Karen16 suggested I look over my cruise line excursion list, which i found and did. And she was right----it is long!! Wow, lots of choices.....
To those of you who have been to Juneau before: Just wondering what everyones top 3 picks would be for Juneau at end of June? Read a few posts mentioning certain activites where not a good depending on time of year.
I do know that we will be booking our excursions not with the cruise line & before we go. So private company suggestions would be appreciated too.
thank you! jmarie
My favorites - flights- of which I always take. BUT there is plenty else to do. Give us some ideas what catches your eye and I can most likely give you independents. For ultimate in budget all ports have walking tours with free maps, great hiking opportunities etc. I have years worth of touring- you can't do it all so rank tours according to your interests.
I'd recommend a helicopter flight with landing on a glacier (we went with Coastal and had a terrific time!)
Walk through town and check out the shops - we found some neat local artwork and handmade jewelry. Get a cold beer at the Red Dog Saloon!
Also, buy a pass to go up Mt Roberts tram (you can buy them near the dock - don't get it throught the cruiseline). It's about $20 and you can go up the mountain as many times as you want. (We went up twice...once early in the day and again late in the afternoon.) The view is incredible and there are some hiking trails at the top that looked like fun. We commented that we should have bought some sandwiches and taken them up there for a picnic. Hubby was disappointed that we hadn't saved more time to hike around at the top...I spent too much time in the downtown shops!!! The tram station is right by the dock so you can get to this very easily.
Some tablemates went on a whale watching excursion and saw lots of humpbacks. (Mid-June)...We'll have to do this next time!
FYI...I had a new digital camera....filled up my 128 mb memory card by the time I got to Juneau. I didn't want to buy another card at the inflated prices up there. Fortunately I found a camera shop in Juneau that copied my pictures to a CD, so I could erase my card and start fresh!
1. Helicopter Glacier --there where so many different ones, hard to figure out which was best??
2. Helicopter Glacier Walk About--
3. Whale Watching---again several different ones to choice from, how can you tell?
4. Glacier Dog Sledding
5. Mendenhall Glacier & Salmon Bake---although husband is not a salmon fan so he may not like this one.
6. Gold Panning---dosn't sound to great to me, but, i can see husband going for this one
Niether one of us is overly active--or in the best of shape, but, we could handle walking/hiking several miles.
Here's another question: if we don't do whale watching in Juneau (with Cap. Larry as Donna suggested), can we do it at a different port & it will be just as good??
many thanks again!!!! jmarie
Considerations of glacier helicopter landings- how many landings- more- more costly. Glacier landed on Mendenhall is only landed on by TEMSCO. It't selling point is the well known name, I didn't find this glacier any better than the others I have landed on. My advice is to go with what fits your budget- if you can only swing a single landing than do that, don't go over your budget and eliminate other touring. A varied experience is what you should be looking for. For usually the cheapest- book Coastal, gives great personal tours, well run company. Whale watching on the inside passage is probably best out of Juneau- 3 companies to choose from. Ship tour is big boats, independents - smaller, choose who fits your schedule best. Only other possible whale watch are is out of Sitka. You will view Mendenhall glacier if you take a Juneau whale watch, if you want closer views, take the $10 RT shuttle and stay as long as your want- no need for a tour or combo salmon bake unless that is what you want. All gold panning is seeded and fake. For more authentic- consider the Last Chance Museum or the Juneau Douglas city museum or the Alaska state museum for more on the gold rush. Best history is out of Skagway. Glacier dog sledding is another "top " excursion choice, consider booking direct out of Skagway with TEMSCO. Different than a glacier landing- more packed snow and a fixed base camp.
I would definately recomend whale watching and a helicopter flight with a glacier landing. Temsco helicopter lands on the Mendenhall Glacier, and Coastal usually lands on the Herbert Glacier. Capt. Larry with Orca Enterprises is independent, the other whale watching companies are booked through the ships. Add other tours as your time in port allows.
I have gone with Coastal 3 times and they also land on Norris. I have gone with Orca the most but also consider Dolphin for whale watch, have small boats and run a good tour. Choose who fits your time the best and allows for blocks of time for other activites if desired.