Book on own Cruise excursions

Apr 28th, 2006, 10:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1
Book on own Cruise excursions

We are traveling on a Carnival cruise on August 23, 2006. I am trying to save money by booking my own shore excursions and was hoping I could get some recommendations for each stop.
Ketchikan we arrive 630am and depart 5pm
Juneau arrive 9am and depart 11p (charter fishing here i would think)
Skagway arrive 7am and depart 5pm
Sitka arrive 620am and depart 5pm

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
jojolyn is offline  
Apr 28th, 2006, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 164
We took an Alaska cruise a few years back and booked our own excursions at each port. In Skagway I would recommend the White Pass train, in Juneau we took a bus to Mendenhall glacier and around town (there's a booth right next to where the ship docks), Ketchikan is a very easy city to walk around - we walked to the totem pole museum and thru the old "bordello district" on the river. Enjoy!
seattlesue is offline  
Apr 28th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 124
I would check out the message boards on with this question. There are specific threads on shore excursions there that I found invaluable on my cruises.
cab5s is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
With independent touring in Alaska do not expect big savings. What you are going to get is superior tours, more personal attention and sometimes longer tours.

I suggest you look over a shore excursion list and narrow down your interests. There are WAY too many excellent tours to recommend. This isn't the place to skimp either.

For fishing Ketchikan is KING look at
BudgetQueen is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 05:08 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,149
We are doing a Cruise West Inside Passage Cruise next month.

We are usually independent travelers. We did a Carnival Cruise of the Caribbean some years ago and were bored to death. We don't like organized touring. Then, last year we decided on a European River Cruise and went from the Black Sea to Amsterdam in three weeks and loved it. All shore excursions were included, and if we didn't want to do that we simply visited the local cities by ourselves.

I went to the Trip Advisor website for some of the same questions you posed. There is a park ranger in Skagway who posts there and answers questions. We were gong to book our own White Pass Excursion trip, because we couldn't resist it, but he told me that the price we were getting from the ship was the same, or less, than doing it ourselves, and, after all, it is just a ride up and back, although a spectacular one.

What we are doing is to research the port calls and see what WE are interested in and then do it, unless the 'shore excursion' is inexpensive and what we are interested in. I am now reading "Alaska's Southeast, Touring the Inside Passage", by Sarah Eppenbach, ISBN 0-76277-2797-7, which is not only a guide book for attractions, but a great resource for the history and culture and geography of the region. It also has maps of each stop, with recommended places to see marked. I highly recommend it.
jtrandolph is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 411
I will be cruising the inside passage with NCL out of Seattle in June. With the exception of Skagway, I have pre-booked all of my tours independently.

Prince Rupert is the only port where I do not have any plans. I would love to go flightseeing there, and am not sure it is in my budget. We'll see when we get there.

I used much of the advice from the cruise critic board in addition to general research.

Enjoy your trip.
sk84fungirl is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 20
we are on the same trip as you (Carn Spirit Aug 23rd)and did not find any great deals when researching private excursions. I plan to do some exploring on my own, and maybe do a fishing trip or kayaking trip and lumberjack show.
Take a look at National Geographic Traveler magazine this month(May/June issue) for tips on Juneau. Its not online so maybe copy from your library.
Im also renting a car and spending 4 days post cruise in Anchorage and the Matsu Valley.
Maybe I'll see you on board! Where are you from?
NOPETSAL is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 11:31 AM
Posts: n/a
The one plus over booking the cruise ships tours vs independent is that if the cruise ship sponsored tour is late, they will hold the ship for you.

Not true with independent tours.
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