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Avoiding Cruise Excursions

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Avoiding Cruise Excursions

Hi all, We just came back from Europe, and with the help from the people on Tripadvisor, my husband and I had a great time and even came back with extra money that we had taken. We took local buses, trains, and shared taxis. We copied tours from books and did everything we wanted and more, indepently.

Now we are going on a Cruise to Alaska in July.

1. Ketchikan (7 am - 4 pm)

2. Tracy Arm (only 4 hours, 6am-10am)

3. Juneau (2pm-10pm)

4. Victoria (5pm - midnight)Weird time to visit.

5. Skagway (6am - 5pm)

We are going with some friends, about 10 of us all retired, but in good shape to walk and see the sights.

Since our times are limited and we have strange hours, my husband and I would like to catch some kind of inexpensive transportation and see as much as we can at these ports, and perhaps do some walking. We will not be going together on most of these excursions, since everyone has different interests. But perhaps we will on one or two of the ports.

Whale watching was a consideration. But worried about the weather and the cost, and the time it would take.

Also the White Pass train ride in Ketchikan, I believe.

Any help we could get is really appreciated, since we leave next month. Cost is definitely a factor since we just got back, so we are hoping for any tips you may have.

Thanks again for your help! GoJustin

haines, alaska
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1. Re: Avoiding Cruise Excursions

First the White Pass RR is in Skagway.....

You can have a good time by not booking ANY excursions, but you need to do your homework.....check out each town's websites, get a good idea of the town's layout, where the trails are etc....the downtown areas of each small town port is usually packed with shops and restaurants....but if you want to get away from the ship crowds you can do this on a budget by renting a car or taxi in each port.....with an local map and a list of a few places and things you want to do, based on your interests and with back up plans dependent on the current weather, you will be all set.....Each port has guided bus tours, as well, they are usually not as expensive as the longer tours and can give you an "overview" of the town.....

San Diego...
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2. Re: Avoiding Cruise Excursions

It will not be dark until midnight

Ketchikan try Ketchikan Taxi Tours $75 per hr. more you have the less each pays

WPRR is in Skagway www.whitepassrailroad.com you can buy a ticket up and down when you get there. train up and back or from the ship. we bought at Chilkoot tours you have a choice of bus up and train down or opposite.

but it is best to go to each cities forum. lots of research with the hours you have.

Juneau...bus to Mendenhall every 30 min at the dock 30min. trip. Word is about an hour stay is enough Mt. Roberts Tram at the dock hour or two.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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3. Re: Avoiding Cruise Excursions

A friend of mine just got back from a R/T out of Seattle. With 3 kids they couldn't afford excursions but wanted to take advantage of the low cruise fares.

Anyway, in Juneau they rented a car and drove around, including a stop at Mendenhall Glacier where they also took a short hike. In Ketchikan they just wandered around town enjoying the character of the town, especially Creek Street and the harbor, then took a taxi to a totem park. In Skagway they couldn't afford the train so again they rented a car and drove all the way up to Emerald Lake. Loved it. Even saw a bear. Victoria is old news so they just stayed on board. They had a fabulous trip!

Personally love Victoria; it's a lovely little city. You can just poke around the harbor and the shops, stop by the Empress, the Royal BC museum, and visit the wonderful bakeries off the main drag. One of my favorite places is Butchart Gardens which I believe it open until 10pm and it's light until just about then. I'm not a gardener but I try to get up there once a year. It's spectacular. There are orca trips out of the harbor, mostly on zodiacs; they're 3 hrs long and the last trip is usually at 5/5:30. You could google Victoria and see if anyone has a later departure. There are a few resident pods that live between the San Juan Islands and Victoria so there'a a good chance of seeing them.

Kiawah Island...
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4. Re: Avoiding Cruise Excursions

If several of you pitch in together to rent a car in several locations, you will be able to explore rather inexpensively.

We had a car in Juneau, you can travel "the Road" and visit Mendenhall, then drive on up north past Auke Bay, Shrine of St. Therese, Eagle Beach and on to the "end" of the road. Good little dive at Auke Bay for halibut sandwiches (Hot Bite). Don't forget to stop at the Hatchery, as you head back to town.




Nice for gifts in Juneau...



You might want to kayak in Ketchikan...


White Pass Rail was fun in Skagway, take your hat and gloves!!!

5. Re: Avoiding Cruise Excursions

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