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Old 04-05-2013, 08:18 AM   #931
Ntrain
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For those of you that are booking with tour companies, how far in advance did you book? from what I'm reading people are booking like two months in advance.
Did you do it because the preferred excursions were already full via DCL or is it more cost effective?

I think turning into an obsessive planner but already doing research for my August 2014 cruise.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:30 AM   #932
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ntrain View Post
For those of you that are booking with tour companies, how far in advance did you book? from what I'm reading people are booking like two months in advance.
Did you do it because the preferred excursions were already full via DCL or is it more cost effective?

I think turning into an obsessive planner but already doing research for my August 2014 cruise.
I plan to book on my own because I like the details of the offerings with some of the tour companies better than what Disney offers at a slightly better price in general.

For example in Juneau from the research I have done I can get a smaller whale watching excursion for about the same price as the one on Disney but have 6-16 people on my boat instead of 50-150. I can also do 2 tours in one day which is very hard to do with Disney because they require that you have 2 hours between their proposed return time and your scheduled meet time to be able to book them.

I haven't figured out the exact timing for when to book yet. I know that several of the companies require payment in full up front so I imagine that would be a reason to wait if you know it won't sell out in advance.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:52 AM   #933
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We booked with Harv and Marv in Juneau about 6 months in advance. We booked with them because of the good reviews. It is the same cost for a private boat with the 6 of us as it would be for us to do the DCL excursion in the 150 person boat.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #934
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I booked my rail/bus excursion in Skagway directly with Chilkoot Charters & Tours back in December for my June 3rd cruise. It would appear that most people have excellent experiences booking directly with companies in Alaska, with more to offer for the cost--sometimes slightly cheaper, too. I'm doing the tour that offers the train up to the town, lunch, a 15 minute sled cart dog ride, and the bus return--$208 PP for adults. I notice that DCL does not offer this excursion.

For Juneau, I booked directly with Rum Runner Charters based on recommendations here on the DIS for our whale watching excursion. We're getting our own private tour (3 adults) for a total of $543. The DCL excursions offer whale watching along with stops at the glacier or with lunch for a bit more, but your time is limited at these places and your boat holds 100 or more people. Larger vessels cannot get that close to the whales, while smaller ones can. Rum Runner will be private, and the captain will even drop us off at the glacier when we're finished--where we can tour at our own pace. Public transport back to the pier, I've read, is no more than $8 per person. I booked this last month.

I would say that you may be OK waiting until your cruise to choose an excursion through DCL, although popular excursions I'm sure would sell out. My cruise leaves June 3rd and it would seem almost all the excursions are still available. I wanted these private tours, so I booked way in advance to ensure them.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:32 PM   #935
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Thanks for the responses. I'm still reading this thread and I found a couple of reviews saying the same thing that private is with less people. We definitely want to do de helicopter/dogsled excursion. Anyways we still have a lot of time but at least I can plan on the budget now.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:52 PM   #936
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I booked the Deadliest Catch tour last month I saved $20 per person.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:01 AM   #937
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Is there a list somewhere of the tour companies that you can book on your own ?
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:21 PM   #938
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I have a question about time zones and I apologize if I've missed this on another post. Maybe I'm wrong, but is Vancouver on pacific time, and is all of Alaska one hour behind that? So when you see times for activities, dining, etc on the boat is that going by Vancouver or Alaska time? Assuming when you're looking at excursion times they would be on Alaska time?

Also any tips to help kids (specifically 3 year olds!) adjust to the time change (coming from east coast time, yikes!) are appreciated! We do plan on spending a few days prior in Vancouver to help. Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #939
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On Day 2 (at sea), we had to put our clocks BACK one hour when we went to bed to get on to Alaska time. So for Day 3 and forward, we were on Alaska time and all times posted in the Navigators & the excursion times were based on this. On Day 6 (Ketchikan), we had to put our clocks FORWARD one hour when we went to bed to get back on to Vancouver time. So only Day 1 and Day 7 were on Vancouver time.

As for adjusting to the time change, coming in a few days early to Vancouver will help. Excitement also helps for both kids and adults to adjust as you are more likely to want to stay up late since you're having so much fun . After 1-2 nights of this and getting up at a regular time the next day, you get switched over pretty easily.

I hope this helps!

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Old 04-07-2013, 03:29 PM   #940
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Thank you so much for clearing that up for me Aby!!
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:52 PM   #941
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What's the best thing to do in Ketchikan?

We aren't sure what excursion to pick in Ketchikan. Do you recommend the float plane, bering sea crab tour, or snorkeling? What have you done? How would you rate it/compare them?
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:18 AM   #942
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Just want to thank everyone for their reviews and posting about all the excursions. The information was really invaluable to me. I booked my port adventures today and would have never known about the snorkeling if I hadn't read about it here. I also booked one outside Disney. Can't wait for our trip!
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:23 AM   #943
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We did a float plane trip in Ketchikan and it was amazing. Definitely an unforgettable experience!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:17 PM   #944
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrapycruiser View Post
Is there a list somewhere of the tour companies that you can book on your own ?
I looked up each town's website and got tour operator info from there.

http://www.traveljuneau.com/index.php

http://skagway.com/business-category/activities/



I don't have a link for Ketchikan, but you can google it or possibly find a link from one of the other websites.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:31 PM   #945
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Originally Posted by jilljill View Post
I looked up each town's website and got tour operator info from there.

http://www.traveljuneau.com/index.php

http://skagway.com/business-category/activities/



I don't have a link for Ketchikan, but you can google it or possibly find a link from one of the other websites.
Thanks for the links. Looks like I'm going to delete one of my excursions and book outside Disney. Much cheaper!
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