Our stops will be Juneau, Ketchican & Skagway. We have booked the noon trip with Captain Larry. Where do you think is the best place to a flightseeing/helicopter and glacier walk? And with which company?
Are you looking for an extended trek??? Northstar trekking out of Juneau. If looking for a "regular" helicopter glacier landing- since you have booked with orca- then combo book with Coastal. This will save you an hour in shuttle time and make better use of your time in Juneau. I have flown with Coastal 3 times- a great company.
Then your question is easy....Skagway. No such operations in Ketchikan because of proximity to glaciers...Ketchikan flightseeing will take you to Misty Fjords, but no glacier.
You may want to reconsider having a second excursion in Juneau depending on your time in port. Ketchikan is often a short port day that accommodates 1 lengthy excursion + sightseeing around town. Skagway is longer, but offers a lot to see without choosing a second excursion because you have the park services programs on the history. Juneau typically has long days and I, at least, preferred it for the wealth of excursions available. As far as walking around, I found it had less charm than some of the other ports ... so, without a second formal excursion, I'd plan on doing an independent hike or to spend time at one of several museums or to head up to the Mendenhall for viewing purposes. I just preferred to use the time to get away into nature a bit. Outside of your limitations, selecting between Juneau and Skagway is really a matter of what works best in your schedule ... although Juneau seems to offer more options (including the trek, which is fantastic!)
Temsco Helicopters is the outfit in Scagway. I think they have a monpoly there. If you are interested I have an online photo album of about 20 pictures I took there. Email me off line and I will link you to these if you want. Ron
Shirley, Im going in July,and Juneau seems to offer the Helicopter/glacier treks or walk.You might check the excursions offered by your ship.I know I was interested in doing only 1 major excursion per port.For me that was Juneau-Helicopter/Glacier Trek; Skagway-the train;Ketchican-Misty Fjords Floatplane/lake landing with Island WIngs.I hope you can figure your glacier walk out..I know I got a headache after awhile..lol..but then Ive never been to Alaska.I know there are several ppl on these boards that seem to point in the right directions (Karen16 being one).I booked my glacier walk thru my cruise ship,and almost booked one thru NorthStar Trekking until I realized they were both in Juneau! I can say this,NorthStar was great about responding quickly.I did inquire with another,still havent heard back from that one.And Michelle/Island Wings was very prompt in my questions about the Misty Fjords,so I booked with her and have heard nothing but great things.
For extended Glacier Trekking this is available out of Juneau with Northstar and ERA- who usually won't direct book cruise ship passengers. A big bargain also with MICA guides (not a fly in) is a great option- about 2 hours northeast of Anchorage. I went with them last year and have everything - even repelling if desired.
Why not fly with the helicopter company that won Princess Cruises "Shore Excursion of the Year" in Juneau! Era Helicopters in Juneau has a tour called the "4 Glacier Adventure Tour" that won that award last summer! It has also won it in the past! One of their pilots named "Chuck", also won from Princess, "Tour Host of the Season" which says a lot about their Pilots! I am not aware of Coastal or Temsco ever winning that prestigous award. You might consider going with Era while in Juneau. They also do the Dog Sled Tours in Juneau and an Outback Adventure tour which is Glacier Treking with a guide for an hour on the ice! I have been living and working in Juneau for over 15 years and I know all of the companies and Era has a great reputation with the community and an excellent safety record. They have contracts with the Cruise Ships so you would normally have to book through the ships. Enjoy your cruise and I hope I have helped.
Dot, I've done the 2-hour trek in Juneau (Northstar trekking). Its probably quite a bit more difficult than the walk, but its still not very difficult if you are able bodied. As opposed to the walk, the trek will require going up, down and sidestepping to get to various areas. That requires some training and practice and requires you to kick your feet into the ice so that the crampons (spikes attached to the front & bottom of your boot) grab the ice and that you make use of an ice ax/walking stick. I have weak calf muscles and poor rotation in my ankle due to club feet and so I had some soreness that evening (of course I'd been walking and hiking quite a bit over the past several days). The duration of the trip was not tiring at all. Every time that there is something even moderately difficult (stuff that is really easy for participants towards the end of the trek), the guides escort you 1-by-1. This means that you have big breaks between tackling obstacles as you wait for the rest of the group...this is great time for looking around and taking pictures and ultimately means that nobody on our group was tired after 2 hours. All in all, I would say it was as strenuous as a normal hike.
