First time cruisers to Alaska in July. Plan on renting van to Mendenhall glacier, and going up Mt. Roberts Tram in Juneau. How much time do I need to allow for those activities. Is there time to schedule a 3 hour Glacier kayak tour also? (We will be dock for 7 hours.)
I think we might do the rain forest canoe in Ketchikan. I am looking for a good 2 hour kayak trip in Sitka. Any suggestions? Also since we will have the most time in Sitka, I am looking for a float plane company in Sitka.
If you plan on a van rental out of Juneau your, only option will be with Rent a Wreck. Any other rental is at the airport with NO shuttle service, cab will be $25+ each way, so be certain to add that into your cost. A better option would be to schedule your kayaking - transportation is usually included, search via the Juneau web site and request their visitor guide www.traveljuneau.com I would put the tram a low priority, you can easily get to Mendenhall glacier via shuttle $10 pp round trip. I have float planed out of Sitka- no comparism to Misty Fjords in Ketchikan which is superior. Again look up and request the visitor guides. www.visit-ketchikan.comwww.sitka.org
canoeq-- I went to Alaska on the Carnival Spirit last June. It was an awesome cruise-- the one downpoint, however, was the rainforest canoe in ketchikan. it was very poorly organized, and they couldn't get the boats out of the dock-- they kept making people switch around. the native alaskan food that they were supposed to give you was about the equivalent of campbell's clam chowder. i guess you like canoing so maybe you'll like it better than i did-- i like canoing too, but some people end up doing all the work and paddling for the ppl who don't paddle. Just some thoughts.
The tram and glacier were great tho. i will never forget the helicopter ride and walking on the glacier. great experience. have fun!
Sitka was our favorite stop. We went on the Otter/wildlife cruise and saw whales and sea otters. We also went in May which was too early for the bears to be on the beaches but the eagles were everywhere and the scenery was spectacular. Plus since May is early in the season it was nice to have a nice dry boat to see everything from. Make sure you get the early trip if you go as the sea otters head out to sea for fishing later. I think the later trip only saw a couple and we saw dozens of them.
I agree that in Juneau take the shuttle to the Mendenhall glacier, it's only 13 miles from town. We took the Juneau discovery trip which was a bus tour of town, and included an hour and a half at the glacier. It also stopped at the Salmon run place. Quite boring in May as the Salmon don't run until later in the year, but if you've never seen anything on salmon before you might (yahn) be interested. When we got to the glacier we discovered that they had a shuttle from the pier only $5 each way and you could stay as long as you like. If you plan to hike around the glacier trail allow plenty of time, and be on the watch out for bear. One showed up while we were there. We were lucky that we had some blue sky while we were there and got some lovely shots of the glacier. The bus lets you off right at prime viewing spots and the visitors center is a few feet down the trail.