Thanks for the reply. We have been a just a few cruises now and have noticed that when we book a excursion we feel like we are spending most of our time in port waiting for and riding in a bus, boat or train and very little time doing what the excursion was about.
We think the scare about the ship leaving us behind has made us book thru the ship. I think we are leaning toward fewer excursions and more exploration.
If I can plan to get to a ship from my home half way across the US then I think we can plan to get back to the ship in time.
I am thinking about a rental car in Alaska and just see what we can see!