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Old 01-13-2011, 06:30 PM   #1
speakupjc
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ABD Alaska Cruise Package

I know no one has done the ABD cruise package because it is brand new this year, however, I would appreciate it if you would post your thoughts about this adventure. Is it worth it for what you get? We have never been to Alaska and are looking at this option vs. booking our own excursions with DCL. Also we have never gone on an ABD trip. Any help that you can give us would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:22 AM   #2
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Hey there - We've just started looking at ABD Alaska Cruise and ABD Med Cruise, and my first reaction to the Alaska pricing is HOLY COW! I need to do some more analysis, of course, but what I noticed off the top:

- Alaska's price for the ABD part is roughly the same as Cruise-only (for my family of 4). That seems pricey for the ABD part considering there's no hotel cost in there.

- comparing the 2 cruises, the price for a week-long ABD Alaska Cruise is pretty much the same as an 11-day ABD Med Cruise! This has me scratching my head a bit, but I need to really compare the ABD activities to understand the differences here.

As it stands today, I'm skeptical that the ABD add-on for the Alaska Cruise is worth $10,000 for my family (roughly $1400/day!). And this is coming from a family who has already done 3 ABD trips (and LOVED them). Again, I need to dig into this some more.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:48 AM   #3
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Boy, "worth it" is such a relative term. You really need to look at the excursions that are available for Alaska, decide which type of excursion you would book, then compare the price. ABD will always be a bit higher, because of the Guides, and all meals being included, but I'd expect it to be "close" for it to be worth it. I did that with the Med cruise add-on, and definitely found it to be worth it.

Make sure you're comparing apples to apples. If you're the kind of person who would take a $30 excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier visitor center, spend a little time there, then go back to the ship, or walk around town, then ABD won't be worth it to you. ABD is comparable to the really more expensive excursions, and it seems to me that a couple of the days are really full, and really the equivalent of 2 excursions. If they look like excursions you'd sign up for, and the price is at least similar, then I'd definitely say it's worth it. Having the Guides there for you and having the continuity of the group of 40 ABDers for the whole cruise is a really nice added bonus. Getting the CD with all the photos was nice, also, and the group meal at Palo. I really felt the Med ABD add-on was worth it.

But I have to agree with KLondon. While I totally felt the add-on for the 11-day Med cruise was worth it, I'm a little surprised that the 7-day Alaska cruise add-on is so close to the cost for the 11/10 day Med one! The Med cruise had 7 port days, and the Alaska cruise only has 3! I really haven't priced the Alaska excursions. I know some (like the glacier dog sledding) *ARE* extremely expensive. So you need to compare all that.

Is it a wonderful way to travel and do a cruise? Absolutely! Will you have a phenomenal experience? Without a doubt!

Is it worth the cost? You're probably going to have to do a little homework to figure that one out.

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Old 01-15-2011, 03:10 PM   #4
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Alaska ADB

Say hello, we took the same Med. tour you did and Tina & Robyn were wonderful as was our whole group-the cost is worth it to not have to plan anything and i always have needed to plan every minute (OCD) e might be signing up for the June Alaska cruise. Where didyou find pricing for ADB?
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rav4lcrv View Post
Say hello, we took the same Med. tour you did and Tina & Robyn were wonderful as was our whole group-the cost is worth it to not have to plan anything and i always have needed to plan every minute (OCD) e might be signing up for the June Alaska cruise. Where didyou find pricing for ADB?
rav4lcrv, I agree with you. First off, Tina & Robyn were DEFINITELY fabulous! And I loved not having to worry about signing up for, or getting the excursions I wanted. Not having to make choices or plan stuff. It made thins *so* relaxing. It was definitely worth it to me. I haven't looked at the Alaska one close enough yet to determine that. From a convenience point of view, it's totally worth it!

