AURORA VIEWING TOUR#21: TO ALASKA
ANOTHER SMALL GROUP TOUR FROM RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS
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MARCH 13-17, 2021
If you are lucky, you may be able to see sights like this! From our October 2018 trip.
Join Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society for his next aurora viewing tour, this time to one of our favorite spots near Fairbanks, Alaska where we will spend four nights at the aurora viewing lodge with all meals included. We will also include a trip into Fairbanks to visit the World Ice Art Championships where an international team of cold weather artists construct amazing shapes out of blocks of ice (details to be provided later).
This trip is a continuation of public outreach expeditions on land (14 to Alaska, 2 to Svalbard), sea (2 to Norway), and air (2 trips) to watch the Northern Lights. So far, every time we have ventured to Alaska we have seen aurora on at least one of the four nights! This adventure will be another small group tour limited to a maximum of 12 to 16 participants. We have attempted to make the basic tour as affordable as possible by inserting optional cost tours that you might wish to book separately. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed staying at the lodge in the past and we trust you will find this a great spot for sky viewing. March 21 is First Quarter Moon and is also the spring equinox. March is also the month with statistically more auroras than any other; in addition, during weeks around equinoxes, the interplanetary magnetic field connects to the Earth’s magnetic field prying open cracks where the solar wind can penetrate and thus create auroras. The First Quarter Moon should offer minimal impact to viewing.
How amazing is it? From this recent description, here is why we stay at a fixed location.
LEARN HOW TO TAKE AURORA PHOTOS! We will work with you to help you plan and capture good Northern Lights images. Contact me for assistance prior to the trip and also consult our AURORA INFORMATION page which has extensive information that I have accumulated over the last years.
Why Alaska? Weather systems generally blow in and out fairly quickly. Even though temperatures are cold and generally with remarkably low winds, the area offers a great deal of visual beauty. Properly dressed in winter garb you will find yourself well protected and able to walk about, photograph or just sit and view. A yurt is now on the property and serves as a refuge from the cold with chairs that can be used outside as well and access to a/c power. We have always had great response from people on our winter Alaska trips indicating that they enjoy it very much!
An example of aurora seen on our October 2017 Alaska land expedition. It is a huge Northern Lights band stretching 180 degrees across the sky from east to west. Constellations such as Orion, Gemini, Cassiopeia and Taurus are captured here. A brilliant Iridium satellite flare is also seen as the linear streak. Paul D. Maley photo.
Seeing the Northern Lights up close and personal is a bucket list objective of many people who are interested in the world’s most mind-blowing experiences. Over the past few years we have ventured northward to attempt to capture these phenomena from air, sea and land as they light up the night sky. It has been relatively easy to capture aurora if you are patient, are willing to brave cold temperatures and have the proper equipment. As an alternative, the easiest way to enjoy the experience is to simply sit and watch! Unlike a solar eclipse which only lasts on average a minute or two, auroras come and go and can last for hours depending on the level of solar activity and influx of high energy particles into the Earth’s magnetic field.
Aurora activity prediction model snapshot enables us to get a good idea of the likelihood and timing of aurora on a particular night and region. Credit: NOAA
One can also watch the aurora cam shown online from your room on your smart phone operated by the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute that gives you a near real-time view of what is happening in the sky. The minute you start to see the green glow on the north horizon as seen from Poker Flats, Alaska you can likely expect to see aurora at our lodge.
Aurora from a planned airborne viewing trip as seen out the window of a Boeing 787 from Shanghai to Chicago after a trip to North Korea in 2015. The constellation of Ophiuchus is visible in this image. Paul D. Maley photo.
Aurora viewing at sea from the deck of a ship off the coast of Norway in 2015. During the middle of the night with a full Moon, nobody else was on deck I was able to see a great deal of action all the way up until sunrise. The constellations of Cassiopeia and Perseus are recognizable. Paul D. Maley photo.
ITINERARY AS OF MARCH 11, 2020
Times of meals will be arranged as necessary and optional tour dates may be moved around as required. Photographers are advised to read the aurora information web page provided in advance of the trip.
MARCH 13 (Saturday): DAY 1 – Arrive Fairbanks
A private transfer will be provided from the airport to our group lodge (one transfer for the group), about a 40 minute drive from the Fairbanks airport. The van transfer departs generally in the late afternoon from the baggage claim area but the time will be announced within a few months of the trip. You will need to coordinate your flight to arrive prior to the group transfer unless you wish to take your own independent taxi (optional cost) to the lodge from the airport. Once at the lodge, dinner will be at the provided. The lodge has excellent reviews; there is a guest refrigerator and freezer in the main area and linens are changed daily except on Sunday. Sometimes you can sight a moose from the dining room windows wandering the grounds. From each of the 6 ground floor rooms you can step out and check the sky for aurora. Rooms feature floor heating, adequate lighting, a/c outlets, carpet, phone, adequate drawer space and bathroom amenities. There is no safe in the room. Some cold weather gear can be rented there. The two suites are located on the main floor and you can walk out the front door and then down to the aurora viewing area.
