Shore excursion help needed

Old Jul 19th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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Shore excursion help needed

We are taking the Statendam the week of (8/3). I am wondering whether to book our shore excursions myself or to do it through the cruise line. We want to do the Chilkat Eagle Preserve and Float trip. I have found the company that does it for the cruise ships and could book it myself cheaper. Is there any advantage to booking it through the cruise line? Any other information re. shore excursions would be helpful. There are four of us and float planes & helicopters are beyond our budget. We will be staying in Alaska another week after the cruise (3 days Kenai, 3 days Denali, 1 day Anchorage) and will be kayaking & river rafting then. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jul 19th, 2003, 08:54 AM
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you may want to post this question on"

www.cruise-addicts.com

or www.cruisecritics.com

Those boards are way more busy with cruise and excursion info than Fodors....
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Old Jul 19th, 2003, 08:58 AM
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Thanks for your suggestion. I hadn't check those sites but will certainly do so.
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Old Jul 19th, 2003, 09:56 AM
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I haven't been to Alaska (yet) so I can't comment on specific excursions. However, I tend to book shore excursions myself (not through the ship) as long as I can find enough information that I'm comfortable I'm using a reputable company. If you can book for less with the same company the ship uses than I would say go for it. Just remember to factor in any transportation costs. The one time I will book through the ship even for a little more money is if the timing is tight. If your excursion has you returning to the ship close to its departure time there is a safety factor in booking through the ship. The ship will wait if it has passengers on a ship booked shore excursion stuck in traffic or something ... it won't always wait very long for a passenger that is off on their own.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 05:18 AM
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I never book any ship excursions in Alaska, extremely easy to book direct and always better tours. Hopefully you are looking at Eco tours in Haines for your Chilkat float trip- they are the top operator there. You also need to add the $44 ferry from Skagway if it isn't already included in your price.
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 06:42 PM
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Hello,
We recently returned from a trip to Alaska (one week cruise, 5 days on our own). We didn't book any excursions through the cruise, and I never will again. There were so many excursions to choose from when we got to each port. The only 2 that we booked ahead (not through the cruise) were an ERA helicopter trip and the Capt. Larry whale watching in Juneau. We arranged the rest of our activities when we got to the ports, and we saved a lot of money. There were also more things to choose from, and we got to get away from the cruise people
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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:31 AM
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My opinion only but I would never show up in any Alaska port without plans and reservations in place. Time is too short to try and figure out what to do and tours are limited usually to "bus type" tours, very difficult for any flight availablity
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Old Jul 26th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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This is another thing to think about, if you will have a cell phone with you. One of the couples on the trip with us called around to different places the day before we arrived in port, and they were able to book a seaplane trip that was half the cost of the one offered by the ship. I think that they got the name of the company from a brochure that they had gotten in the previous port.

Also, I do agree with BudgetQueen that some excursions (the ones that you really have your hearts set on) should be booked in advance. But if you have no idea what you are interested in doing, or if you are waiting to decide based on the weater, we found that we had no problem just finding things when we got there. There was a 4x4 SUV trip that we found in Skagway that was one of the highlights of our trip. There is no way that we would have been able to book in advance (I had done tons of research & had never heard of this excursion) & they only take up to 6 people. 4 of us went, and we had a great time. We found it in a kiosk selling different excursions (our 4x4 guide told us that the kiosk was recently opened by a local Skagway young man who just graduated from college or high school).
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