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Old 06-14-2011, 09:31 PM   #241
mrssmee
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Does anyone know if there are bathrooms on the whale watching boats? We are looking at the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest or the Exclusive Whale Encounter both in Juneau. Thanks!
We just got off the ship today. We did the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest and the boat was so much nicer than I expected! There were three clean bathrooms on our boat. I highly recommend this tour...it was one of the top highlights of our cruise.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:07 PM   #242
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extra days in Vancouver

We did excursions with Disney. But the best was the 4 extra days in Vancouver. If you get to spend the day go to Whistler. It's about a 90 minute drive north of Vancouver (there are tours that go for the day). We did the Peak to Peak gondola ride. You travel up to the top of Whistler Mountain and then take another gondola to Blackcomb Mountain. The ride is 2 hours long and you have the most wonderful views. We saw bears, eagles, waterfalls. This city is beautiful - believe me you'll call the boss, quit your job and just stay there. If you take one of the tours it'll be a long day. We got the bus at 7:30am and was dropped off at our hotel at 7:00pm. Cost $500 for 3 and that included the Peak to Peak tickets.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:08 PM   #243
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We just got off the ship today. We did the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest and the boat was so much nicer than I expected! There were three clean bathrooms on our boat. I highly recommend this tour...it was one of the top highlights of our cruise.
Welcome back! What other excursions did you do?
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:42 PM   #244
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Has anyone done the zipline in Ketchikan. We have the Bear Creek booked and interested and how people have liked it.

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:51 PM   #245
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We did excursions with Disney. But the best was the 4 extra days in Vancouver. If you get to spend the day go to Whistler. It's about a 90 minute drive north of Vancouver (there are tours that go for the day). We did the Peak to Peak gondola ride. You travel up to the top of Whistler Mountain and then take another gondola to Blackcomb Mountain. The ride is 2 hours long and you have the most wonderful views. We saw bears, eagles, waterfalls. This city is beautiful - believe me you'll call the boss, quit your job and just stay there. If you take one of the tours it'll be a long day. We got the bus at 7:30am and was dropped off at our hotel at 7:00pm. Cost $500 for 3 and that included the Peak to Peak tickets.
We will be going to Whistler for the day in July...Landsea Tour - Rocky Moutaineer Sea to Sky train to and bus from. Curious if you had lunch at the top of Whistler...we have some in our party that will not participate in Peak to Peak and were looking for a place for them to eat lunch at the top of Whistler. Any pictures?
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:25 PM   #246
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Hi. I've enjoyed reading about everyone's adventures. I haven't seen anything on the Nature and Wildlife Expedition. It sounds great, a little bit of everything. It's six hours long in Skagway. If anyone has done it or heard anything, please pass it on.
Thanks!
Laura (traveling 7/4)
We are signed up for this excursion and I would love to read someone's review on it!
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:41 PM   #247
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We were on the May 31st cruise - Our traveling party consisted of DH, DD (8), DS(4) and my brother who is an amputee ~ below are my reviews (we booked only our Juneau excursions through Disney):

Skagway ~ We did a private tour with Becky of "Beyond Skagway" (http://beyondskagwaytours.com). I found her through Dyea Dave Tours. She used to work solely on his tour but has since branched out (with Dave's support) to give more exclusive/private tours for up to 6 adults and 1 child in her Extended SUV. We did a 7 hour tour with a lunch break.

Becky picked us up from the port at 745am (she likes to get a start earlier so as to avoid the tour buses, etc. that snake up the way to the Yukon an hour or so later). We took a 1.5-2 hour trip up into the Yukon and over into BC, Canada to visit some husky puppies. The weather was dreary for the first part of the day but cleared up later on. On the way over to BC, Canada we stopped on the side of the road to watch a black bear (about 6 feet from the car) grazing. It was pretty neat to get that close without distrubing it.

We went to see the husky puppies and decided to have lunch at the place instead of our original plans of hiking down to a lake because it was still raining. After lunch we went into BC, Canada a little more taking in more sites. We also stopped at Carcross on our way back to the ship and did a quick walk on the beach.

Finally, Becky had a "secret" spot that she likes to hike in Canada that she says know one she knows (out of the 832 residents in Skagway) is aware of this location. It was pretty easy .75 mile hike for my brother with his prostetic and my daughter enjoyed it quite a bit. By this time it had cleared up quite a bit and the opening spot at the end of the hike allowed for beautiful views of the mountains (snow-capped) and the river running right next to us.

