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Old April 12th, 2013, 07:24 PM
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Default Golden Princess Alaska Excursions (June 2013)

Hi All!

My husband and I are going on our first cruise this summer, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary! We're cruising on the Golden Princess to Alaska.

I was curious if anyone knows if it's better to book excursions in advance, or while you are on the ship.

I had a friend cruise Carnival to Mexico and she said that there were 3x as many excursion options on board, then there were on the website prior to the cruise.

I wonder if that is the same, or different with Princess. And if it's cheaper to book in advance, or wait?

Thanks!

Jaime
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Old April 12th, 2013, 08:31 PM
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It won't be any cheaper if you wait...A good reason to pre-book is to get the excursions and times you want. Some start to sell out before the cruise, so if you have any you "must" do, for sure pre-book them...

There are many to choose from, so take your time and decide what you want to do in each port. You will also notice, the excursions are pretty pricey, so pick accordingly and have a great cruise to Alaska.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 08:32 PM
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Wife and I cruised last year on the Golden to Alaska, nice ship and I'm sure you will enjoy it. Unlike the warmer regions that have ALOT of excursions that are based on water. Alaska has a lot less to pick from. Riding a train to a remote area and back or visiting a glacier, that sort of thing. I didn't really see anything different at the shipboard exursion desk that I didn't see on there website. Make sure you pack a sweater,even being summer it may still be chilly. Have a great trip and happy anniversary.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 09:49 PM
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First, I'll tell you I'm not a big supporter of cruise line's excursions - too costly, too controlled, and too crowded. We much prefer to either do our own thing or to do independent excursions. There are several companies to look at including Shore Trips.

Having done a 14-day cruisetour and only doing excursions with independent companies, I can tell you first hand we were so glad we did the several independent tours we did. For example; we did the helicopter/dog sled tour in Juneau. The cruise line wanted $100 more per person than Shore Trips. And our helicopter only had another couple along with us, so it was not crowded, plus they flew over a couple of different glaciers giving us a longer flight than those operated for the cruise line.

Princess is noted for being a bit more expensive than independents. We were in Aruba and wanted to do the 4-1/2 hour tour around the island on Harley's. Princess wanted $355 for the tour and we got it directly through the Harley dealer for $155 and it was exactly the same tour!

I could give you several examples, but trust me when I say there are definitely cheaper, easier, and less crowded ways to do the excursions than through the cruise line.

Now, with that said, the most popular excursions do tend to sell out, so it's often better to book beforehand. And yes, often times cruise lines will offer tours on the ship that are not offered on the website because things are always changing.

But overall, you will definitely enjoy your cruise to Alaska. It truly is a wonderful place to visit.

Pete
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Old April 15th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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Default Thank you!

Wow guys, thanks for really coming through for me! I'm so glad someone turned me to this website because you all offered so many helpful tips, and things for my husband and I to think over!

We are looking forward to our cruise, and appreciate the insight from the experienced cruisers.

Thank you! Hope you all are as excited for your next cruise, as I am my first!

-Jaime.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killioj View Post
Hi All!

My husband and I are going on our first cruise this summer, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary! We're cruising on the Golden Princess to Alaska.

I was curious if anyone knows if it's better to book excursions in advance, or while you are on the ship.

I had a friend cruise Carnival to Mexico and she said that there were 3x as many excursion options on board, then there were on the website prior to the cruise.

I wonder if that is the same, or different with Princess. And if it's cheaper to book in advance, or wait?

Thanks!

Jaime
Jaime,
Just got off the Golden Princess in Feb 2013. Great ship - you will enjoy the cruise. I would look at what they are offering and if you see some you would like to go on - by all means book them early. The hot ones are sold out before the cruise leaves. If you want to wait until you board, know what side trips you want to see and book them as soon as you can - the first day or next to insure you can get them. This ship carries I believe over 2900 passengers so the chance of not getting a spot on this trip can be certain.
Enjoy this trip - great itenary.

Bob
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Old April 16th, 2013, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruise planner View Post
First, I'll tell you I'm not a big supporter of cruise line's excursions - too costly, too controlled, and too crowded. We much prefer to either do our own thing or to do independent excursions. There are several companies to look at including Shore Trips.

Having done a 14-day cruisetour and only doing excursions with independent companies, I can tell you first hand we were so glad we did the several independent tours we did. For example; we did the helicopter/dog sled tour in Juneau. The cruise line wanted $100 more per person than Shore Trips. And our helicopter only had another couple along with us, so it was not crowded, plus they flew over a couple of different glaciers giving us a longer flight than those operated for the cruise line.

Princess is noted for being a bit more expensive than independents. We were in Aruba and wanted to do the 4-1/2 hour tour around the island on Harley's. Princess wanted $355 for the tour and we got it directly through the Harley dealer for $155 and it was exactly the same tour!

I could give you several examples, but trust me when I say there are definitely cheaper, easier, and less crowded ways to do the excursions than through the cruise line.

Now, with that said, the most popular excursions do tend to sell out, so it's often better to book beforehand. And yes, often times cruise lines will offer tours on the ship that are not offered on the website because things are always changing.

But overall, you will definitely enjoy your cruise to Alaska. It truly is a wonderful place to visit.

Pete
The thing not mentioned is that if you take an off ship outing and something happens and you do not get back to the ship before it departs, you have to find your own way to the next port of call.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 09:10 PM
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I think I'm going on a the same Golden Princess Alaskan cruise the person who started this thread is taking...

Anyway, when you book independently, like, in Ketchikan or Juneau, is it difficult to get from the port to the excursion? Is there transportation? That's my only concern.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 09:24 PM
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A lot will depend on the excursion. Sometimes they will pick you up at the pier. In Juneau we went whale watching with Orca Enterprises, Capt. Larry and you had to walk into town to their office and then they took you by bus to the boats to go whale watching and then dropping you back in town when the excursion. If you do go independently, just make sure you have plenty of time..
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AZCRUISER65 View Post
The thing not mentioned is that if you take an off ship outing and something happens and you do not get back to the ship before it departs, you have to find your own way to the next port of call.
That's why you do it with a reputable independent company that has insurance so if for some reason you do miss the ship, they'll take care of you.

But in the tens of thousands of excursion Cruise Planners has sold over the last 11 years that I've been an agent, not one person has ever missed the ship when booked with a reputable independent excursion company. So the chances are slim and none that would ever happen. And in the 45 cruises we've been on and the many independent excursions we've ever done, we've never come close to missing the ship. Those who miss the ship our almost always out on their own and lose track of time - at least according to the three captains I've personally talked to about this. They confirmed they've NEVER had anyone miss the ship who did an independent excursion with a reputable company.

And all three captains have confirmed that communication is the most important thing. They have no desire to leave anyone in port, but in the absence of communication, they have no choice in the matter. This is why I always recommend taking the daily newsletter with you when going into port. It has the information you need to contact the port authority should you need to get in touch with the ship.

Besides, you could be walking down the street, trip, break your ankle and end up in the hospital. You'll miss the ship and it has nothing to do with being on a shore excursion. So anything can happen and it's best to be prepared just in case.

So it's not fair to scare people with something that really doesn't exist.

I would much rather pay less money, have a much better excursion, and do it with much less people than those offered by the cruise line anytime.

Pete
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