Shore Excursions-Book via Cruise Line or Private Vendor?
Good Evening: We are lst time Cruisers. Alaska in August. I was able to pre-reserve a shore excursion at each of our 4 stops via Princess last night...for 4 of us travelling together. Noted on another board reccomendations of 2 private tour vendors: Portpromotions.com & Shoretrips.com. Went to those sights tonight. Of the 4 excursions, 1 not offered privately, 2 looked identical but only a $5-$10 difference. One, however, in Victoria, that is billed by Princess as the "Deluxe Whale Watch" looks to be identical to what's called "Whale Watching from an Enclosed Vessel" on Shoretrips.com. Same time length, same departure time, same drinks, snacks, same type of enclosed jet boat. The one from Shoretrips is $23 less pp=$92 savings! Both return by 8pm, a full 2 hrs before ship departure. So, question is, as a lst time cruiser, should I go with private vendor on this one? Can I assume we'll get back on board in time?
I really appreciate this website. For us new cruisers (esp those of us who booked online), it's been a wealth of information. No longer concerned I didn't use a regular Travel Agent lst time. Also, Princess toll-free customer service folks are quite frankly awesome regarding advice, confrimations, etc.
One more question, if any staff or other cruisers can advise. Take the White Pass Railway in the early morning, or wait until afternoon? Does either afford better opportunity for clear weather in August........or is it just a matter of luck? Thanks, Marty Scavongelli