All in all it was a great excursion. It was very personalized to what we wanted to do (and most of it we were very casual about where/when to go). She was GREAT with the kids and my daughter now wants to go back and work with Becky in the summer giving tours (LOL).

Juneau ~ DH, DS and my brother did the "Best of Juneau". While my husband says it was ok he would not go on the excursion again. He recommends it is good for people who like to take things slow, have smaller children, etc. They did see a pod of Orca's while on the boat portion - but that was the only "highlight" of the trip for him/brother.

DD and I did the "Disney Exclusive Dog Musher for a Day". This, by far, was the excursion of a lifetime. We met with the excursion folks (after Disney passed us on to the proper people) and filled out the proper paperwork which consisted of release forms and age/weight forms (to balance out the helicopter ride). There were only 10 of us on the trip ~ I later learned that we are the ONLY excursion (i.e. Disney) that does this type of trip and only 10 folks MAX per day (all through Disney).

After a quick trip via small bus/transport to the helicopter location (ERA) we were given a brief overview on helicopter safety. We were also outfitted with "glacier boots". Within 30 minutes of arriving at the helicopter location we were off in the helicopter. There were 5 of us (all women) in the helicopter. It was a 15-20 minute flight with beautiful views. I was in the back seat with a window view with my daughter next to me (they change the seating on the way back to give everyone a chance to have a window seat, etc.).

There were 4 helicopters that took off and landing within seconds from each other (that was a pretty cool thing to see as well). Two of the helicopters had folks from Disney that were doing the Disney Musher for a Day and the other two helicopters had folks that were doing the "regular" dog sledding.

After getting to the glacier (I believe it was the Norris glacier) the groups were split up (i.e. Disney Musher, Regular Dog sledding) and given our overviews as they were different itineraries. Within the 10 folks from Disney we were split into 3 different groups - generally along traveling party/family. DD and I had Nancy as our Sled guide. After meeting Nancy and her removing a dog from the harness (since it was just two of us on the sled with Nancy she stated we didn't need that many dogs).

We took off soon after meeting Nancy on our first mushing portion. We only made a stop or two but we could talk the entire time while mushing (she did the driving on the first part while we chatted). The second time we stopped for a minute or so she asked my daughter if she wanted to get up and stand on the sled with her and help mush. My daughter jumped at the chance. After about a 25 minute mush we ended up away from the camp at a few seperate tents. We got off the sled and had lunch with our dog mushers (and it was a very good lunch). We got about 30 minutes to eat and tak more with the dog mushers. This is where I found out they were as excited as us to do the Disney exclusive excursion as they had never offered this type before (i.e. mushing for the time frame we did and lunch on the glacier with us "regular" folks).

After lunch, we helped harness our sled team for the final leg of mushing. Both my daughter and I helped put the harnesses on as well as the booties they were to protect their feet. My daughter jumped at the chance to once again stand with Nancy to do the mushing. Half-way through the second portion of the mushing we stopped and Nancy offered I a chance to stand on the second sled (they have a second smaller sled for folks to stand and "drive" the team). So for the last 1/2 of our mushing on the way back to camp both my DD and I were able to stand on the sleds with Nancy (we also helped brake when needed, etc.).

After saying goodbye to your musher and dogs (throughout the entire experience we got to learn more about the dogs and my daughter got to pet them for as long as she wanted). Another worker at the camp comes over and gives you a quick tour of the camp and provides information about the day-to-day operations. 5 minutes before the helicopters come back they let everyone know to make their way back to the landing area to be taken back.

After loading up in the helicopter and another 15-20 minute ride back to the helicopter location we removed our gear and hoped onboard the vehicle to get back to the boat.

I just wanted to recap this portion of all the excursions as we truly did love it. It really was a once in a lifetime experience.

Ketchikan ~ I had prebooked the Orca's Cove Kayaking trip with "Southeast Sea Kayaks" for everyone in my family/brother EXCEPT my son. We didn't feel he was mature enough to go on this excursion.

After disembarking we located the "Southeast Sea Kayaks" White van and we were on our way to the excursion location (it was less than a 5 minute drive - we probably could have walked it but it was nice that they picked you up). After getting outfitted with our Kayaking gear minus kayak and paddle we hopped onboard a little scuttle boat. After a 20 minute trip out to the cove we transferred to the bigger boat which had the guides aboard and kayak's attached.

