Alaska Excursions--post your reviews here!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by ClaireinTN, May 18, 2011.

  1. kendzee94

    kendzee94 DIS Veteran

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    We ran into the same issue on our August 23, 2011 cruise. We were able to get on a later flight, but our return time would have been too close to dinner (pirate night). It was super foggy all day, and even if we took that later flight, it appeared that the visibility still didn't clear up. I would recommend a non-flight tour that day, as our boat/flightseeing tour was also canceled due to the choppy waves/poor visibility.
     
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  3. Maleficent59

    Maleficent59 Mouseketeer

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    Tracy Arm: if you plan to book Palo or a spa, book it in the morning. You will want to be outside on your verandah or on deck when the ship gets close to the glacier. It is incredible!

    Ketchikan: either should be fine. We booked a private floatplane tour through Taquan Air. Our original flight time was 7:30 and they had us check back in with them 3 additional times to try to get us in the air - but eventually, our flight was canceled due to poor visibility. They did a superb job of trying to accomodate us. It wouldn't have been possible for DCL to reschedule so many tours so I think we had more flexibility than the folks who booked through Disney. I did not hear of any floatplane tours that actually took place Saturday. [I should add that the refund for the excursion was processed first thing Monday morning without any prompting from me and Taquan Air sent me an email confirmation before we left Seattle.]
     
  4. Maleficent59

    Maleficent59 Mouseketeer

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    Completely agree with the recommendation to use Chilkoot Charters! We only had 11 people on our excursion and our driver stopped whenever we asked, took photos with our cameras so all of us could have family photos (at almost every stop), optimized our stops at the most visited places (he would stop at scenic sights that would have been on the way down when we were going up if he saw that there were no tour groups there at that time) and he was highly entertaining!! We did the tour with the dogcart ride and had so much fun! Our musher completed the Iditarod race 3x and we had a very nice conversation with her on the too short, but fun ride. And the husky puppies were sooooo cute!!
     
  5. Travel60

    Travel60 Earning My Ears

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    We just got off Wonder yesterday and are staying a few days in Seattle. I will post fuller report when home but wanted to respond to snorkeling question. Dd talked me into it - I was concerned because cold bothers me more now than when I was younger. I loved it and definitely recommend it. It was rainy, windy and cold in Ketchikan but the snorkeling was fun. The wetsuits do not keep you "toasty warm" but after an initial chill, they do keep you at a neutral temp as long as you stay in the water. We saw lots of neat sea creatures, similar but different from more tropical locations. And undersea plants. The hardest part of the event is putting on the wetsuit - I was sweating when that was done! You do get wet so take a change of clothes and plan for wet hair. The guides are very knowledgeable and helpful. I give it a 5 out of 5.
     
  6. Deb in IA

    Deb in IA Knows that KIDS are better

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    Why in the world would someone wear open toe high heels to walk on a GLACIER????:confused3


    Anyway, thanks for the info. We have good sturdy running shoes, so I think we should be OK.
     
  7. Mackie Mouse

    Mackie Mouse Even my dog loves Disney

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    Great advice - thanks! Would not have thought about an independent company being more willing to schedule than Disney, but it makes sense. Were you able to do any alternate excursions?
     
  8. Maleficent59

    Maleficent59 Mouseketeer

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    We were offered a refund after the first flight was canceled and several alternate excursions were suggested to us. We decided to try to get a floatplane tour, but alas, the weather did not cooperate. We opted to walk around town before looking for eagles from our verandah. DD got a few great photos of eagles in flight in Ketchikan! :)
     
  9. CruisingGoddess

    CruisingGoddess Disney Princess

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    I didn't got on a DCL Alaska cruise but I wanted to share my trip report since many of the ports are the same.

    http://moonprincess.com/travel/category/cruises/alaska-2010/

    Skagway – White Pass & Yukon Railroad
    Juneau – Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding
    Ketchikan – Anan Creek Bear Viewing
    2 nights in Denali National Park
     
  10. poohj80

    poohj80 Got Hunny?

