From Juneau we are planning to take a helicopter tour...I'm looking at Temsco Tours - either the Mendenhall Glacier Tour ($189. pp) or the Pilot's Choice Glacier Explorer Tour ($269. pp). Does anyone have any experience with these? Is it worth to spend the extra cash on the Pilot's Choice Tour?
I have taken a glacier helicopter landing tour 6 times. In my opinon there is no advantage to landing on Mendenhall Glacier. Herbert, Taku, and Norris are all worthwhile. I have flown with TEMSCO twice, but my favorite Coastal 3 times, very personal tours- cheapest too. As for your pilot's choice - this is a double landing. I don't recommend the tour IF it prevents you from another excursion due to budget. I have done the double once. It is important to experience all you can in Alaska!!!!
Laura, The Pilot's Choice is a fantastic excursion. Definitely worth the money, IMHO. When you lift off and go over the ice fields, the vastness of Alaska is overwhelming. When you land on the first glacier and step foot onto the ice, incredible. On a message board somewhere, a person wrote that they landed on the glacier and there was nothing to do. Think about that for a moment. To be able to walk on a glacier and bend down and scoop up a handfull of melted glacier water and drink it. To be able to walk on a glacier and pick up a piece of granet for a souvenier. To feel so miniscule standing in one place. To breathe pristine air. And the best part is that you will take-off and go over more ice fields and again land on another glacier and repeat the experience. When we cruise, we do not set up a 'tour intensive' experience. If you are going to spend your day in Juneau and see whales, Mt. Roberts Tram, shop, take bus to Mendenhall, etc., then you probably will not be able to do the Pilot's Choice, from a time stand-point. You have to make the decision what is important to you personally. Is it really necessary to see 'more' of Alaska or is it best to see what is necessarily important to YOU........?????
We've done two glacier heli tours. The best we did was summer before last with Temsco, but we did the heli/dog sledding combination.
Flew up, landed on the glacier, next to the dog camp, then got to go sledding for about an hour. GREAT fun!
Kuki, Thanks for bringing up the dog seld portion of the helo trip. We were supposed to do that but we were in Alaska mid-May and the snow was still too deep for us to participate in the dog sledding. Sure did sound like a lot of fun.
Thanks for your feedback...we're leaning towards the Pilot's Choice Tour. The duration is 2.5 hours - only 35 minutes longer than the Mendenhall Tour. My husband is like a little kid...really likes the take-offs and landings, so two stops appeals to him. The dog sled trip sounds like great fun, although it takes more time and costs a good bit more. Our ship will be in Juneau 8am to 9pm....I'm thinking of scheduling the morning heli tour followed by lunch/shopping in town. We'd also like to take the shuttle to Mendenhall and hike the East Loop Trail....and if the weather is nice I'd like to take the Mt. Roberts Tram and still have time for a brewsky at the Red Dog! I am being overly optimistic????
Consider the Pilot's choice via Coastal- cheaper than TEMSCO and just as good in my 6 total trips. Do schedule your helicopter trip for as early as you can. This would then leave you a large block of time for your other touring. Mt. Roberts tram would be my last priority. BUT if you do go, go again at night since it is an all day ticket.