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Old 07-03-2014, 09:32 PM   #1336
peachygreen
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Originally Posted by twindaddy View Post
Thanks, I will be on the Scania one week from tomorrow!

Question, did you tip them? I am not sure the protocol. I paid a pretty penny to sail on the boat, and they obviously make a good wage unlike some of the third world areas cruise ships go...I am torn.

Thoughts?
I did give a tip. I want to say I tipped about $30 (I really don't remember). I paid for 6 of us to sail so it was a very pretty penny and the tip was minimal in comparison to the cost of the excursion I felt it just showed my appreciation for a great day on the water.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:54 PM   #1337
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Just back from the June 9th sailing. We had a wonderful time.

In Juneau we did Whale Watching with http://www.whale-watch.biz/ Adventures in Alaska on the MV Scania. Captain Alan was great and both Captain Alan and Captain Jack were a joy to work with both before the cruise and during the adventure. Captain Alan did a great job find the whales and explaining their behavior to us. We all had a great time. The girls liked looking for the Whales. After our whale excursion we were dropped off at Mendenhall Glacier. We hiked out to Nugget Falls and when we came back we were able to see a mama bear and her 2 cubs. It was a little challenging figuring out where to go to catch the shuttle back to the pier but not to difficult. I recommend Adventures in Alaska and would use them again. there were 8 of us on the boat.

I want to go back to Alaska again. There is so much I would love to do and see.
Hi peachygreen! i've got a couple of questions for you. I've just booked with Captain Jack for August 2015.

Where do you go to take the shuttle back to the pier? Did you have to prebook this?

Where/When did you have lunch?

Thanks!
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:49 PM   #1338
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June 23rd Sailing

We just returned tonight from the trip of a lifetime! I wanted to add my reviews from our excursions. Since I read that many of the helicopter excursions are cancelled due to fog, I booked one in Skagway that was just glaciers and one in Juneau that was for dogsledding. We had the best weather so far this year, so we actually did both! They were two totally different experiences. I'll describe them below.

Skagway: Took the morning White Pass Railroad up and back. It was beautiful scenery and I took lots of pictures from the outside of the car. My DD9 liked it, but she did get a little tired of it by the end. It was 3 hours up and back. We returned to the ship for lunch and to grab our coats for the first helicopter ride. We booked this through Disney and it was the Glacier Discovery tour to Meade glacier with Temsco Air. I was nervous about going in a helicopter, but I am SO glad I conquered the fear. Once up in the air, the nerves were settled as I focused on the beauty of the land. Words and pictures cannot describe the sheer beauty of Alaska. We landed on the Meade glacier and it was icy with "rivers" of blue water. They had ice poles there for us to use just to ensure we didn't fall. I never felt unsafe walking on the glacier, but was glad I had my pole. The guide warned us not to step backwards when we were taking pictures as a guy the day before fell in water up to his waist. I will never forget this experience and wouldn't think twice about doing it again. Just some tips: I had no idea what to wear. I had taken tennis shoes with me and they were fine for this. I wore 3 layers (light weight shirt, hoodie and my fleece Northface jacket). I was worried I would be too cold. Well, I was anything but cold. I was burning up! When they say it is 15 degrees colder than the port city, believe them. It was warm in Skagway that day and I did not need all my layers. About the Meade Glacier: It is 1200 feet of ice and melting at 50 feet per year.

Juneau: I booked the dogsledding tour through Disney. This was the short one, not the long one. Again, it was an AMAZING experience and, interestingly, very different than the day before. This glacier had 5 feet of snow on top of the ice, so my DD got to make snowballs. It was much more like being in Colorado in the winter as far as the "glacier" experience goes. As you descend on the glacier, you can see the dog camp. We greatly enjoyed learning how to brake and taking a ride on the sled. They let us stand on the back, my DD in front of me, and we got to brake when it was time to stop. Other than that, it was like standing on skis. We switched 1/2 way through with our friends and DD and I sat while they stood on the back. For this excursion, I was smart and wore a short sleeved shirt and my Northface fleece jacket. I ended up taking off the jacket and just had my short sleeved shirt on and was very comfortable (looks kind of funny in pictures, but hey, it was comfortable). Keep in mind that it was hot at the heliport, so I felt secure in my decision not to take warmer clothes that I had in my backpack. They do make you leave your backpacks at the heliport (they lock them up), so it was easy to leave my warmer clothes there.

