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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2001, 02:03 PM
Cara
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Default Help with Alaska excursions

I'm taking my first cruise ever this summer - the Inside Passage July 6-13th on the Celebrity Infinity. I'd love some tips on what we should do for our excursions. I definitely plan to do the White Pass Summit Train in Skagway. We're also thinking about doing a whale watching trip and possibly the gold-panning. Anyone else done either of these and have any recommendations? Is the gold-panning too 'gimicky'???

We've heard rave reviews about the glacier flights - but just don't think that's going to be an option for us this time. So I'd love to hear what your next favorites are. We're stopping in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.

Also - should we plan on having dinner back on the ship on excursion days - or do you suggest staying on land?

Thanks!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2001, 03:31 PM
PEB PEB is offline
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

I have not cruised on Celebrity to Alaska but have done Princess. I would deffinately do a whale watch at least in Juneu. If they have a choice of one with a fixed route or just one that goes out looking for whales take the one where there is no set route. You will have a better chance at seeing whales.

As far as going back to the ship for dinner, I would go back to the ship. All the towns are very small and it does not take long to get back to the ship it will save you some money. I also did not see a lot of choices for places to eat in the small towns.
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Old May 3rd, 2001, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Skagway

We did the "train up/bus back/camp stop" and it was a lot of fun. Going back by bus was nice because we had a few photo-op stops and could also see the train on the other side of the gorge. Incredible vistas that we wouldn't have seen had we taken the train both ways because the train is right up against the mountain. The stop at the miners' camp at the end of the tour was hokey but fun -- you get a chance to see what the camps were probably like and a chance to pan for gold (not exactly what I expected...it's a lot of work for very little result....)

We didn't go on Celebrity but I think most of the different companies all do same or similar excursions.

And, when you go on the train, be sure to sit on the left side going up!Cara wrote:
>
> I'm taking my first cruise ever this summer - the Inside
> Passage July 6-13th on the Celebrity Infinity. I'd love some
> tips on what we should do for our excursions. I definitely
> plan to do the White Pass Summit Train in Skagway. We're
> also thinking about doing a whale watching trip and possibly
> the gold-panning. Anyone else done either of these and have
> any recommendations? Is the gold-panning too 'gimicky'???
>
> We've heard rave reviews about the glacier flights - but just
> don't think that's going to be an option for us this time.
> So I'd love to hear what your next favorites are. We're
> stopping in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
>
> Also - should we plan on having dinner back on the ship on
> excursion days - or do you suggest staying on land?
>
> Thanks!
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2001, 05:46 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
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Default Re: Skagway

We did the "train up/bus back/camp stop" and it was a lot of fun. Going back by bus was nice because we had a few photo-op stops and could also see the train on the other side of the gorge. Incredible vistas that we wouldn't have seen had we taken the train both ways because the train is right up against the mountain. The stop at the miners' camp at the end of the tour was hokey but fun -- you get a chance to see what the camps were probably like and a chance to pan for gold (not exactly what I expected...it's a lot of work for very little result....)

We didn't go on Celebrity but I think most of the different companies all do same or similar excursions.

And, when you go on the train, be sure to sit on the left side going up!Cara wrote:
>
> I'm taking my first cruise ever this summer - the Inside
> Passage July 6-13th on the Celebrity Infinity. I'd love some
> tips on what we should do for our excursions. I definitely
> plan to do the White Pass Summit Train in Skagway. We're
> also thinking about doing a whale watching trip and possibly
> the gold-panning. Anyone else done either of these and have
> any recommendations? Is the gold-panning too 'gimicky'???
>
> We've heard rave reviews about the glacier flights - but just
> don't think that's going to be an option for us this time.
> So I'd love to hear what your next favorites are. We're
> stopping in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
>
> Also - should we plan on having dinner back on the ship on
> excursion days - or do you suggest staying on land?
>
> Thanks!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2001, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Hi Cara,

I will also be on the July 6th sailing of the Infinity. This board and cruisecritic.com have been loads of help deciding which excursions to do. I will probably book most of my tours independently. Karen (Budget Queen on cruisecritic) has been extremely helpful. Look back on her threads. Also, if you haven't done so already, check out the excursions on Celebrity's website. They give a good description with the time and price. You can also book them now.

This is my first cruise and I am very excited about this trip. You are the 2nd person I have seen on these boards who will be traveling on July 6th. I hope a lot more join us before the cruise. I saw your question regarding the golf. My husband is also an avid golfer. I think that there is only the golf simulater on board. I know that some cruise ships offer miniture golf. Till next time

By the way.. I'm "BonnieG" on the cruisecritic board.

