We arrive in Skagway on HAL Volendam on a Saturday May 21st.
I am told that we will be the only ship in port that day and because of that 20% or more of the vendors and independent tour operators will be closed in this port.
Is this true under these circumstances ?
We are trying to avoid booking shore trips via the Cruise Line any suggestions would be appreciated.
In the Alaska ports there are days when MANY ships can be in port at the same time. I would view a day in Skgway with 80% of things open as a blessing not a problem .
Asa suggested above contact your prospective tour vendors and find out what their schedules will be. One way or another, tour the town , it's surroundings and get up to the Summit . This is to my mind one of the nicer port stops.
Just a suggestion which may not appeal to everyone - but we had a great time: rent a car from Avis (close by pier) and drive to Emerald (just beyond Carcross). We spent about $70-75 for a full sized car, picked it up between 8A and 9A and did the drive at our own pace, returning the car mid-afternoon - then spent the afternoon "touring" Skagway shops - and walking back to the ship.
This is an easy, beautiful drive and something I'll never forget!
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[b]MILLIE: The Beautiful Med...Barcelona to Venice- 5/15/05[b] NOS West. Caribbean - 12/10/2005
[b]Summit Hawaii - 4/9/2006 NOS East. Caribbean - 12/02/2006 Infinity Alaska Repo - 5/7/2007
Pooh1Bear, we are going to do just what you did in Skagway, but we are going on up to Whitehorse to turn around. Do you have any pointers for us. Maps, does, don'ts, and things like that. Thanks.....Roy W
Just for clarification- the scenery drops off significantly after Emerald lake. 40 miles of trees to Whitehorse, then not much there either. Request their visitor guide and make sure this is an area you want to consider. I recommend going to at least Emerald Lake, 75 miles from Skagway. Also make a brief stop at the Gold rush cemetery and down the Dyea Road with a stop at the Slide cemetery and Chilkoot trailhead perhaps. DO NOT cross any water, turn back. BUT most important- it will enhance your trip if you stop at the Park Service visitor center before heading out, plenty of free attractions http://www.nps.gov/klgo/schedule.htm and certainly, important, allow time to see Skagway, very worthwhile city. For the Klondike Highway drive, print out Murray's travel guide- www.explorenorth.com
Hi Karen, Thanks for the tip on the Emerald Lake venture and I did print out Murrays guide, what a plus. I will probably order his book also. I have a question you might help me with, is the turn off to Liarsville the same place as other tours go to and is the jaunt from Skagway to Haines or Haines Junction something else that might be considered or is that asking for to much to do. Thanks.....Roy
Liarsville is about mile 3 on the Klondike Highway- yes plenty of tours come and go there. No you won't be driving to Haines Junction it's another 100 miles past Whitehorse- nothing there anyway and as I mention- the scenery from Emerald Lake all the way to Fairbanks- is the low point in Alaska Road travel, just nothing exciting like the rest of the state.
If you are in Emerald lake area check out yukonhorses.com they take you around the lake it is by far the best scenic horse tour our family has been on, out of this world views of the lake!!! This gives you a lot better view than just seeing the lake by the side of the road.
when i was in skagway we were the only ship there. all of the shops were open and ready for us. and this was on a sunday. i would not worry about not being able to shop and enjoy the city. the cruise passengers are their '' bread and butter '' and they do all they can too be there for us. i loved skagway. it is a quant wonderful little town that has much too offer. have fun and enjoy. have a great time.
Having lived in Whitehorse for 3 years 95-98 and visited Skagway numerous times I would definatly recommend the drive between the two with a stop at Emerald Lake which is easily seen from the highway. You will cross some amazing terrain from mountain passes to almost tundra like conditions and then back into the boreal forest. Count on the drive taking 3 hours with the stop at Emerald Lake. It's only about 170 km (110 miles) but you want to take your time and enjoy the trip. Reserve your car early. Skagway isn't New York City and some services are limited. Most if not everything should be open when you are there. Don't miss a stop at the Red Onion Saloon. It's about half way up the main street from the pier on the right hand side. It's right out of the Gold Rush. Sometimes they have jazz, sometimes other music and sometimes just the local "sour doughs" who can be equally entertaining.
Hey thanks Gunner22, we are going to go all the way to Whitehorse. We already have the car reserved and we'll pick 'er up as soon as they open. Am really looking forwad to this trip. Only 89 days to go. By the way is Liarsville an OK stop, my wife wants to see how they panned for Gold.....Roy
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I also found out that there are now 2 ships in Skagway on that Saturday May 21and my chosen vendor has agreed to take my reservation http://www.southeasttours.com/.
This website helped me find the info I needed it may be useful to others. http://www.cruisecal.com/dnn/
Just another thought. In my Skagway tours research I found out that if you travel into the Yukon from Skagway you are going into another time zone and there is another 1 hour time difference.
This may be important if you are traveling independently of your cruiseship.
Don't miss your ship.