Help..Going to Alaska First Time



My wife surprised the family with a two week trip to Alaska...JUST got word of it and information on it!! Seems like there is so much to know..and..only a few weeks til!! A week land tours and a cruise...BUT what should be seen, not missed?? What should be know before going?? How much money is needed..truthfully?? Heard that 50% of what already spent..seems lika a LOT!! We are in our late 30s..looking for nature types of things NOT strenouys "Survivor" type activities...and NOT if possible costly things. THANKS so muc..I'm prepping 24/7 now for it..trying to read absorb..and from what I and excursions are cheaper if you do NOT book them withe the cruise line but wait to you get to port. Is that true?? THANKS!!



congratulations on your upcoming cruise. if you let us know what route and ship you are taking we can give you lots of info and tips. yes, it is true you do need more money than you probably think. there are always tours and souveneirs that you want to take or pick up. also when you get on the ship there is the sail and sighn account you have to get for you and your wife. each ship has a certain amount that you have to pay upfront for any expeses on the ship . the ship does not take money but deducts any charges for alchohol and shop items from your sail and sighn. there is a 15% gratuity for bar tenders and of course you will want a few dollars for the room service crew and luggage porters at the dock and hotel.

since your wife is giving you such a great surprise let her go to the spa and treat her to a wonderful massage or faciel on the trip. attend the tour they have and you might win something free for her to get done. she will really love you for it.

as far as tours you can be as active or inactive as you like. it is nice just to wander around in the ports and shop through the town and look at the scenery. but if you have something in mind that you really want to do by all means do it. it is such a waste to go to alaska and miss out on a adventure that really appeals to you. there are always vendors on the docks that will give you a great tour. remember to be back on the ship at least a 1/2 hr before it sails out of port. they do leave passengers if they are late. you can surf the net for your port city and it will bring up all kinds of links for it and tours to take. also go to your cruise ship home site and it will tell you about what is waiting for you when you get on board. whale watching and flying over the jfords and glaciers are very popular and book up fast.

there are many boards here and on other sites such as cruise critic and cruisemates that have wonderful information. just go to ports of call or general information and you will learn so much for what to take and do.
dress casual except for formal nite and wear shoes that are comfy and waterproof. you will have a wonder time i am sure and if you forget anything you can pick it up in the ports or on the ship.

have a wonderful time and let us know how the cruise went when you get back.


We just got off the Diamond Princess last Saturday and scheduled all of our own itinerary. There are shuttles to Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau) $10 per person round trip plus tip. We rented a car in Skagway and drove into the Yukon up to Emerald Lake. I highly recommend this. It is a lot less expensive than the train and we were able to get out of the car as often as we liked (lots of picture opportunities) !!

There are a couple of tours I think would be well worth it (especially if you don't plan to return to Alaska soon). Capt Larry's whale watching trip in Juneau always gets rave reviews. I have also heard that the Misty Fjords trip is worth it on the Seaplane.

You are sure to enjoy your trip even if you don't do a tour though (the scenery is wonderful) !! We lived off of 4-5 hours of sleep most nights because we couldn't wait to see the inside passage and look for wildlife. Saw at least 6 whales, porpoises, and Eagles. Many hours of daylight in Alaska now.... 2 weeks will give you the opportunity to see varied terrain and hopefully lots of wildlife. Have a Blast !!



We will be on the NCL Star in July and have scheduled Captain Larry at 3:00 because the itinerary originally showed arrival at 2:00. Now it shows we arrive at 9 in the morning. Do we have time to do the shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier upon arrival and get back in time for the whale watching?


i would definetely call the cruise line and recheck the docking and leaving times for this port. if they changed the time from p.m. to a.m you might be leaving before your scheduled whale tour. i would find out for sure one way or the other.


Pats726 - I highly recommend the horseback riding by Emerald Lake. The people that run the horseback ride are great - good service and very friendly and helpful. You can check out their website for yourself. There are two options if you want to be driven in via Southeast Tours or if you drive by yourself and do the horseback - I believe that is possible too. Website for Southeast Tours is : - click on Yukon horseback or look up the ranch website: Hope that helps you!


I am sailing on Sun Princess July 5 and am confused whether to take the train or rent a car in Skagway . With a family of 4 , its a lot cheaper to rent a car but I don't know what am I going to miss by not taking the train. Are the train and road routes different or they kinda go with each other ?

wendy z

sanvin- i am on the same cruise- we are 2 couples and we are also renting an Avis Car and then going horseback riding for one hour (you can go for more) when we get to Carcross. checkout Joni is great to deal with.
After reading all of these posts, "i don't feel like we will miss anything by not being on a rail.


we opted to skip the train... at $90 each it seems rather steep. It depends on what you have seen in life so far. If from the flatlands, then go for it. If you have lived in the Appachian mountains, and Denver and actually driven your car up to over 13,000 ft, then a 2000 ft lookout is not quite as wild. To each his own.

We walked into town which was quite cool and took the free tour provided by the park rangers. then had a nice sandwich and wine on the waterfront.