just booked a first time alaskan cruise with sappfire princess in august, have tons of question, hope someone won't mind answering...
how safe is it to book the shore excursions on our own versus booking via the ship cruise? how often does ship change their iteneraries?? did people actually get left behind??????????????????????????????????
fiancee and I are interested in taking the following excursions, and if anyone who has information on local excursion/tour company, eg their website, phone, or anywhere that i can look more into, it will be greatly appreciated
1. misty fjord @ ketchikan (just flight or flight and cruise, which is better for a first timer?)
2. helicoptor to a glacier and dog sled @ either juneau or skagway, which has the best scenery?
3. white pass scenic rail @ skagway (just rail or combination of rail and bus?)
4. butchart garden @ victoria (is it worth it to visit there at night????? how long does the day last in late august?)
5. how easy is it to get from downtown seattle to the pier? shuttle or taxi???
I never take ship excursions and especially in Alaska simple and superior to book direct with venders. I recommend the flying of Misty Fjords, the combo boat trips just take up too much time for a first time visitor. I have flown with Southeast Aviation, Carlin Air and Island Wings. There are several others to also consider listings www.visit-ketchikan.com Glacier dog sledding is the most canceled of all excursions in Juneau- Skagway slightly less so. SO always have back up plans- meaning what you will do with the time. Direct book out of Juneau with www.coastalhelicopters.com or Skagway www.temscoair.com BOOK now if possible with TEMSCO as they are a ship contractor and have extremely limited direct booked space. The combo rail/bus tours are excellent IF you go on the long tours into the Yukon. The shorter ones are less interesting and make a stop usually at the recreated gold camp - Liarsville. OK.
Butchart is open late in summer, but a ship excursion is your only best bet with your late arrival. http://butchartgardens.com/ check the hours for your arrival.
Take a cab to the port.
If you are staying Vancouver overnight before you cruise you can always take a 31/2 hour tour and when you r done they take you to the ship. The also pick you and all of your luggage at your motel. You can call them at 1-877-669-2277 or email at www.vancouvertours.com
The you'll get left behind is an old bugaboo scre tactic. And they don't even say ot that way, they say if you are late returning from your trip we will wait for you. leaving the implication of course.
I have a business whee I book people on shore excursions throughout Alaska. Last year I asked every vendor I worked wih did they know of any instnaces of people left behind. None did. However wew all agreed that if by some weird chance it shuld happen that we would then be responsible for getting you to your next port.