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    We were asking the SAME THING (while shaking our heads :) ).
     
  11. Travel60

    Travel60 Earning My Ears

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    DH and I traveling with DS 24, DD 26, DSIL 28:

    SKAGWAY:
    DH & I did Yukon Suspension Bridge and White Pass Railway - took the Railway out and into Canada and the bus back. Very picturesque, breathtaking. Guides did a great job telling us about the area and what was coming up. Recommend for anyone who wants a less adventuresome excursion.
    DS, DD, and DSIL did the Adventure Park Zip Line and loved it. None had zip-lined before but said it was fun and guides were very good.

    JUNEAU:
    DH and DS did the 5-Glacier Floatplane excursion and loved it. The plane has one seat on each side of a center aisle so everyone has a great view. They said the water landing was smother than on a runway.
    DD and DSIL did the Biking and Tramway excursion and enjoyed it a lot. DD was worried about the downhill ride but said it was fine.
    I did the Best of Juneau and loved it. The catamaran was only about half full so there was plenty of room (and an upper deck) to whale watch and sightsee. We got into a pod of orca and the captain cut the engine and dropped a microphone. The orca swam up to, around and under the boat - very exciting. We also saw a few humpbacks but from a further distance and some seals. The salmon bake was delicious and a neat gift shop. The Mendenhall Glacier was awesome. We had less than an hour there - I wish it had been longer! Highly recommend!

    KETCHIKAN - this was the only day we had significant rain on the entire cruise. It is the rainiest city in the US, so to be expected!
    DD and I did the Snorkling adventure and loved it. HIGHLY RECOMMEND! I was concerned because I chill easily but the wetsuits really do keep you warm (after an initial, brief chill when getting in). With a storm coming in, the water was quite choppy and current strong but our guides were very experienced, helpful and concerned for our safety. The sea life is similar to but different from more tropical seas. You do get wet so bring a change of clothing and plan for wet hair.
    DS AND DSIL did the Adventure Karts and loved, loved, loved it. They took turns driving (one out, one back in) and just couldn't stop grinning at dinner. HIGHLY RECOMMEND for an adventure.
    DH did a Misty Fjords boat ride. With the rain they couldn't see as well as sometimes but he enjoyed it.
    NOTE: several of the Misty Fjords flights were canceled due to weather. If flying is important to you, consider booking in Juneau or Skagway where rain chances are a bit less.

    Final comment - parents of children younger than 13 should really, really think twice before subjecting their children to longer excursions (> 2 hours) that are mainly geared toward learning and seeing rather than geared toward "doing". We had several bored, tired, and whiny children on excursions where they should not have been.
     
  12. Travel60

    Travel60 Earning My Ears

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    I wanted to add that we did not do an excursion in Victoria because we attended Catholic Mass at St. Andrew Cathedral. Someone else from the cruise had contacted the pastor who agreed to have a Mass for the cruisers. The boat docked later than planned and different people took taxis and shuttles so we arrived at different times. However, the pastor waited until around 20 people were there (we sat in the choir loft) and we had a very nice service with an organist and cantor. My DD and DS read.

    I don't know if this is something the church has agreed to do on a weekly basis or not. We only knew about this service because someone posted about it on Disboards. The ship was requested to put in in the daily navigator but declined because it was off-ship. Perhaps it could be arranged as a $0 excursion so people could know about it and a shuttle bus could be used to get everyone there at the same time???
     
  13. cujochurch

    cujochurch Deemed the "World's Greatest Aunt!"

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    ANyone know if this is still offered? and where the rock shop is? Sounds like just the thing for us to add on to our day.
     
  14. WeAreGoofyforDisney

    WeAreGoofyforDisney Earning My Ears

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    White Pass Railway in Skagway was pretty, but the train rocked us all to sleep for at least 20 min. Great nap! We had been up early for a sled dog trip...not on the glacier, but nearby and on wheels. Affordable and great fun. (Skagway Brewery, btw had best onion rings I've ever eaten, great burgers and salads.)