My brother and the guide ended up in one kayak and DH, DD and I ended up in another kayak. The guide took us to the various inlets of the cove and we saw an abudance of undersea creatures - tons of starfish, jellyfish, etc. At one point, in a cove that during low tide has no water but during the high tide were were there (was 15 feet of water) a seal popped his head up a few times.

After our several hour kayak adventure we ended up back a the larger boat for a snack. They had salmon, crackers, cheese, fruit and water. We got to snack for about 20 minutes before the little transfer boat came back for us. After another 20 minute ride back to the kayaking location back near the dock, and another transfer by van, we were back at the dock.

This was a pretty neat excursion that we all enjoyed. You could go at an agressive pace if you wanted to our a leisurely pace. The tour guide was AWESOME!!!



If anyone has any questions let me know.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:35 PM   #248
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Any feedback on " The Best of Juneau" and "the Best of Skagway" tours?

Anything on the Misty Fiords and floatplane tour?

Thanks
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:26 PM   #249
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Thanks brentm3 and mrssmee about the info about bathrooms on the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest!

Does anyone know if there is a bathroom aboard the boat for the Exclusive Whale Encounter Excursion?

Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #250
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Any feedback on " The Best of Juneau" and "the Best of Skagway" tours?

Anything on the Misty Fiords and floatplane tour?

Thanks
We went on the Best of Juneau tour. The glacier is beautiful (we could have stayed longer there and walked some of the trails) and the whale watching trip seemed a little long b/c they don't go to the lodge until almost 2:30pm to eat (but the food is fresh and very delicious). I recommend eating a very good breakfast and taking some snacks. The crew on the boat are very friendly and try their hardest to find wildlife.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:27 PM   #251
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anyone did the dog sledding & glacier flightseeing excursion at skagway? any info would be greatly appreciated. tia!
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:10 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by mrssmee View Post
We just got off the ship today. We did the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest and the boat was so much nicer than I expected! There were three clean bathrooms on our boat. I highly recommend this tour...it was one of the top highlights of our cruise.
how many people would you say were on the boat?
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:31 AM   #253
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Welcome back! What other excursions did you do?
I just got home from a long day of travel, but I promise tomorrow I will post reviews of my excursions and my opinions about the cruise! It was an amazing trip!

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how many people would you say were on the boat?
I'd say there were about 80 people. We must have been on one of the boats that can hold 150, because the boat really felt half empty! It did not seem crowded at all. We had no problem seeing regardless of where we were on the boat. People tended to spread out. We went back and forth between the downstairs that was enclosed and the upper deck and were always able to be next to a window or at a rail. I'll post more details tomorrow!
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:17 PM   #254
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Just back from the June 7th cruise --

Skagway - we did the White Pass Rail and Trail Camp. The train ride up is spectacular. Definitely sit on the left side, if possible. There are bathrooms and warming stoves on the train. We really enjoyed the bus ride down. Someone spotted a bear along the road, and our driver stopped so we could all take a look. We also pulled over and got out to take picutres at the 'Welcome to Alaska' sign at the Canadian border.

The trail camp is, well, campy :-). You learn to pan for gold, and take home a little baggie with some flakes in it. There's free hot cider and cookies for a snack. There are tents set up to represent what it looked like, and a short show with singing and poetry. I think DD's favorite part was the camp dogs. Bring money or credit cards for the gift shop.

After the trip, we walked around town a bit. Definitely make your way past the touristy shops by the dock.

Juneau - We loved Juneau in general. Once you got past all the tourist trap jewerly stores, there were some great little shops. We could have spent a whole day just looking around.

Our favorite excursion, hands down, was in Juneau - the Taku Lodge Enchanted Flight and Feast. This was amazing. The planes hold 10, and everyone gets a window seat. One adult gets to sit in the co-pilot seat -- DH did this on the way out, and said it was worth the cost of the whole cruise. You do need to be fairly tall to see over the control panel. Everyone has headphones and there is a taped narration as you fly over some of the most spectacular sights in the world (photos to come!). The Taku Lodge sits lakeside directly across from a glacier. They feed you incredible salmon, beans, herb biscuits, ginger cookies and lemonade cooled with glacier ice. The food was so good, we had to buy the cookbook in the gift shop. You look out onthe glacier as you hear a bit of the history of the lodge. An added bonus for us was a black bear that hopped up on the grill right outside our window! After lunch,you get a chance to take a short hike or just sit in the sun and enjoy the view.

