Shore excursions in Alaska

Old Feb 16th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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Shore excursions in Alaska

We are doing a cruise with Norwegian in August and looking at shore excursions. Are we best booking ourselves through one of the many companies or going through the Cruise Line. Has anyone had bad experiences planning them yourselves relating to arriving late on the cruise ship, getting back to the cruise ship in time and weather conditions which may result in the trip being cancelled. Also any tips on which is the best tour of the Misty Fjords. Thanks
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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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Sorry another question, is it best to book ahead or when you arrive book at the docks for a tour. Are there plenty of operators at the docks booking tours.
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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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We did not go on your line, but alot of times the shore excursions will go even in bad weather, maybe you don't want to go-but you are stuck. If you cxl-lose your money. We waited and bought from the local tour cos.

In Skagway, everyone was taking the train-we opted for a 16 pass. bus along the same route- the train never stopped but the bus trip gave us plenty of stops and coming back from the pass, stopped at the 'Welcome to Alaska sign' and took pics-our favorite pic.
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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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The air excursions were canceled when we went to Alaska (on another line)because of fog. When I checked on- line I found that the prices of the shore excursions booked off the ship were only a few dollars less (at least the ones I could find). Also, the train on Skagway didn't coordinate with the cruise very well. It was cutting it way too close. Give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship, because unless you book the excursion through the ship, they definatly will not wait for you if you are late!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 05:43 AM
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I never book any ship excursions and always book direct with venders in Alaska, extremely simple to do. The savings can be significant on some tours. I never recommend NOT having plans and reservations in place before you go. It wastes valuable time, in port deciding what to do. Look over your shore excursion list and narrow down your interests. Request each city's visitor guide- all the independents listed. www.traveljuneau.com www.skagway.org www.visit-ketchikan.com

For clairfication- the White Pass RR and the Klondike have similar views for only about 3 miles. It is NOT the same, scenery is superior from the rail at the summit. A significant reason to consider the train is an interest in history, engineering, and scenery. For any independent touring- I book my tours early in the port day. As for Misty Fjords flightseeing- independent is superior as they let you off the plane on land, ship tours only allow you to step off on the pontoons. Great companies I have gone with are Southeast Aviation, Carlin Air and Island Wings. Weather will cancel ALL trips not just independents- with full refunds.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 02:22 PM
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If I had gone in Aug., with so many ships in port, I would have made reserv. ahead of time, but we were only 1 of 2 that day in Sept. So we could have done anything.

It was a drizzly day and the train people saw alot of fog but for some reason, it was clear for us- we went up the White Pass-the Soapy Smith grave and goldpanning (with heated water), great pics and Next time, maybe ,the train.

It was my favorite port of the trip-it was real AK to me-maybe I'll move there.
Our bus driver is year-round for 14 years, I love talking to her.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 08:12 PM
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Thanks for all the replies , we will be on the last cruise in August, departing Vancouver on the 29th August, would this still be a busy time or would some of the ships left the area by the end of August early September.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 08:49 PM
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We went the last week of August and it was pretty busy. One good thing about going at that time, since it is the end of the season many of the stores have huge discounts!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 09:20 PM
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BudgetQueen, I just have to compliment you on your expertise on Alaska. Your info is really helping us plan our trip. Thanks again
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 12:09 AM
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Thank you for the kind words. Yes end of August is still full season. Very busy. Interior though is winding down.
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