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-   -   Alaska Princess excursions what are the best? (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/princess-cruise-lines/374974-alaska-princess-excursions-what-best.html)

Ak first timer July 3rd, 2010 06:13 PM

Alaska Princess excursions what are the best?
 
Headed to Alaska for the first time. I will be aboard the Princess Island Princess ship. I am doing the cruise plus the land portion. I am wondering what are the best excursions while on my trip. Is the helicopter tour to the Artctic circle worth the $? What about the helicopter triip to the Glacier? Any suggestions? I do not have any physical considerations so anything is within my scope.

Donna July 3rd, 2010 06:25 PM

AK,
What are the ports you will be visiting?? I would read everything you can on the different ports and go to the Princess web-site and read through all the excursions and see what interests you. You will see the just about all the excursions are pricey, so you need to choose accordingly...

sistagoldenhair July 4th, 2010 09:37 AM

The train ride up the mountain is great - wonderful scenery!!! Also, the Red Dog saloon is very fun and lively.

Enjoy your cruise!

firehoss July 4th, 2010 10:01 AM

Skip the 'whale watch' tours.

we loved the Deadliest Catch in Ketchican. Absolutely the best.

Rented a pickup in Skagway and drove to Canada and back. Loved the freedom and no crowds.

It's all good...jist sum gooder then others:)

Donna July 4th, 2010 10:11 AM

I actually enjoyed going whale watching with Capt. Larry in Juneau...Its a more relaxed kind of excursion in a smaller boat with just a few people...

The train ride in Skagway is also something to consider doing, get a lot of the local history throughout the ride up..

Ak first timer July 4th, 2010 01:41 PM

Alaska Princess excursions
 
Thanks for the info guys.
Donna, I will be stopping in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. After getting to Whittier I will be continuing on the land portion to Mt. McKinley, Denali, and Fairbanks. I am wondering if anyone took the helicopter excursion to the Arctic Circle. I want to land on the glacier and wonder if you take the Arctic excursion if you also get to land on a glacier. The website descriptions are not very informative. I like talking to folks who have actually done the trip.
I am only 45 years old, but have cancer and this will probably be the last trip I get to take. I want to do the best! I am not into Hokey, disney-like excursions. I want to see the unique and awesome. I have done the whale watching off the coast of the Azores. Probably would like something different this time.

What is the Island Princess ship like? I know it is not brand new, but maybe has been upgraded since its inception?

Ak first timer July 4th, 2010 01:45 PM

Alaska Princess Excursions
 
Hi guys!
Does it really matter which side of the ship your cabin is on for the scenice cruising? Currently, I have a suite on the Dolphin deck, but is on the port side of the ship. Am I going to miss the scenery since going north the starbird side of the ship is facing land? I am hoping that when we sail into the scenic areas we have to turn around to cruise back out and I will get to see it all from my balcony.

Fern July 4th, 2010 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ak first timer (Post 1301395)
Thanks for the info guys.
Donna, I will be stopping in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. After getting to Whittier I will be continuing on the land portion to Mt. McKinley, Denali, and Fairbanks. I am wondering if anyone took the helicopter excursion to the Arctic Circle. I want to land on the glacier and wonder if you take the Arctic excursion if you also get to land on a glacier. The website descriptions are not very informative. I like talking to folks who have actually done the trip.
I am only 45 years old, but have cancer and this will probably be the last trip I get to take. I want to do the best! I am not into Hokey, disney-like excursions. I want to see the unique and awesome. I have done the whale watching off the coast of the Azores. Probably would like something different this time.

What is the Island Princess ship like? I know it is not brand new, but maybe has been upgraded since its inception?

The Island Princess is our favorite ship! It's not too big, not too small. It's very easy to find your way around. The crew are great! We did love the whale watching in Juneau. The captain of our whale watching boat had to keep moving to keep the "legal" limit between us and the whales :D! We enjoyed the White Pass railroad in Skagway.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ak first timer (Post 1301397)
Hi guys!
Does it really matter which side of the ship your cabin is on for the scenice cruising? Currently, I have a suite on the Dolphin deck, but is on the port side of the ship. Am I going to miss the scenery since going north the starbird side of the ship is facing land? I am hoping that when we sail into the scenic areas we have to turn around to cruise back out and I will get to see it all from my balcony.

There's good scenery on both sides of the ship. Yes, when you're in a scenic area the Captain will turn the ship so that everyone can see. If you don't mind looking "backward" the aft decks are great for viewing the scenery.

rcknbdy@aol.com July 11th, 2010 01:06 AM

Hi my name is Marie and I just got back from a 2 week Royal Princess cruise, I am also a first timer.You can go on my Facebook, see my pics . Marie Ayers Wong. But I will tell you it was more than I dreamed it would be. But you have a valid question and I found out things the hard way, so if I can help answer your questions I will try...:)Marie

rcknbdy@aol.com July 11th, 2010 02:49 AM

I booked 2 helicopter excursions, one in Juneau and one in Ketchikan, I wanted to take a helicopter to the Glacier. well I was suppose meet at 8:00 am but it kept getting pushed back, then around 4:00 we boarded the bus then 10 minutes were told it was cancelled do to weather and it was;nt safeto fly.

nctraveler54 July 11th, 2010 03:16 PM

My wife and I did the following:

Juneau - chopper to the glacier
Skagway - bus/train to Yukon
Ketchikan - Island Wings float plane

All were great, Skagway was the best!

