Thoughts on New "Hassle-Free" Rules for Sitka Vendors? Vote!

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Poll: What do you think about the new rules for Sitka tour vendors?
Poll Results
What do you think about the new rules for Sitka tour vendors?

It's about time -- I love Alaska, but pushy sellers ruin the visit!
31
27.68%

They're a good idea, but there are places where the hard-sell is worse (like Jamaica).
39
34.82%

I think this is unnecessary. A firm "no thanks" on my part does the trick.
35
31.25%

This isn't harsh enough. Annoying vendors should be eliminated altogether.
9
8.04%

Who cares?
8
7.14%

Something else (which I'll post)
1
0.89%

Multiple Choice Poll.

Voters: 112.  You may not vote on this poll.

#1
Boston, MA
1,075 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
The Associated Press is reporting that Sitka officials are cracking down on hard-selling tour vendors who accost visiting cruisers. The sellers are being restricted to assigned spots -- painted squares, less than five feet wide -- located in designated "staging areas" where cruisers debark. The new ordinance was said to be introduced to keep hawkers from obstructing foot traffic.

We'd like to know: What do you think about the new rules?
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#3
Florida
4,958 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I haven't been to Alaska yet - looking forward to our first visit next year - so I don't know what the vendors are like there. But I think these kinds of regulations are good for the vendors, not just the cruise passengers. It puts all the vendors on the same playing field so the aggressive ones don't have the advantage.

I have been to the Caribbean and Mexico many times so I know what aggressive vendors are like there. I've always just ignored them and they don't bother me. But many people are so upset by them that they won't even go to certain ports (like Jamaica).
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#4
Jersey
164 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I've always ignored them in places like Jamaica and the Bahamas...and I do the same if I'm in NYC or even when confronted with those nail lotion kiosk people at the local mall...just keep walking, don't make eye contact, and a simple "No Thank You."

Anyway, we just returned from a cruise that stopped in Sitka and we really didn't experience this at all. When we got off of the tender, there were a few representatives from different companies selling tours....we talked to a few and picked one. We really didn't see any vendors other than these during our time there.
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#5
more or less in TX
10,418 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
All this is is another money grab by the cruise companies. Greed! Bleeding Alaska for all they can get. Sitka is NOT a private island owned by the cruise companies.
#6
7,010 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
We went to Alaska several years ago and have no desire to go back. The ports were all tacky and the shops had so much junk in them. We nicknamed it THE CHOCHKA TRAIL after one tour. I'd rather stay in Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.
#7
Southern Plains
2,079 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by m steve
We went to Alaska several years ago and have no desire to go back. The ports were all tacky and the shops had so much junk in them. We nicknamed it THE CHOCHKA TRAIL after one tour. I'd rather stay in Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.
Ports were tacky? Wow, the ports are just the 'jumping off' place, my opinion. Did you consider a flight over Misty Fjords... or even a Misty Fjords boat tour while in Ketchikan?
How about a trip to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer glaciers while in Juneau... or whale watching or a short bus ride to Mendenhall Glacier where trails are numerous and the scenery is breathtaking?
Or a car-rental in Skagway, heading out of town and into miles and miles of pristine wilderness on the Klondike Highway, from Alaska, through a bit of BC, and into the Yukon Territory? Did you miss the brief though excellent walking tour of Skagway given by the Klondike National Park Service rangers? How about a short trip to the ghost town of Dyea, Skagway's 'competition' during the gold rush days. Or the fast-ferry to the little town of Haines, tucked into one of the most beautiful areas on earth?
Seriously, Alaska is what you make of it. If you don't get out of the ports you don't really 'see' Alaska... only the tourist trap shops with the tacky trinkets. I'll take your word that Alaska has them, but somehow we missed seeing 'em.
#8
Texas
3,838 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by Chat Noir
Ports were tacky? Wow, the ports are just the 'jumping off' place, my opinion. Did you consider a flight over Misty Fjords... or even a Misty Fjords boat tour while in Ketchikan?
How about a trip to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer glaciers while in Juneau... or whale watching or a short bus ride to Mendenhall Glacier where trails are numerous and the scenery is breathtaking?
Or a car-rental in Skagway, heading out of town and into miles and miles of pristine wilderness on the Klondike Highway, from Alaska, through a bit of BC, and into the Yukon Territory? Did you miss the brief though excellent walking tour of Skagway given by the Klondike National Park Service rangers? How about a short trip to the ghost town of Dyea, Skagway's 'competition' during the gold rush days. Or the fast-ferry to the little town of Haines, tucked into one of the most beautiful areas on earth?
Seriously, Alaska is what you make of it. If you don't get out of the ports you don't really 'see' Alaska... only the tourist trap shops with the tacky trinkets. I'll take your word that Alaska has them, but somehow we missed seeing 'em.
Well said, Chat Noir!!
#9
Beautiful Ventura, California
82 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
The last time we were in Sitka was 5 years ago, and whatever vendors were there then left no memorable impression at all, so they must not have been too overwhelming. Can't wait to go again next month. I'll be looking for said vendors.

