Alaska Shore excursion on the

Jul 17th, 2013, 05:12 PM
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NGail: wish list?
Eschew is offline  
Jul 17th, 2013, 07:35 PM
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Doesn't everyone have a wish list of places they'd like to visit?
Our last trip to Alaska was about 25 years ago. Now gathering info for another one.
NGail is offline  
Jul 18th, 2013, 09:30 PM
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NGail, I got it! I'm a bit thick at times.

A lot of things have changed over the years. The ice melting, the stores closing, even some streets looked different this year compared to our last visit which was only 2 years ago. When you are ready to book, post questions here and I am sure a lot of people will post answers. Good luck!
Eschew is offline  
Aug 7th, 2013, 09:35 PM
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Brought back some fond memories of our Alaska cruise years ago although we didn't take the sea plane ride. We ride the train to Canada and that was interesting.

Other than the fond memroies was the shore excursions were very expensive. I think we paid almost $200 at Juneau for the Glacier tour, Salmon Bake and a city tour. I guess we could have ate at the ship, skipped the salmon bake, took the bus to the Glacier and save $188 each!

Great tips on going cheap without being cheap.
Sally_Parker is offline  
Aug 8th, 2013, 03:00 AM
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Thanks for a fabulous do it yourself report. Will save for when I do visit Alaska as I always do a lot of R&D & do my own excursions from local vendors. I did do one ship's sponsored one in Europe & since the tourguide spoke German 1/2 the time as there were few Americans aboard the bus, it should have been 1/2 price for me as I didn't get full value!
Rhea58 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2013, 01:35 PM
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We rented a car in Juneau for around $60.oo. Got to Mendenhall way before any of the buses, thus little crowd, did our own city and environs tour (drove as far as the road went-outstanding scenery). Don't remember lunch, probably grabbed something on the go. Had planned to do the tram but it was far too cloudy to see anything.
charsuzan is offline  
Nov 8th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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sludick is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 01:45 PM
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Love your posting, Eschew! I've bookmarked it to study for an upcoming (Aug. '14) cruise.
mammajamma is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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mammajammam, Thank you for your kind words.

If you have any specific question, just ask! We maybe heading back to Alaska again next summer, this time, either early or late August, timing it either before or after a mid-August wedding that we will have to go to, probably looking at an itinerary round trip Vancouver with Glacier Bay College Fjord or Hubbard.

If this is your first trip on an Alaskan Cruise, Glacier Bay is a MUST stop and ships that travels to Glacier Bay often charges more as they have to bid on quotas (permits) from the National Park.
Eschew is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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We are off on a cruise next July this year and have been looking on the web at the diiferent shore options etc.
One concern i have in arranging your own trips against the ships, is that if you go on a trip organised by the cruise line, you are the first to disembark at the port's ( other people have to wait a long time ). Any comments on this ?

Does anyone know how much time is wasted to get off the ship ( if not on a pre-booked tour )

I am also reading from many people, that the same tours offered by the locals at the port's, are not substantialy cheaper than the ones on the cruise ( if you want to do the same sort of trip ), This mostly aplies to the trips that include major transport ( Boats, planes etc ).
However i agree about the local walking / bus trips taht would be chaeper to organise yourself

Thanks Richard
Mongrawl is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 08:55 PM
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Richard, no true at all about those on ship's excursions gets to get off first, at least not in my experience.

It may give the appearance of preferred treatment, especially on a tendered port, but in reality, it is "slow going" on all tender port anyway.

What they do is gather all the passengers for shore excursions together and get them off in groups. Non cruise sponsored excursions go to designated area and get tender tickets. You leave as space is available on the tender. When a group of a tour leaves, it will fill the tender so if you are on your own private tour, you wait in line. I have seen people on ship's shore excursion waiting for over an hour to get on a tender.

If the ship is docked, as soon as the port authority gave clearance, everyone can go. Remember that there is only 2 exits, so there maybe a bit of line up. So the moral is either get there early to line up or take it easy and wait till the crowd clears.

As to the cost of private vs ship's excursion. The difference is about 10% to 25% depending on where. The more poor (or 3rd world) the port of call is, the bigger the price gap. Alaska cruise ports have probably the smallest price gap due to high local cost and regulated tour industry.

As I have said on my post previous, you may pay a similar price in Alaska but you get smaller group, longer time. You can even barter a bit. What you won't get is assurance of quality from the ship, and the guarantee return to ship. Again, Alaska is different as all operators are licensed and regulated so the discrepancy is less than an unlicensed tour operator in the Caribbean.
Eschew is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 02:43 PM
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Is this possible for 2014?
Sally_Parker is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 01:45 AM
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I just received email a couple of days ago on a $399 last minute deal from Princess (before tax). Must travel within a week and is for one specific voyage only, north bound from Vancouver. Add in airfare from Alaska, under $1,000 would be a stretch.
Eschew is offline  
Jul 12th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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We just got back last night from our cruise on the Celebrity Solstice -- we booked a floatplane flyout to Misty Fjord for $199 at a stand right outside the ship. I think the same trip was $289 if booked through the cruise -- it was the same company that did the flyouts for Celebrity.

