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Best Values on the Spirit

J

jhahn

Guest
#1
Hello. I just recently discovered this site, and let me say at the outset, what a great asset it is!

I have made five previous cruises on Carnival, all to the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera. In three weeks I am heading north to Alaska for the first time. Does anyone have some advice/suggestions on shore excursions or side trips that provide a great experience for a reasonable price? As much as I would like to try them, I think the floatplane and helicopter trips are a bit out of my price range, so I was hoping to get input regarding other opportunities.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

(Any other thoughts specific to the Spirit or the Southbound Alaska itinerary would also be welcome)
 
P

PEB

Guest
#2
Not sure which ports the Spirit goes to however these are generally where most ships will stop.

Skagway: The White Pass Railway has some great views and photo opportunities. There are trips into the Yukon here also. All these are cheaper than flight tours. The museum's related to the gold rush in town are very interesting. You can take a trip over to Haines and do some wildlife tours.

Juneau: A whale watch is good however a little pricey. It is not as expensive as a flight tour. You can take a trip out to Mendenhall Glacier by local tour operators for $10 to $15 bucks. You can use the town trolley for $12 for all day getting on and off where and when you want. River Rafting down the river from the Mendenhall can be fun.

Ketchikan: The lumberjack show is fun for $29. The harbor tour is very good. The tours out to the Totem Parks are interesting. Kayaking is fun here but the price will be a little high.

Thats a few suggestions that won't break the bank for you.
 
J

jhahn

Guest
#3
Thanks so much, that's just the kind of ideas I was hoping for. I also hope they keep coming!

By the way, the stops are Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and Sitka.....
 
F

Fondy

Guest
#4
Check out the thread a few down called "Carnival Tour Prices" - I had e-mailed Carnival to get a price list. They e-mailed me a 40 page list of all Alaska tours, descriptions, AND cost so I condensed it down to prices only. If you want me to forward you the complete e-mail, just post your e-mail address.
 
E

etherius

Guest
#5
I'll be sailing on the Spirit soon, as well. I'm taking the northbound cruise from June 30 until July 7. Carnival Spirit northbound leaves Vancouver, sails one day, stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, sails one day in Prince William Sound, then debarks in Whittier.

Personally, I had planned on booking all of my excursions through Carnival, but found I'd have to wait until I board the ship to do so. I called Carnival and they weren't real helpful about shore excursions, because I booked my trip through a travel agent and not them directly.

I was told that I could get left behind, if my tour was late returning to the ship, and that I would have to find a way to the next port. Well, after researching a little, I found that Carnival charges a bit more per excursion than do the private vendors. And, I have yet to find anyone or any example of someone who's tour caused them to miss the boat.

I also discovered that the cruise lines book through very reputable companies and that it's "buyer beware" to book privately. Through this website, however, I got some great tips on private vendors and saved (on a party of 5) close to $1000 by booking most of my excursions through Dolly Varden Tours.

Because Carnival doesn't have their customer relations skills as honed as do companies like Disney, I wanted to start my cruise, with the security of knowing that my excursions wouldn't be sold out, and that I wouldn't have to make a mad dash to book them upon embarkation. There are still one or two tours I'll probably take through the cruise ship, but I booked privately.

In Ketchikan, the biggie is the Misty Fjords flightseeing

In Juneau its helicopter landings on glaciers, dog-sledding, and whale watching.

In Skagway, its the White Pass, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad and gold-mining camps.

In Sitka, it's basically just shopping.

By the way, what are your sailing dates? Perhaps we'll be aboard the same ship.
 
J

jhahn

Guest
#6
Thanks for the info!

I am getting on the ship the day you leave, doing the southbound leg July 7-14. I am getting pretty excited as I read what people have contributed, and have found it to be quite helpful.

Enjoy your cruise!
 
S

ScottieB64

Guest
#8
jhahn--I thought that the flying tours were a little pricey too but after my wife went on the flightseeing tour in Ketchikan she said it was well worth it. Way I look at it is you may never get to go there again. Take advantage of it while you are there.
 
T

telephoneman52

Guest
#9
I returned May 23rd from the North bound Spirit. If you want to book your tours through carnival you need to sign up for them the 1st day, some will sell out. It can be done from your rrom on the tv. It is very easy. The White pass rail trip is a must .