From what I could tell, the expereince is totally different than the walkabout. We got fairly high and looked back at the landing site where other people were doing the glacier walk. It was amazing the stuff we were seeing that was just at a higher elevation than they were going ... waterfalls on the surface of the glacier, proximity to the dramatic formations, looking down 2 moulins (200+ foot holes in the ice that are large enough to crawl down and that have the most amazing deep electric blue colors) while tethered to an ice screw.
Thanks jrask! You answered this question for me on another board,so I appreciate you going into it further here (and I promise,I only asked about this twice !).It sounds like a lot of fun,and I saw the pics you mentioned on NorthStars site,and they were amazing.My sister in law saw them too and I recall she was a little alarmed,and I told her ours wouldnt be that scary looking......and now,Im thinking that ours might be about like the pictures showed..I dont know if I should warn her now,or surprise her! Ive been wanting to do the glacier walk since my first visit to these Alaska boards.Im a little concerned over the being cold part (and the potty situation!!) but Im taking all advice,and will lawyer top and bottom and hope for the best!
I figured it was you on the other site, but some people use one or the other, so I try to spread the wealth.
Really, don't worry about the cold thing. Just dress in layers and bring a bit more than what you need for walking around Juneau itself. Northstar will tell you how much you should bring once you get to their location and they start suiting you up. At any rate, its well worth it. The bathroom issue may be a more legit concern. Everyone makes a bathroom run and I'm not sure I would be loading up on water before the flight.
As for pictures, I haven't posted them, but am planning on doing so within the next week or so. I was adding captions and what not (my captions tend to be very thorough and give stories and history rather than just locations) and then got too busy. But, given the request, I'll try to speed it up. I have lots of good trek pictures as well as shots from both our cruise and independent land tour. Maybe my trek pictures will calm your sister in law a bit.
Jrask..thank you again..I talked to my brother and sil and they seem to think everything will be ok...ofcourse,they havent looked at the pics from the site again.They told me they thought the worst part would be the height..they both seem to have a problem with that.So...they both said they didnt think they would be leaning over looking down into that hole..and asked me if I would...I said,yes,I think I probably will! Cant wait to see your pics,they should help a lot! Dot
Other than the helicopter portion, I doubt they will have any height issues. We didn't have any moments where we were walking along a ledge with a big drop or anything like that. Its like walking up a hill with some parts a few steep gains for short periods, you gain altitude, but its gradual. 1-2 people in our group opted out of leaning over the moulin. But, they can also tell the guide that they are a little nervous and only want to peak a bit into the hole. Nobody else mentioned a height issue during any other portion.
I assume that's directed at me. I appologize that I haven't gotten to the pictures yet....craziness at work so I'll see if I can get to it in the 5 free hours I have this weekend.
As to the question, I cruised to Alaska on Princess in early-mid August last year (Vancouver-Ketchikan-Juneau-Skagway-Glacier Bay-College Fjord) with an independent land tour that took me to Seward, Anchorage and Denali and stops along the way.
We had a digital and still camera, and I was better at capturing the small things on the still camera. So, Vancouver digital pictures are restricted to a few on a hike in Stanley Park. Ketchikan has a few shots around town and on our kayak trip (but not the totems, etc.). Juneau has a few around town with a lot on the glacier and several on a forest hike. Skagway was captured exclusively on the still. Lots of good glacier shots in GB and CF. Anchorage shots are of our bike trip. Kenai Fjords shots are better on the still because the wildlife moves to quickly for the digital, but lots of great digitals in Denali.
Iím planning a cruise at the end of July. In booking an extended glacier trek, what time of day is the best? I assume that some of these trips get canceled due to poor weather/ visibility. Any advice would be great.
There are no sure predictions with Alaska weather, so just always have back up plans. I usually book my flights for first available, then I have a block of time for other touring. Book what fits your port time best.
i have emailed temsco and orca to get a price list and so far nothing emailed to me,,,,,,,, so I'm very diappointed as I have been looking at some of the shore excursions off the ship and they are booked.
Belle, I have spoken to Pam at Orca several times and she is extremely helpful and friendly, this is the phone number I have 1-888-733-ORCA. It sometimes takes her a day or so to return the calls. we have the 3:30 whale watch booked with them and are considering the kayak tour they offer in Ketichan. Good Luck!!