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Definitely research this before you set your budget, especially if you've done cruises in the Caribbean. To equal what I spent on one 7 day cruise in Alaska you'd have to add what I've spent on five 7 day cruises. It was a shock to me even though I "knew" Alaska was more expensive, but definitely worth it.
We were able to limit our expenditures on excursions in several ways:
In Juneau, the shuttle from the ship provided an easy way to see things. We walked to the State Museum, and took the hourly bus to Mendenhall Glacier. Very low cost.
In Skagway, the Yukon Train and Skagway Street Car were ship excursions and quite reasonable cost-wise.
Glacier Bay was essentially "included"
At Ketchikan, the lumberjack show was a few blocks from the ship and again "reasonable". We then walked to the Totem Center (free) and came back along Creek St where there are a lot of shops. Nothing else appealed to us.
In Victoria BC, we took a combo excursion that included a tour of the city and Butchart Gardens. Very affordable.
We went in May. Many of the bears were still asleep. We did see bears along side the train track going to the various Princess lodges. The railroad clears 50-100 feet on either side of the tracks, and in that area dandelions grow, which the bears like. We did not see bears at the various spots where salmon run.
We just came back from an Alaskan cruise, on Celebrity out of Seattle. We had an amazing time, and enjoyed excellent service on Celebrity, though your choice of line and ship will depend on your own circumstances. One of the major variables is what port stops you will be making. Ours were Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria. Other lines will have different itineraries, though each of them must include a Canadian port because of the strange ancient legal code governing marine transportation.
Make sure to always arrive at your embarkation city the previous day, even though if you arrange your air through the cruise line you will have to pay extra for the privilege of doing it right. As we filed off to see Victoria on our last stop before Seattle, one sheepish couple with a mountain of luggage was leaving the ship there, because their same-day arrival flight was delayed and they missed the departure. Now they faced an expensive one-way trip home from Vancouver. I didn't get around to asking them how they had boarded, but because the first stop was Ketchikan, they must had had to do an even more expensive one-way to board there. Apparently when you do that, it is illegal to sail to the destination, which is why they had to get off in Victoria.