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the excursions for a particular route dont vary that much so if you post again with details of which cruise you have booked and the ports of call, you will get lots of useful comments.  including probably plenty of advice about how to enjoy the port call without booking the ship's excursion. someone who has done the same cruise recently will probably be able to copy over the excursion list from their cruise, but of course with the warning that it might vary a bit .

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just asked as we are just back from the Nordic capitals on the Bolette and found the excursions really expensive.

 

We had planned to go on public transport and do our own thing, but when we were berthed out of walking distance they provided courtesy buses for only £5 for the day each, so we just used those and still did our own thing,  which worked out great.

 

We found we had done as much as some on the trips for a fraction of the price and at our own pace, whilst having more time to enjoy the site.

 

Hope that helps you plan your must see sites.

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As an example in Finland we got the shuttle into Helsinki and passed a sauna that was on the trip list for £159pp for 3hours , we had looked at it and the entrance fee was 23 Euros for 2 hours each. It turned out the tour walked from the ship to get to the sauna , but they got a free drink- wow

 

I understand you pay more for guides, transport and knowledge but how they can justify that vast difference in prices is crazy.

 

We heard there were quite a few tours cancelled as not enough interest, maybe as the ship had only 850 passengers rather than 1300, this was effected, but I think it is more down to the tours been way over priced.

 

Surely it would be better having full buses with a more attractive pricing policy.

 

It was our first cruise so didn't know what to expect, but we found we could see all the highlights either by walking straight in, if the Bolette was berthed in a central location ( I believe this is common because of her size), or by using the £5 shuttle bus to get us to a central location, then exploring from there.

 

We loved our first cruise and couldn't really fault Fred and the experience, as we saw what we wanted to , without using this option, but each to their own.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are booked on the Northern Lights cruise March 2024, first ever cruise, and am keen to do a dog sledding trip - no idea yet what this is going to cost yet, but am a little apprehensive about trying to book it independently. Would really like to do it independently if possible....any advice?

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On 5/10/2023 at 11:55 AM, cymrucat23 said:

We are booked on the Northern Lights cruise March 2024, first ever cruise, and am keen to do a dog sledding trip - no idea yet what this is going to cost yet, but am a little apprehensive about trying to book it independently. Would really like to do it independently if possible....any advice?

 

Which ports do you expect to visit?

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On 5/13/2023 at 1:42 PM, twotravellersLondon said:

 

Which ports do you expect to visit?

 

hi twotravellersLondon, just seen your message.

Alesund, Torghatten, Seven Sister Mountain Range, Bodo, Narvik and Tromso. I am guessing that the likely ports for sledding will be Narvik or Tromso.

 

Many thanks

 

Carol

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12 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

 

hi twotravellersLondon, just seen your message.

Alesund, Torghatten, Seven Sister Mountain Range, Bodo, Narvik and Tromso. I am guessing that the likely ports for sledding will be Narvik or Tromso.

 

Many thanks

 

Carol

 

The best place on your tip is, as you rightly suggest, is Tromso. Tours there are usually about 4 hours, cost between £100 and £160 pp for independents and can be easily found on most search engines. Trips arranged via the ship will tend to be much more expensive.

 

We've been dog sleighing three times from a Fred Olsen ship but always further North in Alta.

 

We did a 10k dog sleigh run just a couple of months ago but that was with a different cruise line. Tips are... wrap up really warm... it's cold on the sleigh and the windchill is significant... one or two pairs of warm socks, thermal gloves to wear below the mittens that should be provided and a really warm hat that won't blow off are really essential in addition to thermal underwear.

 

DSC_1435.thumb.jpeg.4bc400b756daae15a7446349d07a5600.jpeg

 

You need to be canny about when "Fred" will arrive and leave to ensure that you can do the trip. You'll possibly need to book a transfer to the dog-sleighing site and you should check what will happen if you've booked a trip independently and "Fred" cancels the port, turns up late or decides to leave early.

