Beware of Kenai Fjords Tours!!!

Old May 16th, 2005, 09:53 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Beware of Kenai Fjords Tours!!!

Just wanted to share with everyone my experience this past weekend with Kenai Fjords Tours in hopes that others will be able to avoid the problems I had.

My travelling companion and I booked the National Park with Fox Island tour, which was to be an 8.5 hour tour of several glaciers and abundant wildlife viewing. Also to be included were a hot lunch and a salmon dinner on Fox Island. Our cruise was on Saturday May 14.

We board and the ship leaves for 10am and they begin the ferry us out to our first destination. As soon as we leave the bay the seas become very choppy, however we continue for quite a while (about 2 hours from port) with about half the boat suffering from motion sickness when they suddenly decide the seas are too rough for us to continue and we turn back. They bring us to Fox Island around 1pm for our salmon dinner, and afterwards they shuttle us back to the port in Seward, stopping only twice on the way back so we could see a sea otter that happened upon our boat and a pair of mountain goats in the distance. At no point did we ever see any glaciers.

Upon return to port they advise us to return to the tour office for our "compensation" for the shortened journey, where they offer us a measley $40 per person credit (the tour which tax cost almost $140 per person). I argued that $40 was not sufficient when I was told that they had no obligation to show us any glaciers and wildlife but only to attempt to show us such (which since they turned back they didn't actually do), although this so-called policy is never disclosed on their website, in their office, or when you call and book the tour. So I basically spent $100 per person to spend five hours on a rocking boat, see a sea otter and two mountain goats, and have an average salmon dinner.

As you can tell, I'm certainly not happy. This was my only full day to enjoy Alaska (up here on business) and ended up losing most of it and $100 to boot. I am going to dispute the charge with my credit card company and hopefully I can get my money back that way, but I'll never get that time back. Avoid these people like the plague!
lsufanatic is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 09:59 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,647
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you want a guarnatee to see animals, go to the zoo.

The company has no control on weather or whether animals appear.

They made an attempt to run the tour, but then cancelled it after lunch. I think you're lucky to get the $40 back. Some places would say tough luck, or give you a credit for future use (knowing full well you don't plan on returning).

Was the lunch bad because of the food, or was it bad because of the circumstances?
ncgrrl is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 10:01 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 8,296
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have only heard good things about this cruise outfit, so I am surprised by your experience. The 2005 brochure for Kenai Fjords tours, an Alaska Heritage Tours Company, states that they will refund $40 for full-fare adult if tour modifications must be made due to weather or other conditions. However, I'm not aware of what their website says about refunds.
BayouGal is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 10:23 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To answer the question regarding the lunch: it wasn't bad at all. It wasn't gourmet standards by any means, but I wasn't really expecting that.

With regards to what they attempted, I am fully aware that they do not control nature and cannot make the animals come out and play. I didn't really care about the animals anyway, as I can go to the zoo back home and see that. What I really wanted to see was glaciers, of which we saw none.

I wouldn't be as upset if they had attempted to fill the tour doing something else, but to bring us back 3.5 hours early and only offer $40 back seems very shady to me. They took us part of the way out, turned back, stopped for lunch, and then brought us directly back on the same route we went out on (with the exception of the two stops in route to see the wildlife that happened upon the boat).
lsufanatic is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 11:51 AM
  #5  
jq
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 242
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We have toured with Kenai Fjords Tours on two trips and were very satisfied with them on both. On our last tour in Sep, we were taking the 6 hr tour. When we got there, they told us it was quite rough and they may not be able to do tour. They said they could change it to a bay tour only or you could get a refund w/o problem. Or, if everyone wanted to, they would go ahead and try to do 6hr tour to glaciers.
Everyone or most seemed to want to try, so off we went and it was pretty rough. But noone seemed that sick that had taken even the most basic of precautions, and we got thru the open water just fine. The rest of the trip was not rough until we came back thru again. The glaciers were nice, the light lunch of chicken or haibut strips and chips were fine. Cookies and drinks for the taking. On the way back, the capt announced that they had a problem with one of the engines and we would have to take a more direct trip back and would be a little late. They sent out another boat to follow us in case there were any more problems which we did not have.
When we got back, they refunded everyone $30 I think for not getting to see all the bird rookeries from closer to cliffs. Sorry you were disappointed. It sounds like they tried to make right. Did they make any announcement ahead of time that it was rough? or that trip might be problem?
jq is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 02:04 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, there was no announcement made that there was the possibility that the tour could be cut short or there could be a problem. If that would have been the case I would not be upset, because I figure I would have been warned I might not get to see what I wanted and if I chose to continue that was a risk I had accepted.