Ketchikan: We had our first, and only, rainy morning here. We rented a little electric car for $40/hour and took it for a spin around town. We found them just a block from the cruise ship. We drove to the salmon hatchery, which turned out to be closed, and to the totem museum. Then we drove around just to see the little town. It was nice being covered and not getting wet and cold. The rain cleared and we went back to the ship to meet up for our afternoon excursion, the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Excursion. Keep in mind that it was me, DD, friend and her DD. We all loved this excursion. I didn't have really high hopes for this one, but it turned out great. The guys tell entertaining stories, do a great job of talking for a little while and then providing an experience for a little while. We first got to see sea lions perched up on rocks. They stopped long enough for us all to see and take pictures. Then they took us close to an island where they threw out fish to attract the eagles and gave us the best eagle show we could have seen. I got hundreds of pictures here. Next was pulling up the crab baskets and the kids got to hold and touch them. We moved a little further down and they pulled up the octopus barrel. We really got a little of everything.

Every one of our excursions met or exceeded my expectations. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. If I have time tomorrow, I will give you the highlights of what we did in Vancouver.
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:44 PM   #1339
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Just back from the June 9th sailing. We had a wonderful time.

In Juneau we did Whale Watching with http://www.whale-watch.biz/ Adventures in Alaska on the MV Scania. Captain Alan was great and both Captain Alan and Captain Jack were a joy to work with both before the cruise and during the adventure. Captain Alan did a great job find the whales and explaining their behavior to us. We all had a great time. The girls liked looking for the Whales. After our whale excursion we were dropped off at Mendenhall Glacier. We hiked out to Nugget Falls and when we came back we were able to see a mama bear and her 2 cubs. It was a little challenging figuring out where to go to catch the shuttle back to the pier but not to difficult. I recommend Adventures in Alaska and would use them again. there were 8 of us on the boat.
Thanks for the review of Adventures in Alaska. We're also booked with them for our August cruise and also added the dropoff to Mendenhall Glacier. You're right about both Captain Alan and Captain Jack being a pleasure to deal with before the cruise. I really can't wait.
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Old 07-04-2014, 05:45 PM   #1340
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I did give a tip. I want to say I tipped about $30 (I really don't remember). I paid for 6 of us to sail so it was a very pretty penny and the tip was minimal in comparison to the cost of the excursion I felt it just showed my appreciation for a great day on the water.
Was there other people on the trip beside your party of 6? Did the price include RT transportation from the pier? Were there any other extra cost beside the crew tip? What refreshments were included?

Thanks,
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:06 PM   #1341
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Originally Posted by Rambler5678

Was there other people on the trip beside your party of 6? Did the price include RT transportation from the pier? Were there any other extra cost beside the crew tip? What refreshments were included?

Thanks,
There were 2 other people. 8 is the max number of passengers they will take. It did include RT transportation to the pier. We choose to add a drop at Mendenhall so we did have to get our own transportation from Mendenhall to the pier. They had Reindeer Sausage and crackers along with soda and water. My girls loved the reindeer sausage. I'm going to have to order some from Alaska for them. They are begging for more.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:00 AM   #1342
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:22 AM   #1343
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Anyone that privately booked their tours ever used alaska coach tours? reviews? Thanks =)
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:30 PM   #1344
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Skagway: White Pass Railway -
We booked this through Disney - in retrospect I wish we hadn't. I had heard reports that they provide water and a guide as well as board you in a different space but in reality once we were off the ship we were told to just hop on one of the back three cars where some people were already loaded and we did not go to the station for anyone else. We had the same piped in voice and they also had access to the water so I am not sure what the point of the Disney excursion is. We chose the back so we could go out and take pictures but the platform was crowded the entire time making it difficult (everyone had the same idea). You can't cross cars so if your platforms are full they are full. You also can't hear the narration from outside, though it is very little narration anyway. They also provide a map that shows where points of interest are along the way so you know if something is coming up. Once you reach the top everyone is told to stay in their seats while they move the engine from the front to the back, and then you move your backrest from one side to the other so everyone can stay on their bench on the way back down too. That way you see one side on the way up and the other on the way down. Since we had been in the back we were now in the very front car and there were quite a few fumes from the engine on the way down. The scenery was, of course, breathtaking. We did not see any wildlife at all, even goats (I had my binoculars out the whole time).

