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I’m trying to plan our 2019 vacation. Thinking of going to Alaska in late July. Trying to get prices and look at excursions and holy cow they are expensive! Anyone know of private people/companies that offer excursions that don’t cost an arm and a leg? I believe I have read about a crab fest? Help? Suggestions?

 

 

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The excursions in Alaska are expensive. However, for many, the ports are why they go to Alaska, and the excursions become the highlight of their trip. When I first started to look into excursions, I found that most private tours were almost exactly the same price as the ships tours. It was a big difference than the Caribbean for sure!

 

What are you hoping to spend per tour?

 

 

 

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As we don't know what ports you are stopping at, what your interests are, what limitations you might have, and what your budget is, how about looking around the board a bit to narrow down the broad and vague question. Every port is covered here in extensive detail, with lots of ideas and vendors.

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I’ve been looking for a couple of days. Tracy arm Fjord, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria are the ports. The Alaskan cruise is much more expensive than the typical Caribbean cruises. We usually spend an average of $100-$200 per port while on Caribbean cruises. I realize it’s more expensive so I’m just doing some research so I can get an idea of our budget. We love seafood, and we’re wanting to see Alaska. I’d just like to get some feed back from people that have been and what they seen? I’m open to everything

 

 

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I’ve been looking for a couple of days. Tracy arm Fjord, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria are the ports. The Alaskan cruise is much more expensive than the typical Caribbean cruises. We usually spend an average of $100-$200 per port while on Caribbean cruises. I realize it’s more expensive so I’m just doing some research so I can get an idea of our budget. We love seafood, and we’re wanting to see Alaska. I’d just like to get some feed back from people that have been and what they seen? I’m open to everything

 

 

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Alaska cruises definitely provide “sticker shock” when comparing prices to Caribbean cruises. We spent 2-3 times what we usually spend on a Caribbean cruise on both the cruise and excursions. There is lots of good information on these boards and TripAdvisor. I would start with the Trip Reports at the top of this Forum and find things that look interesting.

 

There are free and cheaper things to do - hikes, walking around Ketchikan, Sitka or Skagway. Renting a car and touring the area in some of the ports is many times the cheapest cost overall, especially if your group is more than 2.

 

As far as excursion cost, there is little, if any, price difference between private tours and the cruise lines on many of the tours, unlike the Caribbean. Anything with flights will usually be expensive. The one advantage you usually find with private excursions in Alaska is that you may get more time and / or a smaller group than the ship excursions.

 

One thing I would add is not to pass up an excursion you are really interested in to save a few $$$. I did this my first trip and regretted it. When we went back last year, we did what we wanted and loved it with no regrets on the cost.

 

 

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There are no-cost and low-cost activities in every port. Most travellers can't afford to spend $1000 at each port so they will budget for one or maybe two memorable Alaska experiences. Take your time and research all the activities available in each town.

 

Read pastTrip Reports (posted near the top of the page) and see what other people have done at each port. Many of these reports are detailed photo journals with info on sights, activities, vendors, cost, etc.

Also, each town has a web site to help promote tourism and local vendors.

ie http://www.skagway.com or http://www.experienceketchikan.com/

Within the site you'll find a Visitor Guide to download, with maps, info on hiking, activities, excursions, etc

 

Have fun with your research and planning !

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whats sad is the greed of the "shall remain nameless".

 

The "shall remain nameless" demand a whopping 30% commission from all the vendors offered on the "shall remain nameless" websites and shore ex's, along with a ton of other requirements (including they can NOT sell the same thing to the public cheaper).....

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The crab fest (Ketchikan) doesn’t fall into the cheap category. People love it but unless you can eat a lot of crab, it’s no bargain (in my opinion). We elected to have a crab lunch downtown and at $50 was worth it.

 

As for excursions, they do run more. It’s a short season, and a captive audience. Cost to run many of these excursions are a lot higher too.

 

Check out my review for the Jewel this year plus the older Pearl review both in my signature. We did the same ports between the 2.

 

The key is doing things you think you will enjoy and remember as part of the adventure to Alaska.

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The big thing about AK is that the businesses have 3 months to make their yearly income - June, July and August. There is some business in May and September but much less. Things are dead the rest of the year and many of the tourist business owners go to Arizona for the winter. Compare this to other tours area businesses where there is action although at different levels 12 months per year.

 

DON

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So without any information on your hobbies, I can only tell you what mine are :)

 

However, I might recommend putting a bit of research into it, and coming up with a bucket list cruise excursions. Don’t look at price for now.

