when I moved down here thirty years ago, area was starting to get cruise ships on a regular basis. now in the summer we often have four or five big ships a day. not as crazy as it might sound, some come in very early and leave early afternoon. Others come in as they leave and stay into the evening. so at any time there are probably two or three.
have had a few jobs around town where I had time to visit with the travelers.
this last summer, worked the dock for one of the small tour companies--they offer several tours up into the fjiords and to some of the historic and Native American village.
there are also kayak trips, zip lines, floatplane trips, several bus tours and more.
I would say pretty consistently that I hear more complaints about Celebrity and Carnival. NCL, RCC, and Holland seem to get the most raves. Not a lot of opinions about Princess, Shore Exs were great to work with and passengers seemed to be content?? Understand they are expensive.
As far as excurisions go, I understand the prices here are the same on the dock or the ship. and, since they are many times sold out on the ship, there is not an option. so I would say if it is a tour you really want to take, reserve when you reserve your trip? We always had a few very bummed people who thought they would save money by buying here.
before the heightened security, when the ships were passing through at the end of the season, locals could go aboard for lunch and tour. I found Holland and NCL very impressive. Princess, incredible, but just too darn big?
I know very little about the food service and pricing. had a couple of coworkers who worked the galleys on NCL and were very proud of their jobs. on the dock this summer, heard several complaints about sloppy service and presentation on Carnival and Celebirty.
with sons that age, am sure they will find plenty to do to keep entertained? Have a super time!!