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Old 06-02-2011, 08:59 PM   #181
Christy May
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Originally Posted by sabrecmc View Post
We were on the first Alaskan (May 3-10). Here are my reviews from another thread:

Skagway: Yukon exploration with White Pass RR and dog sledding through Chilkoot Charters...this was FANTASTIC! Our favorite experience by far

Juneau: Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier...also loved this. Saw humpbacks up pretty close, sea lions, porpoises and bald eagles. They served drinks and snacks (salmon, crackers, chocolate) and had a restroom onboard. They also had a naturalist onboard to talk about the whales and we learned a lot. The boat is enclosed, but you can go out the back or front when they find the whales. Glacier was gorgeous and you could walk pretty close, nice trails and visitors center but only 1 hour there and it goes by quickly. I would probably not do the whale watching again simply b/c we saw so many from our verandah, though the tour was great. The 9:30 whale watchers didn't see whales and got their money back. We also did Historic Gold Panning Adventure that afternoon, since we were back at the ship in time to do another tour. Very fun. They took us to Gold Creek, where Juneau himself struck gold, and let us pan. This is really great for kids, especially in the 7-11 range. Get your feet wet and find some riches! The kids in our tour loved it. They do make sure everyone "finds" gold by giving you your first pan from their stock of sand. You get flakes and they will put them in a vial for you.

Ketchikan: My DD and I did the Potlatch Park with youth activity tour. We really liked this. You visit the totem park with a guide and he did a great job of telling some kid-friendly stories about the totems (like how one is their version of Hansel and Gretel). It didn't last too long and let the kids get up close with the totems. Then we met the carver at Potlatch Park and got to see her studio. After a quick visit to the clan house and some questions from the kids, DCL youth counselors magically appeared to help the kids paint feather-scales for the totem that is being erected. We then explored the town a bit and went to the DCL Lumberjack Show (I just bought tickets for this on the lumberjack show website...you don't have to book through DCL...it isn't literally "exclusive," though I suspect it will fill up later in the season). This was wonderful! You should definitely do it. Kids loved it. Loved. Lots of participation for the 7+ set. My parents did a trolley tour of the town and said it sucked. They also visited Saxman village and said that without a guide, it was a waste of time b/c they didn't know what they were looking at.

Interesting that the next cruise's Whale Watching adventure had loads more people. Ours was probably 35 on the boat and it was a small, fast boat, not a double-decker. We also had longer at the Glacier.


Just off the boat on 5-31, we did zip lining in Skagway.. LOVED IT...
Exlusive Whale watching in Juneau.. LOVED IT MORE... whales were so close,
awesome. The DH and DS did Knudson Salmon fishing, very disappointing for them. They did not actually fish at all, the guide did the fishing and if there was a bite on the line, then they took turns reeling it in. Spent alot of money and had to get a fishing license and salmon stamp to sit on a boat for 4 hours. WILL NOT BOOK THIS AGAIN....
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:49 PM   #182
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How large are the floatplanes for Misty Fjords? I read one post that said pilot plus five guests, but some of the photos look like larger planes.
We went on Promech Air for our Misty Fjords floatplane tour & the floatplane we were on held about 11 passengers.
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:58 AM   #183
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Here are few pictures from the plane. The last one in not great but shows how close the plane is to the Disney Wonder. As you dock look for the Moose Lodge. Island Wings plane is docked there.




So excited to see pictures - we are booked Misty Fjord and Glacier Tour with Island Wings for July!
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:35 AM   #184
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Misty Fjords Floatplanes

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Originally Posted by Shanonn View Post
We went on Promech Air for our Misty Fjords floatplane tour & the floatplane we were on held about 11 passengers.
We are booked in August with Misty Fjords Air. We are a group of 7, and while we have 2 kids, we also have two oversized adults. At least on the phone, they couldn't seem nicer!
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:48 PM   #185
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We just got home from the May 24 sailing. (Let me just state now - I HATE unpacking! )

Our Excursions:

Skagway: Liarsville with characters
Fun. If you're looking for Broadway or even Disney Stage-quality performances, you're going to be disappointed. But if you're looking for folksy fun, it's great. Think Renn fest/old west shootout type entertainment and setting, rather than Broadway.

