Julie Peasgood is a TV presenter, travel expert and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

Rostock, Germany © Jenna Lyn Pimentel
Rostock, Germany © Jenna Lyn Pimentel

Q. My next cruise offers lots of shore excursions. If I sign up to them all will I have any free time to do my own thing?

A. There’s no harm in signing up for as many included excursions as you fancy. If they are charged separately, be picky, as shore excursions can bump up your bill. But there’s no reason why you can’t combine them with some independent exploring. I often ask if I can remain in the centre of a city when on a tour so I can look around by myself, and then make my own way back to the ship (on foot, by bus or taxi). Make sure you tell the tour guide and the ship’s escort so they don’t think they’ve lost you. And do your research if there’s somewhere in particular you want to go, to save time getting from A to B. Always carry the ship’s emergency phone numbers, enough money to get back to the port and double check the onward sailing time – ships won’t wait for you.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural holiday or relaxing break, find your perfect cruise here.