Hi, I was reading the board and getting alot of information, I am taking an Alaskan cruise from Vancouver on the Carnival Spirit in mid July. I am looking into some side trips but everything is up in the air. I was wondering, what was everyones favorite trips off the boat and in what cities? Also, this is my first time on a cruise, so I was wondering, Should I book through Carnival or should I go with independent companies?
Right now I am thinking that I definately want to do the Dogsledding/Helicopter combo, and Kayaking somewhere... Budget doesnt matter that much, figure how often am I going to be able to do this? But then again, anything thats great and cheap is awesome too.
Wookie82 - As you will find with most postings, many of us book our excursions outside of the cruiselines. Reason is simple, smaller parties, cheaper rates. I was able to get a great deal on dogsledding/helicopter out of Skagway using Temsco helicoptors. You get a better rate calling them direct. It has less chances of being cancelled and I got good discounts for kids. In Juneau, Capt Larry Whalewatching seems to get the most votes. Cheaper than the cruiseline, more personal and from everyones writeups, a great excursion to see whales up close.... Karen16 on this cruise is the expert for all excursions and she will probably chime in with her advice. Listen up, you will get to know everything in a short period. Happy sailing....
I too strongly suggest you book your glacier dog sledding via TEMSCO out of Skagway, Juneau glacier dog sledding is the most canceled of all excursions. I like kayaking out of Ketchikan, request each port's visitor guide, will be loaded with touring information and operators. I never take any ship excursions, always book directly with the operator.
As a side note, I finally did my dog sledding. I just returned from a 2 week winter Alaska trip, far exceeding my expectations and better than my summer trips. The aurora was beyond words and nonstop.
Thanks for the info, I tried to call Temsco this morning, but forgot that its still llike 6 AM so have to wait til this afternoon. One more question, I have seen a few different Kayak trips that I am interested in, either Kayaking to a glacier, or to smaller islands w/ wildlife, the question is though if I go dogsledding on the Glacier, is the kayak trip to the glacier going to be worth while? Or should I try to see wildlife up close?
Ok... I called Temsco this afternoon and they gave me a price of $349 per person for the dog sledding/helicopter tour....... The only question is, this is the same thing that is quoted in my Carnival info, is there any way of getting better deals through them because right now im not saving a dime, dont know if you can mention an ad or something....
Wookie82 - If Carnival gave you $349 - you got a bargain. RCCL quoted $400 pp including kids with no price break. Temsco quoted $349 adult/ $175 kids and thus my recommendation to use them. For glacier dog sledding, I do not know if you will beat that price. I know there is a dog sledding outfit on wheels( not glacier) that operates out of Skagway. They are very cheap, ( somewhere under $100 ) with no helicopter tour. You have to decide how much the memory is worth. If too much, there are plenty of other things to do in Skagway alot cheaper....
Is it possible that the Carnival price is last years price????? But a main benefit is to have the tour booked in advance- it always sells out. As for kayaking- you are NOT likely to encounter any wildlife and if it is sighted it will most likely be at a distance requiring binoculars. The glacier kayaking is lame in my opinon, if it is out of Juneau on Mendenhall Lake.
Try www.Southeasttours.com or www.FrontierExcursions.com - they are just two independent operators that offer a variety of tours, that I can think of right now. At least you can check out their sites and see what they have to offer. I have done the scenic drive into the Yukon that includes a two hour horseback tour and concludes with snacks and refreshment. This tour was with Southeast. It was a wonderful experience and provided some beautiful photo ops of Emerald Lake. Wow, you should see that lake - its absolutely beautiful. The horse guide was excellent and she provided on going information about the area being toured.