After dinner this will be your first opportunity (weather permitting) to look for aurora from the lodge grounds. It will be cold at night during most winter trips and you should be prepared for temperatures ranging from +15 to -10 deg F (but higher and much lower temperatures can occur!) with little wind. In winter snow up to 2 feet is likely so prepare clothing accordingly. Bring a tripod, camera and shutter release or just sit in one of the lodge chairs and watch with the unaided eye. If you have night vision binoculars, you will be amazed at what they can reveal.
Meals are really good here! They are taken in a common dining area. NOTE THE BLINDS. THESE ARE ROLLED DOWN EACH NIGHT TO PREVENT LIGHT FROM SPILLING OUT AND RUINING AURORA PHOTOS.
Shrimp scampi is just one of the dinner choices. Lynn Palmer photo.
Overnight Fairbanks: (D)
Brilliant aurora curtains seen during our March 2017 Alaska trip. The Big Dipper is visible behind the aurora as is the North Star upper left. Jeff Pohlman photo.
A moose calf seen at the lodge in February 2020. Peggy Bechtell photo.
MARCH 14 (Sunday): DAY 2– Fairbanks
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be included for you at the lodge today unless you book the optional Arctic Circle tour below. You will have the day free to participate in optional activities at the lodge (not included).
This morning you will have a briefing by Paul D. Maley on aurora viewing and photography. We will go over some representative photos taken as well as do’s and don’ts of both group aurora watching and taking of aurora images. This will be your chance to ask questions and figure out workarounds for any problems you might encounter. We request that each of you who want to take decent photos look at our online aurora photography information which summarizes lessons learned over past expeditions. In particular this will apply to those going on the Arctic Circle Aurora Drive departing later this morning. On this tour you generally have the best chance to see aurora over a wide variety of terrain away from the Fairbanks vicinity.
Dog mushing lessons can be obtained from a location within easy walking distance of the lodge in winter at extra cost.
One of the quirky lodge rooms with door access to the outside for night viewing. There are 6 standard rooms and 2 suites. All standard rooms have walk-out access. If you are in a suite you need to walk out the main front door and down the side of the main building. NOTE THE DRAPES. ALL GUESTS MUST CLOSE BOTH THE DRAPES AND SHADES WHEN IT GETS DARK IN ORDER NOT TO RUIN AURORA PHOTOS! Lynn Palmer photo.
This afternoon your private driver will pick up the group and transport you to Fairbanks to visit Ice Alaska, the home of the World Ice Art Championships February 14-March 31. Walk unguided along the single block classic and multi-block classic displays at your leisure. Return to the lodge before dinner.
A dragon’s head sculpture in progress. Lynn Palmer photo.
Tonight after dinner will be our second attempt to view aurora. Note that viewing typically takes place beginning after 1030pm and it pays to stay up most of the night or to set your alarm for a specific time that would work for you. If you want to sleep and be called if aurora are spotted, we can do that also. However, we normally assign times throughout the night for each person to wake up, check the sky, and then alert the group if aurora are sighted to make it easier. The key to capturing an aurora if you don’t know when it is going to appear is to remain outside all night and/or programming your camera to automatically take exposures with an intervalometer over a long period of time.
Overnight Fairbanks: (B, L, D)
Group stop near the Arctic Circle for awesome aurora viewing during our November 2013 Alaska aurora trip. The optional cost Arctic Circle tour can often give the darkest sky views of the Northern Lights since they drive far from a big city. Paul D. Maley photo.
AURORA VIEWING LOCATIONS AT THE LODGE
In 2019 a new system was initiated to minimize having to stay out in the cold all night. Wireless devices were installed with a trigger in the yurt that allows anyone to send a signal to all the lodge rooms. The photo below shows the plugged in alarm that will go off when someone outside sees Northern Lights activity
The aurora alarm in each lodge room. Paul D. Maley photo.
WINTER: The aurora viewing area behind the lodge also looks into the valley toward both Fairbanks and the town of North Pole. You need snow boots to navigate down and around this area. Paul D. Maley photos.
FALL: Though this and the photo that follows were taken in the fall, all the standard rooms at the lodge allow you to walk out your door onto the driveway. If you have mobility issues you can watch from here with easy access to your room even when there is snow on the ground. There it is possible to see aurora, though the area with less blockage (from trees and the main building) requires you to walk down the slope in the following image.
FALL: This is a view of the slope leading to the aurora viewing area with chairs and a yurt about 50 yards down from the main building.
WINTER: After you walk down the slope, the yurt is on the right (chairs left) and you can see the main building on the right side. There is a relatively unobstructed 360 degree view of the sky from this area. Note the snow in winter.
MARCH 15 (Monday): DAY 3 – Fairbanks
OPTIONAL 18 hour longArctic Circle Aurora Drive Adventure
Today, you will drive up the Dalton Highway into the Alaskan Arctic. As you depart Fairbanks, you will pass gold mines and drive alongside the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Walking on the arctic tundra will give you a sense of the vast scale of Alaska’s arctic regions. Drive all the way north to the Arctic Circle, where you will receive an official Arctic Circle certificate. On the way back south to Fairbanks, stop and marvel at the majestic beauty of the northland’s most famous waterway, the Yukon River. The Aurora Driving Tour returns at night (between 3:00am and 4:00am). At least half of the tour will be in the dark to look for the Northern Lights. In the past this has generally proven to be the best opportunity to see aurora due to the large geographic distance covered. Tour includes round trip private transportation from A Taste of Alaska Lodge to tour departure point. This is an approximately 18 hour long tour. It departs the lodge at 10:00am today, returns between 3-4am the following day.