We met in the Walt Disney Theatre and, once all gathered, followed the Simba sign out to our buses. Our particular driver just happened to be from our home state, so we had great fun chatting. We were given a few tidbits of info on Skagway on our way out to Liarsville - very short drive. Once off the bus, they invited us into a covered seating area with a stage in front. They then presented a cute puppet show about a gold miner and his husky, complete with audience participation. Some will call it hokey, others folksy. The kids really seemed to enjoy it. (Our Dd is 16, and she was smiling the entire time.) Then a younger woman explained the gold panning process to us. She was hysterical! No one takes themselves too seriously. But before you can gold pan, you do a "scavenger hunt". Definitly geared toward the younger set, but a way to guarantee you saw all the little areas of the camp. (It all fits in about a square city block of space). Once done, you're handed a small, rusty gold pan with about a cup or so of dirt and rock in it. You're guaranteed "to find 2-5 flakes" of gold in your pan. Each of us found either 4 or 5. The panning area has raised troughs, so you don't have to squat or bend down to a stream. There's a very pretty waterfall right next to camp. Goofy, Chip and Dale visited during this time.

After panning, there were marshmellows to roast over the fire. I think this was the actual thing that my DD chose the excursion for. Not a ton of space for the number of people roasting, but OK. Then came the salmon bake. YUMMMMMMMMMM!!! If you do this, DON'T MISS THE BEANS! I'm not a fan of beans, but these were wonderful. And several people that I spoke to afterwards on the ship also mentioned the beans. All of it was good. The salmon and the sweet sauce they poured on it was wonderful, also. I had seconds of the salmon and beans. None of it was bad, although the "wild blueberry cake" was basically a white cake with a small amount of blueberries scattered on the top. They did run out of lemonade, which was disappointing. We then toured the gift shop, which was not badly priced for the setting. Then back on the bus and back to the ship. Our driver told us that if we wanted, we could stay on the bus and he would drop us off in the middle of town, which we took advantage of.

Juneau - Tramway - If I were to take this cruise again (and only finances prevent it!), I would NOT buy this through Disney. You never know how foggy it's going to be, and all the locals say not to do it if you can't see the top station from the ground. Because we had purchased them ahead of time, we felt we had to use them. It did clear just enough for us to see the ground at times. It was truly beautiful up there, but most of the hiking trails were still closed due to snow and mud. This is not the hike for those will a healthy fear of heights! The raptor center here had one eagle to get a close up look at. One thing to realize about the raptor center here and in Ketchikan. They are all VOLUNTEER organizations. Don't expect fancy settings or slick presentations. Now, the gift shop at the top of the tramway was one of my favorite gift shops on the entire trip. With all the fog, it made the trip worth it. Oh, and DON'T go hungry! Whatever they were serving in the restaurant there smelled heavenly!

Ketchikan - DH and DD did the Mount Point Snorkling. They really seemed to love it. They ARE wet suits, but DD says they warmed up pretty quickly. They saw all sorts of bottom dwellers, not too many fish. The guides often brought critters up from deeper areas. DD got to hold a sea cucumber, which she thought was really cool. They saw some jellyfish, too, most of which were harmless, but one, and lion's mane, they had be warned about and knew to stay away from. Though there wasn't much in the way of exposed skin for them to reach. When they got back on board, the leaders had an ice chest full of warm water. They took a pitcher and poured a pitcherful inside each person's wetsuit, either down the front or back, whichever the person preferred. DD said it felt wonderful!