 

Also take care that the ship or any other ship in port hasn't block booked all of the available places on these trips and there's nothing left for independents.

 

It's a great experience... well worth the effort and the cost in our view but, as you've correctly surmised, it needs research and an educated gamble on whether pr not it will be possible if "Fred" changes his itinerary due to any reason... including bad weather on the route North.

 

And good luck with the Northern Lights... in March this year we saw the on five consecutive nights. Local people used to believe that they were the spirits of the departed....

 

We saw, or at least imagined, everything from kittens staring down on us ..

.

DSC_2824.thumb.jpeg.4da63f2f904ac0738d772b8996c412cc.jpeg

 

To open-mouthed Viking warriors in helmets...

 

DSC_2814.thumb.jpeg.b11912e87c727d1324356d9daa3a4ef9.jpeg

 

 

Best wishes for your trip.

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, twotravellersLondon said:

 

The best place on your tip is, as you rightly suggest, is Tromso. Tours there are usually about 4 hours, cost between £100 and £160 pp for independents and can be easily found on most search engines. Trips arranged via the ship will tend to be much more expensive.

 

We've been dog sleighing three times from a Fred Olsen ship but always further North in Alta.

 

We did a 10k dog sleigh run just a couple of months ago but that was with a different cruise line. Tips are... wrap up really warm... it's cold on the sleigh and the windchill is significant... one or two pairs of warm socks, thermal gloves to wear below the mittens that should be provided and a really warm hat that won't blow off are really essential in addition to thermal underwear.

 

DSC_1435.thumb.jpeg.4bc400b756daae15a7446349d07a5600.jpeg

 

You need to be canny about when "Fred" will arrive and leave to ensure that you can do the trip. You'll possibly need to book a transfer to the dog-sleighing site and you should check what will happen if you've booked a trip independently and "Fred" cancels the port, turns up late or decides to leave early.

 

Also take care that the ship or any other ship in port hasn't block booked all of the available places on these trips and there's nothing left for independents.

 

It's a great experience... well worth the effort and the cost in our view but, as you've correctly surmised, it needs research and an educated gamble on whether pr not it will be possible if "Fred" changes his itinerary due to any reason... including bad weather on the route North.

 

And good luck with the Northern Lights... in March this year we saw the on five consecutive nights. Local people used to believe that they were the spirits of the departed....

 

We saw, or at least imagined, everything from kittens staring down on us ..

.

DSC_2824.thumb.jpeg.4da63f2f904ac0738d772b8996c412cc.jpeg

 

To open-mouthed Viking warriors in helmets...

 

DSC_2814.thumb.jpeg.b11912e87c727d1324356d9daa3a4ef9.jpeg

 

 

Best wishes for your trip.

 

 

 

Thank you, wonderful photos....yes think I have plenty of time to plan...will be researching carefully and of course as you say, no amount of planning can allow for change of plans/route by Fred.  

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21 minutes ago, cymrucat23 said:

Thank you, wonderful photos....yes think I have plenty of time to plan...will be researching carefully and of course as you say, no amount of planning can allow for change of plans/route by Fred.  

 

It might be an idea to speak to the companies offering dog sleighing... they're well used to ships having to change their plans. They may be able to supply trips on whatever day the ship arrives in port and they may be willing to allow a free cancellation if the ship misses the port all together.

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@cymrucat23

 

We did the Northern Lights and did the Fred excursions, reindeer sledding not dogs. It was expensive but excellent.
 

One thing to note whether you do it with them or on your own is that you have to sign a waiver to say you are covered by your insurance. Ours for example covered  if it was an organised tour. There were also some strange and very specific exclusions.
 

Yours could be different but it is well worth checking.

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1 hour ago, Eglesbrech said:

@cymrucat23

 

We did the Northern Lights and did the Fred excursions, reindeer sledding not dogs. It was expensive but excellent.
 