Hoarfrost as seen on the Arctic Circle trip. Diane Birnbaumer photo.
You can also walk on the frozen Yukon river. Ken Biba photo.
COST of this optional tour DEPENDS ON THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE GOING ON THE TOUR: PRICE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER
• Round trip private transfers from hotel to tour departure point
• Arctic Circle bus tour with guide
• Boxed lunch
• Boxed dinner (though if a restaurant is open that night it may be possible to get other food there)
Does not include:
• Excursion Guide gratuities (recommend: $10 – $20 per person/activity)
• Driver gratuities for round trip private transfers (recommend: $3 – $5 per person/transfer)
Note: those going on the Arctic Circle tour will take lunch and dinner on the road and not at the lodge. After dinner at the lodge, those staying will have your 3rd night to view the aurora and any other astronomical phenomena on our calendar.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be included for you at the lodge today. OPTIONAL COST LOCAL ACTIVITIES: You can choose to walk do to a nearby dog mushing outfit where, for a fee, you can learn to drive your own dog team. Paws for Adventure is a great place to get familiar with sled dogs up close and get a real thrill out of being in control of a team of amazing canines. Reservations should be made ahead of time but sometimes it is possible to book the same day. You can also take a short ride, one hour tour or the mushing school option (all extra cost activities). Last year’s ride costs were between $70 (30 minutes) and $100 (1 hour).
Tonight after dinner will be our third aurora viewing attempt.
Overnight Fairbanks: (B, L, D)
Aurora during our February 2014 Alaska tour. Paul Lobert photo.
Aurora seen in February 2020. Peggy Bechtell photo.
One of the hiking trails on the lodge property as seen in winter. Paul D. Maley photo.
MARCH 16 DAY 4: (Tuesday) – Fairbanks
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be included for you at the lodge today. You will have the day free to participate in optional activities at the lodge (not included).
Also an optional cost tour to consider that has had great reviews is the Reindeer walk at Running Reindeer Ranch. This one-of-a-kind tour will be the highlight of your trip to Alaska. The reindeer (and Candy, their dog) take you through a guided nature walk in the boreal forest. There you will learn about the natural history of the forest as well as the reindeer themselves. Enjoy the frolicking and leaping reindeer as they run free through the woods. Each walk is a unique experience depending on season, trail conditions and the mood of the reindeer. After the walk, depending upon the season, you can tour their organically grown perennial and vegetable gardens and enjoy light refreshments and carry on the conversation. This nature walk has uneven terrain so good walking shoes and weather appropriate clothing are required. The reindeer are tame but not trained so sometimes they decide to take a route not planned for. Bring your cameras and expect the unexpected! In November 2019 the Reindeer Walk cost was $100. and van transport is extra split among participants. Otherwise the day is free at your disposal.
OPTIONAL Fairbanks city tour and Half-day trip to Chena Hot Springs
This morning, you will embark on a private sightseeing tour of Alaska’s second largest city, Fairbanks. During this narrated tour, you will visit the Morris Thompson Cultural Center where you will great exhibits about Interior Alaska. You will also spend some time at the University of Alaska Museum of the North with its dramatic architecture and new exhibit galleries. You will stop for lunch in Fairbanks at the Cookie Jar restaurant before continuing north to Chena Hot Springs. Spend the afternoon at Chena soaking in the natural mineral water or visit the indoor swimming pool. You will tour the Aurora Ice Museum, which features amazing ice sculptures created by 16 time world champion ice carver Steve Brice, and his wife Heather. Within the museum, there is a two-story observation tower with a circular staircase, and various ice sculptures made by Alaska Diamond and Alaska Marble ice. You may relax at the Aurora Ice Bar and enjoy an appletini served in an ice carved martini glass (not included), or warm your hands by the ice fireplace. Return to A Taste of Alaska Lodge this evening. Pick up from the lodge at 10am, return at 7pm.
Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Lodge
COST of this optional tour DEPENDS ON THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE GOING ON THE TOUR: PRICE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER.
• Private transportation in a Sprinter Vehicle, including driver gratuities
• 2 hour Fairbanks City Tour
• Lunch at the Cookie Jar Restaurant
• Chena Hot Springs pool pass and towel rental
• Chena Hot Springs Ice Museum Tour
Does not include:
• Excursion Guide gratuities (recommend: $10 – $20 per person/activity)
• Activities not mentioned in the “Includes” section
Tonight after dinner you will have your 4th and final opportunity to view the aurora.
This evening will be our fourth and final opportunity for aurora viewing and photography. Overnight Fairbanks: (B, L, D)
Aurora during our November 2014 Alaska tour. Lynn Palmer photo.