I called ABD to get the pricing. I posted the prices for all of this year's ABD add-ons in this thread:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2614116

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My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:46 PM   #6
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Why we signed up for the Alaska DCL ABD ...

We are signed up for the Alaska ABD Cruise Add-On ... my parents and I will be experiencing both DCL (cruising of any kind) and ABD for the first time.

The price of the ABD is steep - no doubt about that. (For us three adults, the ABD total cost is actually MORE than our total navigator's verdandah stateroom cost), BUT we have decided it is worth it for reasons that the dollar signs alone won't show. (And, as others have said, some excursions in Alaska are expensive no matter who you book them with.)

My parents are in the late 50s/early60s - Alaska will more than likely be a one time trip for them. (They have other places in the world they would like to see too.) The ABD itinerary on port days is packed - it seems like we will experience the best of what each port has to offer and so combined it will be a great Alaska experience. The ABD excursions are, for the most part, things we would all enjoy doing. (My dad is not keen on the helicopter ride, but does think it would be cool to dogsled and walk on a glacier.)

There is no way that I (the trip planner) could ever hope to schedule all those shore excursions on my own. Either I would be fighting the logistics of coordinating with private providers, or hoping for the best as I waited to see what DCL excursions were left after the Concierge & Castaway Club memebers got to make their selections. (Realistically, since this is our first cruise ever, I doubt I would even consider the outside provider route and would just be sticking with DCL if we opted out of the ABD for some reason.)

Things like having Palo and the Photo CD included are also nice ... knowing that we will be getting the CD will likely make us take advantage of the onboard photo ops - something we probably wouldn't do otherwise. The "worry free, minimal planning" aspect is something that I am really looking forward to. (Don't get me wrong, I love planning trips, but it will be nice to leave most things in someone else's hands this time.)

I've played with the numbers a little bit and so far I'm okay with the ABD price. Not all of the excursions from ABD match up with DCL ones, so it's a bit tough to make an accurate comparision - and I have no idea how to factor in things like the cost of "private receptions", the wine pairing with our Palo Dinner, or the "all gratuities onboard and ashore" being included.

All that said, the plan is for my parents and I to sit down and go through the DCL excursions and compare them to the ABD ... just to make sure that by sticking with the ABD (we signed up before the DCL excursions were releaed) we aren't missing an opportunity at a port that one/all of us would really want to have.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:25 AM   #7
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For me, one of the biggest advantages of the ABD cruise add-on is to have a built-in group of people that you socialize with for the time on the cruise. I normally travel with my 10 yr old daughter, and IMHO, a cruise makes it challenging to find other people for us both to be-friend. We have only done one cruise, and that was an anniversary trip with my parents, siblings and their families, so we had a built in "group". But after that experience, I knew I would not do more cruises with the two of us, because I knew I would miss the "bonding" with fellow travelers like you get on a guided tour trip.
This may or may not be important to you, but would be the reason that I would pay any "extra" for the ABD add-on (over the cost of what you could do the excursions for individually). I think it's a great idea, and is probably the ONLY way I'd ever do a cruise again with just the two of us.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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ADB add on

Having done the Med. cruise with ABD I agree that having a core group to discuss the days events with really added to the trip-we were also assigned together for dinner
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:00 PM   #9
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Having to agree with sayhello that value is a relative "thing". Having been twice to the Med on the Magic and also an ACD Alaska that Disney does a wonderful job on their logistics and tour guides.Having also cruised the Med with other cruise lines and booking excursions I feel that there is a little higher end feel to the DCL excursions. One thing that can't be appreciated is the cost of living in Alaska. A McDonald's Big Mac is about $8.50 and we spent $12.00 on bacon and two eggs WITHOUT coffee you come to appreciate the high cost of everything. Alaska is a wonderful adventure and if you get to explore the Denali park region as well as the glacial formations it is worth the cost of the trip. Hope you have a wonderful cruise no matter which you choose.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by carpenta View Post
Having to agree with sayhello that value is a relative "thing". Having been twice to the Med on the Magic and also an ACD Alaska that Disney does a wonderful job on their logistics and tour guides.Having also cruised the Med with other cruise lines and booking excursions I feel that there is a little higher end feel to the DCL excursions. One thing that can't be appreciated is the cost of living in Alaska. A McDonald's Big Mac is about $8.50 and we spent $12.00 on bacon and two eggs WITHOUT coffee you come to appreciate the high cost of everything. Alaska is a wonderful adventure and if you get to explore the Denali park region as well as the glacial formations it is worth the cost of the trip. Hope you have a wonderful cruise no matter which you choose.
Unfortunately, the Alaska cruise add-on does not go anywhere near Denali. It's strictly the Inside Passage ports.

