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Old August 3rd, 2001, 02:15 AM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default tight budget for excursions

I'm traveling Radiance of the Seas on 8/25 and my budget is very tight for excursions. I can probably spend $200-250 total. Does anyone have any suggestions on what excursions are fun but inexpensive? I'm traveling with my husband, brother and mom who also wish to keep their excursion spending at the $250 range.
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Old August 3rd, 2001, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

I can offer you many budget options- my speciality!!! Is the $200 per person or total for your group??? Please post your ports and interests. It also can be very helpful if you look over a shore excursion list for ideas. Repost and you will get a lot of options.
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Old August 3rd, 2001, 11:26 PM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Thanks Karen! The $200-250 limit is per a person. We will be going to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. We are very flexible and willing to do our own exploring if you know of a good guide book. Our budget must cover not only excursions but food while on shore, so if you know of good but inexpensive places to eat that would be great too! We like to hike, but my 81 year old mother can only walk about 1/2 mile without having to take a rest, and preferably on flat land. I'd like to go biking, but the bike excursion on RCCL was a bit expensive!
I'm sure many others will appreciate your feedback as these are tough economic times and I know I'm not the only one that has to budget. I'm just glad I paid for the cruise back when I had a steady paycheck!

Thx again,
Pooks
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Old August 4th, 2001, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

A couple of suggestions:

In Skagway you might want to rent bikes from Sockeye Cycle Co., in downtown Skagway (www.cyclealaska.com) and ride out to Dyea. It would be much cheaper and more enjoyable than a scheduled excursion.

In Juneau you can ride to the top of the mountain on the tram overlooking the ship. The ride is expensive, $20 per person, but I hear there are a lot of hiking trails that take off from that point. Might be a great spot for a picnic lunch.

Then there's always the shopping in all three.
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Old August 4th, 2001, 10:46 PM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Thanks Charles. My brother likes the bike idea, and my mother likes the tram, and hiking a bit. My mother would like to see Mendenhall Glacier, the RCCL Juneau highlights tour is $34.00 p/person. You wouldn't know of a cheaper way to get there? If not, we'll probably do the tour.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old August 5th, 2001, 11:14 AM
canalzone
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

In Juneau, there is a shuttle bus right on the dock (called Glacier Express) that provides round trip service between the ship's dock and Mendenhall glacier. The shuttle departs every half hour (to and from the glacier). The cost is $10 per/person roundtrip. You can stay at Mendenhall as long as you want verses the 30-45 minutes allocated by the ship's tour. The ship's tour (Mendenhall Glacier and City Highlights) provides a quick narrated tour of the city, stops at the Gastineau Fish Hatchery for a guided tour and then goes to the Mendenhall Glacier (the $34 also includes admission to the visitor's center at Mendenhall Glacier). In our two trips to Alaska, we did the Mendenhall Glacier and City Highlights tour on our first trip. On our second trip, we took the shuttle bus because we wanted more time to to walk out to the waterfall (about 1/2 mile). The Mt Roberts Tramway (located right on the cruise ship dock) offers a spetacular view of the city and channel (cost is adult-$19.50/person, children 12 and under-$10.50 and children 6 and under-free). Consider visiting the Red Dog saloon located only a few blocks from the ship (caution--its always crowded, but its a must see). Juneau also has a narrated city tours provided by the Juneau Red Trolly Car Company.

Skagway has a good bike ride, but the weather can be unpredictable--consider the bus ride which parallels the White Mountain Pass and Yukon Railroad. If you can afford the White Mountain Pass and Yukon Train ride do it--the scenery is spectacular. The town of Skagway runs shuttle cars from the cruise ships into town, otherwise it is a mile walk into town.

In Ketchikan, walk Creek Street (three blocks from the ship) and consider Saxman Village or the Totem Poles. If you are departing from Vancouver, pick up several copies of "The Visitor's Guide to Alaska". They are free and available right in the Canada Place cruise ship terminal. Inside the guide are coupons for free or discounted souvenirs (good for use in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway).

I hope this helps, if you have any additional questions--please feel free to e-mail me. Enjoy your trip.
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Old August 5th, 2001, 04:57 PM
jklms
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Pooks --
Just had to say we must be related -- My maiden name was Rutherford and we too are going to Alaska on a tiny budet. We leave IN ONE WEEK August 11. Going Radisson, which was extravagant all by itself, so not much left for tours. I'm so torn between this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and how sad our bank account looks. I just don't believe in charging up a vacation we can't afford to pay for!!!!

Hope your trip is wonderful -- we won't be back in time to send you any suggestions, but if I find anything really unique, I'll try to post from the ship.

jklms
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Old August 5th, 2001, 11:10 PM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Thanks Canalzone! It helps immensely! And I definitly like the $10 pp Shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier! If we do the Shuttle, I guess that we will miss out on the Gastineau Fish Hatchery that is covered on the Highlights tour. Is this attraction worth the money for the City Highlights tour or can I skip it this time in favor of the more expensive White Mountain Pass and Yukon Train?

Once again thanks for the tips!
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Old August 6th, 2001, 12:23 AM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Thanks for commiserating, jklms (i.e. Rutherford too). I hope that some of the suggestions that were offered by Charles and Canalzone have provided you will tips on streching that budget!

