We will be travelling with our two children ages 5 and 7 and would like to know if it is necessary to book excursions in each port. Also, do you just walk from the ship to the smaller ports (i.e. Sitka, Ketchican) and are there things to do there. On a trip to Mexico we were disappointed that we booked excursions on the ship and when we got into the towns we could have chosen better activities for the price. Finally, there is a children's program on board, but we have not gotten any real information about it. Any experiences with it?
The question of whether or not Crystal will have a children's program on board depends upon how many children are on your cruise. They usually only have a children's counselor if there are 20 to 30 kids or more on a cruise. Crystal isn't particularly known as a cruise for kids, and I have never seen more than 10 children on any of my Crystal cruises.
Shore excursions will not be designed for children. In these ports, you can just walk to shopping, etc.
It is worth it to take a trip to see the Mendenhall glacier though. The Alaska State Museum here can be walked to and is worth a couple hours.
You can walk into town or take the shuttle (small fee). The best trip here though is on the train, and on cruise ship days all the tickets are generally taken by the ships. Best to book through the ship, and the trip picks you up right at the pier. Take the half day trip so you still have time for town.
You have to tender here, but the town is very walkable. I am not sure how easy it is to get tickets for the Russian Dance show if you are not on a ship...kids would love to see this and it is walkable distance. If you want to go to the Bald Eagle rehab center or the Native American Museum you may want to take a tour, although both are pretty close to town and reachable by taxi, which may be cheaper if there are 4 of you.
Hope you have a good time. Which ports will you be visiting?
Thank you for your information. After all the research I have done, you have confirmed what I thought. I know going on the trip with children will be different, but we do a lot of adult things with them and it is quite nice because of all the attention they receive. Especially on Crystal, a lot of the employees have small children whom they miss and really take care of us.
Hello! Just having returned from Alaska, let me tell you....there is a children's program on board, run by the Junior Activities Directors (Michele, Jonah and Ruben on this trip.) They are quite sweet, but we did feel like the poor language and behavior that was allowed did not add to any ambiance or asset the behavior of our children. In their favor, however, were special events and tours that occupied the children if you could get past the playstation games (some of which were a bit violent). However, if you want an hour or so to do something, this was it!!. In the evening you could hire a babysitter to see the shows or go to the casino. Not the place for children who have to be entertained every minute, but certainly ideal for parents who want their children with them, but would like a break every now and then....