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View Full Version : Alaska Cruise Excursions - Please Help!


pixarmom
02-16-2012, 09:03 PM
I've read every single post on the Alaska Cruise Excursion thread and I've followed eandesmom's fabulous trip report! After all this, I think I have a plan, but would really appreciate input from eandesmom, all other experienced Alaskan cruisers or anyone in a similar situation!

We have three very active boys - at the time of travel in August, they will be 5, 12 and 13. We thought about separating for at least one day, but we'd prefer to stick together. This makes it tough to plan active excursions. Ziplining, kayaking and biking would be perfect for our family, but our youngest is only five years old and doesn't meet age requirements for many excursions.

So here's our current plan for the August 27 Alaskan cruise:

Skagway: Takshanuk Mountain Trail 4x4

Juneau: Entirely stuck - need suggestions!!! Would like to keep this to about $100 per person, but willing to go higher if we found the right excursion. (I should mention that even though we travel frequently, my husband and I are really afraid of flying in small planes or helicopters.)

Ketchikan: Rain Forest Canoe Adventure and Nature Trail

I know the Takshanuk is highly rated and the Rain Forest Canoe excursion seems like a good fit, but:

1) We're really stuck for a Juneau excursion that is active, keeps us all together and is appropriate for our 5-year-old; and

2) We're concerned about availability. Do we have a good chance of getting the Takshanuk and Rain Forest Canoe excursions as silver Castaway members booking as soon as the window opens?

Thanks so much!

jdb in AZ
02-16-2012, 10:13 PM
I've read every single post on the Alaska Cruise Excursion thread and I've followed eandesmom's fabulous trip report! After all this, I think I have a plan, but would really appreciate input from eandesmom, all other experienced Alaskan cruisers or anyone in a similar situation!

We have three very active boys - at the time of travel in August, they will be 5, 12 and 13. We thought about separating for at least one day, but we'd prefer to stick together. This makes it tough to plan active excursions. Ziplining, kayaking and biking would be perfect for our family, but our youngest is only five years old and doesn't meet age requirements for many excursions.

So here's our current plan for the August 27 Alaskan cruise:

Skagway: Takshanuk Mountain Trail 4x4
Juneau: Entirely stuck - need suggestions!!! Would like to keep this to about $100 per person, but willing to go higher if we found the right excursion. (I should mention that even though we travel frequently, my husband and I are really afraid of flying in small planes or helicopters.)

Ketchikan: Rain Forest Canoe Adventure and Nature Trail

I know the Takshanuk is highly rated and the Rain Forest Canoe excursion seems like a good fit, but:

1) We're really stuck for a Juneau excursion that is active, keeps us all together and is appropriate for our 5-year-old; and

2) We're concerned about availability. Do we have a good chance of getting the Takshanuk and Rain Forest Canoe excursions as silver Castaway members booking as soon as the window opens?

Thanks so much!


For Juneau I would go to the Mendenhall Glacier -- you can catch a bus near the port. Since you're an active family your boys might like to hike around the glacier. If the salmon are still spawning, check out the fish hatchery on the way back to the ship. It's fascinating to watch the salmon jump up the "ladders" to get back to the hatchery.

staffieri
02-16-2012, 11:11 PM
For Juneau I would do a small whale watching like Marv or one you can book private where they get you very close. We went the same time as you last year and this is amazing. And in a smaller boat they get very close.

We are super active!! I have a 13 year old and a 5 year old. Not sure about your Skagway option. I know my kids really like to be invovled. We book the Musher Camp through Alaska adventure it was fun . We also did a big glacier hike. But I think just going in the Helicopter ( it a very easy ride) and having a glacier landing is enough. You can booked this at the dock there for about $89-200 a person. This way you can do the musher camp ($89 a person) and the helicopter.

Have fun!!

pixarmom
02-18-2012, 06:01 PM
Thanks so much to both of you for the suggestions!

jdb, I was considering just taking the bus over to the glacier in Juneau - think it would be best just on our own, instead of the Disney excursion?

staffieri, do you think the rainforest canoe isn't all that active? I read that both kids and adults can paddle the canoe, and then they have the hike on the island, so I thought that might work. Think it might be too low key? We'll take a look at the musher camp in Skagway and Marv's in Juneau, too. Thanks again!

