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Old 05-06-2008, 07:26 AM
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I am getting ready to leave on a cruise to alaska in aout 2 weeks and haven't booked any excursions yet. i was wondering if it's best to book through the ship and their excursions they offer or go through other companies to book my tours/excursions?
we've been looking at the scuba diving and lumberjack activities...any others you might reccommend?
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:26 AM
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I am getting ready to leave on a cruise to alaska in aout 2 weeks and haven't booked any excursions yet. i was wondering if it's best to book through the ship and their excursions they offer or go through other companies to book my tours/excursions?
we've been looking at the scuba diving and lumberjack activities...any others you might reccommend?
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:40 AM
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Hello and welcome!

I always recommend folks book directly with the vendors in AK. 99 out of 100 tours will be available directly, for the same tour. Often, you'll save the 20-30%++ commissions the ships charge. Even if there's not a monetary savings, you'll certainly get more tour time, or at the very least more "value" for your dollar with smaller crowds, special lunches/gifts, etc.

I know of one excursion here in Juneau that's the same price on the ship vs. direct with the contractor, but the ship's tour is 4 hours long and the same tour booked direct is 5 hours. For a fishing excursion especially, more time on the water is always a good thing!

The ONE EXCEPTION to my advice above is if you know specifically which vendor will be fulfilling your ship-booked tour, and you want to go with them specifically, but there aren't any direct seats available. The WP&YR in Skagway and the 5-hour salmon fishing / whale watching combo in Juneau... There's only one train company in Skagway, and only one fancy 6-pack charter boat that's running combo trips in Juneau. If you're going the direct route for a ship's tour, however, don't tell the vendor that you're on a cruise. Just check availability for the day/time/tour you want, and be done with it. Many of us who contract with the cruise lines have agreed to ask clients to book on the ship if we know that's an option.

I haven't had my coffee yet today, so I hope I've explained that well enough to be intelligible...

Happy Alaska Travels!
-Case
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:56 AM
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I initially booked the rail trip with the cruise line, but then looked at the WP&YR website and found the price was a lot less. As Case notes, they had a note on their website encouraging cruisers to book with the cruise line. But for $100 I can walk to the train station and pick up my tickets.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:57 PM
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Case, thanks for the quick response and Dave. Both of your comments were great to know. Now I can actually start to plan a little better.

Case--Our first stop is ketchikan with only about half a day (we leave at 2pm). Read a little bit about it. When it comes to options we aren't for sure what to do. We have heard great things about the Lumberjack show and Misty Fjord. We are the odd balls who would like to snorkel also. But with limited time could we do it all or just one? What do you or anyone suggestfor the best things to do in Ketchikan?
Thanks
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:32 PM
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Hey Case, 2couples are going, me and my buddy would like to do some fishing if times work and the price is realistic. I think I read in one of the posts this is what you do. Where can I find pricing and time on the water to make sure it works for us?
Thanks, Chris
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:35 AM
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"Doing business" in the forums is usually considered taboo... I'm fairly easy to find for a direct call or email, however.

In general terms, you're looking at about $250 for a half day, and a hair over $350 for a full day if you book "per person" and between $800 and $1700 for a "whole boat" or private charter.
Most boats have a 3, 4, or 5 person minimum to run... With just 2 of you, you can:
- bring two friends to make a 4-some,
- get lucky and find a boat with others already booked to share with,
- book the ship's tour, or
- pay a lot to guarantee the trip or have a private charter.

The ship's tour is almost always cheapest, but you only get 3-Osh hours to fish. Most of the good private tours offer 5+ hours on the water for a half-day charter.

Hope this helps some. Feel free to contact me (or the charter of your choice!) if any other specific questions come up.

Happy Alaska Travels!
-Case
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:58 AM
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As Case correctly notes, we don't allow business to be conducted here. Google will provide plenty of info on the various private tour operators for Alaska.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:53 PM
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My post will be a little late for your cruise but I have found it better to book your tours at the port when you get off of the ship. They are cheaper and you may even get a more than what is offered on board. The other if the weather is bad you are not stuck with the tour because there are no refunds if you book on board. Don't let the tour people on board scare you into saying that the tours are booked up. There is plenty of room for all of them in the ports and a lot cheaper.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:33 AM
 
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We've only done one Alaskan trip previously. I've never seen as many tour operators waiting outside the ship for prospective customers- many of the independent tours can be priced on-line & booked in advance as well. Some of the tours can be had at about 1/2 the ships prices, some not. If the price is close I'll stick with the ship tour just for convenience but if I can keep an addition $150 in my pocket I'll do it.
 
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