Please give us your advice on the following excursions. We have decided from the NCL excursions what we want to do. We need to know are they good excursions and can we book them or something like them at the dock.
In Haines we are looking at "Chilkoot Lake Eagle Cruise". $74.00 pp.
In Juneau "Pan for gold and Gold history". $42.00 pp. Also in Juneau "Whale watching by jet boat". $110.00 pp.
In Skagway "Yukon Territory/Senic drive". $79.00 pp.
We are leaving Monday 7-30.
Thanks for your help. We need to keep budget around $600.00 for both of us.
Chilkoot Lake Eagle Cruise - I haven't done it, but talked to several folks that did it around mid-July. All of the comments were "very slow/laid back" and not many eagles.
Whale watching by jet boat - There are several very good private operators also in Juneau. I didn't do this, but everyone raves about it. I've seen some awesome video a friend of mine took while on Orca Jet Boats (or something like that). We also rented a car here and had a great time at the north end of the island. Very pretty, saw a lot of eagles at the salmon creek just south of the airport. We also saw quite a few very close up at the Shrine of St. Therese.
In Skagway, if you're going to go by road (e.g. not by rail), then I stongly recommend that you rent a car from Avis and drive over the pass into the Yukon up to Emerald Lake (75 miles from Skagway). The drive is breathtaking. Jagged muontains and beautiful lakes, along with glacier scoured landscapes. The shops in Carcross are cute, and there's a great vista in the town on the lake. Also, stop at Frontierland. They have a terrific taxidermy exhibit of bears, rams, etc. The best thing though is the drive. It is just incredible. We drove up to Carcross to buy lunch and then drove back to "Tehpee" overlook (or something like that) and sat on the hood and had lunch. There's also a nice waterfall at the Skagway Cemetary (where soapy smith is buried).
In Juneau do the whale watching, but don;t book through the ship. On the ship's tour you will be crammed like a can of sardines! Visit www.alaskawhalewatching.com (Orca Enterprises) they are the best tour operator. Very experience captain. Also check out www.dolphintours.com. These tours are a bit cheaper, but they are much better in terms of service, number of people on the boat etc.
I have been on some of the above tours. I have been on both Dolphin and Orca Enterprises. go with either of them 20 passengers vs 150 on the ship tours. Fake Gold panning doesn't interest me so I can't recommend that. I have also been on the Chilkoot River jet boats- eagles are more plentiful later in the season but you will see some. HOWEVER I always see them anyway on my trips. Other wildlife is spotted on about 25 % of the trips. We saw a "moose dot" when we went. Skagway- your "scenic drive" will be a bus on the Klondike Highway. It is narrated but you can easily rent a car and go on your own- only one road. I am the orginal poster who recommends going to Emerald Lake 75 miles and return, but I have driven to Whitehorse several times and if you have all day it is worthwhile, but the scenery is less. You $600 figure should be no problem with the selection you have here, but I would encourage you to go with the best - and that is at least one flight with a glacier helicopter landing TOPS!!
We booked our whale watching tour through Celebrity and they used Dolphin Tours. There were only 18 people on the boat (that's all it holds) and we had a great time - saw several whales, humpbacks and Orcas, and one of the humpbacks breached 6 times within a very short time span.