That said, it really does look like a lot of fabulous activities, and, as disneymath said, each day seems to be a full day; much more than you could probably organize on your own due to the logistics. And logistics really is one of the things that ABD excels at.

And I also agree with marcemch; one of the reasons I did the Med cruise add-on was definitely to have the continuity of traveling with the same 40 people for the whole cruise. It made for some great camaraderie.

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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:10 AM   #11
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If the excurisons that are planned with the ABD add-on package, are ones you would like to do anyways, I think having everything taken care of is worth the little extra cost. I say little extra cost because Alaskan excursions are expensive! If you were to figure the cost of the similar excursions booked through DCL, I don't think the extra cost is substantial. I for one like to have everything organized and planned well in advance, sometimes that costs a bit more. We cannot do the ABD much to my disappointment because DH cannot do anything remotely close to a helicopter ride, suspension bridge, etc. So it would be a waste of money to book it for us.

Venturing into unknown areas--ie...Alaska, or the Med. it is nice to have someone have everything planned out for you!
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:59 PM   #12
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re-posting

I posted this over on the DCL forum, but think this is actually a better place to get the information I'm looking for

"Ok as far as I can tell from searching through related posts, it looks like the Adventures by Disney add-on would more than double the cost of our Alaska cruise. I tried to do my 'due diligence', and went through the itinerary to see if I could gauge the cost of the excursions offered by ABD, and figured in (as best I could) the additional 'extras' included (onboard tips, photos, Palo w/wine, etc).

After crunching the numbers, it still looks like the ABD add-on is anywhere from $2000-$2600 MORE than just doing the excursions & extras ourselves (and that's without the ABD guide tips included). We've never done ABD, and so I'm wondering: is that typical, for there to be such a large overhead associated ? Or is there something else included that I've somehow missed that might explain the discrepancy?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/experience you've had with ABD"

Maureen
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msnoble View Post
I posted this over on the DCL forum, but think this is actually a better place to get the information I'm looking for

"Ok as far as I can tell from searching through related posts, it looks like the Adventures by Disney add-on would more than double the cost of our Alaska cruise. I tried to do my 'due diligence', and went through the itinerary to see if I could gauge the cost of the excursions offered by ABD, and figured in (as best I could) the additional 'extras' included (onboard tips, photos, Palo w/wine, etc).

After crunching the numbers, it still looks like the ABD add-on is anywhere from $2000-$2600 MORE than just doing the excursions & extras ourselves (and that's without the ABD guide tips included). We've never done ABD, and so I'm wondering: is that typical, for there to be such a large overhead associated ? Or is there something else included that I've somehow missed that might explain the discrepancy?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/experience you've had with ABD"

Maureen
I had kind of done the same thing, and couldn't seem to get to close to what they were charging. Outside of the dogsledding the other stuff is no where near as pricey. DH and I had thought about doing it but couldn't justify the price (plus I love to plan). We can do just as much on our own for the most part for far leass (plus there was 1-2 things I didn't care if got to that ABD are going).
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by msnoble View Post
I posted this over on the DCL forum, but think this is actually a better place to get the information I'm looking for

"Ok as far as I can tell from searching through related posts, it looks like the Adventures by Disney add-on would more than double the cost of our Alaska cruise. I tried to do my 'due diligence', and went through the itinerary to see if I could gauge the cost of the excursions offered by ABD, and figured in (as best I could) the additional 'extras' included (onboard tips, photos, Palo w/wine, etc).

