? Price difference HAL shore tours and independents

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#1
189 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
Hi there,
Wanting to do lots of shore tours for our Alaska hal cruise next year.
I know the RCi ones for NZ sometimes triple the price of doing it independently, but we got stuck in Akaroa to join our tour due to tender preferencing last cruise.
In particular wanting to do the Dog sledding and Glacier trip.
Does anyone one know if there is a huge difference in price booking with cruise? I cant log in yet to see prices.
Have found that these often book iut and dont want to miss out!
Thanks in advance
#2
Arizona
63 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Alaska seems to normalize tour prices somewhat, so you'll often get a better deal booking independently, but not a hugely better deal (unless you risk waiting until last minute and then bargaining them down in person). Even then, my experience says that you're never going to get the same tour at a third the price in Alaska. However, you can find less grand excursions for less money, especially in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, and some DIY options are very cheap or free.

Here are some of my favorite DIY activities: https://cruisingalaskaonabudget.word...alaskan-ports/
#4
Charlotte, NC
2,781 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
We just returned from our Eurodam cruise and through our research, found that many of the onboard excursions were more expensive than purchasing the exact same one independently. Not sure what your idea of "huge difference" is but in some cases were significant

One thing we did find out during a ports presentation was that we could buy the Mt Roberts Tramway tickets onboard a little cheaper (tax free) and if we did not use them, we could return them to the Journeys Ashore desk and get our money back. We did exactly that as we were too tired to after our whale watch/Mendenhall glacier excursion (purchased independently though Juneau Whale Watch tours) and they didn't bat an eye when we came back with the tickets.....
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#5
189 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
Originally posted by Alaskacie
Helicopter/dogsled is $524 independent and typically $600 on ships if bought before cruising and higher when you get aboard.
Is there an opportunity to do the dog sled from the glacier via land transportation? I am assuming it is the helicopter price tag making it so expensive
#6
United States
9 Posts
Joined May 2012
In summer, you need to fly to elevation to find snow and yes, the high price is based on flight and then also expenses of dog camps to set up and live on the icefield all summer. Heli to glacier starts at $299 and sled dog camp (dirt track) starts at $129 -- so it's about $100 premium to combine them.
#7
189 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
Originally posted by Alaskacie
In summer, you need to fly to elevation to find snow and yes, the high price is based on flight and then also expenses of dog camps to set up and live on the icefield all summer. Heli to glacier starts at $299 and sled dog camp (dirt track) starts at $129 -- so it's about $100 premium to combine them.
Thanks Alaskcie,
I thought that might be the case but saw trips to the glacier as a separate tour and thought there might be a way to the dog sledding that way.
#8
United States
9 Posts
Joined May 2012
You would still need to pay for dogsled tour. The helicopters are not charging extra for the different location, they are collecting on behalf of the dog camps.
#9
189 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
Originally posted by Alaskacie
You would still need to pay for dogsled tour. The helicopters are not charging extra for the different location, they are collecting on behalf of the dog camps.
Thanks again,
Just preferred to drive up but realise now it is probably at a different location than the other tours and the only way in. I know some people on the forum have had their tour cancelled with bad weather so that makes sense helicopter the only way.
#10
Redmond WA
8,732 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
There are a couple of videos on this tour on the Coastal Helicopter web site. They show the flight to the glacier and what the dog camp looks like from above. Temsco and ERA are other helicopter vendors in Juneau.
You can't drive to the glacier. http://www.coastalhelicopters.com/tours/dog-sled-tours/

If you want a cheaper alternative, there's dog carting, where the dogs pull a cart on land, such as this one in Seward.
https://ididaride.com/tours/wilderne...led-ride-tour/
#11
New Mexico
4,659 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
The additional cost of excursions through the ship could be considered "insurance' that the ship will not leave without you in case you are delayed.
We met a lady on one of our recent Holland America Line cruises who suffered a serious back injury during a ship-sponsored excursion. All of her treatment, to include several months of rehabilitation, was paid by Holland America Line. Would an independent excursion operator do the same?
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#12
United States
9 Posts
Joined May 2012
The tours sold by ship are alll run by "independent excursion operators," who also carry insurance. Interesting that the incident you reference went through HAL insurance, -- I wonder whether it is Cruiseship SOP to cover any mishaps on tours sold by them -- have not heard that one before!
#13
Redmond WA
8,732 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by Crew News
We met a lady on one of our recent Holland America Line cruises who suffered a serious back injury during a ship-sponsored excursion. All of her treatment, to include several months of rehabilitation, was paid by Holland America Line. Would an independent excursion operator do the same?
That was quite an injury. What kind of excursion was it?
#14
New Mexico
4,659 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by mapleleaves
That was quite an injury. What kind of excursion was it?
Sorry but I don't remember what type of excursion. The lady's HAL sponsored excursion costs were a matter of discussion at one of our Meet & Greets. The topic of cruise injury costs is a common topic at many of our Meet & Greets.

In all of our injury discussions, HAL has always covered the medical treatment of injuries occurring during a cruise. This proactive approach may be to mitigate potential lawsuits as well as foster a "satisfied customer" environment.
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