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  #31 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2009, 12:24 AM
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Do your own bookings direct with the tour operators.
See http://www.tourdispatch.com/ for tours
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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looks like we can go on the tundra tour the same day we arrive at the princess denali. they have afternoon excursions as well as mornings.

it will be a long day but it sure sounds worth it.

any reason why this wouldn't work?
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Old April 14th, 2009, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estoniankid
looks like we can go on the tundra tour the same day we arrive at the princess denali. they have afternoon excursions as well as mornings.

it will be a long day but it sure sounds worth it.

any reason why this wouldn't work?
How are you getting to the Denali Princess?? You are going with the most costly option, since the shuttle buses would be free for your 12 year old.

Try and book this through your booking agent. It HAS to have a lodge pick up and you want to get credit for your NHT. The "upsells" have been running about $60pp. This is your ONLY option, as noted, you have made a mistake with this cruisetour choice. It clearly does not seem to be what you thought it was, by your questions.

I will still recommend you consider ditching this and using this time far better with a rental car/RV. Has been 2 for 1 RV coupons available?? Would be simple to do, just cancel the tour part.

I'm sure this is costing you some pretty money. Ask yourself, if you really want to compromise as much as you are??
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Old April 14th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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oops posted twice by mistake deleted
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Old April 14th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen16

You have NO chance of northern lights, you are going too early. You need to look at end of August or later, plus this is an off year. Next peak is 2012.
Karen -- why is 2012 considered the next peak for the Northern lights?
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Old April 14th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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karen, we have free coach transportation from Mckinley to Denali Lodges as part of our package.

we arrive at Denali Lodge at 11:15am. that should give us time to go on afternoon tundra tour. while it may be better to cancel and try to schedule independently, i checked and there aren't any cruises to alaska that fit our calender. the diamond princess on 8/1 is just about sold out and the price to buy a cruise alone is only $200 less per person than our cruise and land tour.

what is the shuttle you're referring to that is free?

is that an alternative to the tundra tour or is it only a transportation option?

plus i've booked some excursions and airfare and it will cost me at least $600 in cancellation costs if i have to eat these.

basically there are excursions at McKinley we can do, and if we can get an afternoon tundra tour i think we will be happy.

now if you could email me where we could talk about this more directly and i can get more info from you, i might be persuaded, but I'm a little intimidated about trying to make all these inland travel arrangements given my complete ignorance in this regards.

you sound quite knowledeable and experienced and i would love to chat with you if you have time
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Old April 14th, 2009, 06:51 PM
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Default go with your gut

I always go with my gut feeling. Some push independents. Take their advice, and then do your research.

Don't let others tell you that you are wrong. Consider options.

My research has shown that the longer tour is the best. It has also shown that early morning is the best for wildlife sightings. But, you must remember, it is your choice what you would like to experience in Alaska. Decide what is best for you.

Everyone will express their opinions, which is why we come to these boards. You must decide what is best you/your family. Examine what you want from your tour.

In no way am I an expert in Alaska. But, even experts, have their own theory on what is best for everyone.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estoniankid
karen, we have free coach transportation from Mckinley to Denali Lodges as part of our package.

we arrive at Denali Lodge at 11:15am. that should give us time to go on afternoon tundra tour. while it may be better to cancel and try to schedule independently, i checked and there aren't any cruises to alaska that fit our calender. the diamond princess on 8/1 is just about sold out and the price to buy a cruise alone is only $200 less per person than our cruise and land tour.

what is the shuttle you're referring to that is free?

is that an alternative to the tundra tour or is it only a transportation option?

plus i've booked some excursions and airfare and it will cost me at least $600 in cancellation costs if i have to eat these.

basically there are excursions at McKinley we can do, and if we can get an afternoon tundra tour i think we will be happy.

now if you could email me where we could talk about this more directly and i can get more info from you, i might be persuaded, but I'm a little intimidated about trying to make all these inland travel arrangements given my complete ignorance in this regards.

you sound quite knowledeable and experienced and i would love to chat with you if you have time
To get into Denali Park, you take the Park Road, 90 miles. The NHT only goes on the public section to mile 16, TWT to mile 53. My min. in is Eielson shuttle bus, mile 66. The SHUTTLE buses are 1/3 the price of the "tour" buses, which are nicer and have "commentary". But, in my opinion, it's all about distance here, scenery and wildlife. IF you want the history about Denali Park, read up on it. www.nps.gov/dena The Shuttle buses are free for under 14. IF you go with a Tundra Wilderness tour, reports have been an additional charge of $60pp. Refunds have been reported on the Natural History tours of around $50pp. The Shuttle buses to Eielson are about $35pp. Problem is= Princess may NOT run shuttles back to their lodge late. It would be about a mile walk. You may have luck finding someone on the bus to drop you off?? Or you can look into other lodges shuttles, which in the past have been used. You also need to bring on all your own food and drink, but you would be best to do that on the TWT as well. Very skimpy box lunch.