Don

dld July 26th, 2010 06:48 AM

Island Wings is in Juneau and Ketchikan?

nctraveler54 July 26th, 2010 07:51 AM

Island Wings
 
Misty Fjords Flightseeing Tours Ketchikan Alaska Misty Fiords Floatplane Sightseeing Tour

Ketchikan - great trip. Booked it directly through them, not the cruise ship. There was five plus the pilot on our trip.

gardener46 July 26th, 2010 09:47 PM

alaska
 
We just got back from a cruise tour on the Coral Princess--- the train -bus (in Skagway) tour to the Yukon(Carcross) and the Tundra tour in Denali--were our two highlights.

libd July 28th, 2010 01:43 PM

shore excursions
 
My wife and I did all we could. Juneau: Whale watching was great as we had a whale breach right in front of the boat, twice. Tram ride gave a great view especially of the ship (Golden Princess). Skagway: we loved the sled dog musher's camp where after a short ride we learned all about the gear they need for the Itidarod race. After lunch in town we rode a helicopter up the nearby ridges and it was exciting. Some in our group did the wildlife preserve tour and raved about it at length. Glacier Bay was stunning without leaving the ship. Ketchikan: the best native art was here and I wished I had more money to spend. We also did the floatplane through the Misty Fjiords and enjoyed a calm day and it was a full hour ride. Victoria: The Provincial Museum is one of the best in the world. You should go if you can. Some of my family took the horse drawn carraige tour and loved it.

alshasta July 30th, 2010 11:15 PM

We took a float plane trip in Juneua to the Taku Lodge. The flight was incredible and the salmon bake at the lodge was fantastic.

In Skagway we took the White Horse Railroad. I think this is a "Dont miss" excursion.

Have a great trip.

Fern July 31st, 2010 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ak first timer (Post 1301289)
Headed to Alaska for the first time. I will be aboard the Princess Island Princess ship. I am doing the cruise plus the land portion. I am wondering what are the best excursions while on my trip. Is the helicopter tour to the Artctic circle worth the $? What about the helicopter triip to the Glacier? Any suggestions? I do not have any physical considerations so anything is within my scope.

While we've all recommended different excursions I really don't think there's a "bad :mad: " one in the bunch!

I don't usually "gush" :D, but our Alaska B2B cruise on the Island Princess was incredible! We didn't spend big buck's for excursions (no helicopters), but had a wonderful experience!

Can't wait to go back :),

Wormy53 August 4th, 2010 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nctraveler54 (Post 1302824)
My wife and I did the following:

Juneau - chopper to the glacier
Skagway - bus/train to Yukon
Ketchikan - Island Wings float plane

All were great, Skagway was the best!

Don

I agree that these are the best of the best!! With your ports and your age - these would be the most "memorable". Once you have been to these ports before, then I may pick some others. But for a first-timer, these represent the most I think Alaska has to offer.

worthew8 August 7th, 2010 07:34 PM

I think you've decide you want to do the Artcic circle, so go for it. It's all about what you think Alaska should be.

My cruisemate knowledge told me to book a couple of helicopter trips (weather plays a great part on cancellations). I loved the dogsled tour in Skagway, although I had to make a choice of White Pass train ride due to weather, but I did not want to blow the chance of sledding on a glacier. By booking through the ship, my postponed dogsledding trip allowed me to cancel, without charge, my White Pass train excursion.

A Photo Safari in Juneau allowed me to visit the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watch. Mt Roberts Tramway was awesome also.

Ketchikan supplied me with a great small plane ride through Misty Fjords.

Experiencing Alaska through water is not enough, save your money and do it right! Do what you want, and plan on cancellations.

iml8 August 8th, 2010 04:04 PM

Hi AK first timer,

Here is some information for your cruisetour:

Island Princess inaugural cruise: Jul. 12, 2003, most recent drydock: May 2008

Here is more information on the two Arctic tours (from Fairbanks):

ARCTIC CIRCLE AIR ADVENTURE
The Arctic Circle Air Adventure departs from Fairbanks heading north above the heartland — over the mighty Yukon River, home to Native villages and above Brooks Range where herds of caribou graze on the tundra. The flight traverses gold-mining fields that brought so many people to this land in the first place and continue to operate nearly 100 years later. The stark metal of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline sparkles in the sunlight, clearly amiss in the green and brown landscape, yet striking in its construction; an icon of the fascinating history of Alaska’s Arctic region.

Soon after passing just south of the Gates of the Arctic National Park, the plane crosses the Arctic Circle and makes a ceremonious landing at a wilderness community on the Middle Fork Koyukuk River. You’ll walk away with a large collection of digital photos and an official Arctic Circle certificate, a testament to your adventure to a land where few have traveled.

JOURNEY ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE (not recommended)
Fly above the Arctic Circle. This narrated flight takes guests above the Arctic Circle, across the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, and lands at the Native Village of Fort Yukon. Athabascan Native guides escort a 1-hour village tour, providing a running monologue on life in the village that paints an accurate but bleak picture of the hardscrabble life here. Return to Fairbanks, catching an aerial view of Fort Knox Gold Mine. Guests receive an official Arctic Circle Certificate upon completion of tour.

Finally, you did not mention it, but if you are booked on the Denali Natural History Tour and you have more than one day there, I would highly recommend upgrading the tour to either the Tundra Wilderness or Kantishna Experience tour. On the National History Tour, it is not unusual to encounter NO wildlifre.

Here is a link to a comparison chart: Denali Park Road Tours Compared | ALASKA.ORG.

Hope this is helpful. I wish you an amazing trip!

poppadock August 1st, 2013 10:17 PM

poppadock
 
Donna is so right, go to Alaska tours check it out read all u wish to. There R so many things one can do just bring lots of money & U will enjoy yourself. & if U do not wish to spend a lot, U will still enjoy yourself.


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