CRUISING SOUTHBOUND ON THE SPIRIT ON 8/22/01. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN HIRE YOUR OWN TRANSPORTATION (TAXI) AND BE TAKEN ON TOURS IN THE VARIOUS PORTS. WE HAVE A GROUP OF 8 AND ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SOME OF THE EXCURSIONS OFFERED BY THE CRUISE LINE. ALSO, HAS ANYONE EXPERIENCED THE WEATHER IN ALASKA AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR? LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM SOMEONE!!!!!
I'll be on the Spirit, northbound, on 8/15. I've been reading this board and others and there are many excursions you can take without going through Carnival. The one drawback is that they won't hold the ship for you if you are on an excursion that you booked yourself and it is running late. Also, many people on this board say that you can get cheaper rates by doing it yourself. Go to a bookstore and get Frommer's Alaska ports of call, 2001. I read it and it has much more information about cruising Alaska, shore excursions, and weather. The book was about 10.00, but worth it. You can also order online at BN.com. I had it in my hands within 3 days.
I have gone several times the same week and will be interior this year. Anyway- you need to determine WHERE and WHAT you want to do from a cab. Most tours- flights, whale watching etc- has transportation included from the dock. All ports are walk off from the ship, Skagway and Juneau have $1 shuttles if needed. There is plenty to see and do right in the towns if you are interested in museums. You may also want to consider 2 car rentals as well. Very easy to do your own excursions. and no chance of missing ship if you schedule correctly. You need to look over your shore excursion list and narrow down your interests - then make your plans. There are just too many choices to just jump in a cab when you get there and leave the plans to the driver.
As for weather- dusk by 8pm, expect 50-65, some rain, bring lightweight lined jacket, layers of sweatshirts, t shirts, knit hat and gloves. I no longer take jeans- my preference as they take up a lot of room and get and tend to stay damp. I take lined wind pants and leggins. I spend ALL my time out doors, most cruisers do not.
We just returned from Alaska and were told to negotiate the price and destinations, BEFORE leaving the pier. Thought you might want to know....Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan are all walkable and the finiculars/trams are fabulous unless you are afraid of heights. Play it by ear - you can always hire a cab later after you have had the pleasure of exploring an area on your own. Also, the ship's concierge was fabulous about assisting with obtaining a rental car, etc. Use all the available people on the ship before making a decision and then take a chance. This was our favorite vacation in a long, long time...