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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:04 PM
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Default First time Alaskan cruise.

We have a Cruise tour planned with Princess Cruise lines for August 18th-30. What kind of weather can we expect? Is the helicopter ride to the glaciers worth the money?
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 07:49 PM
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Its just so hard to predict the weather you'll encounter, but be ready for some rain during the vacation, bring some kind of rain gear.

Some people love the heli rides to the glaciers, is it worth it, up to you.

Just make sure to plan some excursions and see the beautiful country up there.

What Princess ship are you on? I'll be on Star the 17th of Aug.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Our trips have been in August and on our first trip all I'd packed was flannel shirts for our excursions.....it was 80+ degrees F when we pulled into Juneau and I was way too hot of course.

Our next trip, it was pouring rain and quite cool and I needed the flannel.

So, in other words, pack a little or everything and be prepared to layer your clothes.
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Old July 5th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: First time Alaskan cruise.

trplhrn,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We have a Cruise tour planned with Princess Cruise lines for August 18th-30. What kind of weather can we expect?
>> Ketchikan, situated in the middle of a temperate rain forest, is the wettest city in North America with over 250 days of rain per year. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the 60's there.

>> Juneau is at the northern edge of the same rain forest, where the weather is highly variable. On sunny days, temperatures in the 80's are likely. On rainy days, temperatures in the 60's are likely.

>> Skagway is far enough up a fjord to get a good chinook, which usually brings sunny weather and temperatures in the 70's or lower 80's.

>> In Anchorage, you probably will encounter good weather with daytime temperatures in the 70's to 80's.

>> And finally, the calving of glaciers provides a steady supply of icebergs into the bays and inlets where they meet the sea, ensuring that they remain full of ice water, which has a temperature of 32 degrees. The air above those bays is not much warmer (typically upper 30's) and quite damp, so you will definitely appreciate a heavy coat, gloves or mittens, and a warm hat when you are out on deck viewing glaciers. If you opt to take a glacier flightseeing tour, you'll also want suitable boots.

Is the helicopter ride to the glaciers worth the money?

Hmmm...

A helicopter ride is a real thrill, but those excursions are very expensive. If you are concerned enough about the cost to ask that question... well, let's just say that Alaska offers plenty else to do that's a whole lot less expensive.

BTW, be sure to include a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) in your plans for Skagway. It offers a taste of the "gold rush" era coupled with absolutely magnificent scenery! If you book the tour as a shore excursion, the train will depart from and return to the pier.

Norm.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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trplhrn,

I think more than a few have asked that question. I know I did!

Yes, it is expensive and if you get bad reviews to your question you might reconsider and budget your money on other excursions.

When we went to Alaska we had no idea IF we would be going again, only to discover we were already planning another vacation to Alaska to see more. That's the hold Alaska has on almost everyone that has seen any part of her.

I will tell you this: I will take a helicopter tour the very next time we go to Alaska. Budgeting and saving my money as we speak. You just can't appreciate the full Alaska experience from the ground----you have to get up------up and away. The scenery is just breath taking. I have a hard time finding adjectives that adequetely describe Her beauty.

I hope this helps in your decision.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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Default Thanks for the Responses

I am planning a cruise for my parents anniversary and they both love flying. Your responses confirmed my decision to book
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Old September 11th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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PilotDane's Cheap Alaska:

The park service offers a free walking tour in Skagway. I think they are on 2nd street right next door to the White Pass & Yukon R&R store. When you first get off the ship go get your free ticket (they limit the group size). It was an interesting walk through the history of Skagway, and the museum has a display of what each miner had to carry up and over the mountains. The town is tiny. You can walk everywhere in town and be back on the ship by tea time.

In Juneau you can catch a cheap bus on the docks (cheaper than booking on the ship) for a ride up to the Mendenhall Glacier. They run about every 15-20 minutes so you can go and return whenever you want. It is a good place to see bears and get pictures of the glacier and icebergs. You cannot get up onto the glacier without a long hike. In town there are many shops & restaurants within walking distance of the docks and there are many tour operator stands if you want to book something off the ship.

Ketchikan: There is a visitor information center right on the docks with brochures, free maps and restrooms. If you are mobile (can walk and climb stairs) the walking tour is great and can be done in an hour, but plan on taking more time. There are lots of photo opportunities along the walk. The walk takes you through Creek Street and out the back side, up the hill past some beautiful salmon streams, by the hatchery and Totem Heritage Center (fee) and back to town. There is a nice park at the top for a rest break and there are several totem poles along the walk you can see and get pictures in front of for free.

Cruising the ocean & in the fijords. Keep a sharp eye out. Wildlife is everywhere and some of the best opportunities are when you do not expect and are not paying attention. When we were cruising in Glacier Nat'l Park we had just left a glacier and everyone went back inside when a mother bear and cub came swimming up within 100 feet of the ship and almost nobody saw them. Dall's Porpoise (they look like small very fast killer whales) can be seen jumping out of the water almost everywhere when cruising out in the ocean. They seem to like racing the ships.
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