.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Use the Bathroom Before You Leave the Ship

There are no toilets in the coach parking area and most tours will be travelling for around 1 hour before they make their first stop. It can sometimes be more than this.

The roads in the Highlands are not really suitable for using the toilet on the coach and it really isn’t safe to be moving around a coach when it is travelling on our roads either.

If you need the toilet before boarding the coach there are some on the pier. Turn right when you come down the gangplank and you will see them on your left-hand side near the shop. These can be handy if there are queues to board when coaches return from tours as well.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Be Prepared for Changeable Weather

The weather in the Highlands can be very unpredictable – think 4 seasons in one day. Invergordon port can also be quite windy and the ships generally block the sun, making it colder when you are standing on the pier.

Something waterproof is essential, and also an extra layer. A hat can be handy too. If you don’t need your extra layers when you are on tour you can leave them on the coach – they will be quite safe.

As my Mum used to say if you take it you don’t have to wear it but at least you have it!

shore excursion from invergordon post

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Don’t Rush for the Front Seats

Most cruise ship companies reserve the front seats for guests with limited or reduced mobility. Even if they don’t put signs on the seats you may be asked to move if someone comes later who cannot walk as far, particularly if there are no empty seats at the front part of the coach.

The Highlands is so lovely that you will get a great view from the side windows anyway and whatever tour you are doing you will be getting off to explore as well.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Don’t Recline Your Seat

Most journeys on your shore excursion are going to be no more than 1 – 1.5 hours (unless you are going to the Isle of Skye or Castle of Mey).

There really shouldn’t be a need to recline your seat on a day tour and it just causes problems for the person sitting behind you. If the coach is full there is nowhere for them to move to.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Don’t Talk Over the Guide (If You Are in the Front Seats)

It never ceases to amaze me how many people rush for the front seats on the coach and then spend the whole tour talking very loudly to each other.

Given that there is a guide sitting just in front this feels quite rude and it also makes speaking on the microphone quite difficult.

I am not saying that guests should sit in silence throughout a tour, absolutely not. Good guides will give time for guests to talk to each other as there is nothing worse than a guide talking nonstop from the moment the coach leaves to the moment it comes back.

If you are catching up with your friend or family member on tour then by all means do, just don’t sit right in the front seat of the coach.

The same applies to making a phone call. It’s one thing receiving a phone call on the coach, but making phone calls on speaker phone in the front seats is just plain rude if the guide is trying to explain something (and yes it has happened!)

Invergordon walking tour small

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Speak Up If Too Warm or Too Cold

Most of the coaches used on shore excursions from Invergordon have air conditioning. This is great but it can be difficult to find a temperature that suits everyone onboard, especially when they are travelling from different places.

Some coaches do not have air conditioning but instead blown air. This is not as effective when the weather is warmer in the Highlands and the coach can get quite warm.

If, like me, you suffer from motion sickness, take a small fan with you and also wear layers so you can keep yourself cool.

Whether it is too warm to too cold let the guide and driver know. The temperature at the front of the coach can be completely different so they may not know.

There is nothing worse than being on a coach that is too hot so don’t suffer in silence.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Make Sure You Know the Return Time

It is your responsibility to make sure you know what time you need to be back on the coach at each of your stops.

If in doubt ask, don’t assume. On ship days there are likely to be many coaches doing tours and they will be leaving at different times so don’t check with another guest, check with your guide or driver.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Say Goodbye to your Guide and Driver

When your coach returns to the port it can be easy to get caught up in the process of getting back on board the ship. If you have a moment it’s always nice to say goodbye to your driver and guide who will both have worked hard to give you the best tour possible.

If you feel they have done a good job and want to give a tip they will really appreciate that.

Drivers and guides always split the tips so you can give to either of them.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Share Some Feedback

If there have been any issues during your tour then your guide will have done their best to try and resolve them. Things like accidents, changes to the itinerary and transport issues will get reported to the ship.

If you have some feedback on the excursion that relates to your experience then the onboard shore excursion team would be glad to hear it.

They would also be glad to hear if you had a good tour with a good guide and driver because they generally only hear about tours if there has been an issue.

They work hard arranging the tours so hearing that things went well and you had a great tour is much appreciated by them.

Shore Excursion from Invergordon

Share Your Experience in a Forum

It can be difficult for guests to know what to do when it comes to planning their time in port. Why not help them by sharing your experience in a forum?

Cruise Critic is the biggest cruise forum and they have a huge website with very active forums. Here cruise guests can share every aspect of their cruise experience to help others when deciding what cruises to take.

Take a look yourself.

Further Reading

If you have found these tips when taking a shore excursion from Invergordon helpful you might also like;

You can find lots more information on my Invergordon Cruise Port page

Links You Might Find Helpful:
Private Tour Operator Shore Excursions from Inverness
Private Half-Day Car Tour to Loch Ness for Up to 3 People
More Private Tour Shore Excursion Options

Further Reading

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