Juneau - Extended Helicopter Trek
We REALLY lucked out with the weather in Juneau on this trip - wonderful visibility and very warm. Disney used North Star Trekking for this one and they did a wonderful job. We were led to their van to the airport where they passed out appropriate clothes for the venture. They also gave us a fanny pack with a bottle of water and granola bar with a pack of tissues. We had three guides to nine people in our group - since we were the first group of the day the guides went up with us - we filled every seat in two helicopters. After brief sightseeing (we could look down on the dog camps and saw them mushing away on this day) we touched down on the glacier and they put on our crampons and passed out axes. Much of the time was spent showing us how to move around with the crampons then we just romped around through the ice with the guides choosing our way and making sure no one got stuck. We stopped a few times to listen to them speak about the glacier and to dump our bottled water in favor of glacier water. At one point they took pics for anyone who wanted by a waterfall. This was really fun and in our opinion worth the cost.
I plan on taking these two excursions as well. I'm sorry to hear that the WPR wasn't that great for you. I hope it is for us . Thanks again for your reviews.
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:36 PM   #1345
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I used these for a helicopter landing and trek whilst I booked for four and they could add two go become six it was just us four on the copter, we landed on the glacier and walked around, photos in the link in my signature line and Aldo the DCL Picture of the day thread recently.

It was fantastic and far cheaper than DCL.

For White pass we did more than DCL and at a price less than DCL with these, again we had a van go ourselves.

Full details, here
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WDW, DLP, DL far too many times.
* Disney Magic -
July 2014 12 Night Med + Greece.
* Disney Wonder - August 2013 Lots of photos Alaska and full navigators, -In 'The Walt' photo thread here,
* Disney Fantasy - Back to back, Eastern and Western, Two weeks in concierge!
* Disney Magic - 8 cruises, inc 12 night Baltic, 11 night Med, 14 & 15 night Panama, & 7 night Caribbean.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:09 AM   #1346
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Morning Disney Fantasy,

Do you happen to remember the cost for the White Pass Rail Summit excursion? They don't have it on their site (that I can see).

Any help is appreciated and thank you for the info!
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:44 AM   #1347
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Morning Disney Fantasy,

Do you happen to remember the cost for the White Pass Rail Summit excursion? They don't have it on their site (that I can see).

Any help is appreciated and thank you for the info!
We booked our Whitepass excursion through Chilkoot http://www.chilkootcharters.com/. We're doing this one that has more than DCL's, and we have a train car and van just for who booked through Chilkoot.

Quote:
Yukon Rail & Bus Excursion With 15 Minute Dogcart Ride (lunch included)
Duration: 7.5 Hours
Departure: 7:30AM (Depart Skagway by train)
Departure: 8:30AM (Depart Skagway by bus)
Cost: $211.00 Adult $151.00 Child (12 & Under)
Lunch Included: BBQ chicken, baked potato, coleslaw, dinner roll, cake doughnuts, coffee, tea, water
Admission to the Yukon Wildlife Museum, Husky Puppy Camp and the 15-minute dogcart ride also included
Itinerary: Skagway/White Pass Summit/Fraser by train – 1 ¾ hours on train to Fraser, Fraser to Carcross & Emerald Lake and return to Skagway by bus

Chilkoot Charters & Tours offers a full service package with all of its excursions. This means that all of the applicable components of the excursion are included in the already discounted excursion price as well as U.S. and Canadian sales taxes. Our passengers also enjoy the convenience of courtesy transportation to and from all cruise ship docks in Skagway. Lunch accommodations for the 7.5 hour excursions, train tickets and ground transportation have been pre-arranged for you so there is no waiting in line to purchase anything once you arrive in Skagway. Just meet us at the dock and we are ready to go!
Definitely look into booking with Chilkoot. They have great reviews.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:50 PM   #1348
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Just got back yesterday so I wanted to post while fresh in my mind:

