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Old March 1st, 2007, 10:40 PM
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Default Juneau/Skagway/Ketchikan

Help! We have done many cruises to Mexico but this year I am going with the hubby and in-laws to Alaska. We have always booked excursions on our own or just walked off the ship and found the same things offered for less. I know it is very busy in Alaska and that the ports are a bit smaller. Any suggestions out there on if we should book on the ship, any one that does trips that we can book from home or is it possible to find plenty of things to do on our own??? I am also wondering what ppl think are the 'must sees or dos ' while in these ports. Any info would be helpful. Thanks!!
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Old March 1st, 2007, 11:21 PM
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From Skagway we liked the tour through B.C. to Yukon and Carcross by train and bus. In Juneau the city tour has the sights, fish hatchery, scenic cable car ,etc. and end your day with some time at the Red Dog Saloon ! I would book through the ship myself.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Juneau/Skagway/Ketchikan

BrwnEyedGirl,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Help! We have done many cruises to Mexico but this year I am going with the hubby and in-laws to Alaska. We have always booked excursions on our own or just walked off the ship and found the same things offered for less. I know it is very busy in Alaska and that the ports are a bit smaller. Any suggestions out there on if we should book on the ship, any one that does trips that we can book from home or is it possible to find plenty of things to do on our own??? I am also wondering what ppl think are the 'must sees or dos ' while in these ports. Any info would be helpful. Thanks!!
These ports offers the most diverse selection of activities and shore excursions that you will find anywhere in the world, so the decision as to what to do can be a bit overwhelming. Nonetheless, there area few excursoins that are truly unique...

>> In Ketchikan, the excursion to Saxman Village is a unique opportunity to experience the Tlingit culture and thus very worthwhile. You'll see an interesting array of totems and an impressive exhibition of Tlingit dance. You'll also have an opportunity to watch a team of totem carvers at work (and their work is for sale). The tour is only a couple hours, you will leave plenty of time to explore the downtown area -- including the infamous salon -- when the tour returns to town.

>> In Juneau, many attractions ae within walking distance. The Mount Roberts Tramway is right next to the pier, but probably only worthwhile if it's a clear day. The state capital, which offers free tours, is only a few blocks from the pier. St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic cathedral, on the next block from the capital, are also worth a visit for their art. In the city's main shopping district, located across the street from the pier and in tne next couple blocks, you'll find Russian nesting dolls and other reminders of the city's Russian heritage.

Juneau also has a very popular salmon bake. If you wish to participate, I recommend booking the salmon bake through the ship due to the timing (it returns just before the ship leaves).

>> In Skagway, a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR), a narrow guage railroad built to haul prospectors, their equipment, and supplies and provisions into the Yukon Territory during the "days of '98" (that is, the Yukon Gold Rush of 1897-1898) offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the whole trip, along with a taste of history. It is also a marvel of civil engineering, even by modern standards. The article from Trains magazine, linked on the railroad's home page, provides some worthwhile background and details. Book this through the ship, as the ship's train operates from the pier rather than from the railroad station.

You can explore most of the town of Skagway, including the famous salon, on your own. If your schedule allows, a play called the "Days of '98 Revue Starring Soapy Smith" is well worthwhile. It's performed at the Eagles Hall at least a couple times per day.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 12:54 PM
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In Juneau the tram is at the dock so you can decide when you get off the ship if you want to go up or not. As mentioned wait to see the weather.
Also in Juneau you can take a bus to the Mendenhall glacier which doesn't require pre-booking. I think it's now about $12 round trip.
We loved whale watching in Juneau and I do think you should pre-book that.

White pass rail in Skagway is a terrific trip if you enjoy trains, history, and great scenery. I think you should pre-book this trip if you decide to go.
We didn't like the Soapy Smith show revue show very much.

If you decide to do any flightseeing trips you must pre-book IMO.

Say Norm, what's the "infamous saloon" in Ketchikan?

We found all 3 towns fun just to walk around and take in the atmosphere of each unique area as well so try and save some time for that as well. We enjoy taking the funicular in Ketchikan and wandering back to town on the married man's trail. Don't step on a slug however.

Just remember to take all our advice with a grain of salt. We all are very opinionated and have different likes and dislikes. For example, Norm likes the revue show and we didn't. No right or wrong there, just differences of opinion.

Alaska's an incredible place and I'm sure you'll love your trip.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Peter,

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Say Norm, what's the "infamous saloon" in Ketchikan?
I don't recall the name, but it's right at the bend in the road parallel to the shoreline at the southern end of the warf.

Norm.
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