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Old January 12th, 2004, 12:32 PM
Sundar
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Default Alaska shore excursions

My wife and I are sailing on 19 June from Vancouver for 7day inside passage on Radiance of the seas. We have not booked any shore excursions yet. I have been reading the messages. But not sure what is best? I am 65 and my wife will be 63. we are reasonably fit. We are vegetarians ( no meat or fish though I do not mind eggs) Any problem on the ship? Temsco Helicopter offers either flightseeing and dog sledding ( No glacier landing) or valley of glaciers from Skagway. Will appreciate suggestions/ advice on shore excursions for all three ports. I would prefer to book directly.

Many thanks
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Old January 13th, 2004, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

for clairfication- TEMSCO lands on all their glaicer flightseeing trips. The dogsledding lands more on "snow" however compared to ice. They are the only direct booking company available out of Skagway (ERA in the past would not direct book ship passengers).
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Old January 13th, 2004, 09:11 AM
Sundar
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

For the attention of Karen:

We are planning to take the train and the glacier ianding in Skagway. Any suggestions for Juneau?

Thanks
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Old January 13th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

Hi Sandar,
For Juneau I'd suggest a whale watching excursion. We booked privately with Capt. Larry, if you want the info for him, feel free to e-mail me. It was a great expiercnce and yes, we did see plenty of whales on a much smaller boat than the cruiselines will be operating. I think it was much more personable and the Capt. was full of neat information. If this is something you want to do, it was well worth it and got plenty of pics too.

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Old January 13th, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

The helicopter glacier landing is the "do not miss" excursion in my book. We did the four glacier one out of Juneau. In Skagway the White Pass Railroad trip is beautiful. You don't need to book that. You can simply walk about 2 blocks to the station and board the train there.

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Old January 13th, 2004, 10:29 AM
Donna Hill
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

Hi Sundar,

I also think the whale watching would be great for you (we did that pre-cruise in Victoria before we sailed from Vancouver and post-cruise in Seward and those were both great trips if you can work them into your schedule). From your notes regarding your physical condition, you might also want to consider a float trip. The Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip does not have a lot of white water and is a wonderful trip with some fantastic scenery. We also did white water inside Denali Park, and that is Class III and IV rapids, so it's a more fast-paced trip if you're going to Denali.

Are you from the UK? We love the UK and spent 4 days there last year and hope to return this year. We have dear friends in Camberley, Surrey and new friends in Bath.

Happy traveling,
Donna
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Old January 13th, 2004, 12:04 PM
Sundar
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Donna Hill


I am not sure whether you have noticed that we are sailing inside passge and the ports are Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. We will certainly consider Whale watching. We need to make sure that we plan the Shore excursions with in the time limits.

Has anyone offer suggestions on Vegetarian meal on the cruise? ( Radiance of the Seas)

We are from uk near Manchester. We are also doing Rockies Precruise tour on our own Calkgary, Banff and Jasper including Rocky mountaineering by train. Has any one done such a tour? How about driving from Calgary to Jasper? Any problems.

Thanks
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Old January 13th, 2004, 12:14 PM
Sundar
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Linda E

I understand that it is cheaper if you prebook the train. The current price is $89.00. Can you tell me is there any advantage which side you sit to view the Scenery?

Thanks
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Old January 13th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

I don't remember the exact price so I can't help there, but I thought it was cheaper to go directly to the train station. Sit on the left side going up for the best views. Coming back down, passengers switch sides so everyone gets to see the best views. The only problem with that is that the running narration isn't repeated going down, so you miss some things by not knowing that "this is where I should be looking for..."

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Old January 13th, 2004, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Hi Sundar,
Yes, there is a vegie section on the menu. We once cruised with a couple that did not eat either meat or fish and they had no problem finding someting to order each evening. We were on Explorer for that cruise and I'm sure you'll have plenty to choose from on Radiance too. They seemed quite pleased with the selection.