After crunching the numbers, it still looks like the ABD add-on is anywhere from $2000-$2600 MORE than just doing the excursions & extras ourselves (and that's without the ABD guide tips included). We've never done ABD, and so I'm wondering: is that typical, for there to be such a large overhead associated ? Or is there something else included that I've somehow missed that might explain the discrepancy?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/experience you've had with ABD"

Maureen
How many people is that for? The add-on itself costs $2299 per person, so I'm assuming when you say it's $2000 to $2600 more, you're talking at least 2 people. Maybe 4? The issue about extra cost being worth it really depends on how many people you're talking about. (ie, what is the per person extra amount. $2000 for 6 people would TOTALLY be worth it!)

That said, when I priced out the Med add-on, pricing out the individual excursions, plus the extras (meal at Palo, free Shutters CD, onboard & offshore tips, etc) the difference in cost really was only a few hundred dollars per person, which is MORE than worth it for the services of the Adventure Guides, and having all the onshore arrangements, meals, onboard activities, etc.

I haven't priced out the Alaska excursions. But I have to say, the Med ABD was 10 or 11 days, and 7 ports, and Alaska is 7 days and 3 ports. And yet the price is almost the same. So unless the excursions are *significantly* more expensive than the Med excursions (which weren't cheap!) I'm not sure how the "value" would work out. I know the helicopter tour is tremendously expensive, but I'm not aware of the costs of most of the rest. It might help the discussion if you could list the excursions you looked at, and what the prices are, so we can see exactly how much the difference is.

The add-on for the Med was TOTALLY worth it. But, then, we were in several very foreign countries, where the "things to see & do" were generally very far from the ports. Having all my transportation covered and the Adventure Guides to get us from place to place, and excellent access to the sites was invaluable. That's not the concern in Alaska.

Sayhello
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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:29 PM   #15
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sayhello--thanks for the comparison to the Med ABD. That is exactly what I was wondering, how this add-on compares to others.

We are going to be 4 people: 2 adults, 12 yo DD and 10 yo DS (not sure if they would be charged as adults or not for ABD). So it works out to an extra $500-$650 pp.

Here are my #s, retail values based on listed excursion prices, total for 4 ppl:

*Palo Dinner with Wine Experience {retail value=$40 +wine+tip, estimate $275}
*White Pass Train Ride {w/bridge & City Tour retail value=$688}
*Private Helicopter Ride {retail value=$900-1420, depending on which excursion--I used higher amount in my calculation}
*Dog Sledding {retail value=$2316}
*Mendenhall Glacier Private Presentation and Time On Your Own {retail value=$196}
*Lumberjack Show {retail value=$152-$160 depending on which show}
*Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary {retail value=$328}
*Dinner at George Inlet Lodge {with crab pot harvest retail value=$608}
*Cost of onboard tips: $ 336
*Photo CD (all photos included w/ABD): $399

these are things mentioned on the ABD itinerary that I couldn't find comparable prices for:
-Private Reception
-Jewell Gardens {? retail value}
-Gold Panning {? retail value}
-Lunch at Orca Point Lodge {? retail value}
-Private Animation Lesson {? retail value}
-Farewell Reception

I guess the issue is whether the above listed 'unknowns' are worth the extra cost, along with having the arrangements all taken care of. In the end we're leaning away from the ABD, both for cost and because we really wanted to do the whale watching and that isn't offered through ABD. Not having to negotiate foreign countries/languages makes it a lot easier to imagine coordinating our excursions on our own. But it's always nice to know what the options are!

Thanks again for your insights!
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