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Cruiseenthusiast101

What was your experience with a third party excursion?

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I’m cruising on the Norwegian Bliss on August 18, round trip from Seattle. I found some great deals on exurscions though Alaska Shore Tours. Does anyone have experience with them? Is this a scam? Will we get back to the port in time? I normally book through the cruiseline but I don’t want to pay what they are asking for. They are charging two to three times as much! Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Do a little extra research on your ports and book your excursions directly with the vendor. You'll save a little money on each one and you're not dealing with a go-between. A great example is I've used Dyea Dave Tours in Skagway. I'm dealing with the actual owner and not paying extra for basically nothing. I've saved enough on each excursion to maybe buy lunch for two each time. Not a ton of money but enough to make it worth my while. There are enough recommendations here on Cruise Critic you can easily figure out the operators to contact. Don't be afraid they won't get you back to the ship in time - they have a lot of experience and one bad episode could ruin them. Good luck!

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Has anyone had an experience with booking exurscions though Viator?

 

I have booked several tours through Viator when we were staying in Rome. We did day tours down to Sorrento and Pompeii, and up to Tuscany. We also booked a Coliseum tour through them. We were very happy with the tours - they were exactly what had been advertised. The guides were good, the transportation was good. I would book through them again.

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The key to Viator is to check reviews. If they only have 1 or 2 reviews they are either brand new, or often, they have had a friend review them and not a real tour.

But some of them are fantastic.

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Sorry, I never recommend using any booking agents. It is simple to just deal DIRECT. No phone tag, wrong information etc.

 

Most of the agents haven't been to Alaska, and can only give you basic information reading off a script. Worse- you are limiting yourself to only a few vendors based on commissions.

 

If you don't care who you go with and only looking at price, then certainly it can work.

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If you list what tours you are interested in, we can help find private vendors they are using or those who do similar tours (for example, there are several whale watching tours so it may be difficult to figure out exactly who they are using).

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The tours that I was interested in were:

-Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau)

-Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (Skagway)

-Some sort of forest walk and boat ride (Skagway)

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The tours that I was interested in were:

-Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau)

-Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (Skagway)

-Some sort of forest walk and boat ride (Skagway)

The last one sounds like the Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float run by Skagway Float Tours. I did this as part of a Triple Adventure Tour including a bike ride with Sockeye Cycling. Great experience, would absolutely recommend.

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The tours that I was interested in were:

-Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau)

-Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (Skagway)

-Some sort of forest walk and boat ride (Skagway)

 

Here is how you book Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (excellent choice):

 

https://www.alaskaexcursions.com/glacier-safari-2/

 

Juneau:

Whale watching and Mendenhall used to be easily combined but due to changes with entrance to Mendenhall, I am not sure who they are using. You can easily book whale watching of your choice and then take a taxi to Mendenhall Glacier from the pier and spend as much time as you want there as opposed to be confined to the time frame of the tour. This depends on entirely how much time you want to spend hiking at Mendenhall glacier.

Edited by Coral

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We are looking to do the Takshanuk Wilderness Trail on 4x4's on our Skagway port stop. Does anyone have an opinion on this one? Coral?

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We are looking to do the Takshanuk Wilderness Trail on 4x4's on our Skagway port stop. Does anyone have an opinion on this one? Coral?

 

I have not done that tour. Sorry.

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Here is how you book Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (excellent choice):

 

https://www.alaskaexcursions.com/glacier-safari-2/

 

Juneau:

Whale watching and Mendenhall used to be easily combined but due to changes with entrance to Mendenhall, I am not sure who they are using. You can easily book whale watching of your choice and then take a taxi to Mendenhall Glacier from the pier and spend as much time as you want there as opposed to be confined to the time frame of the tour. This depends on entirely how much time you want to spend hiking at Mendenhall glacier.

 

I found a combo whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour based on another thread here: http://alaska-shoreexcursions.com/juneau/whale-watching-mendenhall-glacier-tour

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I found a combo whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour based on another thread here: http://alaska-shoreexcursions.com/juneau/whale-watching-mendenhall-glacier-tour

 

Correct - but I won't use a booking company for tours. I want to go direct to the original company. If it was me, I would just take a taxi from the whale watching pier to Mendenhall as I don't want to be restricted time wise with a tour.

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Has anyone had an experience with booking exurscions though Viator?

 

Viator is just a tour booking company. It is usually not difficult to figure out the company that is actually doing the tour to check them out. Also, then the tour company gets to keep all your money instead of splitting it w Viator.

 

DON.

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