Our family recently took a cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Alaska. During our vacation, my son chose the excursion “Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake”. This excursion includes eating salmon and panning for gold. He was very excited at the opportunity to get to search for gold in Alaska, thus the reason he had selected this excursion. This was the only excursion to pan for gold in Skagway. I believe there had been an opportunity the day before in Juneau but we had instead chose to go salmon fishing at that port.
Here are the details of the excursion as provided by Royal Caribbean:
Discover the rich bounties from Skagway, sea and land, on a salmon bake and gold rush camp adventure. Begin with an all-you-can-eat alfresco feast in the forest that features wild Alaskan salmon, slow-grilled over a fragrant alder wood fire. When your taste buds are satisfied, mosey on over to the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp. Enjoy a waterfall, authentic exhibits and entertainment, as well as the chance to pan for gold.
• Salmon Bake: Savor a sumptuous spread that features fresh-grilled wild Alaskan salmon.
• Catch Gold Fever: Learn how to pan for gold from a guide. Keep what you find.
• Wilderness Setting: Enjoy the rainforest setting during lunch, then wander around the entertaining and interactive gold rush camp.
The cost is as follows for this excursion:
- 69.75 USD (Adult)
- 44.75 USD (Child)
We were excited to go on this excursion and enjoyed the bus ride over to Liarsville. The ride went straight through the quaint town of Skagway, Alaska. They stated that on the way back, they could drop us off so we could wander through the town before reloading on our ship.
Once we arrived at the excursion location, we were greeted by a few women dressed as Madames. As the men deboarded, they were greeted with quills and clapping from the Madames. Several were hugged and told that they were certainly adorable and that they come that they would “come and see them in their tent later on”. Immediately, my family looked confused. My husband and I wondered what we had gotten ourselves and son into…
We headed on to the salmon bake. We had not expected to enjoy the food nearly as much as we did, but the salmon was well cooked and had great flavor. The other food available was good as well. While eating, there was guitar player playing some soft music. The atmosphere was very nice.
Following our salmon eating, we headed over for some entertainment. We had not understood that there would be any formal entertainment. The show included the three Madames who had many sexually explicit jokes, innuendos and other similar forms of “entertainment”. One of the Madames entertaining the audience kept jumping up and down. One of her nipples was already showing. So when she was jumping up and down, I was overly concerned for her and the surrounding audience of families. The show content was also quite inappropriate in their use of the words dirty, raunchy and come quite often delivered very suggestively.
At the end of the show, the Madames explained that the gold we were about to pan had come from GOOGLE and had been placed in the dirt we would be provided. WHAT! Not only how dare they do that but to also tell us that that was the case. My son felt very let down that his one reason for going was a setup. All the same, we panned for out small pieces of Google gold and left disappointed.
When we returned, I really thought about whether I should say something to the Royal Caribbean staff or not about the incident. Then I thought about all of those off color jokes and other children going to the experience. I then realized the cost was almost $190 for our family and decided that I would definitely say something. When I got to guest services, I was told that I would be contacted and that there were others who had come to the desk to also state the same. The last person to complain said she did not approve of the Madames hanging all over her husband!
The next day, I called the excursions desk to inquire and they said that they would look into the excursion and that they would extend a 10% refund on the experience. We were refunded the $19 but the excursion is still available to be booked. I did not feel that this excursion should be one supported by Royal Caribbean. It was awkward and not a great experience with a child or with other children present. Overall, I am disappointed in Royal Caribbean’s customer service on this experience. I recommend that when you book your excursions, you know that their is no guarantee that it will be appropriate for your child’s viewing!