Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Travel Topics > Cruises
Reload this Page > HOLLAND AMERICA - ALASKA - FIRST TIMER

HOLLAND AMERICA - ALASKA - FIRST TIMER

Reply

Feb 7th, 2010, 07:55 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 286
HOLLAND AMERICA - ALASKA - FIRST TIMER

How far in advance is it suggested to book shore excursions ?? In talking with HA, they indicated that when you book excursions credit card gets charged at once. I am not going until 9/4 so hate to have to lay out money now. Appreciate any thoughts.
nygvic is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 8th, 2010, 10:42 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,919
You don't have to book them far far in advance unless it's something very special that you really don't want to miss (a flight over a specific glacier, or perhaps a grizzly-bear trip by float plane). But the truth is that with the weather being as unpredictable as it can be in September, it might behoove you to simply wait and book everything (or at least most everything) on site. All the same tour operators line up at the ports and take you on the same trips (often with the same cruise passengers) for half the price. That way if it's raining and you don't want to go on an excursion that day you won't feel compelled to.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 8th, 2010, 11:15 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
Two trips to Alaska on HAL and only used the ship shore excursion once...mostly because I didn't know better at the time. There are tons of tour operators who will,IMHO. give you as good, or better an experience, for less money. On our Sept. trip we missed one stop because of weather and many shore excursions did not go in Juneau because of really nasty weather.
boom_boom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 8th, 2010, 12:42 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 286
So your thoughts are that booking thru HAL actually works out more expensive ?? Really appreciate the feedback !!
nygvic is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 8th, 2010, 03:57 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,919
In Alaska especially, shore excursions booked on the ship are almost always more expensive
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 8th, 2010, 04:04 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 114
Been their 4 times and what the people are saying is true - ship booked excursions are more expensive, HOWEVER, remember if you go off the ship and somehow you missed the ship,s departure time - they will NOT hold the ship for you - you are on your own. If you take a ship,s excursion they WILL hold the ship for you - sometimes peace of mind is a small price to pay. Enjoy!!!
ronko is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:28 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 651
Cruise lines mark up shore exursions by about 35%, so it is a good idea to book directly. Excursions booked directly also tend to be less crowded and more personal as well. Sites called Viator.com, shoretrips.com, and portpromotions.com all sell trips, or you can search on your own based on what you want to do and book directly.

The only "gotcha" is the one Ronko points out: if the timing for getting back to the ship is within an hour of sailing, you might want to spend the extra $ and book via the line.

The following article summarizes a Princess passenger survey rating the best Alaska shore trips. Well worth a read before you choose:

http://allthingscruise.com/here-are-...re-excursions/

Good luck!
triathlete is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 10th, 2010, 08:30 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 351
After a few cruises anywhere, I as convinced that ship,d excursions are not the best value. Recalling several trips, the trips we did from the docks, stand out only to be exceeded by the ones we did ourselves. Most tours will offer "an opportunity for shopping." I've found that this means that at least a third of the alloted time is spent as a captive audience in a remote t-shirt store. It is not always possible to escape this even with a tour from the docks. We have had our guide skip significant sights to hurry us to a store or shopping areas. Often the stores are low quality. We had a tour on a Caribbean island take us to a shabby shopping area of virtually no interest. We were there for at least an hour. Then about a mile down nthe road, on our way to the next stop, we passed through a large area of very nice, quality shops. As noted book through the cruise line only if necessary. Virtually all tours they offer are available at the last minute on the ship. Maybe not helicopter rides, but most else. And don't be afraid to complain about an inadequate experience. I did and received a discount.
Aristotle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 04:24 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
We're leaving for Alaska in June on HA for the 14 day tour. Anyone have experience with this one? Also, our first time to Alaska so, of course, what to wear?I love my jeans and plan on wearing them alot along with long sleeve turtle neck shirts...good choice? longjohns? what tours did you experience? we already booked the one whale watching tour, on our own. I'd also love to know about wonderful restaurants in the different cities. Should we hire our own guides on shore?
shadiladi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 5th, 2012, 06:53 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 27
you will be going at the tail end of the season.most on-shore operators will probably have cut rate deals because they're closing shop soon. i know that flight tours of Misty Fjords out of Ketchikan usually have lower rates by September. more importantly, weather plays a big factor.
you'll do alright to book your own trips once ashore that late in the season.
Gonzo_Kerouac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 8th, 2012, 07:55 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,047
Hi shadiladi

We've just finished a 12 day cruise/land trip to Alaska. It was jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt every day with either a sleeveless vest on top or a rainjacket if we were out and about.
marg is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:55 AM.