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Old February 24th, 2008, 05:34 PM
BJM BJM is offline
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Default New Cruiser needs info on Alaska cruise excursions etc

This is our first cruise experience. We will be going on the HAL Zaandam Alaska Cruise tour #15 it is a 13 day cruise. I have some questions for all you experienced cruisers. Re land excursions what are your recommendations as to
Best of Ketchikan by Land and Sea.. was it worth it? Other reccommendations..
Photo Safari by Land and Sea..again was it worth it or do you have another recommendation?
Ultimate Yukon and White Pass Railroad ..if you have gone on this one does it include the town of Skagway ?? or would you recommend just the Yukon and White Pass Railroad excursion.?
Also from what it appears one either has to purchase a Gift of Liquior..ie Gin with setups(.tonic )prior to sailing inorder to have a bottle in your room. As I read you are allowed to bring Wine but No Liquior is that correct.
What does one do if we return later from a excurison then our assigned time to dine??Thanks to anyone in advance for your input..
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Old February 24th, 2008, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Ultimate Yukon and White Pass Railroad ..if you have gone on this one does it include the town of Skagway ?? or would you recommend just the Yukon and White Pass Railroad excursion.?
The ship docks right in the town of Skagway and the rail tracks/train are is also right there....just a short walk. I don't know what the Ultimate includes, but we did the Yukon and White Pass Railroad excursion only on the train - it leaves Skagway, goes up to the Canadian border and then turns around and comes back down. It was expensive but well worth it.

[quote]Also from what it appears one either has to purchase a Gift of Liquior..ie Gin with setups(.tonic )prior to sailing inorder to have a bottle in your room.
Quote:

Yes, order it from Ships Services 1-800-541-1576 a few weeks before you leave home

As I read you are allowed to bring Wine but No Liquior is that correct.
Quote:
Correct
What does one do if we return later from a excurison then our assigned time to dine??
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If the ship has "As you Wish Dining", You can check with the dining room manager and see if they can seat you there or order room service.
Enjoy Alaska - it's beautiful.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 08:06 PM
BJM BJM is offline
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Thank you Dee Dee.. Your answers have help clear up some of my questions..
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Old February 25th, 2008, 12:46 AM
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Hi BJM

Which cruise are you on? We are on the Zaandam sailing from Vancouver on July 6. It would be cool if you're on the same cruise. It will be my 15 year old son and me. We're doing active tours such as hiking, kayaking, etc.

I know quite a few people who had done the White Pass RR. They are unanimous that it's pricey but well worth it. There are all sorts of options that put together any combination of train, bus, and mountain bike.

One good tip from friends....don't prebook shore excursions that depend on good weather. For example, the gondola up the peak above Juneau is great if it's clear, but it's just as likely to be foggy / drizzly. Most prebooked excursions go regardless of weather, and it can be a waste of your time and money. If you're independent, the same companies do the shore excursions for ALL the cruise lines. You can prebook with them directly and save some money, or even buy tickets once you're on shore (though they could be sold out). The disadvantage of going direct is if your ship is late arriving or disembarking, the tour will NOT wait for you and you may not be given a reschedule. Also, if the tour is late back to the dock, the ship will NOT wait for you. Neither is the case if you book through the crusie line. I personally am leaving a "buffer" and booking tours myself. I've had a great time doing my own thing on shore, and was pretty disappointed the one time I booked a shore excursion through the line (Carnival in Mexico). I think the Alaska tours are higher quality.

Since I mentioned disembarking...the ship could pull up directly to the dock, or drop anchor in the harbor and use tender boats to bring you to shore. There can be 3-5 ships in the small AK ports, and some of them have to tender. Be aware it can take you up to 30 minutes to get off the ship if they dock, and as much as an hour if they tender. In either case they will tell you what time you have to be back at the dock if you don't want to be left behind.

A coworker's parents own a B&B near Kenai. One reason prices are so high in AK is they have only 4 good months to make their money while a lot of expenses go year round or even increase in the winter.

Enjoy your cruise, I'm getting excited about ours.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 09:11 AM
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Thanks again for your info. We are going June 8th. What site..ie internet are seeing independent port trips ? I checked Ports Promotions, but did not find prices that much cheaper. Thanks again
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Old February 25th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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There's a bunch, Google usually finds them. For example, "Skagway mountain bike" finds this: http://skagwaybicycletours.com/

Another method is to go to the city website for each port of call. They have links to the local tour companies. BTW, many city websites have a calendar and you can see which other ships will be in town, what dock (or anchorage) you ship is expected to use, and when they arrive and depart. That will help figure out how crowded it will be, whether you will disembark on foot or tender, and if some ships are only spending a half day (which means the morning or afternoon may be less crowded).
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Old March 8th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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There is a tour featuring a flight over Glacierrs and dining at the TAKU Lodge we booked it Last August I believe it was out of Ketchican Fantastic
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Old March 8th, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Thank you. Sound great, will look into it. B
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Old March 8th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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I don't have any info about the other two, but we have done the Yukon and White Pass Railroad excursion. It is wonderful. Stunning scenery, magnificent once in a lifetime stuff. Don't miss it. The town of Skagway is tiny and you don't need a tour, you will have plenty of time to do a walking tour either before or after the train. The dock, the town, and the train are all there, cheek by jowl.

I would also recommend the Helicopter tour that drops you off at the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau. You spend about half an hour on the glacier itself with a naturalist, very fascinating.

If you are going to glacier bay that in itself is a marvel. The scenery from the ship is the best part of the cruise.

you are going to love it I Promise
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