Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Veronica and I are scheduled to go on our first cruise in May of 2009. We will be on the Norwegian Pearl, departing Seattle WA, on 5/10 and we will be headed to Alaska. I have been busy setting up add on excursions, for the ports of call, that our ship will be in. On May 13th, we will be in Skagway. Since we arrive in Skagway at approximately 7AM and depart at approximately 9PM, we will be there for a full day. Originally I had scheduled 2 excursions for that day. Both excursions were booked through the travel agency that I had originally booked the cruise through. I also found out that the cruise company, NCL, also handles bookings for the same excursions. When checking out both of the web sites, NCL and Alaska Cruises, there were some changes in the verbage as far as describing each excursion and a small difference in the cost for each excursion. In reality, both companies handled the exact same excursions. After booking my 2 original excursions for Skagway, I recieved an email from a different company that actually handled the booking of the tours. They sent me a confirmation email about my booking. After originally booking our excursions, I was doing some checking and found the web sites for many of the companies that actually performed the excursions in Skagway. I wrote an email to one of the companies in Skagway and requested information on their tours. Last night I recieved a phone call from the owner of the business and we spoke for about an hour. She told me which excursions were the best and ones that you got your monies worth. She quoted me a price for 2 excursions...the same ones that I had previously booked through the travel agency and the promotional tour company. I was pleasantly surprised at how much cheaper it was to go directly through the actual tour company...the ones that do the actual excursion. The 2 excursions that we had originally booked, were going to cost us about $386 and was going to be about 6 hours total time of that day. Going directly through Frontier Excursions, we ended up getting a much better tour...one that would take us into the Yukon Territory, provide a bar-b-que chicken luncheon meal, a visit to a dog sled camp plus we added on a couple of extra stops at the end of the actual excursion for a very minimal fee. This excursion would be about 7 hours and it was a heck of a lot better excursion than what we had booked previously. By cutting out the middle men and going directly through the actual tour company that does the excursion, we ended up paying $218, a savings of almost 45% off the cost of our original booking. My suggestion for anyone going on a cruise is to do a google search for your port of calls. You will find the names of all businesses that offer tours in that port of call. By going directly through them and cutting out the cruise companies, the travel agencies and the promotional tour booking companies, you will be able to save some major money for the same tours that are being offered through a middle man. The major money that you save, can be given directly to your spouse for her foot message, at the spa on the ship. I guess that we could really save some money by me giving Veronica that foot message myself but unfortunately....I just don't do feet.