Alaska Shore excursion on the

Reply

Oct 8th, 2014, 05:05 AM
  #41
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,046
I want to thank you, Eschew. This thread saved us a huge amount of $$$. We did not book any excursion. Instead, in each port we rented a car, saved much money and saw much more than any other passenger. In some places, especially Skagway, we felt so sorry for the fellow passengers who paid outrageous sums for questionable excursions. Many of these excursions are outright rip-offs, e.g.

- in Ketchikan: Saxman Village (just take the bus and visit for free and save much time)
- in Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier (just take the bus and visit for free and follow your own pace)
- in Skagway: White Pass Railroad (better rent a car and see much more)
- in Skagway: Suspension Bridge (just an ugly steel bridge)
- everywhere: kennel tours (they charge $79 pp - in the Native Heritage Center in Anchorage you get the same thing at $10 pp)

What did we do with all the money that we had saved?

We spent it for a really spectacular tour which was very pricey but worth every penny because it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a heli flight and dog-sledding on a glacier (we booked it directly at Seward Airport)!

If you are interested to read more: I have written a detailed trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-land-tour.cfm
traveller1959 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2014, 08:08 PM
  #42
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
Thanks for the accolade Traveller1959. Now that Alaska cruise season is over, this thread will get buried one more time. I can't believe people are still posting on this thread since June 2013.

I still stand by my comment that sea plane flight to Misty Fjord is the top excursion and the the few that's actually worth the money. We have been to Alaska a few times and we are planning to be there again next summer. Not sure if we are going to be on the cheap again or spend a bit more. I guess it all depends on what deals are available.

Stay tuned ..........
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2014, 04:11 AM
  #43
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,318
R U cruising again or land or combo?
jacketwatch is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2014, 01:18 PM
  #44
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,074
We're in the process of booking our next cruise to Alaska in 2015 and this information will be so helpful.
marg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 12th, 2014, 08:31 PM
  #45
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
Larry: you are back! How's the trip and would like to see your TR. To answer your question: It will be a combo cruise and land extension. For me, it is cheaper to cruise to Alaska than to fly to Anchorage. I have driven up through the Alaskan highway once. It was an adventure but I think I am good now and don't have the urge to drive up there again .

Been through to Alaska at least a dozen times or more through the years. The last 4 or 5 had been cruises only or cruise/land combo. On my younger years, Alaska means back pack, camp, hike etc. I am too old for that now so cruise would work if I still want to see all the natural wonders before they disappears.

Marg, if you have questions, feel free to ask. It might take me a bit longer to get back to you as I am heading out of town soon.
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 2014, 09:11 AM
  #46
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 1
WE are going on our first Alaskan Cruise and Land Tour. This information is great. We are interested in the Misty Fjord Flight tour. Love the idea of booking once there. Also, loved the information about Glacier in Juneau. We are really interested in exploring it on our time frame. Although we are interested in zip lining too. Thanks for your review!
michelelee_shea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2014, 01:03 AM
  #47
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
michelelee, you are most welcome. Alaska excursions can be done cheaply. All the float plane booths by the dock are all licensed so it should be okay.

If you want to take the tram to Mount Roberts, there is a "combo" ticket for the bus to the Glacier and tram that you can buy right at the tram station. The view from Mount Roberts is spectacular. There is also foot trail up there.
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 1st, 2014, 06:30 AM
  #48
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 35
We are planning for Alaska cruise (from and back to Seattle) for 2015 August. It is the hot season. The above review gave a lot of good info for land trip.How to get the cheap cruise deal in the first place? We will have 11 people including 5 kids (2-12). Should we hire an agent? Is there any group discount? Friends say Costco has the cheapest deal. Is that the truth?
Baoqin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2014, 12:09 PM
  #49
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 98
Thanks for all the great info! We are scheduled for end of July out of Seattle, going to re-read your review as it gets closer!
roguemckenzie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2014, 11:40 PM
  #50
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
Baoqin, a travel agent always help. Subscribe to the cruise line last minute deal and you have to be able to act fast and make decision within a day and get on the ship within 2 to 3 weeks.

When you work with 11 people including 5 kids, I really suggest that you work with a travel agent. Costco has good deals in the US on certain "dates". All the travel agents were given special deals by the cruise line for different sailings. The trick is to find out who has what and there is no substitution for your own research.

If you travel schedule is flexible, book with a agent and take their special deal. If you are looking for a special time, call a bunch of agents and find out who is cheaper. You will find out very quickly that the 'dates" are targeted for different region of the country and different age group.

Feel free to ask questions. We are planning to head back to Alaska again for July 2015. Good luck!
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2014, 11:46 PM
  #51
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
Roguemckenzie, feel free to ask questions. But before you ask, state your interests, likes and dislikes, budget restriction etc so people here can make recommendation. No point in recommending something that you can't afford or such you like natural wonders vs man made wonders, hiking vs bus tour, or fundamentally oppose to certain things (such as cruelty to animals on the dog sled).