MARCH 17 DAY 5: (Wednesday) –Fairbanks Departure
Breakfast will be served early at the lodge. In late morning our van will then transport you and your luggage to the airport where you can catch your return flight home (one group transfer only). Van transfer usually occurs after 10am. If your flight departs earlier than this, you will need to make your own transfer arrangements at extra cost.
Aurora viewing during our January 2015 Alaska tour can allow times for portraits. Paul D. Maley photo.
Aurora on our February 2017 expedition. Jeff Pohlman photo.
COST OF THE TOUR
TO JOIN THE TOUR, SUBMIT 1) REGISTRATION FORM AND 2) DEPOSIT AT THE SAME TIME.
$2206. (CASH DISCOUNT $2101.) PER PERSON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY (STANDARD ROOM)
$2921. (CASH DISCOUNT $2782.) PER PERSON FOR A SINGLE ROOM (STANDARD ROOM)
There are two large suites. To upgrade to a suite the price is $2439 (cash discount $2323) per person double occupancy. NO singles allowed in the suite.
• 4 Nights’ Accommodations as listed or similar
• Private roundtrip transportation from Fairbanks airport to our lodge as specified above with an English-speaking driver. All participants must travel together. If you arrive/depart before or after the majority of the group arrives you will need an independent transfer at extra cost.
• Meals: Daily breakfast, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
• round trip viewing excursion from the lodge to Fairbanks for the Ice Championships
• All applicable taxes and fees
Package does not include:
• Driver gratuities (recommend: $3 – $5 per person/transfer)
• Meals, unless specified above
• Drinks (alcoholic, non-alcoholic such as soda); however, meals do include table water; breakfast also includes tea, coffee, juice
• Excursions and admissions
• Airfare of any kind
• Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
• Anything else of a personal nature not mentioned in the “Package includes” section
• Optional tours listed above
• Transfer between airport and lodge or lodge and airport ONLY if you are unable to make the single group transfer
HOW TO PAY
Future Travel no longer accepts actual checks due to the time to process and risk of loss through the postal system.
PAY BY CREDIT CARD: Future Travel does accept VISA, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. We will need you to view, complete the Credit Card Authorization form:
PAY BY ELECTRONIC CHECK (cash discount of 5%): Use our secure electronic payment form. It is faster/safer than going through the regular mail. The web link is:
Once you open the link all items marked with an asterisk (*) need to be filled in. Where it asks for a check number just put in any number. No need to attach passport.
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES you may pay by one of these methods: 1) credit cards, 2) electronic check transfer from a bank in the United States, or 3) wire transfer. A USD$50 fee is charged if a wire transfer is used. No checks or money orders can be accepted! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
- BEFORE November 15, 2020…………………………..USD$525. DEPOSIT (cash discount price $500.) per person double
- November 15, 2020…………………………………………..Balance due
CANCELLATION FEES (per person)
- BEFORE November 15, 2020…………………………..USD$250. + any service fees (if applicable) up to that point
- November 15, 2020………………………………………100% OF THE TOTAL TOUR COST
OTHER KEY DATES
The last day to make a name change to avoid change fees is 46-days prior to arrival.
The last day to sign up for optional tours is 61-days.
The last day to join this tour is 61-days before departure.
Clients should be aware that we cannot guarantee the weather for this astronomical event or any other.
ALASKA AURORA VIEWING tour ONLINE REGISTRATION
To sign up for the trip, follow these steps.
1. Read and understand the deposit schedule and significant cancellation penalties.
2. Click on the Terms & Conditions tab. Review prior to starting your registration.
3. CLICK HERE to open and then complete the registration form. If you have trouble seeing the form, refresh your page or use a different internet browser. Some versions may not support this form!
4. Submit deposit at the same time.
Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour Participant’s Agreement
Your signature on our registration form will signify your agreement with the following terms and conditions. These are the terms and conditions applicable to the land expeditions offered by Future Travel, Inc. a Texas corporation (“we”, “us” and “our”). The terms “client” “you” and “your” refer to each person who purchases and/or participates in the Cruise.
1. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour ITINERARY: The itinerary on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour Website and any other materials is hereby included in this agreement. However, the Tour Operator, reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary as explained in this agreement. For more information: (281) 480-1988 or (800) 929-9004 or email email@example.com.
2. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour PRICE: Prices are based on two persons sharing accommodations. There is additional cost for a single accommodation (single supplement) or an extra person in the room if either of these features is available. Prices may be subject to increase as described in this agreement.
3. DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT REQUIREMENTS: If you sign up before the dates posted on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour webpage, a deposit in the amount stated on the webpage is due along with your signed reservation form in order to secure your reservation, which is subject to availability at the time we receive the form and deposit. Dates and deposit amounts vary depending upon the trip. Failure to meet those deposit dates will result in cancellation of your reservation and loss of deposit as defined under the cancellation penalties portion of the webpage. If the Tour is sold out at the time we receive your reservation form and deposit, we will contact you and ask if you wish to be added to a waiting list. We reserve the right to accept or decline any prospective participant for any nondiscriminatory reason in our sole discretion. All reservations must be paid in full by the date specified. Spaces not paid in full by this date are subject to cancellation without refund and will be charged a $250 late-payment fee.
4. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour CANCELLATION BY YOU: We are making arrangements with travel suppliers that require us to incur very substantial costs of operation. Therefore, if you cancel, we will retain all of your payments as liquidated damages. However, if you find a replacement for yourself or any other members of your traveling party, we will charge a change fee of $250 as specified on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour webpage. We must receive the written (email is sufficient) notice of the change and a signed/scanned reservation form from the new participant. If we receive notice of the change after specified date, we will not provide a refund. There is no refund for unused portions of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour once it has commenced. You are solely responsible for costs incurred by you due to missed, canceled or delayed transportation. Your decision not to participate on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour due to State Department/other US or foreign government warnings, fear of travel, illness, or any other reason will be deemed a cancellation. If a flight or other delay for any reason prevents you from joining the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour on the departure date and time, you will be considered a no-show, and we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future Tour, but you may join the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour late at your expense. There are NO exceptions to our cancellation policies.
5. OTHER CHANGES: There will be a change fee of $75.00 per person charged for any change in travel arrangements made after ticketing and at least 30 days prior to departure in addition to charges incurred by our suppliers. No changes will be allowed within 30 days of the departure date.
6. INSURANCE: We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance in case of trip cancellation and medical problems, as well as medical evacuation insurance to cover the cost of a private jet to return home. We will send you insurance information if you check the box on our reservation form. However, any questions about what travel insurance does or does not cover should be addressed directly to the travel insurance company. If you decline insurance coverage, you will personally assume full responsibility for any financial loss associated with your travel arrangements, and you could lose your travel investment and/or have to pay more money to correct the situation. For example, you will suffer a loss if: (i) your flight has been cancelled and your hotel and Tours are nonrefundable; (ii) you need to cancel your trip due to illness; (iii) a hurricane, volcano or earthquake occurs while traveling and you are stranded; (iv) your cruise line, airline, or Tour operator files for bankruptcy, unless you have paid by credit card; (v) a terrorist incident occurs at the destination you planned on visiting; (vi) you have a medical emergency in a foreign country and need medical attention or evacuation; (vii) your bags are lost and your medication is in them, and you need to have an emergency prescription filled; or (viii) your passport and wallet are stolen, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport. We offer Travel Guard Travel Insurance to U.S and Canadian residents and will provide costs associated with insuring your trip, both at time of deposit and final payment. If you live in another country, you will have to purchase your own insurance in your home country.
7. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour PRICE INCREASES: In the event that the cost of any aspect of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour should incur an unexpected cost increase, Future Travel is obliged to pass on these increases. While rare, they can occur and are beyond the control of Future Travel. When such increase is known, Future Travel will alert all participants and provide the amount and reason for the increase. It will be required that all Tour members provide payment by the date due per communication from Future Travel. Prices are also subject to increase for currency fluctuations and the cost of supplier services.
8. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour AIRFARES: Airline arrangements are usually optional and not included in the tour price unless specifically stated. Airlines and airfares included in your trip are subject to change without notice. Please check with us for conditions applicable to your airline ticket. Airfares are subject to price increases until you have paid in full. Even after you have paid in full, airfares are subject to supplemental price increases imposed by governments, and you hereby consent to any such price increases. We will not change your requested seat assignments on commercial aircraft without permission. However, airlines often change seat assignments to satisfy their loyalty members or because of equipment changes (aircraft type). We are not notified of these changes in advance, and often clients are not made aware of these changes until they arrive at the airport. We are not responsible for seat assignment changes made by the airline. Frequent flyer programs are private agreements between airlines and passengers, and we cannot be held responsible for mileage discrepancies involving airline loyalty reward programs.
9. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour (or other astronomical event) VIEWING: We understand that you have decided to participate based on your ability to view the astronomical event advertised as the highlight of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour . While we will do our best to arrange for the viewing, we cannot guarantee that there will be no cloud cover, that the group will be in the planned position, or that there will not be another reason beyond our control that prevents viewing. Therefore, we will not be liable or responsible for any loss, damage, cost, or expense of any kind in the event that such viewing is not possible for any reason including but not limited to any act of God, war, fire, collision, directions of underwriters, arrest, order or restraint by any government agency or official acting under color of authority, acts of terrorism, labor disturbances or disputes, civil commotion, weather conditions and considerations of the safety of the ground transportation being used, (for which the Ground Operator shall be the sole judge), breakdowns of or damage to the transport vehicle, requisition of the vehicle by governmental authority, illness, death of a family member or other cause or circumstance beyond our control.
10. Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour CHANGES OR CANCELLATION BY GROUND OPERATOR OR US: The Ground Operator in its sole discretion may cancel, advance, or postpone any part of the tour, change the itinerary, and may (but is not obligated to) substitute another transport vehicle, and we will not be liable for any loss whatsoever to passengers by reason of such cancellation, advancement, postponement, or substitution. If the Solar eclipse tour 2017 is completely canceled by our Ground Operator, we will provide a full refund, or, if the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour is partially canceled, we will provide a partial refund depending on any refund provided to us by the Ground Operator. Under such circumstances, Future Travel shall have no further liability for damages or compensation of any kind. We reserve the right to cancel the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour for inadequate participation, in which case we will provide a full refund of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour price and shall have no further liability for damages or compensation of any kind. Please note that the availability of any refund for travel insurance and/or other travel products (airfare and hotel), even if purchased in conjunction with Solar eclipse tour 2016, will be determined in accordance with the applicable cancellation policies for such other products or services. Sightseeing is subject to change due to weather conditions, accessibility, border crossing limitations, and hours of operation. Sightseeing will be by motor coach or other transportation as stated in the itinerary.
11. OTHER RIGHTS OF Ground Operators: You may request a copy of the Ground Operator’s Passage Contract, which constitutes your agreement with the Ground Operator. The contract provides that the Ground Operator may exercise its rights in a variety of matters. We have no liability for a full or partial refund of the tour fare, or for any lodging or transportation expenses, as a result of the Ground Operator’s exercise of its contractual rights.
12. SAFETY WHILE ON the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour: You assume sole responsibility for your own safety during the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour. We do not guarantee your safety at any time. You acknowledge that all Excursions /Tours, however conducted, airline flights and ground transportation, are operated by independent contractors. Future Travel neither supervises nor controls their actions, nor makes any representation, either express or implied, as to their suitability. These services are provided only as a convenience for you, and you are free to use or not use them. You agree that Future Travel assumes no responsibility, does not guarantee performance and in no event shall be liable for any negligent or intentional acts or omissions, loss, damage, injury or delay to you and/or your property in connection with these services.
13. PASSPORTS AND VISAS: International travel requires a passport valid 6 months beyond your intended return travel date. In many cases, you will also need to have multiple consecutive blank visa pages within your passport (the number varies depending on the destination(s)). Many destinations also require that visas be obtained prior to travel. Please speak with us if you are unsure about the visa requirements for your travel destination, but you are solely responsible for complying with passport and visa requirements. Your name, as listed on your travel documents, must exactly match your name as listed on tour or airline documents. Citizens of other countries must make their nationalities known to Future Travel at registration and are responsible for obtaining proper documentation to enter the U.S. and any other countries involved.
14. MEDICAL CERTIFICATION AND PASSENGERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS: By booking the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour 2017, you certify that: (a) you are in good general health and capable of performing normal activities on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour; (b) you are capable of caring for yourself during any expedition and will not impede the progress of the trip or enjoyment of other Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour 2017 participants; (c) you understand that any expedition may take you far from the nearest viable medical facility; and (d) all expedition members must be self-sufficient; and (e) you have not been recently treated for, nor are aware of, any physical, mental or other condition or disability that would create a hazard to yourself or other Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour participants. Any condition that may require attention or treatment must be reported in writing at the time your reservation is made. Transport may be refused to any person whose state of health or physical conditions render them, in the opinion of the Ground Operator, unfit. Participation in this or any other Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour 2017 will be denied to any person who will enter her third trimester (twenty-seventh week) of pregnancy by the time of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour or during the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour and to children under the age specified on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour Webpage—usually 16. You must notify Future Travel at the time of booking of any disability or other medical or physical condition that may require special assistance during the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour. Your failure to do so will release Future Travel from any liability for loss, damages or other compensation arising from or related in any way to such disability or condition. Future Travel and our Ground Operator(s) reserve the right to require that any passenger who is not self-sufficient must travel with a companion who takes responsibility for any assistance needed during the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour and in case of emergency. You understand that if you fraudulently represent yourself as fit for this tour, you may be removed prior to or during the Tour at your own expense.
15. CONDITION OR BEHAVIOR: We may exclude you from participating in all or any part of the trip if, in our sole discretion, your condition or behavior renders you unfit for the trip or unfit for continuation once the trip has begun. Unfitness may include, without limitation, any behavior that, regardless of its cause, is inappropriate or offensive or interferes with the delivery of our services, or may constitute a hazard or embarrassment. In such case, our liability shall be strictly limited to a refund of the recoverable cost of any unused portion of the trip.
16. CHILDREN: We normally accept children if they are the age of 16 and older (thought the minimum age may vary by Tour), although some Tours are for adults only and are specified as such. Children must be accompanied and supervised by parents or guardians, who will bear ultimate responsibility for their actions, and are expected to display proper decorum while the group is together, especially at the observation site and on all transport vehicles.
