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Tour Question for Budget Queen and others


Dmitriy

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Dear Budget Queen, you seem to know everything there is to know about Alaska. We will be on a 10 day Regal Princess' cruise out of San Francisco with the following ports:

 

Victoria - 6/27 - noon-7:00

Sitka - 6/29 - 10:00-6:00

Juneau - 6/30 - 6:00-1:00

Haines - 7/1 - 8:00-8:00

 

It will be my first time in Alaska.

 

We are on a very strict budget with myself being a student. Therefore, no dog sladding for me icon_frown.gif

 

I was wondering what would you suggest for us to do in these ports?

 

So far, I booked only one tour that I knew I wanted: the White Pass railroad with a roundtrip ferry out of Haines for $130 pp including the ferry.

 

In Victoria we have time for either the city tour or a garden (Butchannan, sp?) tour, but not both. I found pretty reasonable prices for both on www.greyline.ca. What would be your choice? Perhaps, a garden tour and just a walk around the town?

 

What would be the best and least expensive tour alternatives in Sitka and Juneau? For Juneau, I ordered the tram tickets through Princess, as the price is the same ($21.95), but we won't have to wait in line.

 

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom,

Dmitriy

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Here are some options in the port you mentioned:

Victoria--A Garden tour would be enjoyable, if it is of interest to you. I think there is public transportation you could use, but at tour might be more comfortable with your limited time. We went whale watching in Victoria and enjoyed that. Another option would just be to stroll around town and maybe visit some of the attractions.

 

Sitka--- A good walking town. You can walk to the Raptor Center, and then around town, visiting the historical sites.

 

Juneau--This is where I'd spend my excursion money if I were you. I would do a glacier helicopter landing. You get a different perspective seeing Alaska from the air. I have been to Juneau twice and have always saved the tram for last, and have never made it. There is a lot to see and do in Juneau. I wouldn't buy the tram tickets in advance, because on a cloudy day you won't have a view. Also, you might run out of time and I don't think it is a priority. You might also want to visit Mendenhall, which you can do via shuttle. There is also the salmon hatchery (you might be a little early, the State Museum, and more.

 

Haines--I've never been to Haines, but I've been to Skagway. The train is nice, but overpriced in my opinion. That $130.00 could almost buy that helicopter glacier landing!

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Victoria- Butchart Gardens is spectacular if of interest. there is a dock visitor center on the Inner Harbor- there used to be a cheap shuttle bus pick up and there is also the city bus. Just be certain you time your travel for right af the ship clears- with your timeframe you should have no problem going independent for a few hours. Sitka is an excellent walking city as mentioned. Head over to the Sitka Heritage park- nice loop tour past totems- purchase the cheap guide book for commmentary. Walk up hill to the Raptor Center- worthy of the admission if of interest. I too would recommend you cancel the tram tickets- it would be a waste of money if no visability and lines really aren't an issue. A bargain- is a MGT TOUR bus that gives a good drive by city tour, and a stop at Mendenhall glacier $20 about - if of interest. Or the shuttle to Mendenhall $10- ranger activities, hiking. Haines- there are 2 small museums if of interest- one on eagles and other on history- (names escape me now). Best would be to request each city's visitor guide for more information. And if you can give me more of your interests- I may have more free/low cost suggestions?

 

www.traveljuneau.com

www.skagway.org

http://www.haines.ak.us/

www.sitka.org

http://tourismmall.victoria.bc.ca/victoriabc.html

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While you are visiting Skagway, check the National Park Service office. The provide Free guided walking tours. They start as early as 9:00 a.m. and are about 45 minutes in length. We will be doing this tour (or least I will if the family doesn't want to) before the train ride. You can find info at www.nps.gov/klgo/schedule.htm

 

It's in the Klondike Gold Rush Section of the Alaska and on the Park Service website.

 

Have fun.

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Thank you for your ideas! I did cancel the tram tickets and booked a tour with MGT in Juneau at $20 pp.

 

Is there a tour company in Victoria that could provide both a city tour and a visit to Butchart gardens during our time frime: noon - 6 pm?

 

Also, I looked at Victoria's transportation web site and found a bus (rt # 75) that goes to Butchart gardens. Does anyone know how long the ride is and how often the busses ride?

 

Here's what I have booked/planned so far:

Victoria --- Butchart Garden, city walk/tour

Haines --- ferry to Skagway / White Mountain RR

Juneau --- MGT tour with the glasier visit

Sitka --- ???

 

What would you suggest to do in Sitka? Being Russian, I am interested in its Russian history and would love to see some wild life as well.

 

Thank you so much!

Dmitriy

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Sitka will be a delight for you, Dmitry. Be sure to check out www.sitka.org. This is an easy town to get around -- lots of people use the local "shuttle" which makes a circuit through town and up to the raptor center for about $7 (not sure if it's the same this year). Raptor Center is fascinating. Be sure to allow time to tour the Bishop's House, St Michaels and the museum. Have you read Michener's "Alaska"... a fascinating historical fiction account of Sitka in there. Depending on how long your port call is you could go whale watching there or, less expensive, take the brief tour out to Lazaria Island... we've seen sea otters on the way out and also occasional whales. Sitka is my favorite Alaskan port.

 

Host Caroline

<font SIZE="1">One can never have too many days at sea...</font> icon_smile.gif

 

Sept 04-Royal Hounds Mariner of the Seas

Feb 05-Partae Pirates Carnival Miracle

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Dmitriy, Glad to see you are on the Regal for June 25 sailing. Please join us in the Roll Call section and join in the conversation. All of us are from Calif so far. I read somewhere in the past about a tour line in Victoria. I talked to them and here is their web site:http://www.ambassatour.com/tour_value.html They have several tours to look at. have a great time and see you onboard.

Pat

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Sitka is a great walking town, as everyone has said. No need for anything but comfortable shoes and a few bucks for admittance to the Raptor Rehabilitation center. You can get a map at the pier with points of interest. It's my favorite 'free' port. In most of the others, it takes $$ to get around and see the sights. In Sitka, they're easy to see by foot.

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Yes I have taken the city bus to Butchart, allow 45 min. but drop off and pick up is right at Butchart. Pick up in Victoria is behind the Empress on Douglas- up and across from the MacDonalds- you can go there for food and change in ca. fund which you will need for the bus. The harbor visitor center can offer you more information on the schedules if needed- the bus runs about once/hour??

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The city bus to Butchart Gardens is risky if you are in Victoria in the evening. It will probably run less often or not at all. If you are there noon - 6 that is not much time. If it is on the weekend -= again the bus may not run too often and if a Sunday maybe not at all. It is well worth going to Butchart Gardens thougth. I live near Victoria and love them. Deirdre

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