SAN FRANCISCO -- "If you don't spend a penny on a tour, there would
still be plenty to do," said Ron Valentine, director of operations
for World Explorer Cruises, which sells shore excursions for its
Alaska ports of call.
Valentine was referring mainly to the museums and heritage
centers that abound in places such as Juneau, Ketchikan and
Skagway, at sites within easy walking distance of the ship when it
is in port.
In Seward, he said, World Explorer provides free shuttle service
for those passengers who want to visit the Alaska Sealife Center,
where admission is $12.80 for adults and $10.30 for children.
Valentine acknowledged, however, that it is nearly impossible to
arrange cruises to coincide with cultural events taking place in
communities along the route.
For example, World Explorer will not get to Haines this summer
for the annual Southeast Alaska State Fair. The fair runs from Aug.
9 to 13, when the company's vessel, the Universe Explorer, will be
cruising British Columbia's Inside Passage.
But the Southeast Alaska Tourism Council's 2000 brochure lists
several happenings slated to take place on days the Universe
Explorer will be in port.
Those on the nine-night, May 7 voyage will find themselves in
Ketchikan during the 10-day Celebration of the Sea festival.
Passengers taking one of the seven 14-night cruises will have
many opportunities to participate in local fun.
Those departing May 30 will be calling in Juneau on June 2,
during the city's three-day Celebration 2000, a biennial gathering
of thousands of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian natives for
traditional dancing, storytelling and art. The festival will be
held within walking distance of the port.
A one-day admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and
The Sitka Renowned Music Festival runs for most of June, so
passengers on the May 30 and June 13 cruises can catch it during
their 8 a.m to 6 p.m. calls at Sitka on June 9 and 23,
The May 30 departure also affords a full day in Ketchikan on
June 10 during the annual King Salmon Derby, which runs June 3 and
4 and June 10 and 11.
Wrangell is holding its King Salmon Fishing Derby from mid-May
to mid-June, making it possible for those on the May 16, May 30 and
June 13 departures to tie into this annual event.
Passengers departing on July 25 will be able to take part in two
On July 27, they will be in Wrangell for seven hours during the
2000 Eternal Reign Music and Cultural Festival, which runs from
July 26 to 30.
Then on July 29, the same passengers will be in Skagway from 8
a.m. to 9 p.m. during the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad
Golden Spike Centennial.
Because shore excursions can cost up to several hundred dollars
and generally are not included in the cost of a cruise, voyagers
boarding any ship to Alaska might want to take along a copy of the
tourism council's brochure, which also provides contact numbers for
each event listed.
World Explorer Cruises
Phone: (800) 854-3835
Southeast Alaska Tourism Council
Phone: (800) 423-0568