We are going on our first Alaskan Cruise on Celebrity Mercury from Vancouver departing June 15 with our 2 boys ages 15 and 10. We are finding the choice of shore excursions overwhelming and the decisions to book separatedly or through the cruise ship confusing. We would like to do a flightseeing tour of Misty Fjords in Ketchikan. I have narrowed it down to 3 companies that I can book independently; Island Wings, Carlin air and Family Air. They sem to offer a longer flight with a longer stopover for a little less money. Any advice from anyone who has booked with these charters? Thanks. Carol
We went with an extremely good company, Misty Fjords Air, the oldest flying service in Ketchikan.They are a father, son team and have a Dehavilland Beaver and a Cessna 185. They do an awesome shore side stop in the Fjords where you can get out and walk around. Their web site is also really cool, with sound effects from the plane. www.mistyfjords.com
we were in Ketchikan last week and we went with Island Wings for Misty Fjord flight seeing. They land on the lake, let you get out of the plane and walk around for half an hour. It is a fantastic tour. Here is the link http://www.islandwings.com
If you want to see wildlife you should check out the wildlife safari trip with Misty Fjords Air, our friends just did that trip in mid May (we went on the Misty Fjords trip). They came back and had seen whales, sea otters, seals and bears!! Out trip with Davy Douyon was really great but I want to go back now and do the safari trip. Our trip showed us that Alaska deserves more than just a flying visit. Web address is listed under Yakker reply. Enjoy your trip.
Robin, don't plan on bears or other wildlife other than eagles or birds in Misty Fjords, This is primarily a scenic trip. Island Wings bear trips to Anan are the place to see those, Check out her website as noted above.
Another favorable recommendation for Island Air! We flew with them 2 years ago, and it was excellent. The comments above about stopping on a small island in the middle of a lake are spot on. What a great trip it was.
I was lucky enough to stop over in Ketchikan for a couple of weeks on my round the world trip.
I got to fly with Misty Fjords Flightseeing and other floatplane charters, but would highly recommend Misty Fjords Flightseeing for the pure facts of professionalism and the comfort of the private touch, its as if the flight is tailored for you!
You get such character in the Dehavilland Beaver the original bush plane, which makes the experience right from the start. Then with the scenery, wildlife and Wilderness Lake landing you will be smiling from ear to ear....
It truly is one of the best experiences I have had so far and I thank the pilot Davey Doyon for this great experience!!
I'm a first time cruiser on Celebrity leaving 6/6 on the Summit out of Vancouver. All of the flightseeing companies that have been mentioned here sound great, but the cruiseline has instilled such fear in me that we will be left behind if we are hung up and don't book through them, that I have gotten all of my shore excursions through them. Am I crazy?
We are going on the same cruise leaving July 4. I would be very interested in your experience. All our excursions are booked through Celebrity. First time cruisers to Alaska so hesitant to book separately until we know the ropes. Also taking the 6 day landtour as far as Fairbanks after the cruise. How dressy are people dressed for dinner during the cruise (other than formal nights).
All of the flightseeing companies that have been mentioned here sound great, but the cruiseline has instilled such fear in me that we will be left behind if we are hung up and don't book through them, that I have gotten all of my shore excursions through them. Am I crazy?
Your concern is groundless. Many many cruisers independently book tours. The cruiselines make significant revene off ship tours. A major consideration- you are still in the US with high business standards. Always book your tours for early in your port day, take the recommendations of the operators and always disclose what ship you are on.
We are going on the same cruise leaving July 4. I would be very interested in your experience. All our excursions are booked through Celebrity. First time cruisers to Alaska so hesitant to book separately until we know the ropes
You'll be surprised as some of the significant mark ups imposed by the cruiseline. All ports are extremely small and easy to independently book. Some cruiseline tours can be "cattle calls", loaded on a bus with fellow cruisers, large groups, seasonal guides and dropped back off at the ship. You will get a lot more of Alaska exposure going independent.
If you book on the ship you will never meet the Doyons at Misty Fjords Air and that would be a shame. Get online at www.mistyfjordsair.com
If you stick with the crowds you will miss out.
We loved our trip with these guys.
I am a first time cruiser going to Alaska on Island Princess on Aug 9th and had same concerns. I booked all tours except the Misty Fjords tour through the Ship as it's our 20th and I don't want to think about anything except the experience. The Ships Misty Fjords Tour doesn't allow you to Stop and get out and walk around whereas the Non-ship tours do.
I hope this isn't construed as an advertisement for Carlin Air. I just did some research and they appealed to me.
The three Companies you mentioned all looked good to me but I decided Carlin Air because:
1. They use the DeHavilland Beaver (I love that plane)
2. Excellent Safety record (all three you mentioned had good safety records) that I found at: http://www.alaska.faa.gov/flt_std/Sy...teoperator.pdf
3. The Pilot, Jeff Carlin, has 15,000 hours and has been flying in southeast Alaska for 23 years.
4. I had to pick one.
If you get left behind, there are plenty of Air Charters to take you to the next Port.
glad to hear all the great things about carlin air and jeff. i have booked with them for sept because they sounded really good to me too. i sent a email to them and with in minutes lorraine called me back to make arraingements. she was very nice and helpful and really put me at ease about the trip and how easy it is to get set up with them at the pier. so now all i have to do is get the cruise here. i dont think sept is ever going to get here. dusty
Anyone worried about missing the boat when booking independent tours should absolutely not worry. First, you can book an early tour by reserving well ahead of your arrival and second, as explained earlier, they depend on cruise ship passengers. They would not have a good reputation if they had clients who missed their ship. Karen has listed many reputable operators.
We were on the Vision of the Seas last Sept. & we went all the way into Misty Fjords & the Captain turned the ship around at the end. It was towards evening & an absolutely gorgeous trip. No matter how you see it, it is worth it!!
We have just finished our family cruise through Alaska. While in Ketchikan we had many choices of Misty Fjords flightseeing operators to use. We chose to fly with the oldest operator in Ketchikan called Misty Fjords Air.
They were not on a tight schedule and took extra time to show us bears and mountain goats. Our seaplane captain Davy Doyon really made this excursion special for us.
You are not crazy. Something to consider while booking through the cruise lines is that you will be paying a 30%-40% markup for the same tour.
Here is a tip that will save you money and guarntee you a better time on your excursion.
Book through an independent company, they offer a more personalized tour of better quality for less money. Do not worry about being left behind this doen not happen ever.
Last summer we took a flightseeing tour with Misty Fjords Air and had a wonderful time. They took the time to show us Brown Bears in the Misty Fjords.
We landed at our very own wilderness lake and got to take a walk on the beach. This is something that made the difference for us.