Thanks for all the advice and tips Eschew and others!
fishee is offline  
Jul 16th, 2014, 09:37 PM
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Fishee,are you going to post a trip report?
Eschew is offline  
Jul 26th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Eschew: great great review of your trip through the inside passage. Am thinking to take the Princess cruise out of San Francisco.
cruisetaker is offline  
Jul 28th, 2014, 03:53 AM
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Cruisetaker, , should be a great trip. Would it be this year or next year?
Eschew is offline  
Sep 13th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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I went on a one way Carnival cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver. We did almost all non Cruise excursions. There were no issues with getting off the boat except at Sitka where you had to get a ticket the night before for the tender. I had learned about the tender many months prior to the trip and were within the first 100 in line. We were on tender number 11.

At sitka there were about 5 or 6 tours available from the ship. On line we learned about a visitors map which I printed out and did almost everything that included on the cruise ships for almost no cost. We saw the local russian dancers, toured the Gov House, Walked to the national park and saw over 30 totem poles then walked up to the raptor center and saw about 50 eagles and owls that were being rehabed then walk down to the old fort which was now just an hill with no walls and then back to the boat. The tours included bus rides but it was only about two miles of walking.

In skagway the biggest waste of money would have been the old train ride that went 26 miles and then came back. I read about the Road to Emeral Lake which was 89 miles from the port. there were five in our party and so we rented a "wreck" minivan and drove all the way there. The item we found on the internet told us all the things to do along the way with mile markers. We saw the old town graveyard three water falls which you could walk up and into. We travel through BC and drove into the Yukon. We stopped at desert and in Carcross and then we hit Emerald lake. Those are some of the best pictures of the trip. On the way back we stopped in at Dyer (sp) it was a boom town for the gold rush and the only reminders of the old city were a few store fronts and these 100 year old trees that lined the streets. The train trip from the cruise was about $105 or $125 per person. There were five of us so the cost would lhave been about $525 or $625. Our minivan rental and gas was less then $150 and we saw a great deal more.

Stop 3 Juneau Zip Lining. We found a zip line tour company online and bought our tickets independent from the cruise line. This tour was from Canapoy Tours. It had three more zip lines and included an speed airboat ride to the zip lines. There were no issues with getting to and from the boat and dock. This was about $100 per and on the boat it was going to be $150. Also in Juneau there is a ton of tours to the glacier. We didnt do that since the start of our cruise was up by seward and we did the fyourds and glacier tour up there. We also walked on Exit glacier near steward.

We didnt do anything in Ketican since my partner had a friend from college who lived there. we went to a few of the galleries that had some of his art. Then we went to the salmon farm and did the river walk. None of this was provided through the cruise.

I would go online at cruise critic or on Trip Advisor. I also learned a vacation planning method on my first trip to hawaii. this lady was trying to sell tours etc. but her point was to plan your trip way before you go. Know what you want to do and anything you can find out on how to do it. she said the biggest mistake is the tourists spend more time looking at the flyers in the lobby or the hotel or in the sun way too much. I use an excell spread sheet that showes everything we are doing. Driving, Flying tours etc. It was someething did for Alaska and it even included a shopping list for what to buy at Fred Meyers in Anchorage for our 5 day RV rental. If you can find a one way that starts or ends up near Anchorage do it. We spent five days in Denali, fairbanks and seward. We did not do the train ride. I also learned about the park bus for the tour of Denali vs the tour package buses. It was about 1/2 the price but you went more then twice the distance. It was a full 10 to 12 hour tour. It wasnt a comfortable as the tour bus but I learned you need to get a seat on the drivers side since that side is where you will see the wildlife. In fairbanks we saw the Pipeline, did a goldmine and went to the museum of the north.
Bundi356 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2014, 01:46 PM
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You asked about the cruise on the cheap. We ended up with a balcony on a large carnival ship (4000+) passengers for about $650 per person. It was the 3rd week in June so still not the peak Alaska time yet. We went as a group of 5 people my sister and brother in law, my partner and I and their daughter who is also my god daughter. We had no mosquito issues and didnt need big hiking boots. A good set of tennis shoes were good enough. We also spent a few days in Vancouver. If you have the chance spend a day or two to see Stanley park and maybe visit Chinatown or some of the other highlights of their city.
Bundi356 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2014, 07:29 PM
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Alaska is probably one of the easiest cruise one to do it yourself for self guided tours.

Emerald lake is beautiful and is easily accessible.

Sitka National Historic Park is a bit out further out but is worth a visit. St. Michael's would be a "must stop" as well and it is right in the middle of town.
Eschew is offline  

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