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Old 04-26-2013, 08:13 AM   #1
aeasterling
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Is excursion through DCL worth extra money

I'm sure I'll get lots of different answers.

We are doing an Alaska sailing in July. Right now I have booked a helicopter glacier tour through an independent operator ( M&M tours) for Skagway. It looks like exactly the same tour offered by DCL. I'm not worried about missing the ship, as it is a morning tour and we'll be back 6 hours before the departure time. The only benefit I see with Disney is that you meet on the ship instead of on the pier. DCL would cost me $140 more. Is it worth spending extra? Am I missing something?
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
NancyIL
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Nope! Skagway is very small, so unless you are physically handicapped - meet the tour on the pier and save $140.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:54 AM   #3
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When possible we always book our own excursions. No sense in paying the DCL premium....especially in a US port.

I know some people like being able to just follow the mouse-ear sign and let someone else do the thinking....but for us, part of the adventure is finding our own way and making out our adventures.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:10 AM   #4
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if they're cancelled will you get a refund? I only ask because all the port adventures at CC were cancelled last week due to weather.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:23 AM   #5
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The helecoptor excursions are cancelled often due to weather, so they probably have a policy for refunds but I would double check that. If they will not charge you for a cancellation by them, then definitely book through them. We did everything on our own in Alaska because DCL charges adult prices for kids 10 and up. We had a 10 & 12 year old that cruise and were able to book both of them on each excursion for the price of one adult with DCL. The ports are very small and eveyrthing is close by, other than Juneau where they have a free bus to shuttle you from the dock to the town. We actually were on the same train as the DCL excursion for White Pass -- but with only 16 or so people in our car and plenty of room to move around inside and out on the platform. We had to walk 5 minutes to the station to board, but they dropped all of us off right near the ship at the end.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:47 AM   #6
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I tried vigorously to book the Sea Lion Encounter without first having to use DCL. I called Dolphin Encounter, her answer: "We cannot provide this reservation. If a Disney cruise ship is in port that day, they have almost all the reservations booked."

I used another tour provided who took my CC and booked the regular island days for the rest and was going to REQUEST with the Dolphin Encounter to put our 3 tours in. She had to refund us. "Unfortunately, we don't have anything available for that day."

Now I"m starting to panic! It's the first time the 3 of us girls will be at a port that offers this. Now money isn't an option once we know we really want to do this particular excursion. So I log on to Disney page. I select 3 of us for the early Sea Lion and wala! We are booked, just that easy. Did DCL add $15-20 more pperson? I'm sure. But what was I to do? I couldn't get the Sea Lions anywhere else. I chose to view it as Disney buying up all the spots they could that day to make available to their guests, as if they were our tour provider or travel agent.

Was I happy? Beyond thrilled to death. We got right on out after docking, we got on the first ferry to Blue Lagoon and we were the first Sea Lion encounter of the day. We had a fabulous time and would do it again.

I also like the idea that DCL didn't charge my credit card to book the excursion, that was interesting to me. They reserved it, sent me a reservation confirmation, but didn't charge me until AFTER we had gone, and then it went on the room credit. That is a first for me. Anytime I had booked through Carnival, the money comes out RIGHT away for the excursion and so you are basically screwed if anything happens between now and then.

And of course everyone will bring out that you don't have to worry about being left behind if you book with Disney. (Sort of. I mean, we had 3 ferry boats available to take back at different times and then went shopping in Nassau. I suppose once the length of your tour is over, if you are late, you are still on your own. So ours was considered a 4 hr tour that started at 9:30 so we could be guaranteed to be on board about 2:30 so I guess if we missed the ship at 5:45, that would still be on us...)

Well anyway I'm glad Disney offered it. SOMEONE had to. Maybe Dolphin Encounters is strictly under contract NOT to sell it if they know somone is on the Dream (they did ask me if I was coming on a cruise ship and which line) and I'm sure that is the reality of it. But we got our amazing tour and photos and memories to last forever. It was the only one we booked, because everthing else on Castaway we didn't need to pay for, so I guess it was a fair trade out!
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