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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:08 PM
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Default Best shore excursion

If there were only two choices of shore excursions and the ports were Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, what would you recommend we do so that this will be the trip of a lifetime? Should we book through the cruise line or wait until we arrive?
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 04:07 PM
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A lot of course depends on budget. I've heard that the flightseeing tours such as landing on a glacier in a helicopter from Juneau and floatplaning to Misty Fjords in Ketchikan are fantastic trips.........but were really pricey and we didn't do these. For more affordable I suggest a whalewatch trip in Juneau with a side trip to the Mendenhall glacier. Also in clear weather the Mt Roberts tram is wonderful (don't need to pre-book).
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Old July 5th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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Agreed, the flight trips are fantastic...trips of a lifetime! You don't really see Alaska in port unless you bite the bullet and do one or more! IMHO 8)
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Old July 20th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Being that you want "trip of a lifetime" tours, NEVER wait and book at the dock. Always, have all reservations and plans in place before you leave. Your "dock" selection will be extremely limited with most tours NOT available, along with inconvenient times.

As for best tours, best will be what is best for you.

I too always am on flights, and actually between a whale watch and glacier helicopter landing, the price difference may only be about $100.

Some of my top tour choices in your ports- glacier helicopter landing, Misty Fjords float plane, Sitka, wildlife boat tour.

I book all independent, and never cruiseline tours.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 01:28 PM
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Default Which independent tour companies, Karen 16?

Karen, we're in the initial stages of planning what we hope to be for our family of 15 the trip of a lifetime to Alaska in 2010.

Because it's our treat we must choose our tours carefully.

Which tour companies have you used and would recommend?
I'd sure appreciate any leads you might offer.

This will be our 45th anniversary. There will be 7 wondergrandchildren ranging in age from 4 to 12.

Thanks in advance for any help to a long range dreamer and planner. I've called the lines we're interested in and dates and prices won't be posted until this time next year. It will be round trip from Vancouver.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 08:19 PM
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In Juneau, I'd plan on a whale watching excursion. You can go with a ship excursion or a private tour company. I'll be going on Capt. Larry next month, Orca enterprises if you want to check them out.

Just be sure to read through all the tours and see what you really want to do. Yea, most of them are on the expensive side, but when will you get a chance to do that kind of thing again?
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 08:39 AM
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Default Cut and Pasted

Karen, I have cut and pasted your advice to a Word file I'm keeping for each port of call. I know I'd never easily relocate things on these blogs.

I appreciate the advice of the experts 'out there.'

Thanks
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Old July 26th, 2008, 05:48 PM
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Ketchikan, is often a short port (not there long). I did the village tour, and enjoyed it. You can do it alone or combined with the lumberjack show. People who went to the lumberjack show all came back with good things to say about it. For me I wanted a little time to walk around town.

I'm returning next month and will be doing the other tour I wanted to do... The Deadliest Catch crab tour.
The boat is from the first season of the show, however has been modified to take passengers out to see first hand how crabbing is done. The big difference is the waters here are MUCH safer.

Juneau, is another short port... one of the best excursions I've ever been on was there! Defiantly go whale watching.

These are little towns with big ships, I would suggest that you book before you leave.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 06:48 PM
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Default Small Towns

Thanks for the reminder Robinpow that these are small towns and ships are sure increasing in size. I'm a long range planner so we'll sure have things booked well before sailing.

More good advice from an experienced cruiser which I have cut and pasted into my ongoing Word documents which I have for each port.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Which independent tour companies, Karen 16?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Novice Senior
Karen, we're in the initial stages of planning what we hope to be for our family of 15 the trip of a lifetime to Alaska in 2010.

Because it's our treat we must choose our tours carefully.

Which tour companies have you used and would recommend?
I'd sure appreciate any leads you might offer.

This will be our 45th anniversary. There will be 7 wondergrandchildren ranging in age from 4 to 12.

Thanks in advance for any help to a long range dreamer and planner. I've called the lines we're interested in and dates and prices won't be posted until this time next year. It will be round trip from Vancouver.

You are a LONG way off, making plans for 2010, so I suggest you just continue to do your homework rather than narrowing down the choices now. They just about, will change over time.

I suggest, you NOT look at "group" bookings, no way will this big group all be on the "same Page" with the high cost of tours, I instead each chose their own. Since you are "paying", another better suggestion, I have would be for you to perhaps, offer a dollar amount for each person. THEN they can use it as desired. Perhaps, doing a costly flight in one port and a great free walking tour in another. I see no point in "compromising for so so tours, just because the group is going. Tours are too excellent to miss if of interest, and too costly to consider if being dragged along.

As for tour operators- you need to determine WHAT tour you want first. Then find a vendor. I never use booking agents etc, and always go direct to the vendor. This establishes a relationship, gets your booking in order accurately, and answers all your questions direct.

Just my two cents.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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Default Whales

I second the recommendation for a whale watching tour in Juneau. Unless you live somewhere that you see tons of whales, it's a great experience for all ages. I went with Orca Enterprises last year & loved it. PS. I was on the first tour in the morning & very few passengers. Full busload waiting to board the boat.

Have an awesome trip.
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