Chat Noir, I agree with Texas Tillie. Well said.

Alaska's beauty is incomparable, and I loved all the port cities, especially Sitka. I even enjoyed shopping for souvenirs for the folks back home in some of the stores obviously intended for tourists. I'll gladly endure a little "tacky" for a good bargain. I haven't cruised extensively, but it's been my experience that just about every port at which cruise ships dock has its share of "tourist trap" type shops, and I'd rather have Alaska as the backdrop than lots of other places to which ships travel.

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#10
Jacksonville, FL USA
47,448 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by m steve
We went to Alaska several years ago and have no desire to go back. The ports were all tacky and the shops had so much junk in them. We nicknamed it THE CHOCHKA TRAIL after one tour. I'd rather stay in Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.
You must have visited a different Alaska than the rest of us
Did you go beyond the shops? Did you see the absolutely beautiful,
majestic, fantastic mountains and glaciers?
I am sailing to Alaska next month for the 3rd time....Tacky is
one word I would never associate with any of my trips there.

Sorry you had such a horrible time
#11
petersburg, alaska
1,328 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by m steve
We went to Alaska several years ago and have no desire to go back. The ports were all tacky and the shops had so much junk in them. .
from the other side, what about tacky tourists? do you really wear that in public when you're back home?
#12
Battle Ground, WA
513 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We've cruised to Alaska numerous times and haven't had any encounters with vendors, let alone aggressive vendors. Sitka is my favorite port in SE and I'm not sure what vendors this ordinance is supposed to affect.
On the other hand there's Jamaica .....
#13
Long Island..a quick train ride to NYC!
1,167 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Originally posted by bottom-dragger
from the other side, what about tacky tourists? do you really wear that in public when you're back home?
Wow! I just keep going thru my head trying to picture what exactly could some people be wearing that you find so offensive? Maybe because every time I go into mid-town Manhattan I see "The Naked Cowboy" standing in the middle of Times Square wearing only his little Fruit of the Looms with "Naked Cowboy" painted on the butt, while he strums his guitar....more power to him....just read an article that the guy makes a fortune in tips & is extremely well read. What other people wear wouldn't make me blink an eye.

I do think it is a shame that the person stating the ports were "tacky" as well as the shops filled with junk didn't get away from the port area & see some of the real beauty. I found the areas we went to to be breathtaking. There is no denying though, almost all the gift shops - whether it be in NYC, the Caribbean, Alaksa that are set in an area where you get tourists all sell the same stuff. They just change the location printed on the item. Saw a shirt one time that read, "Same sh*t, different Island"...how true! Is alot of it tacky...sure is, as is some of the shops but heck, but I still love roaming thru them. I don't see the real offense in acknowledging that.
#14
7,010 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
We live in Florida where mis matched plaid, pink, lime and yellow are de rigur. We also have a whacky Rep. governor who looks like he has an egret on his head, you betcha!
#15
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
84 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I like both Gov. Crist and former Gov. Sarah Palin, YEEHAW and YOU BETCHA, YA'LL!

Originally posted by m steve
We live in Florida where mis matched plaid, pink, lime and yellow are de rigur. We also have a whacky Rep. governor who looks like he has an egret on his head, you betcha!
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Teri
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#16
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
84 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by m steve
We went to Alaska several years ago and have no desire to go back. The ports were all tacky and the shops had so much junk in them. We nicknamed it THE CHOCHKA TRAIL after one tour. I'd rather stay in Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.
So, M Steve, DID you actually get out of port and DO anything in Alaska? How about walking past the "tacky" shops in Ketchikan and going up into the mountains for a trip to a beautiful, peaceful mountain lake for canoeing, followed by hiking some forest trails, capped off by an exciting Jeep 4-wheeling adventure up some old mountain logging trails? What about ziplining through the tops of a rainforest in Ketchikan?

