City Tour Rating:
We scheduled to take a tour of the Port area. The tour was scheduled from 11:00 – 3:30. Our main complaint is that this tour did NOT provide any food or stops for food during this time. When a tour is scheduled over a mealtime, it should provide a stop for food or a visit to a restaurant.
The places that we visited were also not the best to represent the Port.
Our first stop was at an Army Corps of Engineers Lock so that we could watch the lock open and close and also see the manatees that frequently swim in the lock waters. We were there nearly 45 minutes standing on top of hot pavement with no shade, no water, and no seating. I didn’t feel that this stop really enhanced my understanding of the Port, but it definitely didn’t need to be that long.
Our second stop was at the U.S. Air Force History Museum. We found this stop fascinating and the museum’s tour guide was very knowledgeable. Unfortunately, we were only given 45 minutes at this stop and, after people used the restroom (the only one available other than the one on the bus), we had about 35 minutes. The tour guide was only able to get through a few of the 20 exhibits before it was time to leave. I would have preferred staying here longer and skipping the Lock completely so that we could see more.
Our third stop was at a shrimp and fishing business. While this was applicable to the Port and the businesses there, it was a long stop and it felt like a commercial to buy their products and their business cards were handed out so that we could mail-order seafood from any part of the country. This stop was about an hour long. While we did get to eat at this stop, trying 3 different types of shrimp does not constitute a meal. However, we were given drinks at this stop.
Our final stop was at the Exploration Tower. I felt that this should have been our first stop on the tour. The movie provided a wonderful overview of the Port and its history and industries available. And, seeing that movie would have allowed us to skip the Lock as well as the shrimp and fishing business visits. We were not given enough time to explore the exhibits on the 6 floors, so we only had a chance to see 2 or 3 of them before it was time to leave. Again, better planning would have allowed us to see more.
We got back to the ship at 3:30 and were starving and exhausted.