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Old 02-05-2013, 09:23 AM   #16
Politzania
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Originally Posted by cheesemouse View Post
Agreed. I is very overwhelming planning an Alaskan cruise. I spent about 16 months doing TONS of research. It's time consuming but so worth it. I can only recommend (very highly) these tours/activities we did:

Ketchikan: Misty Fjords flightseeing with Island Wings. Michelle is so outstanding that can't even describe it. You will not be disappointed.

Juneau: Whale watching with Harv and Marv. Great little company with such extensive knowledge. They really try hard to give you an excellent tour. 6 person boats and 1 guide. Awesome. We also stopped at the Mendenhall Glacier on our way back for a while and it was very nice.
I will second these - we cruised in Sept 2011 and booked these excursions independently. Both companies are happy to answer any questions you might have and work with you to make sure you have a great experience. If/when we ever make it back to these parts of Alaska, we'll be sure to book with them again!
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:16 PM   #17
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Yes, DW and I felt the same way. Neither one of us had been (and probably won't be back) to Alaska. Trust me, we would love to go back. We live in FL, so it's a long trip, etc.

As for being overwhelmed...my advice to you is the same advice I give to people planning a trip to WDW: You can't do everything!!! That's probably where a lot of your anxiety is coming from. Soak in everything you come across. As you said, this is a once in a lifetime trip. Do what you can and enjoy. We loved Alaska and would like to see the area near Fairbanks if we ever got back there.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:26 PM   #18
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When we were planning our trip last year, I started a word document for each port, then as I would read things I was interested in on the DisBoards or in a guide book, I would make notes under the appropriate city. Then, about 2 weeks before our booking date, we sat down, read through all the notes and started ranking/eliminating things. It helped me to have one central location of all the information I had gathered. then, when booking time came, it was a snap - I had a first and second choice for each city.

I would also suggest that maybe you leave one port unplanned. By the time we got to Ketchikan, we were ready for some free time off the ship and endedup ditching our excursion.

Also - we absolutely believe beyond a shadow that the best money we spend on the entire cruise was the Taku Lodge excursion in Juneau. The float plane ride was spectacular (loved the soundtrack they played for us while we flew); the lodge is charming; the staff is amazing; the food was plentiful and yummy. I didn't want to leave!
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:25 PM   #19
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We went in 2011 and it was our first cruise. You will have a wonderful time. Alaska is fantastic. Also the food on this cruise is very, very good. See? You're halfway to a great time.

Skagway - we booked the glacier/helicopter/dog sled excursion independently through Temsco. The location was about 20 feet from where the Wonder docked. I know it's expensive but if there is any way you can swing it, do. Really an experience of a lifetime -- the helicopter over the glacer, cuddling the puppies, my 9 yr old leading the team of dogs. I would go again.

I'm blanking on the middle port. We went to the Mendenhall glacier on our own. Just okay.

Ketchikan -- we booked the canoe trip through Disney. Figured the boy would need some physical activity and we would need to get away from the crowds. Mission accomplished. Hauntingly beautiful.

Have a great cruise. I'm jealous...

Do you mind if I ask the price of the glacier/helicopter/dog sled excursion through Temsco? I looked on their website, but no prices. We're on the Wonder to Alaska Jul 22-29. Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:24 PM   #20
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I am not new up cruising, in fact this is my 9th DCL cruise, but first that is not in the Caribbean! I have even been on other cruise lines. But why am I so overwhelmed with the planning of this Alaskan itinerary? I guess it is because I know it a once in lifetime trip and I want to create memories that will last a lifetime. Has anyone ever felt this way?
TwingleMom, I know exactly how you feel! We did the Alaskan late August of 2012, and I started planning in late 2011. I felt so overwhelmed as well. I think for me personally, a lot of it had to do with being Floridian and feeling completely out of my element. I was stockpiling winter clothes in January of 2012 because I knew I'd not be able to find hats/ scarves/ etc in Florida past February! But let me assure you, when you get onboard, you will be like "Why was I worried? This is easy peasy!"

I would suggest to stock up now on the winter stuff here though if you haven't already. Walmart has all of their gloves/hats/etc on clearance right now, so it's starting to leave already. I would also suggest having some nice hiking boots or waterproofed shoes. Of all of the things I packed, I was VERY happy that I followed others' advice to bring waterproofed hiking boots and sneakers. It didn't rain one day on our cruise, but it seems like there is water everywhere in Alaska and I'm always stepping in it!

If you need any advice from a fellow Central Floridian Alaskan cruiser, feel free to message me! I'm always happy to help!
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:17 PM   #21
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i am just starting to look at alaskan cruises for 2013 on dcl and a few others. does the disney 2013 itinerary cruise the "inside passage" thanks for any info. some cruise lines list the inside on the itinerary i dont see it on disneys.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:19 PM   #22
MattFromBuffalo
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We are planning our Alaskan Cruise right now as well. While the sticker shock has worn off regarding the excursion prices, we are all very excited about trying new things while up on our cold vacation.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by MattFromBuffalo View Post
We are planning our Alaskan Cruise right now as well. While the sticker shock has worn off regarding the excursion prices, we are all very excited about trying new things while up on our cold vacation.
So true!!!!
We booked a year ago for Aug. 2013.
At the time I thought the excursions were sooooo expensive! Didn't think we would be able to book much.
Now, I guess I am getting use to it.
We have had lots of time to save. Flights to Vancouver are the most we have ever paid!

That said, we are thinking.....once in a lifetime so here we go!

We booked
Green jeep tours for Skagway
Harv and Marv for Juneau
Island Wings floatplane for Ketchican.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:58 PM   #24
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Dogsled & glacier

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Originally Posted by TeresaBelle View Post
Do you mind if I ask the price of the glacier/helicopter/dog sled excursion through Temsco? I looked on their website, but no prices. We're on the Wonder to Alaska Jul 22-29. Thanks!
I'm thinking it was aroung 400 each,i'll see if i can locate the paperwork. Expensive but really memorable. The other thing that was great about booking independently is that there weren't any crowds. Another couple with a child shared the helicopter with us. When we arrived on the glacier, the previous group of 6 were leaving and it was just us and the iditorod trainers.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:40 AM   #25
TwingleMomFl
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[QUOTE="DisSarahK"]I know what you mean! Last year I booked our 2012 Alaska cruise in January and spent the next few months researching, planning, and mildly freaking out!

After a lot of research, I ended up booking all of our excursions on my own and they were great! No problems at all and I saved a lot of money (over all) compared to the Disney sponsored excursions.

My husband's favorite excursion was in Skagway. I booked us a rental car and we drove from Skagway, into Canada--through a small part of British Columbia and into the Canadian Yukon. We utilized a guidebook I downloaded from the internet called Murray's Guide and it was *wonderful* and described every abandoned mine and hillside we passed. Just fabulous! We really got a great feel for the countryside by doing this drive.

We saw wildlife (I've never seen mountain goats hopping on rocks other than in a zoo...until this drive!), stopped to skip rocks in a lake, and grabbed lunch in a bakery in a town recommended in the guide. We turned around at Emerald Lake--the most gorgeous lake I've ever seen in my life! (And yes, the water was just as green as the name implies!)

On the way back, we stopped to take a sled dog ride in Carcross and my children just thought that was fabulous! It was so much fun for all of us, but my children really really loved it and asked our driver (a FEMALE Iditarod racer) so many questions.



I have a question if you had to allow extra time crossing back and forth over the Canadian border and was the dog sled on snow?
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #26
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Do you mind if I ask the price of the glacier/helicopter/dog sled excursion through Temsco? I looked on their website, but no prices. We're on the Wonder to Alaska Jul 22-29. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by EllinK View Post
I'm thinking it was aroung 400 each,i'll see if i can locate the paperwork. Expensive but really memorable. The other thing that was great about booking independently is that there weren't any crowds. Another couple with a child shared the helicopter with us. When we arrived on the glacier, the previous group of 6 were leaving and it was just us and the iditorod trainers.
Its actually $499 a person this year (and that was what it was last year they said). We are booked for May cruise. Can not wait. We are doing it in Skagway. They do not give a discount for kids.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:16 PM   #27
TeresaBelle
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Originally Posted by mickeyhereicome View Post
Its actually $499 a person this year (and that was what it was last year they said). We are booked for May cruise. Can not wait. We are doing it in Skagway. They do not give a discount for kids.
Thanks!

I think we may do the sled dog summer camp, either in Skagway or Juneau. It's more within my budget.. lol

https://www.alaskaexcursions.com/
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:27 PM   #28
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SKagway had nicer weather than Juneau for some reason.

Helicopters out of Juneau get cancelled for safety (think low clouds and no visibility)

All of our Juneau excursions for the day with helicopter were cancelled on our May 24, 2011 cruise. We had an early excursion so had time to change gears.
Soometimes the weather improves later in the day.

Just have a backup plan. Mendenhall Glacier is a great backup plan for any cancelled excursions.

Also I found the thread by Lollipop's Mom about Vancouver to be very helpful.
Great ideas about that city and many links to thinks for this cruise.

Also if airfare is high, ideas to fly into Seattle and get to Vancouver easily. A thread by NWMOM on Seattle was started for the 2012 season out of Seattle.

Just be clear that the 2013 cruise depart out of Vancouver and reverse things.

Seattle is cheaper to fly into from the US. Crossing the border is easy.
Vancouver is cheaper to fly into from Canada or the UK, etc.

I seriously recommend you check out those threads. I will see if I can locate them and bump them for you.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:09 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by TwingleMomFl View Post
I am not new up cruising, in fact this is my 9th DCL cruise, but first that is not in the Caribbean! I have even been on other cruise lines. But why am I so overwhelmed with the planning of this Alaskan itinerary? I guess it is because I know it a once in lifetime trip and I want to create memories that will last a lifetime. Has anyone ever felt this way?
Totally with you on this. It is very overwhelming.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #30
DisSarahK
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I have a question if you had to allow extra time crossing back and forth over the Canadian border and was the dog sled on snow?
We didn't allow extra time for the border crossing--we just had the whole day for our drive. The crossing into Canada took maybe one or two minutes (nobody in front of us) and then the crossing on the way back took maybe fifteen minutes as there was a bit of a line in front of us. At any rate, it wasn't bad at all. We timed our drive to AVOID the big tour buses! (Murray's Guide gives you advice on how to avoid them!)

The dog sledding was not on snow--it was through the woods. You have to take a helicopter to the glaciers to do dog sledding on glaciers. I have young kiddos and didn't want to do that or spend the money on that. Not doing it on snow was quite educational though. We had to stop and give the dogs a chance to hop into kiddie wading pools to cool themselves off (even though it wasn't hot!) because it felt hot to the dogs. My children found that fascinating!

My children also learned the terms for how to get the dogs to turn left/right/stop, etc. Then (in the fall) when we went on a hayride at the pumpkin patch, they were *thrilled* when the farmer used the same terms with his horse and they told him all about their dog sled ride--so he let them practice on his horse. It was fantastic!
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