Maybe mountain biking past one of the most beautiful mountain lakes I've ever seen in Sitka, followed by hiking through an awe-inspiring rainforest back to one of the most secluded and calming ones (lakes)? Did you take an exhilirating flight over the glaciers in Juneau, a flight that makes you wonder how God could create so much abounding beauty and create you, such an infinitely smaller creature?

Did you visit Mendenhall Glacier and lose your breath a bit at it's magnificence? Did you travel through Glacier Bay National Park and whoop and holler when the Marjorie Glacier calved?

What about taking the train ride in Skagway, and not being able to figure out how all those men were able to make a railroad in those exact conditions? The mountains, the drop-offs, the sheer weather they had to endure, the working conditions...did you take this tour and ponder the endurance, strength and courage of man in Alaska?

Did you go out looking for whales, sea lions, eagles, otters, Dalls porpoise, seals, bear, moose, elk? Did you see any? Did you marvel at God's creations?

I didn't spend long right at the ports where the boats pull up, where all the tourist shops are, like they are in EVERY CRUISE PORT, M Steve. Sorry you did.
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NCL Skyward 1984 (E. Caribbean)
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#17
7,010 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I did many things on the cruise and just felt the towns and shops were tacky. Yes, we saw eagles, some animals and the Mendenhall among other glaciers. We were disapponited that we saw very little wild life from the ship.
#18
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
84 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by m steve
We were disapponited that we saw very little wild life from the ship.
That's interesting, because I never once expected to see wildlife from the actual cruise ship. That is a very big, very loud ship and I'm sure whales can hear it coming from a mile away and try to stay out of its way, as would other sea creatures. So I never expected to see anything from my ship. I felt that if I wanted to see Alaska's critters, I'd have to get to port and get on some excursions to go look for them.

We happened to luck into a pod of whales very, very early one morning on my first Alaskan cruise as we were sailing toward Glacier Bay National Park....they were spouting and tail-finning everywhere! But on the second cruise, I'm not sure I saw any whales from the ship at all.
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NCL Skyward 1984 (E. Caribbean)
Carnival Elation 2004 (W. Caribbean)
Holland America Zaandam 2006 (Alaska)
Carnival Conquest 2007 (W. Caribbean)
Holland America Statendam 2007 (Alaska)
Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas 2008 (W. Caribbean)
Carnival Ecstasy 2009 (W. Caribbean)
Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas 2009 (Alaska)
NCL Pearl May 29, 2011 (Alaska)

#19
2,175 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Well, I'm ignoring the comment....................any trip one takes is what one makes of it. Don't go into the shops if you hate them; they are NOT Alaska.
I go most years............have never had a vendor problem, ever.
In Sitka the only people on the sidewalk this summer were a husband and wife who make the most beautiful, lovely jewelry. They just stood there and hassled NO one. Their wares were on a small table. The beautiful old Lutheran Church has free tours and this summer they were selling popcorn to help finance a new church roof. They hassled NO one, but cruisers were happy to find a reasonably priced snack, for sure!
The problem people were having was (the city? the cruise lines?)
have made it impossible to locate the Hop On / Hop Off bus that runs all over Sitka. You pay for all day and use it to go everywhere. We had read about it on here but NO one could locate it at the dock area.
It turns out that one bus (provided by natives) is given ONE area in which to park and allowed NO sign telling what it is/does.
All the other shuttles are "everywhere"...........paid by the merchants in that small mall, we were told. So, you get dropped off by the mall........duh!
Sitka has great souvenir bargains at Ben Franklin..and has great book stores. Just be careful to NOT but the fake "Russian" souvenirs made in China.
We've never had a problem with vendors there............perhaps the OP has never been to the Caribbean, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico...........
#20
2,175 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by mtnbikechick73
That's interesting, because I never once expected to see wildlife from the actual cruise ship. That is a very big, very loud ship and I'm sure whales can hear it coming from a mile away and try to stay out of its way, as would other sea creatures. So I never expected to see anything from my ship. I felt that if I wanted to see Alaska's critters, I'd have to get to port and get on some excursions to go look for them.

We happened to luck into a pod of whales very, very early one morning on my first Alaskan cruise as we were sailing toward Glacier Bay National Park....they were spouting and tail-finning everywhere! But on the second cruise, I'm not sure I saw any whales from the ship at all.
We had spectacular "whale shows" two times during dinner! We were dining very near the windows at the very rear of the ship and both shows (different days) were such perfection it sort of felt as if Disney was somewhere out there making our trip more memorable!