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slam5 04-13-2010 11:29 PM

I'm going on an Alaska cruise with NCL in May. I see that NCL has listed some excursion that they recommend. I was also told that there are independent ones. which one is better? how much will I save? I was told that if the excursion is late, the ship will only wait for me if it is an "official" one. what is the chance of it is being late.

penny3333 04-14-2010 08:06 AM

Hi slam5, welcome to Cruise-Chat! Congratulations on your up-coming cruise to Alaska. Since you won't be in foreign countries, doing your own excursions will not be too much of a problem. I suggest you do research on the internet or through a travel agent. The cruise line excursions contract with local vendors, but of course, get some part of the charges. We normally use the cruise line excursions if we have not been to the port before, but sometimes will just find a vendor and use them.

We've had good luck both ways. One thing I can say for the ship's excursions is that they have checked out the vendor, so normally you will have what is advertised for your tour. You are correct, the ship will not wait if you are not on one of their tours. The chances of being late depend upon, traffic, condition of the equipment, distance you have to travel, time of day you are traveling, accidents, etc. As long as you select reputable companies, you should be fine. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship and you should have no problems.

Best wishes and have a marvelous cruise!

Sandy 04-14-2010 09:08 AM


I was told that if the excursion is late, the ship will only wait for me if it is an "official" one. what is the chance of it is being late.
The chances are remote, but it does happen on occasion, to both the ship's tours and independent tours. It's true that the ship will wait for one of their own tours.

I've always booked the ship's tours, just for that little added insurance. I'm very risk averse, and I'd rather not worry about being late while I'm on the tour. The ship's tours may well be more expensive than something you can buy off the ship, so you have to weigh your tolerance for risk against how much more you'll pay on the ship.

penny3333 04-15-2010 06:57 AM

Take a look a little further down the main page for the Alaska Port Chat section. There are tons of posts and see if you find something you like. Then you can Google the ports and find some operators and you can compare the prices to the tours from the cruise line. In most cases the difference is $20-$30, sometimes a little more. Whale watching, helicopter rides, dog sledding, etc., are not going to be inexpensive. Victoria I highly recommend Lake Louise, and Banff (depending on time). Seattle I highly recommend visiting the Space Needle, having some fantastic food near the wharf,and maybe exploring Pueget Sound or the San Juan Islands (if time permits).

If you're not using a travel agent, it will take a little finger work on your part, our Alaska Port Chat section is a great place to begin. Then a hop over to Google to pull up information on what you've found, or maybe some of us on the board can answer more specific questions.

We'll try to help as much as we can.

slam5 04-16-2010 09:19 PM

ok, i will look for sure. i'm vancouver so victoria is semi homeport to me.. i wish i could had leave the cruise at that point and visit my friends on the vancouver island. but i was told i can't do that. sigh..

ps: I will post some reviews of the excursions in Alaska so stay tuned.

Berick1234 04-18-2010 08:00 AM

I've always booked my excursions thru the ship...It's like buying "cruise insurance" which I believe is a smart thing too....I've seen many passengers over the years miss the ship to save a few bucks...I was just on the Oasis of the Seas and a young couple on their honeymoom missed the ship and had to pay a ton of money to catch it 2 days later at another port....but then again, many passengers book their own and have success...but for me, a few bucks isn't worth the hassle, plus, the ships tours get to leave the ship first...this is nice if you have to tender into a port. You will love's my favorite cruise...

Bob E

slam5 04-18-2010 08:53 AM

Ok, I guess I will take your advice on this one. Hopefully, it won't be too expensive!

wooddon 04-24-2010 01:43 PM

Hi, you can leave the ship in Victoria as we stop there last year and almost a quarter of the ship left as they live on the island. You just have to give the cruise line advance notice and get approval.

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