After reading old posts for hours(??), the main question is when to book these directly. We are booked on Regal Princess, Inside Passage on 5/29. This appears to be fairly early in the season. Is is necessary to book prior to leaving or would my choices be available from the dock. We are going with a large group and most probably won't decide until close to the trip departure. Any advice from the Alaska experts. Love to hear your comments. Carole
It greatly depends on what you are looking for and if you are going as a group. Just about every ship will have started the season by then so you will not have excessive availablity. I would make all plans before you go, at the dock is no place to decide. Anything but city tours needs advance booking and with a large group I would pre book everything. Why not have people narrow down their interests and perhaps rank preferences for each port. Then put together a group option and have the others commit then book ahead.
We are on Celebrity Infinity May 31 to Alaska. I have been doing a lot of research on our ports of call, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.
In Juneau, we plan to book a helicopter and glacier landing tour directly through Coastal Helicopters. You can find their website through Google.com search engine. I'm not sure of the website address, but think it is coastalhelicopters.com. Their 1 hour helicopter tour is $168 per person, which is a savings of about $45 over what is being offered by Celebrity. This tour offers about 30 minutes in the air and about 25 minutes on the glacier.
In Skagway, we plan to take the train. Although I didn't plan to do this at first because we are, frankly, "trained out" after taking them from Kansas City to St. Louis many times, one in St. Sault Marie, Canada, to Agawa and the one in Durango to Silverton...everyone says this IS THE THING TO DO IN SKAGWAY, THAT IT IS BEAUTIFUL SCENERY, VERY WORTH IT, AND IT WILL BE SOLD OUT IF NOT BOOKED AHEAD OF TIME! So, we're going to do the train. They say to sit on the left hand side.
In Ketchikan, we are taking a tour through Classic Tours (classictours.com), booking direct through this local company. This is a lady who picks you up in a restored 1950's chevy, dressed in poodle skirt and saddle oxfords. We go to see the totem poles, then to (she says) places in Ketchikan where the tour busses don't go, and to see an eagle's nest. She has lived their all her life. This tour lasts 3 hours and costs $75 pp. We plan to take a "harbor" flightseeing tour after that (30 minute flight for $79 pp) directly through a local plane operator. The local operators can be found by going on Ketchikan's website, and you can compare costs. I don't have the info with me...but the Misty Fjords tours average around $179 pp and the harbor tour about $79. This is less expensive than booking through the cruise line.
I hope some of this is helpful. Go into the different city websites and look at their tour and operator offerings and compare costs.
By the way, we are booking the train through Celebrity since it is only about $10 higher by booking through the ship, and the train's website suggested that cruise passengers book through their cruise line.
We plan to take a "harbor"
> flightseeing tour after that (30 minute flight for $79 pp)
> directly through a local plane operator. The local operators
> can be found by going on Ketchikan's website, and you can
> compare costs. I don't have the info with me...but the Misty
> Fjords tours average around $179 pp and the harbor tour about
> $79. This is less expensive than booking through the cruise
For clairfication- these are vastly- 2 different flights. I have taken Taquan's mail run in the past and in my opinion this would be a better option, or take a fligthseeing out of Skagway for some glacier viewing- none out of Ketchikan at that price. This trip will basically just give you the experience of riding in a floatplane - which for the price is a good option.
Just now getting back to the message boards after a busy two weeks. Are you saying that the $79 harbor flightseeing tour out of Ketchikan is not worth it? After paying for four people in Juneau (almost $800) to helicopter and glacier trek, I'm getting pretty chintzy with spending any more than $79 pp for additional flightseeing. The Ketchikan harbor excursion (30 minutes) is the cheapest I've found.
Also, have you heard anything about Ketchikan's Classic Tours?