frequently asked questions
HEALTH & YOUR WELL-BEING
Please let us know if you have a specific medical condition, physical disability or other special needs requirement in advance. We seek, to the furthest extent possible, to accommodate any person with a disability. Certain land and shore facilities may not be fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Although we cannot guarantee that all services and facilities will be fully accessible, it is important that you let us know in advance so that we may attempt to arrange your special requests with our vendors if at all possible.
SPECIAL DIETS & MEALS
For land and cruise tours, special diet requests must be made in advance. Although we are unable to guarantee that all special meal or diet requests may be available, we will request where appropriate. Please update our office if anything has changed since the time of booking.
CUSTOMS and MEDICATIONS
Due to customs regulations, all prescription medications should be in their original containers with the doctor’s prescription printed on the container. It is advised that you travel with no more than personal use quantities, a rule of thumb is no more than a 90 day supply.
Trip insurance covers unexpected circumstances and because our trips are inclusive in nature and completely pre-paid, we highly recommend that you think about trip insurance. We offer discounted travel insurance rates through Travel Insured. Please clink on this link to view available discounted travel insurance plans:
Please note: We do not sell trip insurance directly. Travel Insured will not cover residents from the state of NY. Please consider Travel Guard or CSA Travel Protection as alternates. Trip insurance should be in place before final payments on your tour is due. For the most complete coverage, consider the "Cancel For Any Reason" policy. All policy questions should be discussed directly with your insurance provider.
PASSPORT and VISA REQUIREMENTS
US and Canadian Citizens: Effective June 1, 2009, all persons traveling between the U.S. and Canada will be required to have and carry a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States by land, air or sea. Should you be required to unexpectedly depart a vessel prior to the end of the sailing, a passport, valid for 6 months after your return date, would be required to re-enter the U.S.
Non-US and Canadian Citizens: You must have and carry a passport valid for six months beyond the duration of the cruise. Non U.S. citizens who have previously been admitted to the United States for permanent residence must carry their Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) commonly known as a Green Card.
Children: U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 traveling by land or sea will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate or proof of U.S. citizenship such as naturalization certificate or citizenship card. However, those flying in and out of Vancouver must have a passport.
Passport Cards: Passport cards are available as a substitute to carrying a valid passport. This is a wallet size card valid for land and sea crossing in North America. However, please note that these cards are not valid for foreign air travel so guests flying from or to Vancouver will need a passport book.
For more information visit: www.travel.state.gov/passport or call the National Passport Information Center: 877.487.2778.
WORLD ADVENTURES: If you are traveling to a foreign country, a passport will be required. Please furnish John Hall's Alaska with your passport number, expiration date, and date of issue. If there are travel VISAs required, John Hall's Alaska will include these with your package. Guests are responsible for acquiring any vaccines recommended for travel to certain countries.
TRAVELING ABOARD YOUR MOTORCOACH
RESTROOM AND BEVERAGE GALLEY: Every John Hall’s Alaska motorcoach provides our guests with the convenience of an onboard restroom and a beverage galley providing complimentary coffee, tea, hot chocolate and bottle water. In Alaska, coaches will be furnished with limited Alaska libraries. Rest stops are planned every two to three hours to accommodate our guests.
SEAT ROTATION AND SMOKING POLICY: In consideration of all guests, seat rotation will be practiced. Our motorcoaches offer a smoke-free environment. However, rest stops are planned every two to three hours to accommodate our guests.
LUGGAGE AND LUGGAGE HANDLING
CARRY-ON ITEMS: Due to motorcoach overhead compartment space being smaller than airline overhead compartment space, any item carried
on board must not exceed 45 linear inches. Items carried on board may include medical devices, coats, camera case or a hand bag containing items of a personal nature. Flexible types of tote bags that are easily handled are encouraged rather than rigid formed bags. Guests with medical devices may bring them on board the motorcoach and still bring another carry-on with them.
LARGE LUGGAGE: On most land only tours, one piece of large luggage is allowed per guest. For those including a cruise, another large piece of luggage is allowed. Please pack one bag with land only clothing and the other bag with attire appropriate for the cruise. In some locations where guest large luggage may be limited (i.e. overnights at remote locations), John Hall's Alaska will provide guests with a red duffle bag that are large enough for two nights worth of clothing and toiletries. Please bring these duffle bags with you on tour when they have been provided.
