My thrifty trip



OK, here's the way it is. We've booked and paid for the cruise and we are down to the port decisions. The budget doesn't allow much for excursions but that has never stopped us before. In our 4 previous cruises we have never gone on an excursion. All four previous cruises were Caribbean and we just wandered to beaches or to historical sites around town. We are pretty easily amused and are not shoppers. I have pretty much recovered from an accident and no longer use a cane. I can walk about 2 miles without stopping but multiple hills and inclines are not my friend!

Now, the big question - in which of the following ports would we be able to amuse ourselves adequately by just getting off the ship and walking someplace? Are there local museums and historic sites near by? We will be traveling on the Star Princess, in June, to the ports of: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia.

We appreciate your input on this matter.


Good news for you..

All those ports are easily walked and or places gotten to for "Cheap"

Victoria..Bus from dock into town..$5.oo last I did it. Victoria inner harbour area has Legislature buildings/Empress hotel/ all within your distance

Skagway is a easy walk into town from the pier..all sorts of stuff to do....& see right there

Juneau. Walk you are right in town already unless you dock out a [iece. I think cruise line that do that have ashuttle? We use city bus to do the area. Couple hours couple bucks. That bus will take you to within a Klick of the glacier if you wanted to walk that even. You will get a glipse or two on the bus but you have to be ready.

Ketchikan... you are right in town at the pier. lots of stuff to see and do. City bus can take you for a tour here also.



What a reassuring answer! That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. We have done Europe a few times using only public transportation and going to see the things that were free or had the cheapest admissions. The story in our house is that I will go just about anyplace so why on earth would DH want to spend any extra? Our kids say that they have seen every historic marker in the continental US!



Since there's not as much "lounging by the pool-side" on Alaskan cruises, many folks find that Inside Passage cruises are "all about the excursions." I've known people who book the cheapest inside cabin they can get, just to save a few hundred to allow a bit more in the excursion budget. Also, a friend of mine makes a habit of "paying herself first" each month... $50 every paycheck isn't too huge a sum to put aside (for me, I cut my HBO and drop the speed of my internet access to save an extra $50 per month) and when it comes cruise time, a few hundred will be built up for excursions and fun stuff.

Yes, I'm in the business of providing excursions, so it's natural to hear me say just that. Having said so, however, there is plenty to do on the cheap in each port. In Ketchikan and Skagway, you can walk the entire "touristy" part of town and then some. Hit the Forest Service in Skagway... they've got a neat walking tour map and movie about the history of the town, etc. Ketchikan is very condensed and easy to access everything. If you want to get to the totem park and "native villiage" just hire a local cab and go for it.

In Juneau, the City and State Museums are both very accessible on foot (no more than a mile), as is the World Famous Red Dog Saloon (right downtown) and a number of other attractions. It used to be that all of the boat excursions left from Auke Bay and required a shuttle or expensive cab ride to get to. This year, however, look for a few charter boats to run sport fishing or whale watching excursions right downtown at Marine Park or the IVF next to the Mt. Robert's Tram. Also, there are powder blue school buses labeled "MGT" that will shuttle you to Mendenhall Glacier for $6 or $7 per person each way. (This IS NOT the City Bus... nor is it a bus "tour".) Once you're at the glacier, the Visitor Center charges a few bucks ($2 or $3) to enter, and it's well worth it as well...

If the budget allows you to eat OFF SHIP, stick to the street carts and local vendors, and stay out of most local restaurants. You can get a King Crab leg for a great price, as well as Halibut Tacos, BBQ, and all sorts of great eats for much better prices vs. the Restaurants. The one exception I might make in Juneau is Costa's Diner... less than 10 seats in the whole place, and no pricing on the "menu".... They'll ask you to write down what you want on a post-it note. If they have it, they'll make it for you. Portions are HUGE, and when you're done, you pay whatever you think it's worth into a huge money bucket and make your own change. Don't look anyone straight in the eyes, however, or you're likely to get sucked into a major social or political discussion that you really didn't bargain for in the first place... Great way to meet locals if you just want to sit and chat all day long though! ;-)

Hope my ramblings help... off to shovel snow out of my driveway again!
Happy Alaska Travels!


Thanks for all the great info!!

Cancancase, this trip is a third vacation in a year for us. We blew most of our extra $$$ in Europe. The opportunity came up for this cruise and we jumped on it. Mainly, we are just going to escape our seven kids - only three are still living with us but they all seem to find us no matter where we hide! Also, we are spending our excursion money on an extended visit to Seattle after the cruise. If I find more money, I just use it to escape for another trip.


I find that sometimes "do nothing/plan nothing" cruises are the best. We are so fortunate we have so much access to information and tips and tidbits. How did people who went on cruises 20 years ago do it?? ::eek: Just enjoy your time together, and I'm sure you will find inexpensive (or even **FREE**) special out of the way places to experience and enjoy that will remain in your memory for a longer time than $100+ excursion will.