Side bar on the cruelty to animals on the dog sled: Not all operators treated the animals poorly. There have been history of sled dogs being mistreated by the operator and animal being put down.
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2014, 08:45 AM
  #52
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
@Eschew I am looking to book a 7 day Alaskan cruise between June 11-16 in 2015. How far out did you start seeing the really good last minute deals? ( I am guessing 7 weeks before sail) We all have flexible work schedules and can get the time off with a 7-10 days notice. I have mastered the cheap Bahamas cruise over xmas break but we have never done Alaska. I assume that normal fares will be around $878-1000 for a ocean view room.
munkeyAround is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2014, 08:55 PM
  #53
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
MunkeyAround, try 60 days out and if you can hold on, 45 days out. You just have to figure out what "inventory" is left on which particular cruise, and you can do that by initiate a booking on lien and see what cabins choices are available.

Obstructed ocean view on a one way can be had for around 600-700. Round trip would be a bit higher. My 399 special was 45 days out and after I booked, at 21 days out, I got the suite offer for 199 extra. it was literally gone within the hour as there were only 3 upgrades available and it was offered to hundreds of people. I just happened to open the email as soon as it hits my in box.

Regular ocean view is more like 1200-1500 in June & July and balcony around 1800 and up. It is more expensive than Caribbean.

There are more ships for Caribbean and less ships for Alaska so it sold out quicker. June 11-16 is getting to get busy so I would start tracking the price around May 1.

My rule of thumb of a good deal is 75 per day for inside, 100 per day for ocean view and 125-150 for balcony regardless of destination. There are times that you cannot get to that price point as there are limited availability. Galapagos & Antarctica are prime examples.

As long as you know your choices are limited when you book late and you may end up getting a crappy cabin location and if you don't mind that, you are good to go.
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2015, 05:15 AM
  #54
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,046
A point to consider: We loved our balcony cabin because we saw so many whales from there. Theoretically, you can watch whales from the public deck space too, but from your balcony you see many more.

If you opt for a balcony I would recommend a port side cabin (on a northbound cruise, starboard on a southbound cruise) because you have the chance of some afternoon sun and warmth. The scenery is pretty much the same on both sides because the inside passage goes through fjords and channels and within Glacier Bay the ship makes 180-degree turns so that both sides have a view.
traveller1959 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2015, 11:39 PM
  #55
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
traveller1959, I would pick starboard side on the Northbound (right hand side) and port side (left) on the Southbound. Everyone has different taste, and we find the scenery is more to our liking facing the continental (land) side, especially the coastal mountain ranges and Tidewater Glaciers from a distance.

You will see whale and other wildlife (from a distance) while on board and unless you have a pair of binoculars, it will be a speckle at a distance.

The balcony does come in handy during the "scenic cruising" part when you travel through the channels and fjords, but you only get one side of the view. When the ship stops at the tongue of the Glacier, it will turn around.

But to see the approach through the channels and fjords, nothing beats the bow of the ship. Be fore-warned that it will be cold even if the weather forecast said it is warm outside.
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2015, 07:08 PM
  #56
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
Thanks so much for all the info in your post. My husband and I are taking our first trip to Alaska August 2015. We are doing a southbound cruise and now I'm wondering if our cabin is starboard or port side. We are new to cruising so this may be a" dummie" question. If we are on the HAL MS Zaandam in cabin A6166 and sailing southbound are we on the starboard or port side?? Does port side going northbound become starboard going southbound?? Our next appt. with our TA is this coming Friday when we finalize our booking from hold to secure. I am very much into photography so will want to be in a cabin that optimizes scenic pictures for me. Thanks!!
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2015, 12:07 AM
  #57
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
Even number cabins on the Zaandam would be on the port side. On a southbound cruise, you would be facing the continental (land) side.

Starboard side is the right hand side of the ship when you are facing the front and port side is the left hand side of the ship.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_and_starboard

If you want to maximize your enjoyment of the cruise, you might want to buy this book or borrow it from your local library:
The Alaska Cruise Handbook: A Mile-by-Mile Guide by Joe Upton

Feel free to post more questions and good luck on your cruise!
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2015, 03:48 AM
  #58
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
Eschew-Thanks so much for your reply! I did do a google search after my post so now I do know our cabin is on the port/left side. I feel like such a "dummie" when it comes to cruising and I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question.

I will definitely try to find the book you suggested. Thanks for that advice.

I'm sure I'll be back on the forum with lots more questions as trying to decide on shore excursions is mind boggling! And then there's the "what to pack?" topic. Good thing this cruise isn't until August and I'm retired with lots of time to research.
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2015, 10:49 PM
  #59
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,718
chris45ny, you are most welcome. Search for them in the forum here first and see if you can find what to wear, what to pack, where to go. There are quite a few trip report here on Alaska cruises.

Quick answers:

What to wear: dress warm, in layers, gloves, rain gear. temperature is 65-70 but the wind is the killer, especially on open deck of ship when ship is moving. The wind from the Glacier is icy cold. Ship sells jackets so if you want souvenir, buy it and don't pack it. Cheapest souvenir stop is Ketchikan but if you go southbound, that's the last stop. A decent jacket could be had for $20.

What to pack: camera, binoculars, extra battery for the camera and extra media cards (or films if you still have one of those)

Where to go: depend on your personal likes and dislikes and budget. It will not be cheap. That's what prompted me to do this Alaska on the cheap trip report to prove a point that it can be done.
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2015, 08:41 PM
  #60
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 35
An Holland America offered the best price (for 7-day round trip Seattle to Alaska to Vancouver) right now is $899pp for guest 1 & 2 and $449pp for guest 3 & 4 (in the same stateroom). Is it a good (or OK) deal or should I shop around?
Baoqin is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:44 AM.