I believe there is a contact feature on this board, if you wish to use it.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old April 16th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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thanks for the info Karen.

so you recommend taking the shuttle bus to Eielson visitor center over taking the tundra wildlife tour. that is interesting because most everyone I have communicated with about denali n.p. recommend the tundra tour.

I assume the shuttles run on some sort of schedule, but haven't been able to
locate that information. do the shuttles run until 9:00 or 10:00 at night.
want to be sure we can get back to our starting point.

thanks again for all your help
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Old April 18th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estoniankid
thanks for the info Karen.

so you recommend taking the shuttle bus to Eielson visitor center over taking the tundra wildlife tour. that is interesting because most everyone I have communicated with about denali n.p. recommend the tundra tour.

I assume the shuttles run on some sort of schedule, but haven't been able to
locate that information. do the shuttles run until 9:00 or 10:00 at night.
want to be sure we can get back to our starting point.

thanks again for all your help
Just a question- who are you "communicating" with??? IF travel agents, other cruisetour people. Neither, is even going to know the shuttle buses even exist. The shuttle bus is a significantly cheaper option for you. BUT you have transfer problems with being stuck on a cruisetour and none of your own transportation. The access center where the shuttle buses pick up is about a mile away. All the buses and distances are listed www.nps.gov/dena
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old April 20th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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ok, found the shuttle schedule and we can take the shuttle to Eielson leaving at 2:00 which should give us plenty of time to eat and get prepared. the hotel has shuttles running to the wildlife center until 8:00pm. so the trick is getting back. i will attemp to arrange a special pick up from the hotel, and if
that is not possible, we will walk back. am I incorrect in thinking it is feasible
to walk back at 10:00 pm?

I am only talking with people on alaska message boards, no travel agents and trying to do my research online. people like yourself have been informative and helpful and i thank you for taking the time to answer all
my questions.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 02:39 PM
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There's no comparison between the RR's unless all you are looking for is a train ride. White Pass is a relatively short ride that has no end. It's round trip to the summit and is more a scenic viewpoint. It's also in the southeast rainforest. Way different climate than the interior. You stand good chance to see lots of wild life in the train from Anchorage. Probably more moose than you want, but also wolves, caribou and assorted critter types. The views can be monotonous, but the perspective that there is all of this gorgeous wilderness for hundreds of miles is a spectical in itself.

I would do both. Skagway White Pass excursion is my favorite.

By the way, not to be picky, but Inuit don't live in Ketchikan. Inuit live in the interior and are of Asian descent. Ketchikan has Tlingit and Haida who are related to what used to be referred to as American Indian.

Do as much as you can, but don't shut down the possibility of a return! You just may fall in love while you are there! 8)
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 05:09 PM
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>>White Pass is a relatively short ride that has no end. It's round trip to the summit and is more a scenic viewpoint. It's also in the southeast rainforest.<<

You only went on 1/3 of the train route - it goes to Carcross, which is dramatically different country than the coast (and is "the end" of the line now).
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 07:19 PM
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My apologies. I stand corrected.

When I did the excursion in 2001, we purchased from the cruise line. I was very disappointed to learn that we could only go as far as the summit because the rest of the rail had been closed down. It was a great disappointment because I had been able to ride 5 times between 1972 and 1974 on school field trips. Back then, the train stopped at a quaint train station that was a restaurant that served a family style Yukon meal. It is my fondest childhood memory.

If they have reopened the rest of the rail since 2001, I'm quite unlucky, as my itinerary doesn't include Skagway.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 01:23 PM
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Has anyone seen the lumberjack show in Ketchikan? Is it worth seeing? Is it close to the pier? How long is the show? My ship only stays in Ketchikan from 06:00 to 13:00.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 08:28 PM
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I haven't seen it, but it is right in town, a short walk from the pier.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Highlights included in the tour:
Riverboat Cruise in Fairbanks
Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park
Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage
Glacier Bay National Park cruising


LAND Itinerary : May 15 – 25Day Destination
1 - Anchorage - check into your hotel for the night.
2 - Anchorage/Denali
Ride Princess luxury railcars to Denali National Park. Enjoy an
evening of leisure at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.
3 - Denali
This morning, travel deep into Denali National Park on the Tundra
Wilderness Tour. The rest of the day is yours for optional activities or to
enjoy the amenities at the lodge.
4 - Denali/Fairbanks
Sightsee by motorcoach to Fairbanks and check into your hotel.
Enjoy an evening Riverboat Cruise on an authentic sternwheeler.
5 - Fairbanks/Coldfoot
Sightsee by motorcoach north across the Arctic Circle to Coldfoot for
the night.
6 - Coldfoot/Prudhoe Bay
Continue your motorcoach journey north to Prudhoe Bay.
This remote town is located on the Arctic Ocean and home to Pump
Station No. 1 of the TransAlaska pipeline.
7 - Prudhoe Bay/Anchorage
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Prudhoe Bay. Fly to Anchorage for
the night.
8 - Anchorage/Whittier
Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center enroute to your awaiting ship in
Whittier. Embark and sail this evening.

