The aim of this paper is to argue that destinations can do more to offer coastal ecotourism experiences for cruise passengers, and in doing so they may secure a more sustainable product. An analysis of shore-side excursions currently available to P&O passengers in the Caribbean is presented. Excursions are classified against textbook tourism-type definitions. Time constraints imposed by cruise operators and an emphasis on selling rather than education are suggested as key factors that mean the limited number of existing ecotourism excursions were categorised as ‘soft’ rather than ‘hard’ ecotourism. Solutions demand concerted effort from all parties. Flexibility from cruise operators; political will and product development from destinations, and investment of time and energy from the tourists themselves. Ultimately, ecotourism excursions must embrace brand management, creating and delivering well-defined promises, so that cruise passengers can make intelligence-led decisions. In the Caribbean this requires a paradigm shift by the cruise operators in order to establish a meaningful and effective dialogue with groups such as the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.