Discover Alaska Frequently Asked Questions


Q Why Discover Alaska? What makes booking with Discover Alaska a better choice?
A You cannot book our exclusive, customized program directly with the cruise lines or any other company involved in the travel industry. It is a unique and customized product developed by Discover Alaska over the past 48 years. Further, our experienced staff has been to Alaska and knows it first hand!
Q I understand that Discover Alaska has produced a new DVD of the entire Alaska cruise/tour, start to finish. How can I get a copy? How much does it cost?
A Request a free copy of our DVD or visit our web site. Call 800-624-7718
Q Do I need a passport?
A Yes. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel return date.
Q What should I expect to pay for gratuities?
A

Open seating or fixed seating: $13.50 per person per day;
$15 per person per day for suites. This will be added to your on board account.

Q I am a diabetic; can I get diabetic friendly meals?
A Yes you can, and that even includes diabetic desserts. Be sure to tell us when you book and we can include this information in your registration with the ship.
Q I am in a wheelchair, what arrangements can you make for me?
A

Cruise Ships are wheelchair friendly. Should you need wheelchair or Scooter accessible rooms or rooms near an elevator, please let us know at the time of booking.  Walkers, scooters and wheelchairs can be accommodated as long as they break down for storage in the motorcoach baggage area.

For more information regarding Special Assistance, please reference the following link with is on our web site. Discoveralaska.biz/box/sevices.html
For the Land Tour included in our program, there are wilderness trails and other times it may be necessary to get some assistance. Please contact us about your particular situation and we will do our best to help you during your travels.

Q

If I decide not to go on one of your special land tours, can I get my money back on that tour so that I can spend it on something else?

A Sorry, No. There are no refunds or ships credit for tours that you miss or choose not to attend. Discover Alaska has pre-arranged and prepaid all tours and meals in advance and therefore they are non refundable.
A Once I book a cabin with Discover Alaska, how hard is it to change cabins.
Q Yes, if you change your mind it is usually possible to change cabins, but it depends on availability. The longer you wait, the fewer choices you will have. It is always best to carefully choose your cabin in the first place.
Q What are the advantages to booking early?
A Let's see….better prices, better cabin choices, better choice of seating at dinner while onboard ship.
Q Do you have a payment plan? I have a monthly income and would like to pay monthly.
A Yes. You may pay the full Deposit plus your insurance premium with final payment due not later than 80 days prior to departure. You may also make monthly payments at no additional charge. We send final invoices 90 days prior to departure. Passengers not paid in full 90 days prior to departure can be cancelled. Payments may be made by check, money order, or major credit card. Call and we will be happy to set up a payment plan best for you.
Q I can't lift heavy suitcases; does Discover Alaska help with the luggage?
A Discover Alaska takes care of your luggage from the time you arrive at the hotel in Vancouver (located in the Airport) until the time you arrive at the airport for your return flight from Fairbanks. You will have to carry your luggage through Customs.
Q Can I stay longer at the beginning or end of my trip?
A Yes, give us a call.
Q I understand there is a reservations only restaurant on board. How is it different from the main dining room?
A The cruise ships offer a delicious alternative to the main Dining Room which are very popular. We recommend you make reservations as soon as you get onboard. Please note that there is a nominal fee when dining at these alternative Restaurants.
Q I understand that Discover Alaska provides "tour managers" throughout the entire trip. What exactly does a tour manager do?
A Yes, we do provide our own tour managers throughout the program. They work behind the scenes to make sure that things run smoothly and to ensure that you receive all the outstanding features included in our program. Tour Managers are not necessarily with you every minute. They do not accompany sightseeing tours as you will have tour guides for that. Should a need arise when a tour manager is not immediately available, you can always call our Alexandria office on our toll-free number 800-624-7718.
Q If my flight is postponed or delayed how does this impact my trip?
A

If you purchased Air travel insurance, the insurance company will reimburse your expenses to get you back on schedule or to compensate for any missed portion of your trip. If you booked your air through the cruise line, they are responsible to get you to the ship on time or to catch up at a later port of call. If you booked the air yourself; it becomes your own responsibility.

