Be very careful about booking excursions and paying before you leave. We booked a number of excursions through Dolly Varden (Eco-Orca Tours) a few weeks before leaving for our cruise last August. All tours were charged immediately, not when they were taken so it was not a reservation but a done deal. Most of them were okay except for the helicopter rides. On the day and time we were scheduled, the weather was horrible. The wind was blowing everything sideways, it was raining and so foggy you could barely see. Carnival cancelled all of the helicopter excursions booked through the ship which confirmed our concerns about safety. We cancelled our flight but were still charged $396 because Coastal Helicoptor said they were willing to fly, that it was our decision to cancel. The fact that it was not safe did not seem to matter. We challenged the charge through the Credit Card Company and Dolly Varden. However, neither Dolly Varden nor Coastal Helicopter would budge from their “we were willing to fly” position. The credit card company position was that the vendor was “willing to provide the service.”
If the weather could factor into your excursion, book it through the ship or at one of a dozen tour places near the ship on the day you arrive. That was a lot of money down the drain for us and a mistake we will not make again.
I would also mention that the Whale Watching excursion we took had a guide that started the same week as our excursion and he was using a wire bound book with pictures as his source of information. He was madly flipping through the book looking for answers to our questions, as we were the only people on the excursion. We soon stopped asking questions because it was obvious he did not know the answers. This and the helicopter ride were scheduled the same day. Overall, that day was very disappointing.
You are very unlikely to book any flights once you arrive in port. These do require advance reservations to get your times and aircraft you prefer. It is unfortunate that the above canceled due to their concerns.
i have been with capt.larry and i know he does not flip throug a book for info. so i am sure you cannot mean him. he has a wonderful naturalis with him ( i beleive is name is mark ) who knows everything about the whales and all of the sea life there. i will go with him any time. i have yet to take a helicopter trip but if the weather does not allow the trip there is nothing you can do about that. im sure you recieved a refund from the co. if not i would not use them again.