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!