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Frequently Asked Questions
Preparing For Your Tour
What clothing should I wear?
Many of our tours provide the required gear and rain jackets, but it is a good idea to pack your own raingear and include warm layers. Check out our blog post on What to Pack for Your Alaska Cruise!
What if my tour is canceled due to weather?
When a tour is canceled due to weather, your guide will try contacting you via cell phone. If they are not able to reach you, they will be at the meeting location to inform you that the tour cannot operate due to weather conditions. Our tour operators notify us within 24 hours of the tour being canceled, at which time we issue the refund.
Is transportation included?
The majority of our tours include roundtrip transportation, either from your cruise ship dock or very close to the cruise ships. Each tour on our website will provide the transportation information. Additionally, the tour voucher includes detailed meeting information.
How close is the pickup location to the cruise ship?
Alaska weather is a bit unpredictable and changes rapidly. However, summertime in Alaska is quite enjoyable with the average high in the low 60’s° F. Check out our blog post for a guide on weather along the Inside Passage.
What if I am unable to print my ticket before I arrive in port?
All reservations are saved under the name used to purchase the excursions and are kept on file with the tour guides. Having your tickets in-hand is ideal to avoid confusion because the directions and meeting instructions are included. If you cannot print your ticket, please make note of the detailed instructions and simply give the guide your name upon arrival.
I don’t have a confirmation email.
Once you have booked your tour and we have received all of the necessary information from you, you will be emailed a confirmation with a voucher attached. The voucher is what you need to print and take with you, as it contains your detailed meeting instructions. If you have not received a confirmation email, please make sure that we have received all of the necessary information from you. Many tours require additional sizing information before we can officially confirm the booking. For these tours, submitting payment does not confirm your booking, we need all of the necessary information before we can book your tour. If you have submitted the required information and still have not received this confirmation, please contact us.
Will the trip still operate if it is raining?
All of our tours operate rain or shine. Much of SE Alaska lies in a temperate rainforest, and we would never do anything if we stopped for rain!With that said, if weather conditions are unsafe, the trip will be canceled, and we will provide a refund. This can happen on kayaking or canoeing trips from time to time and will be typically related to sea or lake conditions, not rain.
How will I find the tour guide?
Your guide will meet you either at your cruise ship or within a short walking distance of the ship unless otherwise noted. When you finalize the booking for your excursion, your ticket will be sent to you via email with detailed meeting instructions and contact information.
Am I guaranteed to see wildlife?
While wildlife is abundant in Alaska and you are very likely to see a variety during your excursions, there are only a few tours that we can guarantee wildlife sightings on. These include humpback whales on Juneau and Icy Strait Point's whale watching tours, eagles and raptors at Ketchikan's wildlife sanctuary and many different rehabilitated animals at Anchorage's wildlife sanctuary. Our other tours that focus on viewing wildlife but can't provide guarantees only operate during the time of year that provides the best chances.
Are the helicopter and floatplane tours safe? How many people do they hold?
Yes. Our helicopter and floatplane operators go beyond the minimum safety requirements of the FAA through the Tour Operators Program of Safety. The pilots are trained under the high standards of the FAA and are some of the most experienced pilots in Alaska.Our helicopters can accommodate 5-6 guests depending on the weight of each passenger, and up to two helicopters fly out at each departure time. The seaplanes are either 6 or 10 passenger planes.
Can we walk on the glacier on the Whale Watching/Mendenhall Glacier tour?
This tour does not include walking on the glacier. While the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor’s Center was originally built right next to the glacier, at this point the glacier has receded enough that it is about 1.5 miles from the visitor center. If you take the 2-mile round trip walk out to Nugget Falls, you can get about half a mile from the glacier, and you get spectacular views of the falls! We recommend putting in a request for more time at the glacier to do that hike, and as long as you are not booked on the last tour departure of the day and there is enough room on the next return bus, we will accommodate.The most budget-friendly way to walk on a glacier in Juneau is on the Mendenhall Glacier Trek. However, please note that due to the glacier's rapid recession, these glacier trek tours without a helicopter cannot guarantee walking on the glacier due to safety reasons.
Can I request a single kayak on my kayaking tour?
