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Independent Alaska Tour Bookings

Dear Anita,

This summer we are cruising the Inside Passage between Seward and Vancouver with stops in Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway. As an alternative to booking shore excursions thru the cruise line, how can we get shore excursion info and prices directly from those companies who offer them directly at the sites?

Jim Hoene
Marietta, Georgia

Dear Jim,

What a wonderful cruise you will have. Alaska cruises are booming and so too are the tour excursions being offered. One of the best ways to discover what each port is offering is to visit the port's official tourism website. These sites will offer up-to-date information on tour operators and pricing. Here are links worth looking at:

There are companies that specialize in planning tours just for cruise passengers. One company is Port Promotions, an independent tour company offering organized excursions in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Port Promotions is offering a package of three excursions (one in each port) for $99 per person. Visit the company's web site at

One very highly-touted option is Alaska travel columnist Scott McMurren's Great Alaskan TourSaver book. This book offers 162 coupons with free admissions, 2-for-1 tours, free car rentals and much more. This is one book I highly recommend for big savings while traveling to Alaska. For more information, visit TourSaver online at In addition, make sure you sign up for Scott's free newsletter that offers updates and new deals.

While independent tours are great, keep in mind that cruise line tours have some important advantages:
  • Cruise line recommended tours have been thoroughly investigated to meet the highest standards in comfort and safety.
  • If your tour runs into delays you can be assured the cruise ship won't leave without you.
  • If the weather doesn't cooperate (as it often can in Alaska) and the tour is cancelled you are assured of getting your money back.
I hope I've been helpful. Bon Voyage!

Anita Dunham-Potter

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