One thing to note whether you do it with them or on your own is that you have to sign a waiver to say you are covered by your insurance. Ours for example covered  if it was an organised tour. There were also some strange and very specific exclusions.
 

Yours could be different but it is well worth checking.

 

Yes, standard insurance policies always exclude certain activities and things like dog sledding is one that can often be excluded (or not included, which is how some policies are worded).  Hence something which does need to be checked, preferably before booking a trip if it is non refundable as the extra cost to have things like that included on an insurance policy can be a fair bit of cash.  Even reindeer sledding is excluded by our policy.  We did reindeer sledding a number of years ago on a trip and we only went a walking pace as the front reindeer was led by a Sami person walking along holding a rein, so not like the much faster moving dog sledding at all, which would scare me, but I can certainly see the appeal for those who like those sort of activities.

  

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23 hours ago, cymrucat23 said:

will be researching carefully

 

14 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

@cymrucat23

 

We did the Northern Lights and did the Fred excursions, reindeer sledding not dogs. It was expensive but excellent.
 

One thing to note whether you do it with them or on your own is that you have to sign a waiver to say you are covered by your insurance. Ours for example covered  if it was an organised tour. There were also some strange and very specific exclusions.
 

Yours could be different but it is well worth checking.

 

We very much agree... it's best to double check insurance policies. We've never had any problems with ours but we buy what's best for us rather that what's the most economical on a comparison site... but we also tend to embrace destinations and what the surrounding area can offer with great gusto.

 

It's likely that there'll be no problem for the great majority of people. Thousands of passengers on Fred Olsen go dog sleighing in the Arctic every season. There are many more on other lines including SAGA, P&O, Viking, Ambassador, Hurtigruten and Aida that do the same. So for these tens of thousands of people a year who simply ride on a dog sleigh... insurance isn't a problem. 

 

On a cruise that we were on only two months ago (not with FOCLs) well over 500 people went dog sleighing at a site just outside Alta in Norway. They did a couple of km. We stayed overnight and did 10 km over the countryside and across a frozen river. The experience was electrifying! We have also dog sleighed at the same site twice in recent years while cruising with FOCLs. The longest dog-sleigh we've done has been 17k.

 

Dog mushing (driving the dog team) is a very different situation usually because mushing requires a significant amount of training and skill in handling the dogs, giving commands in the language they were trained and in manhandling the sleigh. It's a serious winter sport and it's not something that's usually offered to cruise passengers.

 

Nobody who hasn't been there, done it and embraced the experience can possibly appreciated the experience. It is totally immersive... the dogs are only feet away, passengers experience every nuance of the ground below, hold their breath while the dogs tackle small inclines, feel the brakes being applied by the musher when the dogs in their excitement just decide to "go for it."

 

We've been lucy enough to come across Birds of Prey and Elk on the trails... it just adds to the excitement. We've had the chance to socialise with the dogs after the ride, warm up with a coffee around a crackling log fire in a Lavu tent.

 

We travel for the experience, excitement and exhilaration of new experiences and new places... and the chance to indulge in things that we've so very much enjoyed in the past (every time is different). 

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@twotravellersLondon

 

We have a 5 star policy which like you we purchased for the specific cover it provides and not the price. It specifically excluded dog sledding unless “winter sports” was added to the policy.

 

It did however allow the reindeers in the main policy.

 

I wonder how many people just sign the waiver and have no idea if they are actually covered or not…. Until something happens.

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14 minutes ago, Eglesbrech said:

@twotravellersLondon

 

We have a 5 star policy which like you we purchased for the specific cover it provides and not the price. It specifically excluded dog sledding unless “winter sports” was added to the policy.

 

It did however allow the reindeers in the main policy.

 

I wonder how many people just sign the waiver and have no idea if they are actually covered or not…. Until something happens.

