Ashore thing: Lines tout excursions By Rebecca Tobin / April 02, 2003 Share 1 -- MIAMI -- Because an Alaska cruise is such an intensely land-focused experience, it's no surprise that ocean-based cruise lines are touting their Alaska shore activities. Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, added 10 of what it called "extreme" activities to its lineup of Alaska cruise excursions.The line warned that on some of its new excursions, guests should be reasonably fit and in good health before attempting to, say, trek four miles through Tongass National Forest or snowshoe their way over the Skagway River to Laughton Glacier.Other programs are less physically extreme, although they're all designed to take advantage of nature's offerings.For example, in Vancouver, post-cruise clients can take a tour that includes a ride on the city's Super Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain.In Ketchikan, guests board a 25-person inflatable skiff to crab-harvesting grounds and the Dungeness Crab Fishery, where guests can pull up the crab pots.Among the other excursion options are:• Helicopter Adventure Hike and the Whitepass Railway, Skagway.• Helicopter Flightseeing and Glacier Walkabout, Juneau.• Snowshoe Trek and White Pass Railway Adventure, Skagway.• Whale Quest and Salmon Bake Combo, Juneau.• Ketchikan Explorer by Land and Sea, Ketchikan.Holland America Line introduced four new McKinley Explorer rail cars for the line's Alaska CruiseTour packages.Glass-domed cars are now a staple of every cruise line's cruise-tour offerings and enable passengers to make the most of the exterior scenery and "enjoy uninterrupted viewing," said senior vice president David Giersdorf.HAL said the cars will be the largest passenger rail cars in service in North America. The new cars will enter service on May 16 and join HAL's 13 current rail cars.At Princess Cruises, meanwhile, the line said it was adding two options to a program that brings Alaska experts on the ships while in port to talk about what it calls an "insider's view" of the 49th state."People are awed by the majesty of Alaska ... by what they experience ashore," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of sales. "Princess is now bringing that local culture to our passengers aboard our ships."The two new programs include a presentation from U.S. Forest Service rangers in Ketchikan and a performance by local entertainer Buckwheat Donohue in Skagway.Donohue, the former mayor of Skagway, shares a mix of humorous stories about Alaskan life, and the poems and songs of Yukon adventurer Robert Service.The programs are free and open to all passengers, Princess said.Other programs include Dog Sledding Up Close in Juneau, where Iditarod champion Libby Riddles comes on board the ships to talk about her dog-mushing experiences, and Park Ranger Programs in Glacier Bay, a program that is geared toward children's activities.