Like I said, they took us part of the way back, decided it was too rough, and with the exception of the stop at Fox Island for lunch they pretty much took us directly back to port. I look at it the same as I would getting on an airplane and sitting on the tarmac for a while only to be returned to the gate. Sure, I did go somewhere, but it wasn't where I was supposed to go and ultimately I have gotten nothing out of it. Considering they didn't really take us to see anything, I don't think $40 of a $140 fare is a good faith attempt to make it right.

As for the motion sickness, I totally agree that if you took some dramamine or something before hand it wasn't an issue. You should know in a small boat it might get rocky and there is the possibility of motion sickness. I'm just glad I had slightly more foresight than some of my fellow travellers.
lsufanatic is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 02:42 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,455
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, how terribly disappointing! It sounds like the tour company tried to make good but the situation turned out badly for all involved. I doubt the credit card company will be able to do anything for you. The money is hardly the point, though. The waste of time and expectation is the worst part! I had a bad tour experience in Hawaii and can commiserate with you...
crazy4Hawaii is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 02:44 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 26,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Isufanatic, I'm sorry you had a rotten time because we had a great trip with them on a warm, sunny day when the ocean was very calm. In fact, we got to go thru one narrow place that the captain said was doable only 3 or 4 times a summer. Warning others that rough seas could ruin the trip is good for others to know and will possibly save someone else money. In general, this is a good company that has received many high recommendations. I hope you have a chance to visit Alaska again and have better weather.
dfrostnh is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 04:21 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 59
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Any time you book a boat trip you are taking a risk of bad weather. The same goes for airplanes. Captains always consider safety of their passengers first. We all want what we paid for, but at what risk. Having suffered a broken back from a fishing trip that could not be rescheduled, I realized that no bad weather trip is worth the price one pays. If the captain had continued on with your trip and people had gotten sick or worse yet someone broke their back with the slamming of the boat, would you have then complained that you only got back part of your money. Believe me when the weather gets rough in Alaskaís seas, you donít want to be in the water.

I am sorry for your misfortune, but you can always go back for another try on another day, as the glaciers will still be there and thank goodness you are to.
tlbooz is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 11:07 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So you did not see any glaciers? I have taken there tours several times and EVERY tour that they take goes by Bear Glacier. It may not be an active tidewater glacier. BUT you do see a land glacier. And the viewing of this glacier is always at the begining of the trip.
Breezy7140 is offline  
Old May 18th, 2005, 06:27 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 14,466
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am surprised at the tone of most of the responses to this post. It is disingenuous to say, "If you want to see animals, go to a zoo." No business in Alaska has that on their website, for a reason. No one would use their services with that attitude. The poster is not complaining about the fact that the tour was cancelled, but that it seems the company made the decision to venture out in questionable weather solely so they wouldn't have to give a refund.

Their website says:
"Kenai Fjords Tours is Alaska's #1 Wildlife and Glacier Cruise and offers the best wildlife and glacier experience into Kenai Fjords National Park." It goes on to say, "Kenai Fjords Tours is Alaska's #1 Wildlife and Glacier Cruise and offers the best wildlife and glacier experience into Kenai Fjords National Park."

In my mind, if you can't deliver on that for any reason, you should give at least half the money back. You could just as easily say, there is a risk when you do business in Alaska, that some days you are not going to make much money because of the weather. Why should the risk be placed on the visitor?
follow_your_bliss is offline  
Old May 18th, 2005, 07:06 AM
  #12  
mm
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sing with me:

"The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew the tourist would be lost, the tourist would be lost."

Kind of a buyer beware situation but safety first!


mm
mm is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:17 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Frankly - if you wanted Glaciers, you should have gone out of Whittier. The Glacier viewing on even the longest Northwestern Fjord tour is a very small portion of the entire ROUTE.

Sorry for your disappointment, but I have gone with them many times, and no complaings, a long standing well run company.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
anng3
United States
14
Dec 20th, 2007 12:43 PM
210
United States
7
Sep 26th, 2007 09:52 AM
EdEdwards
United States
15
Jun 25th, 2005 07:36 AM
lila5583
United States
11
Jun 19th, 2003 11:30 AM
Christensen
United States
7
Feb 5th, 2003 11:50 AM

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 On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information