SEA: May 25-June 1 Arrival
8 - Anchorage (Whittier), Alaska 9:30 PM
9 - College Fjord, Alaska (Scenic Cruising) 6:00 AM 9:00 AM
10 - Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska (Scenic Cruising) 10:30 AM 8:30 PM
11 - Skagway, Alaska -
RESERVED: KLONDIKE SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS–7:00 AM 8:30 PM
12 - Juneau, Alaska - you choose land activities 6:30 AM 4:00 PM
13 - Ketchikan, Alaska -
:o RESERVED: RAINFOREST CANOPY & ZIPLINE EXP
10:00 AM 6:00 PM
14 - At Sea
15 - Vancouver, British Columbia 7:30 AM
THE END

My questions: I hope I choose the right excursions.
My dilemma : In Juneau do I choose helicopter to the glacier or whale watching with captain Larry? I wish i had time for both but doesn't look like it.
In KETCHIKAN I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to see the totem poles, gardens, etc. By myself.
[/b]
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chocolady
Highlights included in the tour:
Riverboat Cruise in Fairbanks
Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park
Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage
Glacier Bay National Park cruising


LAND Itinerary : May 15 – 25Day Destination
1 - Anchorage - check into your hotel for the night.
2 - Anchorage/Denali
Ride Princess luxury railcars to Denali National Park. Enjoy an
evening of leisure at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.
3 - Denali
This morning, travel deep into Denali National Park on the Tundra
Wilderness Tour. The rest of the day is yours for optional activities or to
enjoy the amenities at the lodge.
4 - Denali/Fairbanks
Sightsee by motorcoach to Fairbanks and check into your hotel.
Enjoy an evening Riverboat Cruise on an authentic sternwheeler.
5 - Fairbanks/Coldfoot
Sightsee by motorcoach north across the Arctic Circle to Coldfoot for
the night.
6 - Coldfoot/Prudhoe Bay
Continue your motorcoach journey north to Prudhoe Bay.
This remote town is located on the Arctic Ocean and home to Pump
Station No. 1 of the TransAlaska pipeline.
7 - Prudhoe Bay/Anchorage
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Prudhoe Bay. Fly to Anchorage for
the night.
8 - Anchorage/Whittier
Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center enroute to your awaiting ship in
Whittier. Embark and sail this evening.

SEA: May 25-June 1 Arrival
8 - Anchorage (Whittier), Alaska 9:30 PM
9 - College Fjord, Alaska (Scenic Cruising) 6:00 AM 9:00 AM
10 - Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska (Scenic Cruising) 10:30 AM 8:30 PM
11 - Skagway, Alaska -
RESERVED: KLONDIKE SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS–7:00 AM 8:30 PM
12 - Juneau, Alaska - you choose land activities 6:30 AM 4:00 PM
13 - Ketchikan, Alaska -
:o RESERVED: RAINFOREST CANOPY & ZIPLINE EXP
10:00 AM 6:00 PM
14 - At Sea
15 - Vancouver, British Columbia 7:30 AM
THE END

My questions: I hope I choose the right excursions.
My dilemma : In Juneau do I choose helicopter to the glacier or whale watching with captain Larry? I wish i had time for both but doesn't look like it.
In KETCHIKAN I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to see the totem poles, gardens, etc. By myself.
[/b]
You do realize you are going way early for Prudhoe, be certain to take WARM clothes, myself, I would bring a winter coat. It will be a lot of snow. AND you will NOT be getting the Tundra Wilderness tour, no matter WHAT your itinerary says, it is NOT running, again you are going too early. You are getting Teklanika Tundra Wilderness Tour, 24 miles shorter than the TWT.

As for your touring, you definately have time for both a glacier helicopter landing and whale watch, IF you want it. You need to cobook these, so contact either vendor, and they will set it up.