Skagway- Chilkoot for White Pass train trip.
When we were on Alaska several years ago we used them and took train up and bus back. This time we took bus up and train back.
We had a native, Mike, for the drive up who was very nice, knowledgeable and funny. We were a group of 30 and he lined us up for pictures at the Alaska sign using all our cameras perfectly. Very good sport about it too.
If you take the train down, be sure and sit on the right side of the train for best views. Since I had been there I did not stress about it and sat on the left. I was rewarded by numerous waterfalls; they were everywhere. Just beautiful! If anyone has fear of height issues- definitely sit on the left going down.

Juneau- Orca Enterprises for whale watching.
We were a big group again and I am very glad we arranged to have the whole boat to ourselves.
Orca sent a bus to get us because the DCL ship docks not right in town like the other ships and there were 24 of us.
We had Capt Larry (What a hoot of a character). They gave us extensive knowledge about whales and their behavior on our way to the whales. They mentioned how they find the whales but in our case we turned a corner and there were 5 boats floating and parked so he decided to check it out.
For the next 45 mins we watched about 13 whales doing bubble net feeding where they work in unison to crowd together and the whales all rush to the surface together. Absolutely amazing!! Truly a once in a lifetime experience. YMMV.
On the way back to the shore we saw bald eagles, harbour seals, and sea lions.

Ketchikan- Island Wings with Michelle for Misty Fjord Floatplane Tour.
It was incredible. Most beautiful views through the fjords and the lake landing was amazing.


Overall- Loved all 3 excursions; booked independently; had zero issues with any of them and all everything more than I had even hoped for.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:45 AM   #1349
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I've searched this thread but haven't seen any recent reviews of the Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Hike in Juneau. Is it necessary to wear hiking shoes? The activity is listed as Active but curious as to how strenuous it is and if it's appropriate for 8 yr old. Appreciate any info in this excursion. Thank you!
I think it depends on the route they take! We did this hike last month and the guide mumbled something (to his associate, not to us) about good weather and taking the west route instead. While this is billed as a "fun wilderness hike for the entire family", I would not classify the hike we were taken on as such. I would have been uncomfortable without my hiking boots. I considered it fairly strenuous and it was apparent that there were a few of us on the hike who were expecting more of a "family" adventure.

But again, the "normal" route may be quite different than what we experienced.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:20 PM   #1350
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Skagway Sled Dog and Musher's Camp (July 2014)

We booked this direct with the excursion operator, Alaska Excursions. (Saved us $$ since DD #1 is 11 years old and Disney would charge us adult prices for her.)

This excursion was EXCELLENT. We had a small group (since our time was not one of the ones offered by the cruise lines) and that meant more interaction with the driver/tour guide. We drove about 1/2 hour to the camp, near Dyea, AK (now-abandoned former settlement). The shuttle ride is on dirt roads for about 2/3 of the trip, so it's bumpy.

We arrived at the base camp where we got into mountain-road capable big trucks with comfortable guest seats behind the cab. (They call them Unimogs.) We drove up a mountain road, past the dogs' living quarters, to a loop road where the dog teams were lined up ready to run. Guests get onto a cart (6 guests per cart, plus musher). The musher explains about the summer and winter training, and is available for questions before/after the ride. The ride is two loops around the road, plus a stop in the middle for the dogs to rest briefly. Afterwards, you can meet the dogs and ask more questions.

Part two: ride down the mountain in the Unimog, stopping at a scenic overlook, and then at the camp. Another musher shows some of the sled equipment, with Q&A, and finally a chance to visit the puppies! There were some older puppies (several months) that we looked at, some newborns (5 days old, eyes shut) that we looked at, and some about 2 months old that we could hold and cuddle. We got some great pictures of our girls interacting with the puppies, the sled dogs, and at the scenic overlook.

Finally, back to the shuttle van and back to port, right on the schedule listed by the excursion operator.
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