Ketchikan - We took the Bering Sea Crab Boat Tour. As fans of the Deadliest Catch we were really surprised to see Derrick from the latest season on board as one of the tour hosts. You sail about 20 minutes out from port and around teh other side of an island, where you see eagles and their nests, and they show you how they fish crabs as well as prawns and other fish. Everyone on board is super-nice and the stories are fascinating. Definitely dress warmly for this one, although they do have extra coats and overhead heaters available. It is much colder up on top than down on the main deck, and there is free cocoa, coffee and they hand out goldfish crackers as snack. The souvenirs on board are a selection of cool tshirts and hats, plus an awesome jacket that was a bit beyond our budget. The shirts were not outrageous, though. The crew takes photos with everyone, the kids get to touch all kinds of sea creatures. It's lots of fun.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:40 PM   #255
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June 7th-14th Excursion Reviews

We just got back late Tuesday night, and I thought I should share what we did since this thread helped me out so much before we left for our cruise.

We got to spend a day in Vancouver before we got on the Wonder, so I'm including what we did there as well.

Vancouver: We found a stretch limo driver that was FABULOUS! He charged us $75 per hour, and we could use his service for as many hours as we wanted. We decided to limit our tour to two hours, and we were so happy we did this! For $150, we got to customize what we wanted to do, and our limo driver was a native to Vancouver and provided us with so much information on the city. We chose to have him take us to Grouse Mountain so we could do the tram ride to the top. We then went to the fish hatchery and got to view some salmon jumping upstream. This was cool and probably not something I would have chosen if our limo driver hadn't suggested it to us. He drove us thru Stanley Park, to a beautiful place called Prospect Point, to the famous Steam Clock downtown, and then just took us around the city showing us beautiful homes (and they are GORGEOUS) and telling us the history of Vancouver. I cannot say enough good things about Vancouver. I'd definitely vacation there again, and I highly recommend the limo driver we had. I have his info if anyone is interested.

Skagway: We did the White Pass Railway, City, and Yukon Suspension Bridge tour. This was also a great excursion! We took the train to Fraser, British Columbia, and the sites along the way were beyond beautiful! It was about a 90 minute to two hour ride on the train, and then we boarded a bus that took us to the suspension bridge and then drove us back to Skagway. It was neat to take the bus back because it all looked different from the point of view you get on the bus compared to the views from the train. Plus, our driver was wonderful and provided lots of information as we drove back. I'd also recommend this tour.

Juneau: We did the Alpine Zipline and Glacier tour. This tour was amazing! We had ziplined in Hawaii on a previous trip, and the ziplining in Alaska was WAY better than what we did in Hawaii. Our ziplining guides were wonderful, and it included 7 ziplines and a suspension bridge. When we got back to the lodge, they had blueberry tea for us, and we could make s'mores over a fire if we wanted to. Very cool excursion and one we would highly recommend. The glacier was cool too! We thought it was better than Tracy Arm because we could actually get quite close to the glacier here. It's quite a hike to make it close to the glacier and to the huge waterfall that is near the glacier, but it's worth it! We only had a limited amount of time at Mendenhall Glacier, but we were able to make the trek up to the glacier and waterfall with time to spare when we got back to meet the bus.

Ketchikan: This is by far the highlight excursion of our trip. My kids are already begging us to let them do this again some day! At the last minute (and thanks to a fellow DISer on this thread), we booked a float plane adventure to Misty Fjords thru a place called Island Views. Michelle is the pilot, and I cannot say enough good things about this excursion! Michelle is very knowledgeable and has been flying for many, many years. The sites are breathtaking! We got to land on a lake in the fjords and walk around on the side of one of the mountains. I cannot wait to get our pictures back from this one! We even saw a mini avalanche while we were there (but nothing to worry about). Island Views is a small company that goes above and beyond to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. The ship was scheduled to leave port at 8:00 that night, and we didn't have our excursion with Island Views until 5:00. We booked the two hour tour so we could have some time on the mountain when we landed at the lake. The price was far more affordable than booking something similar thru Disney, and we will definitely book thru this company again if we ever go back. SUPER GREAT EXCURSION!

Hope this helps someone out there! Let me know if you have any questions or want the contact info for the limo driver we had. I told him I'd be recommended him on the DIS!

Susan
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