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Old January 13th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

Donna Hill:

I'd like more info on the Denali white water rafting you did. We are going to Denali in July, and will go rafting. I am currently looking at Nenana Rafting, Denali Raft Adventures, and Denali Outdoor Center. We want to do Class III and IV. Nenana has one trip for about $65, but it is shorter than ther $85 or $95 trips from the other companies.

Which one did you take?
Were you satisfied, would you do it again?
How long were you in Denali?

Dozer
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Old January 14th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

Best is to look over a shore excursion list and narrow down interests. Then repost - you will be able to get better more concise information. My opinion only but I thought the Mendenhall float trip at the bottom of my choices for touring Alaska. You get only a brief distant view of the glacier- the rest of the trip is trees and backyards (even my local "friends" can't figure out how they sell this tour ). There are far better tours available and money is better spent elsewhere. I have rafted the Nenana- it is vital with over class 3 to have a company that has dry suits- the water is freezing cold and it's just necessary in my experience. But I have white water rafted in far better places- nonAlaska. It is only OK in my experience. The class will depend where they put in. Contact all the operators and compare the trips. Request their brochures with the routes. Don't expect wildlife. As for the Canadian Rockies- I've traveled independent and with VIA rail and rental cars- different portions, different trips. Scenery is the forte!!! Be aware of the distances the same as interior Alaska- everything is farther than it looks. Allow plenty of time and don't be on the go every night- 2 nights per area is the min. for me.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 09:45 AM
Donna Hill
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Hi Dozer,

We were in Denali for two days and also did the Tundra Wildlife Tour that we booked through the park service. We went there by train and then went on to Fairbanks by train. We booked out whitewater trip through Denali Raft Adventures (1-888-683-2234 or www.denaliraft.com) and booked the Canyon Run trip. This is mostly Class III with some Class IV at the end of the trip. They do recommend reservations, but you may be able to book when you get to the park. As you probably know, all these types of tours operate rain or shine. One of the reasons that we used that company is that the dry suits are very good. They picked us up at our hotel (the Denali River Cabins, and it was a good choice too), but I'm sure the other tour operators in Denali probably do that too since many tourists don't have cars inside the park. We enjoyed the Canyon Run trip and would do it again. At our hotel, one of the activities was a demonstration by a man who runs dog sled trips to McKinley; he had some of the dogs with him, and that was very interesting.

I disagree with the previous post about the Mendenhall Glacier float trip, and she took a different trip than we did. We were in front of the glacier for over an hour while we paddled on the lake (the guide stopped and got out on a large chunk of ice that had broken from the glacier) then floated a very scenic route through a residential area before concluding the float and exiting in a field full of flowers with Mendenhall in the background. This is the photo shot you see in all the Alaska brochures, and we took some of our best photos there. We enjoyed seeing all the homes and the scenery, and children came out of the houses to greet the boats at some houses, so it added to the charm of the trip. It was a great trip, and all the other passengers loved it too. We have also been whitewater rafting elsewhere so we have many experiences to compare this to also, and this trip is unique because of the scenery.

We found that there are so many things to do, so it's difficult to narrow the choices down. While we were in Juneau, we also did the Taku Lodge flightseeing trip (Princess shore excursion), and it was wonderful. The Lodge is a property with a fascinating history that you learn about while eating a buffet salmon lunch or dinner and faces a beautiful glacier. There are hiking trails at the lodge and incredible scenery on the flight, so it's a great trip. We also did the Mt. Roberts tramway, but I recommend that you wait until you get there to book because if it's cloudy, you may not see a lot, and you can walk off the boat and purchase your ticket, which you can use more than once that day.

Hope that helps you in planning your trip, and happy traveling,
Donna
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Old January 14th, 2004, 09:54 AM
Sundar
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Karen

Thank you very much for the suggestions. With limited time available in each port we cannot do many things. My plan is as follows:

Skagway Morning 8.15 AM Train tour. After lunch take either Valley of the Glaciers or Dog Sledding and glacier flightseeing tour. I am waiting for Schedules and price from Temsco. We need to be at the ship for first sitting evening meal.