I did the Rainforest Sanctuary, Eagles and Totems. The first thing said to us on the bus was that if we had any food whatsoever with us to eat it then. There be bears in those woods, and food, especially fruit, would draw them like Pooh to honey. Being a hypoglycemic, I almost always have food with me, so I ate my two bananas on the way to the sanctuary. After getting off the bus, the guides pointed out the port-a-potties and said that's the last bathroom available until the end. A noticable number of us took advantage of them. We were split into 3 groups, and taken on the hike.

Hike is perhaps a misnomer. We would litterally walk maybe 10-20 feet and stop. The leader would point out a bear trail, a specific type of plant, or something of the sort. I found it facinating and beautiful. One of the zipline adventures is there, too, and you often caught a glimpse of people zipping along. I'm not in horrible shape, but I have some chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia, that made me worry a tiny bit about the hike. It was no problem for me at all.

You end that part of the hike at the reindeer yard, feeding lettuce to very friendly reindeer. Needless to say, all the kids on the hike loved this. Reindeer don't have upper front teeth, so they can't really bite you. And these ladies weren't interested at all in your fingers. They wanted the lettuce! and were very happy to pose for pics.

After the reindeer, you walk on the opposite side of a salmon stream from a salmon hatchery. We saw a mink raiding the hatchery, a young still-speckled eagle, and an adult bald eagle in the same area. Then we walked rather quickly through an old log mill.

After the mill, we went into the raptor center. Again, this is a VOLUNTEER organization. They had a bald eagle and a great horned owl, both too injured to release. The owl HATES Mickey Ears. No idea why, but they ask anyone wearing them to take them off. Got some fantastic close up shots of the owl.

After this, we were asked if anyone had severe hay fever. When no one owned up to having it, we entered into a small building where a gentleman was in the process of carving a totem pole out of a cedar log. It smelled heavenly! But I can see how someone with allergies could have a problem. The gentleman doing the carving was fun to talk to, and obviously loved both the carving and the interaction. We then ended (of course) in the gift shop, with coffee and hot chocolate waiting, and a salmon spread that was basically tuna salad made with salmon instead of tuna on ritz crackers, and yet very tasty. I also found Alaskan made Ulu knives here for the best price yet, $14.95. Then we boarded the bus and headed back to the ship. Again, we had the choice of staying on the bus and being dropped of in town if we wanted.

Hope you find this helpful. If you want to see pics, I'll have them up on facebook soon. Feel free to friend me (diannah robertson), just put something like Cruise or Disney in the friend request.
Thank you for this review. We couldn't get the Liarsville with Characters through Disney. We still wanted to do it so we found a company that does the same thing with the gold panning and Samon Bake and our kids 5 and under were free so we saved so much money and don't feel too bad about missing the characters. I think our kids will just love the gold panning and I will love the food.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:19 PM   #186
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Family Air also lands on a lake and taxis to shore so that you can walk around on land. We haven't been yet (our cruise is in a couple of weeks), so I will report back on our actual experience. We're doing the Misty Fjords/Glacier tour.
We are also booked with Family Air Tours for our Ketchikan excursion! We booked the Anan Creek Bear Observatory tour with the Misty Fjords add-on http://familyairtours.com/page2_Anan.html. They also have a glacier add on, but we are doing a glacier in Juneau so we opted for Misty Fjords.

We are so excited to see the bears up close and personal!! I like, too, that they use a 4 passenger floatplane, so our family of 4 will have a private air tour. Combine that with the fact that there are a limited number of permits the Forest Service issues per day for the Bear Observatory. I'm glad we were able to get in on our Ketchikan port day.

Has anyone who has already cruised been to Anan Creek Bear Observatory? Any reviews/advice on the excursion?
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Old 06-04-2011, 01:05 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Perdita&Pongo View Post
We are also booked with Family Air Tours for our Ketchikan excursion! We booked the Anan Creek Bear Observatory tour with the Misty Fjords add-on http://familyairtours.com/page2_Anan.html. They also have a glacier add on, but we are doing a glacier in Juneau so we opted for Misty Fjords.