 

You may very well be right. On the occasions that we've indulged in these types of activities we have always checked with our insurers that they will be covered.

 

We've had one experience of Tromso Hospital when one of us pulled a ligament in a finger taking off a boot. We had to resort to our insurers to get things sorted out.

 

They were very helpful, did everything that was needed, keep in contact to check that we were OK... but only because, like you, we'd made sure that we were fully covered for eventualities.

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2 hours ago, twotravellersLondon said:

 

 

We very much agree... it's best to double check insurance policies. We've never had any problems with ours but we buy what's best for us rather that what's the most economical on a comparison site... but we also tend to embrace destinations and what the surrounding area can offer with great gusto.

 

 

Like Eglesbrech, (and as I mentioned), we have a very good insurance policy, it is something we have never skimped on.  I suspect the were thinking about proper reindeer sledding (at pace) as an exclusion, rather than the very poor copy done on some regular cruise excursions.  From what I have seen with policies we have had, (not many different ones, but occasionally we have needed to change), activities are usually an add on.  We were speaking with our son about his past holidays recently and some "very hairy activities" which he has partaken of, one of which had an astronomical extra insurance cost - he had to stay on the phone, whilst the insurance agent had a conversation directly with the underwriter for that one, which is solely available in one country.  Not that dog sledding would come anywhere near that level of extra payment of course, but does add to the cost of the excursion for many people.

 

I do wonder how many people are actually insured for various things they do, very few people actually seem to have actually read their insurance policy, so have no awareness of what may not be covered.  Of course there are many companies who will cancel the whole policy if one minor health issue has not been declared.  Then, as you mention there are people who go to the comparison sites and will choose the cheapest policy which can become a big mistake.  I digress though, threads about insurance run on the many pages, so no need for any detailed discussion elsewhere.

 

I hope the OP enjoys their holiday and dog sledding.

 

Edited by tring
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3 hours ago, twotravellersLondon said:

 

 

We very much agree... it's best to double check insurance policies. We've never had any problems with ours but we buy what's best for us rather that what's the most economical on a comparison site... but we also tend to embrace destinations and what the surrounding area can offer with great gusto.

 

It's likely that there'll be no problem for the great majority of people. Thousands of passengers on Fred Olsen go dog sleighing in the Arctic every season. There are many more on other lines including SAGA, P&O, Viking, Ambassador, Hurtigruten and Aida that do the same. So for these tens of thousands of people a year who simply ride on a dog sleigh... insurance isn't a problem. 

 

On a cruise that we were on only two months ago (not with FOCLs) well over 500 people went dog sleighing at a site just outside Alta in Norway. They did a couple of km. We stayed overnight and did 10 km over the countryside and across a frozen river. The experience was electrifying! We have also dog sleighed at the same site twice in recent years while cruising with FOCLs. The longest dog-sleigh we've done has been 17k.

 

Dog mushing (driving the dog team) is a very different situation usually because mushing requires a significant amount of training and skill in handling the dogs, giving commands in the language they were trained and in manhandling the sleigh. It's a serious winter sport and it's not something that's usually offered to cruise passengers.

 

Nobody who hasn't been there, done it and embraced the experience can possibly appreciated the experience. It is totally immersive... the dogs are only feet away, passengers experience every nuance of the ground below, hold their breath while the dogs tackle small inclines, feel the brakes being applied by the musher when the dogs in their excitement just decide to "go for it."

 

We've been lucy enough to come across Birds of Prey and Elk on the trails... it just adds to the excitement. We've had the chance to socialise with the dogs after the ride, warm up with a coffee around a crackling log fire in a Lavu tent.

 

We travel for the experience, excitement and exhilaration of new experiences and new places... and the chance to indulge in things that we've so very much enjoyed in the past (every time is different). 

Your experiences of dog sledding sounds absolutely wonderful! Just makes me even more keen to do it 🙂 - yes will double check on the insurance situation.  Thank you.

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