LUGGAGE HANDLING: John Hall's Alaska includes luggage handling and gratuities in your vacation package. You luggage will be delivered to your hotel room upon check in and picked up from your hotel room upon check out. Airport arrival staff will collect your luggage for you upon arrival at the beginning of your tour.
AIRPORT MEET AND GREETS, AIRPORT TRANSFERS
ALL TOURS: A John Hall's Alaska representative will meet all guests upon arrival at the airport and help load your bags at the baggage claim if arriving at a United States airport. If arriving at an international airport, your representative will greet you outside of customs once you have claimed your luggage. All tours include airport to hotel transfers at the beginning of the tour and airport transfers at the conclusion of the tour.
ALASKA TOURS: We will meet you at the airport, even if you plan to arrive days before your tour begins. Once your airfare has been booked, please contact our office with your confirmation details. This will allow us to track your arriving flight and meet you at the airport at the appropriate time. Please wear either your John Hall's Alaska blue windbreaker or lanyard to help us identify you quickly. Our staff will gather your bags for you and get you transferred to your hotel for the first night of your tour.
John Hall's Alaska is an Adventure Green Alaska certified tour operator. This means we employ emission reducing technology on our coaches and operate our tours in a way that leaves the least amount of an environmental footprint as possible.
Wildlife is unpredictable, but plentiful in certain areas, so please keep your camera and binoculars handy. When viewing wildlife, we strictly adhere to all suggested or required distances and procedures recommended by local, state and federal wildlife agencies. Sensitive viewing of wildlife that does not disturb their behavior is paramount to protect wildlife populations. Your tour managers are experienced professional guides and will be both pointing out wildlife and providing more insight into the marine and wildlife species that you are viewing.
CELL PHONE USAGE AND INTERNET ACCESS
On Land: Cell phones will have reception in small and large towns during your tour, but you will most likely lose reception on the journeys in between. Our motorcoaches are equipped with satellite telephones for Tour Managers to use in case of emergencies. Coaches do not have internet access since internet is spotty in between towns. All hotels will have internet access, though some may charge a fee for in room use
At Sea: You will have reception for virtually all of your cruise. HOWEVER, the cruise line’s will charge around $10 per minute for using the ship’s cell phone tower. When at sea we suggest that guests wait until they are in port and picking up land towers before using their cell phones. Some cell phone carriers will indicate on the face of the phone that you are using the ship’s tower but just to be safe, wait until you are physically on dry land before using your cell phone. Large cruise ships will charge for internet and it may be purchased by the minute or as a package deal.
Most cities will have cell phone reception. If traveling internationally, we advise you to add an international data plan to your cell phone. All hotels will have internet wi-fi but some hotel will charge a fee for in-room use. Most hotels offer free wi-fi in common areas.
John Hall's Alaska tour packages do not include airfare to and from your destination. Airfare within the tour itinerary is included, where applicable. As a complimentary service to our guests, we are happy to look up current airfare rates and assist in the booking process.
If booking airfare on your own, please forward your complete air itinerary or airline confirmation number to our office so that we can track your flight and meet you at the airport upon arrival. If your airline changes your flight number, please pass on the new flight number to our office as this is how we track your arrival into Anchorage.
Please remember that we are happy to meet guests at the airport several days before the start of your tour should you wish to travel to Alaska in advance of your tour's start date (available on Alaska tours only).
ADDING CUSTOM EXCURSIONS
For the most part, our land tours are all-inclusive. However, if you would like to add on an excursion or day tour before or after your trip, we are happy to assist you with this process. Please contact our office with your interests and we will make suggestions based upon the time of year and your desires. We can assist you with booking rental cars, additional hotel stays and extra activities. (800) 325-2270
If you would like to create a custom group itinerary, please contact Elizabeth@kissalaska.com.
PAYING FOR THINGS WHILE TOURING
ALASKA TOURS: Our land tours are for the most part, all-inclusive. We do not include gratuities for our Tour Managers and Cruise Concierge and cash or check is appreciated for that. If you plan to do some shopping, all major credit cards are accepted in Alaska, which is recommended over traveling with a lot of cash.
WORLD TOURS: All major credit cards will be accepted in all destinations. We recommend you contact your debit and credit card companies and inform them that you will be traveling. Give them the dates of travel and your destination.
CRUISING: On large cruise lines, a “no cash” policy is used. You will be asked to sign for all purchases and services provided. At the end of your cruise, you will receive an itemized bill which you may settle with the purser’s office. You may use cash, traveler’s checks or credit cards. Register your credit card during online check in or on embarkation day as part of the embarkation process. On small ships, cash or credit card may be used for all purchases.