Juneau: May be whale watching and Shopping

Ketchian Nothing definite not much time available

We are staying 3 nights in Banff and 3 nights in Jasper.

We are really looking forward to this holiday

Thank you again.

Ps I am still thinking as an alternative whether to take Mendenhall glacier Ice Age Explorer in Juneau. But there are suggestions that Helicopter tours in Juneau invariably get cancelled.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 10:04 AM
Sundar
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Donna

Where did you do Whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip ? Juneau?

THanks
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Old January 14th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Donna Hill
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Hi Sundar,

Yes, the Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip is out of Juneau. We went whale watching and saw a lot of other wildlife on two trips that were both fabulous--in Victoria when we stayed in Vancouver prior to our cruise and in the Kenai Fjords park in Seward after our cruise. I'll be glad to provide details if you need them. There are many other whale watching trips that are great too. We were really lucky in Victoria and found 3 pods of whales that had come together to feed for the afternoon, and it was great to see all that in the Kodiak boat. We were literally close enough to touch them from our raft/boat. We saw a lot of seals, etc. too that day, and Victoria is a lovely town. In Seward, we hit the jackpot there too because we found a humpack with her baby, lots of orcas, puffins, seals, sea lions, etc. AND the scenery is spectacular AND we went to a glacier that was doing a lot of calving, so it was nice to see that from a small boat close to the water. You'll spot lots of whales high up on the decks of your cruise ship too, but seeing them from another perspective is really special.

Hope you have a great trip,
Donna
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Old January 14th, 2004, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

The only problem with the 8:15 White Pass Railway excursion is that the mists sometimes don't burn off until later. You might miss some of the breathtaking scenery because of the fog. Sorry, I forgot to mention this before.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

I honestly would not base my port touring on having to get back to the ship for a meal. There are other meal options available if needed, alt. dining and room service. It is difficult to choose- certainly. If you do consider the first White Pass RR trip- yes mist is a possibility but usually it is gone by the return trip. There just are no guarantees on weather, I think it probably best to plan based on your intersts and go from there. As for Juneau helicopter flights- the DOG sledding tour is the MOST canceled because it has to go to a fixed camp. Regular glacier landings are less canceled as they have several glacier areas they can go to. If your tour is an ice trekking- consider booking direct with Northstar.
As for the Mendenhall float trip- VERIFY that they do stay in the lake and get closer to the glacier. I was there all morning my last trip 9-03 and NONE of the rafts came up, only the canoes. (I had clear views from the top of the East Loop trail) I also am awaiting an email from my friend in Juneau if the routing has changed- certainly updated information would be helpful. It is my opinion only.
As for Victoria orca watching- it is the best area if this is your whale preference- the trips on zodiacs are my preference as well- right on the water, but there is little availablity walk up, due to the limited passengers so- book ahead. On the Kenai fjords trips- whales are likely but the wildlife opportunities are more varied as the trip takes a "route". Probably the glacier mentioned was Aialik??? Very very active, after Holgate.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 11:21 AM
Sundar
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Karen

Thank you again. regarding Glacier landing there is a difference in price if i book directly with Hemsco. ( Cheaper direct booking) Is there any disadvantage such as travelling from ship to Helicopter, Window seats if I book through Cruise. I am sorry to bother you, It is just to find out which is better? I realised the mist problem. There is one at 12.45PM. Then I need to know the helicopter Schedule. I have sent a mail to the company waiting for a reply.

Sundar
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Old January 21st, 2004, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

Donna -

Can you please provide infromation about reserving an excursion with Captain Larry? Thanks!!!
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

http://orcaenterprises.com/


As for TEMSCO, they pick up downtown Juneau and provide your transfers. No benefit for seating- however you book. Will partially be based on weight distribution.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

I recommend visitng the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. The visitor's center is wonderful and the surrounding area has walking and hiking trails - and it is free. We spent a half day poking around, taking some of the nature walks, We saw the salmon spawning and bears. It was very exciting - one of the highlights of our trip.