Q Can I book my own flights?
A Yes. Frequently you can get much better rates, however we highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance.
Q When do we need to have our invoice paid?
A We will send a final invoice 90 days prior to sailing. Passengers can be cancelled if not paid in full 90 days prior to sailing.
Q Do I have to take the tours that you have arranged for Discover Alaska travelers?
A No. but no refunds will be returned if you miss one.
Q Can we get connecting cabins?
A Yes, there are a handful of connecting cabins aboard the cruise ships. Call us and we will help you find them. BOOK EARLY for a better chance to get them.
Q Can I get a roll away bed for a third or fourth person in my cabins?
A No. There are no rollaway beds, but there are cabins with convertible sofa beds for a third and a few with an upper berth for a fourth. Call us and we will help you find them. BOOK EARLY for a better chance to get them.
Q I am booking alone; do I have to pay a supplement to room alone?
A Yes, but the amount of surcharge depends on the cruise line and the cabin category. Check our pricing sheets or call us to get a precise amount. If you don't already have a roommate, we may be able to help you find a "share." Call us.
Q This is my first time cruising, I'm nervous about getting sea sick. What can I do to minimize sea sickness?
A First of all, this is the Inside Passage of Alaska. The water remains smooth and calm. With islands on one side and the Alaska mainland on the other side, sea sickness is seldom a problem. If this explanation isn't enough, call you local doctor or visit your local drug store and ask some questions.
Q When is the best time to go?
A The best time to go is when you can get away, but give us a call and we will tell you about the advantages of spring, summer, and early fall.
Q How much luggage can we bring?
A This will vary depending upon the airline. Be sure to check with the airline to determine how much luggage and if there will be any checked baggage charges.
Q What's the weather like?
A The temperature during our sailing season is pleasant, between 55 and 80 degrees. A bit cooler around the glaciers.
Q Can my family reach me if there's an emergency?
A Yes. You may easily make and receive calls in the privacy of your stateroom using satellite communication telephones. Your documentation packet will contain detailed information, including the phone number for your ship at each specific location. Additionally, email is available if you wish to use it. Your documents will also include phone numbers of the hotels used during the land portion of your tour. For a shore to ship at sea call: Holland America Line 1-866-425-7447 Have the ship name, party's name and state room number ready. You also should have the passenger booking number that are on board ship Holland.
Q Would you recommend an Inside or Outside cabin?
A Outside. You are always near land so the views are always fabulous! There is land on both sides of the Inside Passage, so both sides of the ship are outstanding.
Q Is a Balcony worth it?
A If it were transatlantic, no….maybe. But in Alaska, with the shore (and wildlife) so close, yes it is worth it, and they sell out first.
Q There will be several of us; can we room next to one another?
A Yes, based upon availability. Book early, Book early, Book early!
Q Can we have 3 or 4 people in a cabin?
A Yes, but only in cabins that are designed for a third and fourth. They are few. Book early.
Q Can we pre-book any additional excursions?
A Yes Holland America offers a wide range of Shore Excursions at each port of call.  These can be booked by calling Holland America at 888-425-9376 or visit their web site.
Q Is room service on the ship really free?
A Yes. Although a tip is most appreciated.
Q Can we renew our vows on board?
A Yes.
Q What's there to do on a cruise ship in the evenings?
A You will be amazed! Call for our free Alaska video. 1-800-624-7718
Q Can I get my hair done onboard?
A

Yes and many other ways to pamper yourself in the Spa.

Q

I understand that we do not use cash on board, what if I run short of cash for shore shopping excursions?

A There are ATM's onboard and cash can always be withdrawn at the purser's desk by credit card.
Q I do not like to dress up, are the dinners formal?
A Yes, there are two formal dinners, but dress in Alaska is very casual for the most part. If formal just isn't for you, try one of the other "never formal" eating venues onboard. Formal wear is considered to be a Tuxedo or business suit for the gentlemen. For the ladies an evening dress is always appropriate.
Q How's the food?
A GREAT! Everything in the Dining Room is prepared to order - just like any first-class restaurant. For faster service, you can enjoy the buffet where the selection and quality are excellent.
Q Can we tour the Galley?
A Usually, yes, by signing up for one of the free tours.
Q I would like to do a couple of days of fishing, can I leave the ship and catch up with it a day or two later?
A No. But you can take day trips fishing in Ketchikan, Juneau or Skagway.
Q Are there smoking areas on the ship?
A Yes. Designated Area
Q Do you need a currency exchange when going to Canada?
A No, they will take American money, but you will likely get Canadian money in change. It's better to use a credit card.
Q When will we receive our final documents?
A 4 to 3 weeks before your sailing date.
Q Is there a duty-free shop on board?
A Yes, many, and at very competitive prices.
Q

Are there hair dryers in the cabins?

A Yes and in the hotels
Q Do they have e-mail accessibility on the cruise?
A Yes, guests can send and receive electronic mail.
Q Is there a laundry on the ship?
A

A

No self service.   Dry cleaning and pressing are available on Holland America ships. During the land portion of the trip, laundry facilities are available only in Fairbanks.

