We are booked on Celebrity Mercury to Alaska Sept 12 - 24 and are wondering about shore excursions. Can anyone give advice on what are good excursions (ages of the four in our group are 43, 49, 63 and 65 and all are in good physical shape)
We pre-booked a full-day excursion in Skagway, our first stop. We have four port days in a row, Juneau, Icy Straight point, Sitka and Ketchikan, and I'm concerned about getting burned out on organized excursions.
Are any of these stops better for exploration and shopping on your own, rather than with a group? Are there any excursions that are not to be missed of these four? We also plan to do Butchart Gardens tour in Victoria during our brief stop there.
We did Mercury to Alaska last year and I think my review is in this site someplace. We did not go to Butchardt Gardens although I hear it was beautiful but that the Celebrity excursion was too short with too much emphasis on shopping. Victoria is an easy walk from the dock and a really quaint and clean port.
In Juneau, we followed the advice of other posters and went to a kiosk on the dock for a $10 roundtrip/pp bus ride to Mendenhall Glacier rather that the cruise excursion. You could spend as much time as you wanted there and the bus left every 1/2 hr.
The guys did not want to go whale watching but the girls did and it was terrific. This we booked through Celebrity. We were in May so whales were not as extensive as they are in the summer, but we did see one and lots of other wildlife as well.
Sitka and Ketchikan are very small towns and unless you want to take the plane ride to the glacier, you can cover these places easily by walking. Sitka has no traffic lights! We did get the best prices for souveniers in Ketchikan. The same items got more expensive the farther north you went. We didn't get to Skagway so we missed the lumberjack show which I hear is a lot of fun.
If you don't mind walking, you will get your exercise in these ports.
We did the dog sled on the Glacier out of Juneau. The helicopter ride was magnificient, but the dog sled is just a dog sled. Too expensive. Just take the helicporter tour with landing on glacier or just sightseeing would be ok. The thing is the aerial view. That's what to pay for.
Ketichikan- Do the Misty Fjords tour.
Skagway--we did the train ride and it was nice and good view, but didn't beat the Misty fjords or the Helicopter trip.
I have heard that Capt Larry does a great whale watching trip, but haven't taken it.