Due to safety regulations, all of our kayaking tours are in tandem kayaks. If you have an odd number of guests or you’re a single traveler, you will be in a tandem kayak with another guest or your guide.
Do you provide food?
Many of our tours provide food, ranging from light snacks to feasts. Additionally, many of these tours can accommodate vegetarians and most food allergies. Ask one of our agents about the food provided on the tours you’re interested in.
Which glacier does the helicopter land on?
Depending on the tour, you will either be landing on Herbert Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier, or Taku Glacier in Juneau. The experience is very similar on each glacier, but you can ask an agent to confirm which glacier your tour will land on. A fun fact to note is that the Taku Glacier is the only glacier in the Juneau Icefield that is advancing rather than receding.Our Skagway Glacier Discovery tour is more of a “pilot’s choice” as multiple flight routes can be taken with weather in mind. You’ll land on either Chilkat Glacier, Ferebee Glacier, or the “river of ice” on Meade Glacier.There are no glacier helicopter tours available in Ketchikan.
I’m not on a cruise ship, can I drive myself to the tour?
Self-transport is available for many tours. Please speak with an agent for details.
Will I see ice caves on my glacier tour?
The tours that may include visiting an ice cave are the Mendenhall Glacier Canoe Paddle & Trek, the Mendenhall Glacier Trek, the Helicopter Glacier Trek, and the Extended Helicopter Glacier Trek. Though ice caves are frequently present and safe to enter, we do not guarantee their presence or that conditions will permit entry. Entrance to the ice caves depends on conditions on the day of the tour that are impossible to predict.
Booking Your Tour
My friends booked their tour already, can we be on the same tour as them?
This depends on the tour. Most of the time we are able to make this happen, especially if their tour was booked through us. Please speak with an agent to see if this is possible for your group.
Do you offer private tours?
We have several options for private tours. If you don't see a private tour option that you're interested in on our website, contact us so we may help.
Can’t I just purchase a tour once I get off the ship?
You will find dock representatives in booths offering some tours as you walk into town. However, the tours offered are limited and availability is not guaranteed. Keep in mind that these Alaskan ports are small, and with several cruise ships each with thousands of guests, tours sell out well in advance. We highly recommend booking your tours ahead of time.
Do you only offer tours to cruise ship passengers?
We offer tours to everyone! Although the majority of our guests are cruise ship passengers, we also accommodate independent travelers as well as locals.
The tour I want isn’t showing availability.
If the tour you are interested in is not showing availability on our website, please contact us as we may still be able to accommodate you.
I’m traveling with a large group. Can you accommodate all of us?
We have many tours that can accommodate large groups. To learn more, please call us or email [email protected] to speak with our group reservations specialist.
Which tours are wheelchair accessible/low mobility?
We are able to accommodate guests with collapsible wheelchairs, but our vehicles do not have lifts for scooters. You can view all of our limited mobility tours here, but please be sure to chat with an agent so we can find the best fit for you and make a note for our guides.
My child is just below the required weight/age restriction. Can they still attend?
Due to safety regulations, many of our tours are strict on the requirements. There are some exceptions, so please make sure to speak with an agent about the tour you are interested in.
I submitted an inquiry but haven’t heard back.
Inquiries are necessary if a tour is sold out or unable to be booked online. We respond to all inquiries within 48 hours and we ask that you do not submit multiple inquiries for the same tour. During this time, we have taken your inquiry and are working with our tour operators to try and accommodate your request. If you have not heard from us after 48 hours, please call us at 844-626-9600.
Can I do two tours in one day?
This directly depends on your cruise ship schedule and the tours you are interested in. Speak with one of our agents and they will help create your ideal itinerary that works safely with your ship schedule.
What is your cancellation policy?
You may cancel up to 14-days before the tour for a refund. No refund is available if canceled within 14-days of the tour.If for any reason the tour is canceled (due to weather, for example), or if your cruise ship’s schedule changes, you will receive a refund minus any non-refundable charges. Alternatively, you may reschedule your tour to another date.To request a cancellation, please contact us by phone or email and provide us with your reservation number (beginning with the letter “A” followed by numbers), as well as your reason for cancellation. We send an email out once the refund has been issued, it can then take 5-10 days to show up on your credit card statement.
