I will be cruising Alaska on the Norweigian STAR in early August. I would love to go on the dogsledding / glacier helicopter trip with my 7 1/2 yr old son. There is one in Juneau and one in Skagway. Does anyone know if one is better than the other? Also is it really worth the exorbitant price?
Would doing the Floatplane trip to Traitors cove or Neets Bay to see the Bears fishing be a better thing for a 7 yr old?
Juneau glacier dog sledding is the MOST canceled of all Alaska tours, Skagway less so. It consistantly gets RAVES. Consider booking out of Skagway and book DIRECT with www.temscoair.com they give childrens rates. Frankly- if possible - skimp elsewhere and do both. They are superb tours not to be missed if you have the interest.
Karen, my husband and I just pre-reserved the dog sledding in Juneau through Princess. Why is it the most cancelled? If they cancel it, do we get our $$ back? At $490 pp, it's steep for us, but we figure a once in a lifetime thing. Kim
It is the most canceled due to weather and having to get to a FIXED camp. The regular glacier helicopter landings have many sites they can go to if weather is varied. I also would NOT book with the ship- booking independent is $365 with Coastal out of Juneau- who uses Godwin's dog camp. AND certainly any canceld excursion by the operator gets full refunds. http://coastalhelicopters.com/t_dogsled.htm
I hope everyone makes it, but it is always possible, due to weather for cancelations and they do happen. I have never made any glacier dog sledding I have reserved , canceled twice on me.
I just returned from Alaska (Diamond Princess, june 5th). I had booked the dog sledding / glacier tour out of Skagway months ago. I was so disappointed as it was cancelled due to low clouds. I am a big dog lover and this was going to be the highlight of the trip. Before booking this, I kept reading that it was most often canceled in Juneau, so I booked it for Skagway. The day in Juenau was lovely, 70 degrees, without a cloud in the sky and those folks were able to do their dog sledding tour, so now I regret that I hadn't booked it for Juneau. You just never know which port will be for the best, it's a matter of Luck.
I have a bad reputation on theese boards so take what I say with a grain of salt. The Helidog tour is by far the most bang for your buc, (take it from me I barley enjoyed anthing else) if you have a fat wallet and dont care about the price. However some of these excursions have age limits so be careful to check that out ahead of time. Also, if you are bringing you son so he can see the Alaskan wild life I would consider lowering your expections greatly. There is not much wildlife to see. If you go whale watching with a 7 1/2 year old he probably wont have the patients to see many if at all. The whales in Alaska are very quick and mostly viewed from a distance. Check out the photo gallery youll notice that people dont take many pictures of anything that actually moves in Alaska!
Good luck and have a good trip with you and yours!
Very true on the wildlife viewing options. You need tours and a good pair of binoculars. FACTUALLY- Juneau glacier dog sledding is the most canceled of Alaska excursions- Skagway isn't that far behind. This is how it goes. I have been canceled upon twice. You can't predict the future. It was the luck of the draw you were canceled and it had nothing to do with wrong "advice" from this board. Even TEMSCO bailed out of Juneau dogsledding two years ago, just too many cancelations and they now only run these flights out of Skagway only. Plan on a return trip and hope for the best. There are 3 locations- Juneau, Skagway, Seward most available to cruisers.
You can always do what we did_book it for Juneau and Skagway to allow for cancellations. You can cancel it 24 hours in advance so that if you get to go in Juneau, cancel Skagway. And if Juneau is cancelled, you still have a shot at Skagway. Just be sure to cancel in time!
The cruisecritic.com site has a new post about the glacier flt/dog sledding being cancelled due to lack of snow. You might want to call some of the vendors and check. current status. They are having a real drought this year.
I did a dogsled/helicopter ride with Norwegian Cruise line around 6/2/05 out of Juneau. It was the highlight of the week for me. I was overwhelmed with the copter flight and thrilled with the dogs. Even with all the chances of cancellations it is worth every bit of effort to get a booking. I can only imagine what it would be like to launch out of the glacier basin we sledded in and go for it.
We just did the dogsled tour out of Juneau. It was a beautiful day and a fantastic trip. They had just moved the camp farther up the glacier to get back onto snowpack rather than ice. Our excursion was bumped to a later time, but due to the Mercury's late arrival, not the weather, which was gorgeous.
There were some young children on the bus to the helipad, but I don't know how old they were. They would be able to ride in the sled, but not drive it.
Since you don't pay unless you go, why not book it anyway?
For clairfication, tour purchaser's do not "drive" the sled. There is a professional driver in a tantum sled. Passengers can do the breaks. If you want the real thing, go in the winter and go to dog sledding school. Takes all day, but nothing like being on your own. Have done is twice.