17. LUGGAGE ON BOARD: Each guest may bring onboard a reasonable amount of baggage. It is recommended that participants do not bring expensive jewelry or like possessions with them. Telescopes and observation equipment should be securely packed; insurance on expensive items is highly recommended. All luggage must be stored in the passenger’s accommodations. Pets, dangerous or illegal items such as weapons, explosives, combustible substances, non-prescription controlled substances, or illegal drugs may not be brought on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour. Any such items shall be surrendered to security at embarkation and may be disposed of at the sole discretion of the cruise line. All luggage hand-carried or checked, and your person are subject to security inspections that may involve physical search. Curbside porters are available at the pier during embarkation to take luggage to the vessel. Please be sure each piece of luggage is locked and has a tag listing your name, and contact information. We assume no responsibility for checked or carry-on luggage. Any luggage left anywhere on Tour will be forwarded at the guest’s expense if discovered. IF YOU ARE BRINGING A TELESCOPE OR ANY UNUSUAL EQUIPMENT, YOU MUST PROVIDE A LIST OF SUCH ITEMS TO FUTURE TRAVEL SO THAT WE CAN DETERMINE THEY ARE ALLOWABLE. WE WILL PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONS RELATED TO CUSTOMS FORMALITIES.
18. TRANSFERS: When transfers between hotels and airports are included in the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour price, transportation of participants and their baggage is provided only when participants travel with the rest of the group (or language in the tour terms indicates that you can arrive at any time). If your schedule is different from this, private transfers are available at extra cost and must be requested in writing. Carry-on bags must be carried by Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour participants. Porterage may be included AFTER passing through the customs area upon arrival if so indicated in the inclusions. Porterage is generally not included unless otherwise stated in the individual itinerary inclusions. In some situations, porterage may not be possible. Be sure to consult the cruise information to be sure.
19. TAXES AND TIPS: If a land package is involved, tips are not included (unless stated), but taxes for hotel accommodations and airfare are generally included. Departure taxes within foreign countries are NOT included since they vary widely. Each airport departure may require a separate departure tax which will have to be collected from each participant prior to boarding an airline or ship. Tips are NOT included for guides, or drivers. Future Travel will provide guidance on tips, when they should be given and how collected. Although the amounts and timing may differ, this is left to each person’s discretion. There will be times when the Tour escort or guide will alert participants as to whom and how much to tip. These actions are necessary in order to maintain good service and assure that all promised services will occur as scheduled.
20. WHAT ELSE IS NOT INCLUDED ON OUR TOUR: Cost of passports or visas, excess baggage, meals and beverages not specified in the itinerary, phone calls, voluntary changes in flights or other methods of transport, laundry, insurance costs, and items or services of a personal nature not specified in the cruise itinerary.
21. MEDICAL CARE: You assume all risks associated with travel and transportation on the Tour. While on the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour or along the way to/from the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour, the availability of medical care may be limited and/or delayed. You acknowledge that all or part of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour may be in areas where medical care and/or evacuation may not be available. You agree to indemnify and reimburse Future Travel and its ground operators in the event that these entities by their sole discretion, advance to you the cost of emergency medical care, including medical evacuation and/or medical care provided ashore, as well as transportation and/or lodging in connection therewith. Future Travel shall have no responsibility to advance any such costs.
22. ROOMMATES: If you are traveling by yourself but wish to share a room with someone else, we will attempt to match men with male roommates and women with female roommates, along with smoking/non-smoking preferences. However, the ground operator prohibits all smoking on tour. If we cannot find a roommate for whatever reason we will advise you and have to charge you the single supplement fee. You may wish to look for a roommate from your local astronomical society, family or friends. Your decision to accept a roommate for the tour is at your own risk. Future Travel is not responsible or liable for any and all claims or cause of action arising out of or in connection with your acceptance or selection of a roommate for the tour, including, without limitation, any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from such request or selection.
23. SMOKING: Smoking is prohibited on our Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour buses, the astronomical event observation site, and in briefing and lecture rooms as well as in hotel rooms and any other places where the group is congregating.
24. INFORMATION: Information that we publish in our Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour brochures, collateral material and the Alaska Aurora ViewingTour Website is believed to be accurate and reliable. We make no representations or warranties regarding such information or any information provided by a third party. Unless expressly stated in writing, we do not endorse the products or services offered by any company or person identified in our brochures, collateral material or Website, nor are we responsible for any content published by a third party.
25. RESPONSIBILITY: We act only in the capacity of agent for the suppliers of the travel services named in your itinerary or otherwise providing services or goods in connection with the tour (the “suppliers”), such as airlines, hotels and other lodging providers, local hosts, sightseeing tour operators, bus lines, car rental companies, driving services, restaurants, and providers of entertainment. We assume no responsibility for any personal injury, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned by reason of any act or omission of any of the Suppliers.
26. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: In no event will we be liable for any injury, loss, claim, damage, or any special, punitive, exemplary, direct, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages of any kind, whether based in contract, tort, strict liability, or otherwise, that arise out of or are in any way connected with the tour even if advised of the possibility of such damages. In no event will our aggregate liability exceed the total tour price set forth in the itinerary for any occurrence including, but not limited to: (1) injury, death or delay of passengers, or loss, damage or delay of or to passengers’ baggage or other property, which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from participation in the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour including, without limitation, passenger’s use of or participation in any excursion, on concession or athletic or recreational activity; (2) your request for or selection of a roommate for the tour; (3) emotional distress, mental suffering or anguish or psychological injury of any kind under any circumstances (except when such damages were caused by Future Travel’s negligence and resulted from the same passenger’s sustaining actual physical injury, or having been at risk of actual physical injury, or when such damages are held to have been intentionally inflicted by Future Travel); (4) any change in scheduled Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour events and/or celebrity appearances; (5) the Tour Operators’ exercise of its contractual rights; or (6) or (if you are entering into this agreement on behalf of yourself and your, group, party, or traveling companions) any claim arising out of their assertion that you were not authorized to agree on their behalf. You further agree that Future Travel shall not be held vicariously liable for the intentional or negligent acts of any persons not employed by Future Travel, nor for any intentional or negligent acts of Future Travel’s employees committed while off duty or outside the course and scope of their employment. In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction holds any of the foregoing to be unenforceable, then Future Travel’s liability shall be limited to the maximum extent permitted by law. In addition to the restrictions and exemptions from liability provided in these Terms and Conditions, Future Travel shall have the full benefit of any applicable laws providing for limitation and exoneration from liability, and nothing in contained herein is intended to operate to limit or deprive Future Travel of any such statutory limitation of or exoneration from liability.
27. FORCE MAJEURE: We assume no responsibility for any personal injury, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned by reason of any matter beyond our exclusive control including but not limited to a delay or cancellation that causes you to miss all or any portion of the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour, acts of God, acts of government, war, terrorist acts, riots, disaster, weather extremes, or strikes. We have no special knowledge regarding the financial condition of the suppliers, unsafe conditions, health hazards, weather hazards, or climate extremes at locations to which you may travel. You understand that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating health conditions. It is the responsibility of each Tour participant to obtain health and medical certificates, inoculations and vaccinations. For information concerning possible dangers at foreign destinations, we recommend contacting the Travel Warnings Section of the U.S. State Department at (202) 647-5225 or www.travel.state.gov, and click on “Travel Warnings.” For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel.
28. DISPUTES: Except where prohibited by law, you (the Lead Passenger and all members of your party) expressly agree that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action against Future Travel arising out of or connected with the Tour shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. to the exclusion of the courts of any other state, territory or country; (2) you waive any venue or other objection that you may have to any such action or proceeding being brought in any court located in Houston, Texas; (3) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (4) you waive the right to claim any other damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct or indirect damages. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Texas. You agree to present any claims against us within 30 days after the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour ends and to file within one year of the incident, and you acknowledge that this expressly limits the applicable statute of limitations to one year. NEITHER PARTY MAY INITIATE OR BE PART OF A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OR LEGAL PROCEEDING AGAINST THE OTHER.
29. INDEMNIFICATION: You shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless us and our officers, employees, directors, suppliers and agents, in their individual capacities or otherwise, from and against any losses arising out of: (i) your negligence; (ii) your failure to comply with applicable law; or (iii) your failure to comply with these terms conditions.
30. ASSUMPTION OF RISK:You acknowledge that you have voluntarily applied for the Solar eclipse tour 2016. You understand that you may travel to countries and areas that are inherently risky. You are prepared to assume risks associated with the Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour including forces of nature, terrorism, civil unrest, war, accidents, and transportation including land vehicles, boats, and aircraft that are not operated and maintained to the standards found in North America, and you hereby assume such risks. You also assume risks associated with altitude, illness, disease, physical exertion, and alcohol consumption, knowing that access to evacuation and/or suitable medical supplies and support may not be available. You agree to take full responsibility for your own actions, safety and welfare. You also understand that you will be a member of a group and will conduct myself in a way that will not endanger the group or yourself.
31. MISCELLANEOUS: We may assign our rights and/or delegate all or a portion of its duties under these Terms and Conditions to any third party at any time without the consent or permission of any parties to these Terms and Conditions. If there is a conflict between these Terms and Conditions and one or more terms contained in another agreement between you and us, these Terms and Conditions will control. No alteration, cancellation, variation of, or addition to these terms and conditions shall be of any force or effect unless reduced to writing and signed by us. If there is a conflict between any part of these terms and conditions and any present or future law, the part that is affected shall be curtailed only to the extent necessary to bring it within the requirements of that law.You hereby consent to our use of pictures or video of you in our marketing materials without compensation. Facsimile or scanned transmission of any signed document shall be deemed delivery of an original.
|I hereby agree to the terms and conditions in the Future Travel Participant’s Agreement, on behalf of myself and all members of my traveling party.||Check the appropriate box below:|
|Signature: _____________________________||(1)___I certify that I am 69 years or younger and reside in the US or Canada. (2)___ I am 70 years old or older and reside in the US or Canada. IF YOU CHECKED THIS BOX, CHECK 1 OF THE 2 ITEMS BELOW.|
|Name: ________________________________||___I choose to purchase insurance from Future Travel.|
__I decline to purchase trip cancellation and medical insurance. I understand the risks I am taking & that there is no reduction in tour price.
Date: _________________________________(3)___ I do not reside in the US or Canada. IF YOU CHECKED THIS BOX, CHECK 1 OF THE 2 ITEMS BELOW.____ I am also signing on behalf of: ________________________________________
___I choose to purchase Future Travel’s foreign resident insurance.
___I decline to purchase trip cancellation and medical insurance. I understand the risks I am taking & that there is no reduction in tour price.