Q Are there safes in the cabins?
A Yes, each cabin has its own safe.
Q Does it cost to use the ATM machine aboard the ship?
A

Yes there is a small charge.

A Yes, there is medical staff aboard the ship. They will bill you directly for services rendered. We highly recommend travel insurance.
Q If I choose to handle my own flights, do I need to tell Discover Alaska?
A

No

 

Q Why buy the Discover Alaska Travel and Cancellation Insurance? Why buy insurance at all?
A Holland America's cancellation protection plan (CPP) is designed toprotect your vacation investment from loss no matter what. And likeother plans that protect things of great value, it's a small priceto pay for peaceof mind. Be it illness, family matters, unforseen work events, anything.CPP is your assurance that your vacation can be cancelled before youleave for any reason for a refund. Unforseen events do happen, which is why Discover Alaska and Holland America Line are please to offer trip cancellation protection for your utmost peace of mind.
Q What is the Fuel Surcharge?
A When the cost of fuel oil rises dramatically, the cruise lines and the airlines reserve the right to add a fuel surcharge. It can frequently change, so be sure to ask.
Q What happens if I book, then change my mind?
A Your deposit is refundable minus administrative fees equal to deposit up till 57 days prior to departure. Within 57 days of departure the cruise lines starts to impose some fairly hefty cancellation penalties. That is why it's a good idea to buy cancellation insurance. Discover Alaska offers the Holland America Line Platinum cancellation  Protection Plan One of the best  policies in the industry. Give us a call and we will tell you all about it. Please read carefully Discover Alaska's Terms and Conditions pertaining to penalties and administrative fees.
Q What are the dining hours?
A You have 3 choices of dining times dinner: Open Seating from 5:15pm to 9:00pm; Early Seating at 5:45pm; or Main Seating at 8:00pm.
Q Can you accommodate special diets?
A Cruise Lines make every effort to assist special dietary requests, including vegetarian, fat-free, sugar or salt-free, if advised at time of booking. Kosher or special medical diets must be pre-ordered a minimum of 90 days prior to sailing. * Kosher meals are prepared off the ship in a kosher kitchen, frozen and brought to the table sealed in their original containers. There is no kosher kitchen on board.
Q How do I pay for shipboard purchases?
A Sign for your purchases, then settle your account with one convenient transaction at the end. Payment is accepted with American Express, VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card, cash or travelers' checks.
Q What it the best way to request excursions on the trip?
A

Shore Excursions Are Booked Directly With Holland America.  Pre And Post Tours And Hotel Accommodations Are Booked With Discover Alaska

Q Are pets allowed on this Cruise/tour?
A No pets allowed, with one exception. You guessed it …seeing eye dogs.
Q What Is Not Included In Our Cruise Land Tour Package
A

Airfare to and from Alaska.
Cruise line Optional Shore Excursions
Lunch and 2 Dinners during your stay in Vancouver
Cruise Line Gratuities
Tipping of Bus Drivers and Guides should be done at your discretion and should reflect the job performance of your Driver and Guide

Q

What Is Included In Our Cruise Land Tour Package

A

Your Land and Cruise Packages Include:

Deluxe 5 Star Cruise
7 Day Vancouver and Alaska Land – 1st Class Hotels
17 Sightseeing Tours and Special Events
All meals included in Alaska
Baggage Handling
Gratuities pertaining to Program meals in Vancouver and Alaska
Transfers

Q Your Trip
A

Alaska is a very large state and our tours are attraction packed to make sure you get the most out of your vacation. Please expect there to be early mornings and scheduled activities throughout your day, unless otherwise noted as a "time to relax", "reflect" or "on your own time" in your itineraries.

Our motorcoaches are all modern deluxe buses.

During your cruise, you can relax, dine and dance when you want with limited scheduled activities. You can decide if you want to sign up for shore excursions or extend your trip with additional activities. You will also have a Discover Alaska Tour Manager on board to help you with anything that you need.

Q Vancouver Parking
A

If you drive to Vancouver you can leave your car at the hotel during your cruise for a cost of $10.00 per day.
There is also a off Airport parking lot ( Park N Fly ) located close to the hotel.  You can visit their web site for rates.

Q Did Holland change their dress code ?
A

Yes, some refinements were made to improve consistency and the policy new reads:

• Most eveings smart casual attire is appropriate

• Gala Night - For Gentlement, Collared Shirt and slacks are required in all fine dining restaurants. Dresses, skirts and slacks are all acceptable for ladies

Q Are a Jacket and Tie required for men.
A Jacket and tie is not required