Bonnie
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2001, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Bonnie- thanks for the kind word. I am just Karen here. There are indeed a lot of choices in Alaska touring.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2001, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

All Juneau whale watching is out of Auke Bay. If considering this go with an independent like Orca Enterprises or Dophin. I have been on both. You will have less than 20 people compared with the ship's 150. Also expect about 30 mins more on the water whale watching. $100 range. But whale watching is excellent from the ship IF YOU ARE WILLING TO INVEST THE TIME!!!! I have always been greatly rewarded. You will need to be out on the front open decks with knit hat and gloves with a good pair of wide angle binoculars. I know the likely whale areas if anyone is interested. I just need the route.
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Old May 3rd, 2001, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

A recommendation is to get late seating. Then you will most always be back on the ship by then. It will allow you more time in port and you will also be able to be out on deck during pm sailing during daylight. I have a lot of experience in Alaska touring. Most of all I avoid all ship excursions and book my own direct. Savings and always better tours away from generic cruise passengers excursions. Best reference is to get each port's visitor guide. I have the numbers if needed.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old May 4th, 2001, 12:54 AM
hockeymom
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

I would be glad to send you my excursion write up with links and pics if you are interested.Here's a pic of free salmon fishing in Skagway.

ViolaSwmp@aol.com

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Old May 4th, 2001, 09:20 AM
Cara
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Thanks, 'hockeymom'! I'd love to receive your write-up. My email is carabro@hotmail.com

Thanks!
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old May 4th, 2001, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Cara, although you may be on a budget, landing by helicopter and walking on a Glacier is truly an experience not to be missed. I agree that the White Pass Railway trip is a must. The new one with the bus back sounds like the best of both worlds giving you some stops for Photo opportunities. From these boards and being from the East Coast, I would forego the whale watch at your time of travel, same with the salmon fishing or bake. Unless these are things that you have never done and want to do of course, then that is part of your vacation dreams. Bring lots of film! Celebrity is a fabulous line and meals on board are not to be missed. You can even have a late lunch at the buffet after a morning tour. We rarely buy food ashore while cruising maybe an ice cream or drink. A walk on your own in Ketchican is great and well as walking the streets of Juneau. Besure to see the Russian Church in Juneau - small but beautiful.
Bon Voyage
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old May 4th, 2001, 10:30 PM
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sue sue is offline
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

We are going to Alaska in Sept. and I would also enjoy your write-ups and pics. My E-Mail is cheeky2b@colint.com. Thanks
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Old May 5th, 2001, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

The St. Nicholas Russian Church is located on Fifth Ave and Gold St. It is the oldest original Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska. Pick up a walking tour map at the dock visitor center.
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Old May 6th, 2001, 07:39 PM
Lana
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Karen,


We will be sailing on the Infinity, July 13. I have been so unlucky with Whale watching. We sailed New England/Canada last fall and only saw one pod of whales, extremely far away. Our whale watching tour was cancelled, supposedly due to weather but I think because we were guaranteed to see whales (and they couldn't find any).

Would love any tips you could provide.

Thanks

lana
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Old May 8th, 2001, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

I also would like your write-up. I'm going Inner Passage in August.

email: jryan@ropesgray.com

thanks!

joanne
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Old May 9th, 2001, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

You would have needed a whale watching tour out of Boston to see any whales, the cruise ships don't go near Stellwagon Bank. As for best Alaska whale watching areas.-- Seward- full day cruises, Juneau- several hours before and after arrival, Icy Strait- Glacier Bay several hours before and after entering Park, last sailing day back into Vancouver- from early afternoon into evening.
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Old May 11th, 2001, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

We will be taking our first Alaskan cruise on June 10th. I would appreciate any info you can send. Thanks, Marge
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2001, 07:40 PM
browezilla
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Hi Karen,

I'd love to get the numbers if you don't mind sharing! Thanks for all the help on this site. Your entries have been great
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old May 12th, 2001, 12:18 PM
Mike L
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

My wife and I are taking an anniversary cruise (2nd) to Alaska (1st) June 22nd (Celebrity Infinity.) We would greatly appreciate your info on your cruise.

Thanks in advance.
Mike
miken4lkb@aol.com
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old May 14th, 2001, 09:14 PM
Susan Bebbington
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

Hello Karen,
Saw your message about whale watching. We are going with Royal Caribbean in late June. We start in Seward and travel down to Vancouver. Where, would you say, is the best places to see whales from the ship? Thanks for the help.
Susan
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old June 20th, 2001, 09:06 AM
pookey
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Default Re: Help with Alaska excursions

my family is sailing radiance 6/23 we have prebooked our excursions as follows
juneau - helicopter glacier excursion and landing, 160.00pp with coastal helicopter 1-907-789-5600, www.ptialaska.net
skagway - the helicopter/dog sled excursion 303.00pp with temsco helicopter 1-907-983-2900 www.temscoair.com
ketchican - the misty fiords floatplane trip with landing on a lake 179.00pp with islandwings 1-888-854-2444.
hope you have a great time
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