Just the other day I booked directly with "Orca", Capt. Larry in Juneau for the whale watching. We also booked through Celebrity for the White pass train, their web-site said cruise passengers had to book through the cruiseline, there was only a $10.00 difference, not a big deal.
I still have to book a fishing trip, may wait til we get there or do that independently soon.
We booked with Temsco, got their phone # from their Web site. Dog Sled was $40pp less than through the ship, but, know that you may not use the cruise transportation from the dock to Temsco, either the city bus or a nice 15 minute walk.
Also, they require $50pp depsit in advance & the balance paid the day of tour in cash, check, travelers checks, they do not take credit cards.
We got the number through a link on the Temsco web site. It's true that you put $50 down per person, but they took a credit card for the balance in person at Temsco. So unless it has changed since July 9th, they will take credit cards. It's a nice walk from the docks, but if you are on RCI or HAL, you will be much closer. Have a great time and if you go, tell Lucas (a dogsled musher) that Rick and Mark from Dallas say "HI"!
In Juneau we rented a car and visited Mendenhall Glacier, the salmon hatchery, Shrine of St Theresa, Alaska Brewery and downtown area. In Skagway you can visit the National Park visitors center for a free movie about the gold rush as well as a small museum and very informative walking tour of town all FREE! We booked with Island Wings in Ketchikan for bear viewing. A Great TRIP!!
How long was your bear viewing trip? I have contacted Island Wings about bear viewing in Ketchikan and they said we would have to stay at the viewing area over 3 hours, which seems sort of long? What do you think? Which location did they take you to?
We went to Anan Creek. That is the location they use until the end of August. The 3 hours is actually the total time you are gone, including the flight and the time to hike up the path to the viewing area. The path is boarded in some places. It is very easy to follow and is about a 15 to 20 minute walk. Island Wings drops you off at Anan Creek as their are forest rangers there to direct you. Michelle said that in September when they go to the other location they hike in with their clients as the forest service does not man that location. The time went by very quickly and we would have loved to have stayed longer. We saw black bears only. The brown bears are there early in the season. The time might seem longer if there are no bears, which you just can't predict. We saw around 10 bears including 2 cubs.
Did anybody book any independent tours other than whale watching with Orca and have a great time along with saving $ at any of the ports of calls that you could recommend?
I am a many time Alaska visitor who always goes independently. Plenty of excellent local operators that will give you an excellent real Alaska experience. But do plan carefully. It is very easy, request each city's visitor guide loaded with independent listings. I have also driven in all ports except Sitka. A good choice if you do your homework. the main thing to avoid going independently is aimlessly going about- be sure to get all the information your need. I have been to Anan and Neets Bay out of Ketchikan- excellent adventures if you are not traveling interior- where then the best bear bargain is Denali Park!!!