Do you offer tours in other ports?
Currently, we offer tours in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Sitka, Anchorage, and Denali.
If I book with you, does it support the state of Alaska?
Yes! By booking with us rather than the cruise lines, you are supporting the locals and the state of Alaska. We donate at least 5% of profits to the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Additionally, we founded the Alaska Poster Project that promotes responsible traveling and all donations go to the ACF. Learn more about our commitment to sustainability.
Cruise Ship FAQs
What if my ship is late or doesn't make it into port?
If your ship is late which causes you to miss your tour, we will try to accommodate you on a later tour departure. If that is not possible, you will be refunded minus any non-refundable fees.
Do you guarantee that I won't miss my cruise ship?
Yes! We guarantee that you will not miss your ship. We book tours for thousands of cruise ship passengers every year and we’ve never left anyone behind! If you were to miss your ship’s departure through no fault of your own on a tour that has been booked with us, we will get you to your next port of call.*This guarantee is not provided for guests docking in Haines that elect to go to Skagway for a tour via ferry. *Transportation and any necessary lodging will be provided.
How much time is required from when my ship arrives to the tour start time?
This depends on the tour, most only require 30-minutes while others require 1-hour. Please ask an agent if you are unsure about the tour timing.
Are you affiliated with the cruise ships?
We are not affiliated with the cruise ships, but we are very well versed in their schedules. Many of the tours we offer are the same or similar to the ones that the ship offers but at a lower cost.
What time do I need to be back at my ship?
The end time for each tour is actually the time that you’ll be back at your ship. Your all-aboard time is 30-minutes before the ship leaves. We will not book you on tours that do not get you back to your ship by the all-aboard time.
Are your excursions the same as the ships?
Many of the tours we offer are the same or similar to the ones that the ship offers. By choosing to book with us, you are likely to save money and have much better customer service. In addition, we donate at least 5% of profits to the Alaska Conservation Foundation.
Is Alaska Shore Tours affiliated with Juneau Shore Tours, etc?
Skagway Shore Tours, Juneau Shore Tours, and Ketchikan Shore Tours are all sister companies of Alaska Shore Tours. Please note that we are not affiliated with other companies that have similar names, i.e. Alaska Shore Excursions. You can read more about our company history here.
What are your hours of operation?
During the season we are in the office 7 days a week, from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM Alaska time. Alaska is 1-hour behind Pacific time. Outside of the season our normal hours are 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday – Friday.
Why aren’t you on TripAdvisor? Where can I find reviews on your company?
TripAdvisor owns a competitor of ours, so it is a conflict of interest which is why we are not listed on their site. We have many public reviews listed on Google which you can view here.
Can you recommend local places to eat or things to do in town?
Absolutely! We created blog posts of our favorite places to eat and recommendations for what to do in each port when you’re not on tour.
Where is Alaska Shore Tours located?
We are headquartered in Skagway, but our team is spread throughout Alaska and the lower 48. Each year we travel the Inside Passage and experience new tours to ensure our offerings meet our standards and our knowledgeable agents are well-versed in the tour logistics. Learn more about us here.
What is the best way to contact you?
The best way to reach us is by calling 844-626-9600 or emailing [email protected]. We try to respond to all messages within 48 hours. Please note that we do not receive text messages.
Do you offer group discounts?
We offer group rates for groups of at least 20 people. To learn more, please call us or email [email protected] to speak with our group reservations specialist.
Is your pricing in USD?
Yes, our tour prices are listed in USD.
Do you offer a locals discount?
We do not have a discount for locals. We offer the same low cost as the tour operators.
Should I tip my guide?
Your driver and guides do appreciate tips if they have provided an excellent service. This is entirely up to you.
Why is sales tax added?
We are required to pay sales tax to each city. It is a municipal tax rather than a state tax. The rate differs between each town. Ketchikan has a sales tax rate of 6.5%, Juneau and Skagway is 5%, and Haines is 4%.
What credit cards do you accept?
We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and JCB.
Can I pay in cash?
We require payment at the time of booking and do not accept cash. We accept all credit cards including American Express.
Do you offer senior, AAA, or military discounts?
While we do not offer these discounts, we strive to offer the lowest prices possible.