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Old 01-10-2013, 06:15 PM   #1
barbja99
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How much to budget for Alaska excursions

How much would you reasonably budget for a family of 5 for the excursions for a DCL Alaskan cruise? We have two 12yo (boy and girl) and one 16yo girl.

I know that you can go all out and spend thousands per port and I know that you can spend nothing. I'm looking for middle of the road kind of numbers.

Right now I'm budgeting our pre-cruise stay in Seattle and post-cruise stay in Vancouver. I'm finding it hard to do that when I have no earthly idea how much we'll spend on the excursions.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbja99 View Post
How much would you reasonably budget for a family of 5 for the excursions for a DCL Alaskan cruise? We have two 12yo (boy and girl) and one 16yo girl.

I know that you can go all out and spend thousands per port and I know that you can spend nothing. I'm looking for middle of the road kind of numbers.

Right now I'm budgeting our pre-cruise stay in Seattle and post-cruise stay in Vancouver. I'm finding it hard to do that when I have no earthly idea how much we'll spend on the excursions.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Well, we are a family of 5, ( 12 year old, 14, and 16) .
We are spending about $2200.
We think that's sort of middle of the road.
Alaska is expensive!

Here is what we are doing to keep expenses down:
Book on your own!!!

SKAGWAY
Disney wanted $200 a person, (so $1000 for us ) to take the Jeep Tour in Skagway. I booked independently for $180 for ALL 5 OF US!!
Now, we will need to pay for stops ( like if we want to visit the suspension bridge, or cart ride with the Alaskian puppies) so we will budget for that.

Whale Watching....JUNEAU
Booked with Harv and Marv for $745 for all of us. less then Disney ( and our tour is private , only us!)

And here is our splurge....KETCHIKAN
Island Wings Flightseeing through the Misty Fjords.
This tour is costing us $1135.00 for all 5 ( $239 for 4 of us, $179 for my 12 year old)
We felt that Alaska is a " once in a lifetime experience" so we are spending double on excursions then what we pay in the Caribbean.
We have heard that if you cant afford the dog mushing tour on the glaciers....then flightseeing is the next best thing. ( Dog mushing was $499 a person)

Remember, Disney charges an adult fare for kids 10 and over....most companies consider a child 12 and under. So a savings for you for sure.

So that's our plan.

You could save alot of money by not doing the floatplane tour and maybe attending a show or tour in Ketchican, like the Lumberjack performance.
And by skipping the whale watch in Juneau and just going to the glacier for about $100 for 5 ( transportation and addimission).

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
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you can check the National Park site and see what they offer for free/cheap??

But alaska is expensive..the "kids" ziplined in skagway, DH and I took the white pass train, in Juneau we all enjoyed the Mendenhall Glacier and some shopping in Skagway, Ketchican was totem poles!
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:00 PM   #4
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There is a HUGE variation here. Another vote for booking outside DCL. We used shoretours.com at a savings of 30% or so over the cruise line prices for adults.

The BIGGEST savings in a family is the fact that a 10 year old pays adult prices on DCL while most private vendors start adult rates at 13 or even 18.

We also took the attitude that Alaska was probably a "one and only" time for me (although I'm now being informed that the family wouldn't mind another Alaska cruise), so we did some things we might not otherwise have chosen.

We did Chilkoot tours day in Skagway on our own, whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, and did an "on our own" day in Ketchikan. We took the city bus to Totem Bite State Park and made a stop at Wal-mart for forgotten items...and saw a bit of the town.

Ketchikan was the bargain of the trip. The official tour to Totem Bite was $69. Um....city bus was $1 each way, park admission is free. Visitors center has self guide map and volunteers lead guided tours with departures frequently. We did a guided tour and the guy wouldn't even take a tip. So $2 per person vs. $69. Oh yeah, we didn't take any hot chocolate in the gift shop, kinda figuring it was for the ship tour group (although no one said so).
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
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There is a HUGE variation here. Another vote for booking outside DCL. We used shoretours.com at a savings of 30% or so over the cruise line prices for adults.
Did you mean shoretrips.com? I get nothing for shoretrips.com.

Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:33 PM   #6
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We booked all of our excursions outside of DCL.

That said, we went all out as we thought once in a lifetime.

Trying to do the math after 8 months, I think we spent about $1100-$1200 total for the two of us in excursions. All booked on our own.

Skagway we did Dyea Dave tour to Emerald Lake and Train back. After reading reviews, I called, and was surprised when Dave actually answered. He spent 15 minutes talking about Alaska ports and gave lots of recommendations. However, when we showed up and we met Dave, he wasn't our tour guide and while we enjoyed the tour, would not recommend booking this without a guarantee of who my guide was. (Our guide was not one of the "other people" listed on Dave's website. I'm not sure if someone called sick or what) If Dave is your guide, GO. We also very much enjoyed the train.

After the train, Not Dave again picked us up and took us to the town overlook and then to the cemetery. We had them drop of off at the brewery as it was at the end of town for a microbrew and then walked back down the main street to the ship.

Juneau, booked the ERA glacier tour from the booths when we first got off the ship. (half the cost of Disney, but still very expense) They also threw in a shuttle to the Glacier. In the two copters, it was the two of us, and everyone else on official Disney Cruise tours. We had the exact same tour. They only difference was after the tour, we couldn't go back in the same ERA bus. Both us and the people we were on the glacier with said they didn't mind but ERA said they had to keep us separate. So, we followed their ERA logo bus back into town in our ERA logo van.

Ketchakan, we booked the Misty Fjords flight seeing. We booked the one in the tour saver book. It was a bit of a pain, as they didn't want to take the coupon. They said we had to call the day of. Ultimately, while at full price, they would take anyone who called, they would only "fill the plane" with the discount. Even the day of, they wouldn't confirm it until lunch time. I think they kept thinking we would break, but the Juneau glacier tour was our big spend. We figured for 2-4-1, it was worth it, but we had decided if it was full price, it was no. I know Island Wings is fantastic, but our pilot was great. Yes, there was recorded narration for most of the way, but i enjoyed standing on the pontoon in the middle of the Fjords as opposed to beaching and getting out. Where else are you going to stand on a plane float surrounded by beauty.

Trying to do the math after 8 months, I think we spent about $1000-$1100 for the two of us in excursions. All booked on our own.

have a great time.
-dp
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