Ketchikan is loaded with totems, what garden?? Again with you going so early, gardens aren't going to be what they will be later. A cheap consideration is to get to Totem Bight via city bus, print out and take with you their totem pole guide. You need to allow 3 hours for this, but you have plenty of time- IF totems are your interest.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 09:54 AM
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Thanks. I have my ski clothing packed. I know it's still snowing - I checked the weather report. I hope we’ll not be disappointed.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Default RCL 5% off excursions

For those of you cruising on Royal Caribbean:

RCL is having a 5% off sale on excursions booked online now through 6/7/2009
7-night Alaska cruises on Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the
Seas and Serenade of the Seas.
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old June 1st, 2009, 08:40 PM
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Tlingit Eagle,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
If they have reopened the rest of the rail since 2001, I'm quite unlucky, as my itinerary doesn't include Skagway.
The main line of the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) actually runs from Skagway to Whitehorse, but I think that the segment between Carcross and Whitehorse is still out of service. The railroad is now providing passenger service between Skagway and Carcross, though.

The portion of the line between Skagway and Summit Lake is probably the most scenic, though. They built the whole line with manual labor ("pick and shovel" -- and the assistance of a bit of dynamite) in about nine months, and the terrain in this segment is so rugged that modern civil engineers are both very impressed and not at all certain that they could reproduce it! There's a photo album on the railroad's web site.

Norm.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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[quote="Rev22:17"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by You

The main line of the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) actually runs from Skagway to Whitehorse, but I think that the segment between Carcross and Whitehorse is still out of service. The railroad is now providing passenger service between Skagway and Carcross, though.

The portion of the line between Skagway and Summit Lake is probably the most scenic, though. They built the whole line with manual labor ("pick and shovel" -- and the assistance of a bit of dynamite) in about nine months, and the terrain in this segment is so rugged that modern civil engineers are both very impressed and not at all certain that they could reproduce it! There's a photo album on the railroad's web site.

Norm.
For clairfication, the train has service between Skagway and Lake Bennett. However, past the summit trips. it has NOT run this season yet and still scheduled not to start until after mid June due to repairing the tracks from a wash out. Did see them working on this last week.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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Wildrover, Hi

You asked why 2012 will be a good year for northern lights. I am an amatuer astronomer. In other words, I am a lady who dabbles in astronomy, meteorology, etc. I find it horribly interesting.

In 2012 the earth's sun will be especially fiery, spewing up more violent flames than usual and; therefore, because of its greater solar activity will, in turn, result in more display of northern lights! There is a better chance of seeing these lights much later in the summer, as late as possible. Fall and winter are the best times.

Enjoy your cruise.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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Wow, kukana21 is right!

I googled it and the sun's predicted increased activity in 2012 will make for peak viewing conditions of the Northern lights!

Fascinating! Thanks kukana21!!

I just may have to make my way north in 2012.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kukana21
Wildrover, Hi

You asked why 2012 will be a good year for northern lights. I am an amatuer astronomer. In other words, I am a lady who dabbles in astronomy, meteorology, etc. I find it horribly interesting.

In 2012 the earth's sun will be especially fiery, spewing up more violent flames than usual and; therefore, because of its greater solar activity will, in turn, result in more display of northern lights! There is a better chance of seeing these lights much later in the summer, as late as possible. Fall and winter are the best times.

Enjoy your cruise.
What is the best place to view the Northern Lights? I have heard September is a good time of year, is that true? This maybe something good to book in 2012. Thanks for the information.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 09:37 PM
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This is what I have learned so far...

The daylight hours in Alaska in the summer are very long = like 4 am - 10 pm -- which doesn't make for optimal viewing of the Northern lights.
So September has a shorter daytime making it a better viewing season. Not best, just better.

Also, you really need to be in the northern interior to see the Northern Lights. The cruises tend not to travel far enough north for this. However, maybe 2012 will be the exception?
Maybe book a cruise tour?
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Old July 1st, 2009, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: MUST DO Alaska excursions.....looking for advice.

[quote="Rev22:17"]Jon,

[quote="You"]I booked a Carnival (7 day Northbound) cruise (6/24/2009)



>> In Ketchikan, the shore excursion to Saxman Village is very interesting. There you're greeted by an interesting collection of unique Inuit totems. quote]


very unique
the inuit don't live in the southeast.

tlingit?
haida?
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 05:59 PM
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bottom-dragger, is it true that Ketchikan is the Tiajuana of Alaska?

( I think that is hysterical. You have a way with words. )
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Old July 25th, 2009, 08:08 PM
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Yes, booking through the cruise lines will be more expensive. I am a resident of Ketchikan, AK and there are a million tours to choose from that aren't listed in the cruise booklets. Go to www.visit-ketchikan.com to see the visitor's bureau website. Also, www.Ketchikanblog.com has good info for tourists.

If you stop in Ketchikan, you MuST do the Misty Fjords seaplane tour. I went a few weeks ago and highly recommend it. www.Alaskaseaplanetours.com is who we booked ours through. It's a smaller company...you might be able to get a better deal than the bigger sea plane companies in town.
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