 

Now, list everything that would make an ideal cruise for you. Balcony cabin, drink package, dinners, all the excursions, extra days in port, etc. Now prioritize the list. Next step is to figure out how much you want to spend, and then what each line item costs in order. When you run out of money, then you start to make your decisions as to what is most important to you. Maybe it’s not really excursion A, if slightly lesser excursion B is cheaper and then I can have a balcony. Etc.

 

We can help with “if you like hiking and fishing and whales, I’d do whales here and then hiking here” but it’s really tough to know what you’d like. My family is massive photographers (and snorkeling in warm water). We take excursions for photography value only. If you like to hike, well, we’d give you terrible advice!

 

 

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My family just came back from the cruise Aug 10-17.

In Skagway, we chartered a private small bus from a companycalled Trail of 98 Tours. (Look them up on TripAdvisor -- they have nothing but 5 star reviews.) The owner Tomwas the driver and tour guide. That wasthe highlight of our trip. The famousWhitePass railroad sounded good, but most people only rode on it for a veryshort segment – without even leaving Alaska. Our driver took us about 3 times as far, leaving Alaska, going throughBritish Columbia, and into Yukon, stopping at various scenic spots as well asmajor stopping/playing locations such as Tutshi Dog camp, Village of Carcross,Bennett Lake, Emerald Lake, and Carcross Desert. I highly recommend Trail of 98 Tours if youhave a large group or if you are able to find some people to share thebus. The bus could seat 14. We teamed up with 2 other families (throughRoll Call on CruiseCritic) to split the flat rate of approximately $900 for awhole day’s worth of sightseeing, which worked out to be about $70 perperson. That’s a great deal, considering the train ride (covering 1/3 of the distance) is $130 per person.

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The excursions in Alaska are expensive but I found that the ones we took were well worth the money.

 

Juneau - we used Harv and Marv for a whale watch. Only 4 people on the boat and we saw a lot of whales. In the afternoon we took the shuttle to Mendenhall glacier.

Skagway - we used Dyea Dave for a trip to Emerald Lake. Wonderful trip with many stops for photos. A black bear beside the bus and we enjoyed our lunch stop in Carcross very much.

Icy Strait - we used Hoonah Whale Tours- we were the only two on the boat and spent a long time watching 6 whales bubble feeding. One of the highlights of our trip. On the way back to the ship they took us by an eagle's nest and we got to see the mother eagle feed the baby.

Ketchikan - we went on the ship's tour of Bear Country. Not expecting much but then we got to see a mother bear with a cub catch a huge salmon. They walked right under us (we were on a boardwalk). We were extremely happy with this tour.

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We just returned from an Alaskan cruise. We were a group of 10 and the private tour route was the way to go. We had a fabulous time and because it was a private tour we were able to visit the site's at our pace.

 

In Ketchican we used http://www.ketchitour.com We basically took a 3 hour tour to see everything there is to see in Revillagigedo Island in 3 parts: North part of town includes Totem Bight State Park plus Potlatch Park. The Downtown historical tour of Ketchikan. The South Part of town which includes Wildlife observation and Scenic Driving along the coast. 40 miles of awesome scenery in about 3 hrs with multiple stops and photo opportunities.

 

In Juneau we used https://adventureflow.us This was basically a hiking tour to Mendenhall glacier. What a truly remarkable time. Eric our guide was superb as he was so knowledgeable, patient and easy going. It was a very enjoyable hike as we walked through the rain forest and took some great pictures next to the waterfalls. After the tour Eric took us to the Alaskan brewery for a little sampling!!

 

In Skagway we used https://www.beyondskagwaytours.com This was one of the highlights of our cruise. We took a seven hour tour and were able to see so much. Renee our guide/driver was such a pleasure to be around and made the tour ours as she was very flexible with what we wanted to do. Some of the stops included the suspension bridge, Emerald Lake, driving into the Yukon which included a stop in Carcross where we stopped to have lunch and enjoyed an Elk burger. We had many numerous stops along the way for some great photo opportunities.

 

All in all it was great cruise and for our group of 10 the private tour was the way to go. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

 

Frank

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We did the same itinerary in July and were very conscious of the price of everything we did. In Skagway we did the Yukon Discover Tour. It was pretty awesome, we had a local as a tour guide and we even stopped at his house on the way back to meet his dog. We stopped at the Welcome to Alaska Sign, The Welcome to the Yukon sign, Carcross, Caribou Crossing, Emerald Lake and a few other places.

 

https://www.frontierexcursions.com/tour/yukon-discovery-tour/

 

In Juneau we did a whale watching tour. I had heard excellent things about Harv and Marv but they do not take children except on private excursions and that was already booked for when we were going to be there. So they actually recommended Alaska Galore Tours, It worked out great for us and was a little cheaper than Harv and Marv would have been. There were 8 on our boat and not only did we get to see the humpbacks but the orcas and sea lions as well.

