Cruise Lines Discount Pre-Booked Alaska Excursions

May 28, 2009

It's no secret that Alaska cruise travel isn't exactly on the upswing. In March, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line followed the examples of Carnival and Royal Caribbean by announcing that they will cut Alaska itinerary offerings next year. But, next year's actions won't help the bottom line in 2009, especially if ships are sailing under capacity.

So, in an effort to drum up interest in the region and potentially generate extra revenue, sister lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are offering a discount on pre-booked shore excursions. Cruise travelers will save five percent on Alaska excursions booked online by June 7.

According to a company statement, the discount will be available on select seven-night Alaska cruises -- 45 sailings on Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Mercury and Celebrity Millennium and 44 sailings on Radiance of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas. Passengers can choose from more than 180 excursion offerings that include activities like whale-watching, kayaking and salmon bakes.

Let's face it, though: a five-percent discount -- which Royal Caribbean says amounts to $26 per person, per excursion, at most -- really isn't a deal-breaker. What's more interesting is that this type of incentive has never before been offered and that cruise lines are seeking creative ways to stay afloat in a struggling region. Although other lines -- including Carnival, Holland America, Princess and Cruise West -- have not indicated that they plan to offer excursion discounts, they have presented passengers with other attractive options like shipboard credit, free airfare, reduced rates and even the promise of authentic, onboard Alaskan cuisine.

We want to know: What would you book in advance if a discount was offered? Vote in our poll!

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor