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Old 01-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #1
sarahandgreg
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Pre Alalskan nervous breakdown

A week ago I was sooooo happy about going on the alaskan cruise - now having spent a week trawling through the port adventures i am about to have a breakdown - my mind is confused and I cannot focus on what I want to do where. Please, if I list my wishes, could anyone point me in the direction of what may be suitable:

Dog sledding
Gold panning
Bears
glacier walk
some sort of train ridethrough mountains

This is what I basically want to see - anyone recommend a trip?

The list of trips is huge so i need to narrow it down to the bullet points.

Cheers all - off to take a valium to calm down ( joke)
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:01 PM   #2
kcashner
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We saw bears along the roadway in Ketchikan and at the visitor's center at Mendenhall Glacier.

Our other activities were different from yours. We did whale watching and Mendenhall glacier in Juneau, Totem Bite Park (on our own) in Ketchikan, and the tour in Skagway. We couldn't get into the zip line in Victoria (full). Actually they had 1 spot open up and I wanted my DD to take it...she didn't want to go without me. We booked our excursions thru shoretours.com and saved about 30% over cruise line prices + had smaller groups. VERY satisfied. They had all the same excursions as the cruise except the zip line in Victoria--cruise line had purchased all available spots for our dock time.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:07 PM   #3
lgajohnson
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If they still offer the Neets Bay flight plane excursion in Ketchikan...we did it last summer and it was phenomenal!!! More bears than I could count,truly amazing. We also did dog sledding in skagway, but it was not dog sledding on snow and ice. It was more like summer time training. Well worth it!! In Juneau, we went in a whale watch which was so beautiful. Don't stress over it!! It was one of our most favorite vacations!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:13 PM   #4
BubMunkeyBles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahandgreg View Post
A week ago I was sooooo happy about going on the alaskan cruise - now having spent a week trawling through the port adventures i am about to have a breakdown - my mind is confused and I cannot focus on what I want to do where. Please, if I list my wishes, could anyone point me in the direction of what may be suitable:

Dog sledding
Gold panning
Bears
glacier walk
some sort of train ridethrough mountains

This is what I basically want to see - anyone recommend a trip?

The list of trips is huge so i need to narrow it down to the bullet points.

Cheers all - off to take a valium to calm down ( joke)
I'm not doing an Alaskan Cruise through Disney (we're going through NCL this summer since they go to Glacier Bay), BUT I do live in Alaska and have done tons of research so I'll give you my opinions.

Here's what I would do with your wishlist after looking at Disney's options

Skagway- Klondike Gold Dredge and Whitepass Rail
Ketchikan- Alaska bear adventure (I wish our cruise offered one of these)
Juneau- Dogsledding on Mendenhall by helicopter followed by a trip to the Glacier.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
sarahandgreg
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Thanks guys - please keep ideas coming. We are going on sept 2nd. I am sold on dog sledding - hopefuly on snow. Will i see whales and bears at that time?
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:33 PM   #6
DarthTod
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Don't miss the glaciers, someday you can tell your grand kids you not only remember when they existed, but that you walked on one.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:42 PM   #7
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The Taku Lodge excursion in Juneau is fantastic! You ride a float plane over the glaciers to a lodge for a salmon cook out. The bears come around to 'clean up' the grill after your meal has been cooked. You don't get to actually walk on the glaciers, though.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:58 PM   #8
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One of my friends, who is usually unflappable, was a nervous wreck before her first cruise. Her kids had given it to her and her DH as an anniversary gift, and a DDIL was a travel agent. So you'd think the friend would know everything and could handle a simple cruise. (She did survive.)

Alaska is easy to find shore excursions -- you don't even have to prebook them til you get on shore and find a deal you like. Not that I would recommend doing that, but we got a great deal on a float-plane trip to Misty Fjords.

Just choose your favorites, then prioritize what you really want to do most. Besides the float plane, we especially enjoyed the Whitepass train in Skagway. Gorgeous scenery and lotsa history.

Or you could just walk around the little towns.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:06 PM   #9
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We did the gold panning and everyone loved it! The train ride through the mountains was not so fun. It was hot, and we chose to stay on the train when we arrived at Canada. Boring.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:40 PM   #10
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We went the same time of year in 2011 and loved every minute! In Skagway we took the White Pass/Yukon Railway and the Liarsville excursion. In Juneau we planned to do the helicopter to the glacier dogsledding camp. It got cancelled due to bad weather. Be aware that that could happen on some excursions in Alaska - one never knows. The helicopter to the glacier excursions were still a go because the glacier is a very large area and the dog camp is in a set place.
In Ketchikan we did the Neets Bay by float plane to see the bears. AWESOME!
We even saw some whales from the air on our way back,

You will have an amazing time!
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:02 AM   #11
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We did the September cruise to Alaska last year. It was great! The ship was maybe half full - don't know if it was because of being in September or that our cruise started in Seattle and returned to Vancouver. The excursions we did were:

Yukon rail with dog cart in Skagway through Chilkoot Charters. It was awesome! This, however, was a dog CART ride - not a sled ride on a glacier. The sites from the train are not to be missed. We took the train up and then a bus back down. Absolutely breathtaking scenery!

Best of Juneau, which was again awesome. We saw so many whales it was insane! It was drizzling rain when we went to Orca Point Lodge and then again at Mendenhall Glacier. But it was still incredible!

I forget the title - but we did something with bears at the Alaskan Rainforest Sanctuary in Ketchikan (Bear Country something or other). We saw 7 different bears all feasting in a stream from elevated bridges and platforms. It was amazing! After that, we got to feed reindeer and watch a totem carver.

We also saw whales from the ship. One morning we saw this one whale breach (off in the distance, but we did get a good picture) over and over again. On the last sea day the ship went past a pod of orcas. None of them came up all the way, but there were dozens of dorsal fins.

We didn't see any bears except for our bear excursion. So I'm really glad we spent the extra $$ for that.

Best of luck to you!

Edit - I forgot to mention in Juneau the ship was actually late leaving because we were waiting on a helicopter to return from the glacier. The weather had gotten so bad, there was one helicopter full of people (including a crew member) that couldn't make it back. Those people had to spend the night on the glacier and re-join the ship later. There was someone from our FE group stuck - you can read more about it at the end of our meet thread (September 3, 2012).
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahandgreg View Post
A week ago I was sooooo happy about going on the alaskan cruise - now having spent a week trawling through the port adventures i am about to have a breakdown - my mind is confused and I cannot focus on what I want to do where. Please, if I list my wishes, could anyone point me in the direction of what may be suitable:

Dog sledding
Gold panning
Bears
glacier walk
some sort of train ridethrough mountains

This is what I basically want to see - anyone recommend a trip?

The list of trips is huge so i need to narrow it down to the bullet points.

Cheers all - off to take a valium to calm down ( joke)
Did this cruise in June. Your request is easy. One excursion will get you dogs (not exactly sledding), gold panning, a train ride, and a small chance of a bear: At Skagway do the "Yukon Adventure." http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cr...on-expedition/ The Yukon Adventure takes you on a bus up to Canada. On the way, your driver watches for wildlife. You stop for lunch at a fake town made for tourists: this is actually ok. Lunch is decent, they have a nice museum of stuffed animals, there is a gold panning area (not gold panning in an actual stream, but most aren't. if you pan gold from an actual stream, you are unlikely to get anything. so this is gravel spiked with gold that you pan in troughs of water. you get the idea, learn the skills, and actually get gold, which is much more rewarding for kids than panning a bunch of gravel and getting nothing.) Also at this site are sled dogs who train for the Iditarod. They pull people in a wheeled sled. So, not a true dog sled experience, but these are Iditarod dogs performing their true summer training. Then you board the White Pass Railroad for the ride back down to Skagway. My wife and daughters, ages 12 and 14, loved it.

In Juneau, we chose to take the helicopter up to Mendenhall Glacier and do the glacier hike. Absolutely perfect. It was wonderful. We spent over two hours exploring the glacier.

In Ketchikan, we met up with a local guy who takes people around in his van. He knows where to find bear, and we did see several bears.

Frankly, you are in good shape. You know what you want to do, so just choose some excursions that will provide those opportunities. Have fun!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
meajuly5
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So many choices!!!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:34 AM   #14
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Thanks guys - please keep ideas coming. We are going on sept 2nd. I am sold on dog sledding - hopefuly on snow. Will i see whales and bears at that time?
Bear adventures will usually find bears. As far as whales go, you should take a realistic approach. On my first trip to Alaska, I expected to see whales cavorting and jumping around the ship. They don't. Often, you will only see the plume of water from their blowhole. When things go great, you will see a little of their back and dorsal fin.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:38 AM   #15
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Don't miss the glaciers, someday you can tell your grand kids you not only remember when they existed, but that you walked on one.
x2 on the glaciers....didn't think I would like it, but I really did.
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