Would love to hear any and all additional suggestions!

kiddisney
02-18-2012, 07:45 PM
we did the dcl mendenhall / juneau tour - it took us on a bus tour of juneau - where we got some history - saw the governors 'mansion' - spent time at the glacier - and then back at a salmon hatchery - our driver was really cool - we then went to the crab shack for lunch - and up the tram to the top of the mountain (mount robert) - we had a 6 year old - time at the glacier was not long enough - but the boys got to the falls and we did the inside tour / movie - our table mates took a city bus there so they could have more time - but they had already been to juneau and didn't need to see the other sites or the hatchery - total was under $100pp

tinkagain
02-18-2012, 08:41 PM
For Juneau I would go to the Mendenhall Glacier -- you can catch a bus near the port. Since you're an active family your boys might like to hike around the glacier. If the salmon are still spawning, check out the fish hatchery on the way back to the ship. It's fascinating to watch the salmon jump up the "ladders" to get back to the hatchery.

Last year we got off the ship and the cruise director suggested we just take a cab to Mendenhall Glacier instead of a bus. It worked out great as the cab took us up and dropped us off and came back to pick us up at a time we agreed upon. I loved it and it did not cost any where near the cost of a DCL excursion. There were trails that the boys would have fun on and we even saw a young bear along a stream by the trail. Very cool. Got great pictures. After we got back to the ship we were scheduled to do a DCL excursion- whale watching. We saw eagles and whales. Was a great nature day. I saw everything that was on my list to see and got great photos.

pixarmom
02-19-2012, 03:51 PM
kiddisney and tinkagain, great information! Thanks so much!

staffieri
02-21-2012, 12:19 AM
Thanks so much to both of you for the suggestions!

jdb, I was considering just taking the bus over to the glacier in Juneau - think it would be best just on our own, instead of the Disney excursion?

staffieri, do you think the rainforest canoe isn't all that active? I read that both kids and adults can paddle the canoe, and then they have the hike on the island, so I thought that might work. Think it might be too low key? We'll take a look at the musher camp in Skagway and Marv's in Juneau, too. Thanks again!

Would love to hear any and all additional suggestions!

The canoe might be great. I think Alaska is super hard due to the prices. ONe of the best things my son and I did was the glacier trek. He had a blast. I thought it was crazy. I am not the most fit person. But it was a one in a lifetime thing. Is your 5 year old a risk taker? How old do you have to be to zip line. We have loved that. My son did it when he was 4, but that was Mexico. Whatever you choose I can tell you are a planner and our working hard to make it fun for your family. Hope they know it!!!http://i1090.photobucket.com/albums/i378/staffieri3/Alaska%202011/get-attachment-4.jpg

DisSarahK
02-21-2012, 01:54 AM
We haven't gone to Alaska yet (cruising in August) but at this point I'm planning on taking a bus to Mendenhall Glacier. You can take the MGT Blue Glacier Express (they have a website) for $16 per person, round trip, to the glacier and spend as much time as you want hiking around there. Then you just take the bus back again--they leave fairly often.

I do want to do the Mount Roberts Tramway and plan to book that on my own, too. I've read on here that it is best not to book it unless you can see the top from the ground--otherwise it isn't worth the cost of going up. There are hiking trails at the top.

I also read about someone on here scheduling a tour with Juneau Limousine for two or three hours. They went to Mendenhall Glacier, did a tour of Juneau, and panned for gold in Gold Creek.

jdb in AZ
02-21-2012, 04:39 AM
The canoe might be great. I think Alaska is super hard due to the prices. ONe of the best things my son and I did was the glacier trek. He had a blast. I thought it was crazy. I am not the most fit person. But it was a one in a lifetime thing. Is your 5 year old a risk taker? How old do you have to be to zip line. We have loved that. My son did it when he was 4, but that was Mexico. Whatever you choose I can tell you are a planner and our working hard to make it fun for your family. Hope they know it!!!http://i1090.photobucket.com/albums/i378/staffieri3/Alaska%202011/get-attachment-4.jpg

Great picture!!