We are so excited to see the bears up close and personal!! I like, too, that they use a 4 passenger floatplane, so our family of 4 will have a private air tour. Combine that with the fact that there are a limited number of permits the Forest Service issues per day for the Bear Observatory. I'm glad we were able to get in on our Ketchikan port day.

Has anyone who has already cruised been to Anan Creek Bear Observatory? Any reviews/advice on the excursion?
None of the Disney cruisers would have een to Anan Creek yet because it is way too early for bears there, I think. When is your cruise?
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:19 AM   #188
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The DH and DS did Knudson Salmon fishing, very disappointing for them. They did not actually fish at all, the guide did the fishing and if there was a bite on the line, then they took turns reeling it in. Spent alot of money and had to get a fishing license and salmon stamp to sit on a boat for 4 hours. WILL NOT BOOK THIS AGAIN....
This is very disappointing. Do you think this was a case of a poor guide ? I would like to hear other experiences as well. Didn't see any other comments like this on cruise critic. I've booked this thru DCL for our August cruise but if this is what it's going to be like, I'll reconsider.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:18 AM   #189
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I did this one with Harv and Marv, I think we had Harv that day. No problems with anyone sick at all. We saw lots of whales, even a mother and child. He had lots of information on the area. We also saw a small island with lots of Eagles, some young and some older. There were about 7 that took off at once and were quite vocal as well. Saw some playful sea lions. All in all I would do it again in a heartbeat. Having the small boat with only 6 people was awesome.
This is great to hear - we are doing an excursion with Harv and Marv's on our June 14th cruise. I was wondering about whether to Bonine-up the boys or not.
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:59 PM   #190
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None of the Disney cruisers would have een to Anan Creek yet because it is way too early for bears there, I think. When is your cruise?
We are on the 8/9 Alaska cruise. I meant to include asking anyone who might have cruised another line in the past and did the excursion to Anan if they had any info, so not just DCL cruisers this year so far.

You are right about it being too early in the season for bears at Anan; they are usually there during the salmon spawn, roughly July & August.
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:44 PM   #191
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Does anyone have a review of Harv and Marv versus doing the Whale watching with Disney?

We are on the July 26th cruise.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:51 PM   #192
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Skagway - Musher's Camp & Sled Dog Experience

Anyone on the previous Alaska cruises done the Musher's Camp & Sled Dog Experience in Skagway? I've made resevations for this excursion, but wanted some feedback on this as I've read mixed reviews on the Cruise Critic site.

How was check in? How long did it take from the ship to get to the camp? What was involved in the activity? Did you get to hold and play with the puppies?

Any feedback would be helpful as it'll be myself, DH and 2 DDs (14 & 17).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:30 AM   #193
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Has anyone who has already cruised been to Anan Creek Bear Observatory? Any reviews/advice on the excursion?
I believe that it is too early in the season for bear viewing. Even our cruise (later in June) is too early. I think they only do that tour later in the summer.

So you won't get any feedback from Disney cruisers yet. But here is a great trip report that shows this tour with Family Air: http://moonprincess.com/travel/442/
There are lots of pictures and even a video of the bears. It looks FABULOUS! I wish we were able to do this tour!
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:00 AM   #194
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Anyone on the previous Alaska cruises done the Musher's Camp & Sled Dog Experience in Skagway? I've made resevations for this excursion, but wanted some feedback on this as I've read mixed reviews on the Cruise Critic site.

How was check in? How long did it take from the ship to get to the camp? What was involved in the activity? Did you get to hold and play with the puppies?

Any feedback would be helpful as it'll be myself, DH and 2 DDs (14 & 17).

Thanks in advance!
I've merged your thread with the AK excursion thread. Take a look thru here to see if your question has been answered.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:52 AM   #195
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Any info on Eagle Preserve Wildlife River Adventure???
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