CRUISING: Dry cleaning, pressing and shoe-shine services are available on board large ships. Laundry facilities are not available aboard smaller cruise vessels. Mid-size yacht will generally have send-out service.
ALASKA LAND TOURS: Washers and dryers for your personal use are available on land. In the larger towns such as Anchorage, Valdez, Dawson City and Fairbanks you will have time to do laundry. In Denali National Park there will be laundry facilities, but you may have limited access to them. If you bring layers you should be able to "recycle" your clothes to have a new look each day and this may help extend your wardrobe.
WORLD TOURS: A list of hotel aminities, included laundry facilities will be included with your final documents. As a general rule, most hotels will have some form of laundry service available, whether coin operated or send out service. For a complete list of hotels with laundry facilities, you can also visit the hotel's website. Hotels used on each tour arelisted on each individual tour page.
ALASKA SHORE EXCURSIONS
Our staff members are shore excursion experts and would be happy to suggest the most valuable activities for the money while cruising Southeast Alaska. You may call our office and we will book your shore excursions or you may go directly to your respective cruise lines’ web site to book them. Please note that shore excursions are already included on tours featuring UnCruise Adventures.
ALASKA SPECIFIC FAQs
Best time to travel in alaska
SUMMER TOURS: The Alaska summer tour season runs from the end of May until the end of September. If you are just taking a 7-day Alaska cruise we recommend a Seattle round-trip cruise to save on your airfare costs and travel anytime between May and September will be fine. You will save money by avoiding June and July as this is Alaska's high season and the rates are inflated.
If you are taking a land tour as well as a cruise, the dates of travel will dictate your trip a bit more. June and July are typically the clearer months for inland travel. During June and July you will see bluer skies and better flowers. Travel in August and September will see a 5-10 degree difference in cooler weather temperatures but you will have the chance to see the Northern Lights, fall colors and greater animal movement. We warn you: Expect some scattered rain showers on your Alaska tour, no matter what month you travel!
WINTER TOURS: These run in February and March and include attractions focused around winter activities, winter festivals, Aurora viewing and the Iditarod. You should expect to pack coats and snow boots that are rated for 40-60 below, though temperatures can be in the 20s during the day and 20 below at night. Extreme temperatures are not the norm. Temperatures will vary based upon your locations in Alaska. Our team will assist you in preparing for your winter vacation, including planning for what to pack to be comfortable. We urge you not to be afraid of Alaska in the winter! It is an amazing sight to behold! Winter guests will receive a black winter coat rated for 0 degrees.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN TOURING ALASKA
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.
In consideration of all tour members, seat rotation will be practiced daily and a no-smoking policy will be enforced on the motorcoach. Frequent stops will be made every two to three hours to accommodate travelers. Our custom fleet of motorcoaches are built to our specifications, which means they offer on board amenities only found with John Hall's Alaska. This includes first-class style leg room, rest rooms, flat screen tvs and Alaska/Yukon libraries. Our coaches are fitted with Keurig Galleys offering complimentary water, coffee, tea and water-based beverage mixers. 120V power outlets throughout the coach let you charge your electronics. Everything is free of cost to you, our guest! A bathroom is available on board for guest use. You will be well fed, you will see a ton of stuff and you will be tired by the end of the land portion of your trip! The dress code is casual at all times on land, even at dinner. Expect some early mornings as this ensures the best wildlife tours in some cases, and that's why you came, right?
MEALS AND FLEXIBLE DINING
Breakfast, lunch and dinner while touring are include with all John Hall's Alaska packages.
We have hand picked authentic breakfast, lunch and dinner options for the land portion of your Alaska tour. We take a flexible approach to dining whenever possible, giving our guests multiple entree options. In many cases you will be given a voucher that allows you to pick whatever item you want off of the menu. There is no assigned or requested seating on the land portion of your tour. You are free to sit where you like and with whom you would like. Dinners on land will include one adult beverage of your choice. Other meals may or may not not include alcoholic beverages depending on the location. Please let us know in advance if you have a special diet or food allergy and we will do our very best to accommodate your needs.
PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
We will send you information on packing for your destination a few months before your trip and then provide more detailed information with your final documents. This will include a suggested packing list and also information on expected weather conditions while on tour. Please check out our basic packing lists to get a head start :
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