I'm a recent casualy of the dot-gone economy. I'm just glad that I booked and paid for this trip back in May when I still had a paycheck. I too don't believe in charging up the credit card for this luxury. It took me a long time to pay off my previous debts! I may not have money in the bank, but at least I'm debt-free!

I am counting the days before my trip (since I don't have anything better to do). Sure this trip is extravagent, but what a great way to recharge my batteries before I have to go back out into the cold harsh job market!
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Old August 6th, 2001, 12:27 AM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Oops, hit thie send button before I got to say "HAVE A GREAT CRUISE!"
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Old August 6th, 2001, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Pooks Rutherford wrote:
>
> Thanks Karen! The $200-250 limit is per a person. We will be
> going to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. We are very flexible
> and willing to do our own exploring if you know of a good
> guide book. Our budget must cover not only excursions but
> food while on shore, so if you know of good but inexpensive
> places to eat that would be great too! We like to hike, but
> my 81 year old mother can only walk about 1/2 mile without
> having to take a rest, and preferably on flat land. I'd like
> to go biking, but the bike excursion on RCCL was a bit
> expensive!
> I'm sure many others will appreciate your feedback as these
> are tough economic times and I know I'm not the only one that
> has to budget. I'm just glad I paid for the cruise back when
> I had a steady paycheck!
>
> Thx again,
> Pooks



You don't need to eat on shore and I never do. The ship docks right in town- so get back to the ship for meals. Are you willing to split up from your mother to participate in hiking? I have rented bikes from Sockeye cycle in Skagway no need for a tour on the ride to Dyea. If possible I would like to consider one flight with a glacier helicopter landing the best of the best. Book direct with www.coastalhelicopters.com about $160


Budget touring::
Juneau- $10 RT MGT glacier express bus to Mendenhall glacier, visitor center admission $3, free ranger activities. MGT tour bus- $20 includes drive by city tour, stop at Chapel on the Lake at Alaska Uni. Douglas Island stop and Mendenhall Glacier with admission to visitor center. Free walking tour Map of Juneau with stop at Alaska State Museum, Juneau Douglas City Museum, free self guided tour of Capital. Skagway--- Park Service Visitor Center- museum, ranger talks, movie, walking tours (only a few blocks) ALL FREE. Ketchikan- pick up a visitor guide- and use the 2 for $50 coupon for Sourdough tours- will take you to both Saxman and Totem bight. Unfortunately you need a tour as the commentary is necessary to get anything out of it.

I have other options if needed. With the above you are within your budget with the 1 flight.
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Old August 6th, 2001, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

As I posted elsewhere, MGT runs the same tour for $20 at the dock. Get off the ship early and head to one of their booths on the dock for ticket purchase, tour is about 2 1/2 hours. Excellent commentary and enough of a stop at Mendenhall if not going hiking.
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Old August 6th, 2001, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

The hatchery is not worth the additional $14 of the ship tour compared to the $20 tour by MGT, head out to Creek St when in Ketchikan- will more than enough salmon there.
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Old August 6th, 2001, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

If you are on a tight budget for shore excursions I would suggest you rent a car!

On our previous cruises to Alaska we rented cars in Juneau and saw everything the city had to offer. We did the same in Skagway and drove past the Canadian border. Since we travel with our 2 teens shore excursions would have been too
costly. In both cases the cost of a 1 day rental was less than $60. If you divide this by 4 people you can save a lot.

In any case enjoy your cruise!
Darcy
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Old August 7th, 2001, 02:41 AM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Thanks for the tip Darcy. This is a terrific idea! The company you rented your car from, was it reputable? If you have the name of the rental company that would be great!
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Old August 7th, 2001, 03:01 AM
Pooks Rutherford
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

Thanks for the tips Karen! I love the helicopter idea, unfortunately I am the only one brave enough to get into one! But thanks for putting it out there as I'm sure others will benefit from that suggestion. My mother loves the 2 for 1 Sourdough tour! That we will definitly do!
My husband mentioned that he wants to go kayaking or sportfishing, the RCCL excursion price for sportfishing is $163.00 (kind of steep for our budget!) and kayaking at Whisky Cove for $69.00 (a little more reasonable) you wouldn't happen to know of any cheaper alternatives (especially for the sportfishing which both my husband and brother want to do).

Thanks again for your many helpful suggestions.
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Old August 7th, 2001, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

No problem with businesses in Alaska - still high US standards. Juneau rent from either Rent a Wreck 907-78901302 or All Star- 800-772-0741 only 2 that provide free shuttles. Ketchikan Alaska Car Rental- 800-662-0007 Skagway- Avis
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Old August 7th, 2001, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

I have gone with Northern Lights- see what they have to offer- an excellent company- www.ktn.net/nlck $119, or do it really cheap- rent poles at the dock and walk 1/4 mile around the marina. I like kayaking - Ketchikan is tops- www.southeastexposure.com the Tongass Narrows is $50 and a nice trip up Creek St.
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Old September 2nd, 2001, 02:51 PM
Bonnie Meehan
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Default Re: tight budget for excursions

In Juneau, I rented a car from "Rent a Wreck" for about $40 per day with an extra $10 late drop off charge for leaving it parked in a garage right by the pier. This allowed me to keep the car as long as I wanted (our ship was in port from 2pm-11pm). With a car, you can do whatever you want. I drove out to the Shrine of St. Therese which is a lovely drive and a beautiful spot to visit. Enjoy!
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