 

http://alaska-galore-juneau-whale-watching.com/

 

In Ketchikan, we elected to walk around, see the totem poles, see the salmon and then we did do the George Inlet Crab feast. My child loved crab legs and would have set there all day and ate them if given a chance. I will admit they were extremely good.

 

https://catchcrabs.com/portfolio-item/world-famous-crab-feast-at-george-inlet-lodge/

 

In BC we just got off the boat and walked around. Ended up at the beach playing fetch with a dog a local had there. My kid would throw the ball out in the water and the dog would go get it and bring it back to him. It was really random but my kid loved it.

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The excursions in Alaska are expensive. However, for many, the ports are why they go to Alaska, and the excursions become the highlight of their trip. When I first started to look into excursions, I found that most private tours were almost exactly the same price as the ships tours. It was a big difference than the Caribbean for sure!

 

What are you hoping to spend per tour?

 

 

 

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We have found just the opposite. Booking on your own seems to be at least $10 lower and some even more. You can search for the same named tour to get direct but most will want you to book through your cruise excursion package. We have so far booked our excursions through companies that do not offer their tours through the cruise lines. Mostly because of the more complete reviews and descriptions of tours.

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We have found just the opposite. Booking on your own seems to be at least $10 lower and some even more. You can search for the same named tour to get direct but most will want you to book through your cruise excursion package. We have so far booked our excursions through companies that do not offer their tours through the cruise lines. Mostly because of the more complete reviews and descriptions of tours.
If permissible, can you provide examples of excursions you have booked or considered. Doing my research for July 2019. Thanks and happy sailing.

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If permissible, can you provide examples of excursions you have booked or considered. Doing my research for July 2019. Thanks and happy sailing.
We've booked most of ours already except for Harv & Marv Whale Watching or Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer in Juneau. Also might do a train ride out of Skagway. We are mostly into seeing and photographing our trip, not so much climbing glaciers, riding Zodiak boats, or zip-lining. Our list so far is....

 

Talkeetna Air Taxi - Grand Denali w/Glacier Landing

100 mile Denali Jeep Excursion

Prince William Sound Glacier Tour

Glacier Wind Charters Whale Watch

Island Wings Air Tour - Misty Fjords National Park

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We've booked most of ours already except for Harv & Marv Whale Watching or Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer in Juneau. Also might do a train ride out of Skagway. We are mostly into seeing and photographing our trip, not so much climbing glaciers, riding Zodiak boats, or zip-lining. Our list so far is....

 

Talkeetna Air Taxi - Grand Denali w/Glacier Landing

100 mile Denali Jeep Excursion

Prince William Sound Glacier Tour

Glacier Wind Charters Whale Watch

Island Wings Air Tour - Misty Fjords National Park

Thank you. Sounds lovely.

 

Our ports and thinking re plans so far are:

 

ISP- Hoonah Whale Tours (Glacier Winds was booked); and currently looking for a bear viewing tour.

 

Juneau- Hike Mendalhen glacier; given the possible rain and fog, thinking we will have a shortlist of ideas and will book morning of or walk the town. Dont want to be disappointed and if doing 2 tours in ISP, a less hectic approach may be welcome.

 

Skagway - jeep or car rental and drive the Klondike highway, checkout the town, go to Red Onion Saloon or book a tour.

 

Sailing Glacier Bay and College Ford.

 

Open to suggestions. We are a group of 4 adults 55 to 65. Average health and fitness. Enjoy nature, history, moderate exercise.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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I just added Harv & Marv out of Juneau and DIY Jeep Tours (all day jeep rental) in Skagway. We wanted to try the Bennett Lake Scenic Journey out of Skagway https://skagwayshoretours.com/tour/bennett-lake-scenic-journey/ but they do not run on Sunday and Monday. We could have opted for one of those offered by RCI but they all turn around at the summit. So now our two weeks are loaded and confirmed. Just a 9 month wait!

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The Search feature allows you to gather a lot of great, specific information for ports and excursions. You can search this Alaska board, the West Coast Departures board, the Cruise Line’s board, past roll calls for similar itineraries, etc.

I wish you well in your quest to find an Alaska cruise that suits you. We returned from one a few weeks ago and it was fabulous!

Happy Sailing! :)

Edited by syesmar
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Just got off Emerald on Sunday and I have over 600 photos and movies of the sailing and shore tours so feel free to contact me and I will send you what you would like to look out. It should help you out a lot ! Bob

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Hi Bob,

We are going on the Ruby next August and would love to see your pics and hear about you excursions. What is the best way to contact you?

Lori

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