We also took the whale watch which was disappointing. If you have seen the whales in Hawaii or even off the coast of New England then you may be disapppinted. In Juneau, we saw small pods of whales but nothing that compared to Hawaii and NE.

In Skagway, we took the train, panned for gold, at the dredge and did the dog sledding on wheels. All three excursions were terrific. We opted not to take the helicopter tours because our children were along and were scared to try it.

The salmon were jumping in Ketchikan - we checked out the totems.

We loved Alaska and will definitely return.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 01:03 AM
Sundar
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

Vactionhappy

Very useful tips. We are planning to take Glacier helicopter landing and the train in Skagway. In juneau we will certainly visit the centre. We love walking and nature trails.
We are not sure about whale watching in Juneau. may be in Victoria as we plan to stay in Vancouver two days prior and one day after the cruise.

Hopefully the weather is ok.
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Old May 1st, 2004, 11:49 AM
Sundar
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

Could any one advise what sort of power supply I need in Canada? Here in UK 240V 50 HZ and three pin plugs. I think in Canada 110V. In that case I need a transformer.
Really looking forward to our holidays.
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Old May 1st, 2004, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions

I was disappointed when you said you didnt think the whale watching trip was worth it. Did you go on Captain Larrys trip? I heard he is GREAT!! Thanks for your input.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

I went to Alaska last summer. In Juneau I did the mendenhall glacier helicopter tour. I had an early flight and it was a good thing b/c the afternoon tours got canceled due to rain. Also did the whale watching offered by RCCl and it was great. In Skagway I did the dogsledding. I booked it on my own (much cheaper than the cruise line) and you can walk to the offices (they are right next to where the cruise ships dock). I had an afternoon flight luckily b/c the morning flights were cancelled due to poor visibility.
In Ketchikan I did a flightseeing tour of Misty Fjords. I booked it independently with Misty Fjords flightseeing. They picked me up at the pier so I didn't need to worry about transportation. We were able to eat out of the plane and walk on land for a while. The pilot was great. It's really easy to book tours independently, just do the research.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Alaska shore excursions

I think Donna Hill is talking about the Mendenhall Canoe trip. That was the highlight of both of my cruises. You can see a picture at www.goldbelttours.com or my pictures June 03 in the pic gallery here. I would take that over the visitor's center any day. You canoe to the glacier, then to a beach nearby next to a gorgeous waterfall. Definitely my favorite, and not strenuous. Both times it was undersold, and people just don't know what they're missing.

Whale watching was great for me both times, because we saw bubble-net feeding, where the whales crash out of the water all at once. I was told it's not common, but I'm not sure, since I did see it both times. If I just saw some tails and humps, I'm not sure it would have been as worthwhile. Also, I don't know about Captain Larry, but the boat I went on had a microphone (er, named something else) that they put in the water to hear the 'orders' for the feed.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: Re: Alaska shore excursions


sundar,
My wife is a non meat eater and she gets plenty to eat on every cruise. On HAL, she looked at the vegitarian menu but decided to stick with the regular menu but without the meat. The reason why is that she is not a big cheese eater or eggplant lover and those are central features on a veggie menu. On RCCL, she had no problem and on Carnival in February, she only had a problem at dinner once or twice. You can request both menus so you can compare once you are on the ship.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Default Alaska Shore Excursions-Ketchikan Misty Fjords

Can anyone advise which is better-the NCL Shore Excursion "Magnificent Misty Fjords Seaplane" or "Classic Misty Fjords Flightseeing"??? !st time to Alaska, and clueless..traveling with 1 preteen, 1 teen and a pre senior citizen.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Alaska Shore Excursions-Ketchikan Misty Fjords

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbi
Can anyone advise which is better-the NCL Shore Excursion "Magnificent Misty Fjords Seaplane" or "Classic Misty Fjords Flightseeing"??? !st time to Alaska, and clueless..traveling with 1 preteen, 1 teen and a pre senior citizen.
They are similar, superior is to book independent. More range of flightseeing, more personal tour. Not as tightly scheduled as the cruise contracted flights.
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