    Lumberjack show in Ketchikan was fun for the kids.

    Bicycling in Juneau would have been more fun had it not rained. Also, our 10 year old was on a kids bike and had a harder time time keeping up with the adults. We stayed with her of course, but the heavy bike and rain took some of the fun out of it for her.
     
  15. DrChuck23

    DrChuck23 Earning My Ears DVC Gold

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    Skagway- Yukon & Whitepass railway- we had a lot of overcast days (June 2012) so the scenery was frankly underwhelming. Although "Yukon" is in the railroad company's name (which is a historical name), this trip barely goes into British Columbia, let alone the actual Yukon. It stops at the Canadian Custom's bldg, you get off the train then get on a bus and drive back.
    We then did Liarsville which also was underwhelming- it's basically a handful of "actors" trying to recreate what the settlement looked like in the days of the Klondike goldrush. Goldpanning in their water troughs involves sifting out a few gold flakes that they have mixed with sand/stone- fun for about 5 minutes.
    Others in our group did a biking tour which they loved.

    The biggest disappointment at all ports (but especially Skagway) is how much they've turned into shopping districts that look like Caribbean ports of call. The boat even has their "shopping expert" who will try to convince you that buying jewelry in Alaska of all places is a good deal.

    Juneau- was pleasantly surprised by the fish hatchery tour, as was everyone in our large group. Mendenhall Glacier- definitely worth spending enough time to walk the trail down to the water falls (very close to the glacier). Others in our group did a kayak excursion which was their favorite activity of the entire trip although they don't go nearly as close to the glacier (in fact I could not see them at all from the glacier).

    Ketchikan- has a more tolerable shopping area; we attended the lumberjack show which is right next to the port; it was especially fun for the kids. This is the "rainiest place in North America" so keep this in mind when looking at tours as several things had to be canceled while we were there due to whether (like helicopter tours).

    Victoria- our ship was only docked for a few hours and we did not book a tour. Once at port however, you have the option of a free shuttle that will take you downtown or hiring your own car/van. We opted to hire a limo as there was 8 of us and took a 2h drive around the city. It was fantastic, cost $140+ tip. Our driver even took us to a private marina where harbor seals frequent and the marina provides feed so we had a great time (and great pictures) feeding the seals right off the dock.
     
  16. DL1957

    DL1957 DIS Veteran

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    DSIS and DBIL are leaving on the cruise next week. BIL is signed up for the Salmon fishing trip. Looking at 2011 reports is does not look like a trip for a true fisherman. He has his own boat and fishes weekly. Has anyone gone this year and what were your experiences. If you don't get your own pole he is thinking about changing. He is aware of trolling and what that entails but still wants to have a pole assigned to him.
    Thanks for your help.
     
  17. COASTIEandMATE

    COASTIEandMATE Mouseketeer

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    Hi Sue! We are the Giants fans from the Inaugural Alaska cruise! Ron went on this fishing trip and enjoyed it. Yes you get your own pole but May was a little early in the season so did not catch very many fish! We had so much fun that we are going again in 2013, and plan on doing the salmon fishing trip again too! Have you been to any Giants games? We think of you often,please keep in touch, ALOHA, Karen and Ron:hug:
     
  18. 2PrincesseInTow

    2PrincesseInTow Mouseketeer

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    Has anyone done the Rainforest Canoe Adventure and Nature Hike in Ketchikan? We leave in a week and I'm looking for reviews. TIA
     
  19. DL1957

    DL1957 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the information. I was out for opening week in April. Going to the game on July4th in DC. So far no other plans. Wasn't Matty's perfect game awesome! I will pm to you my home e-mail address. Great to hear from you. Sue
     
  20. ucancallmetink

    ucancallmetink Mouseketeer

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    My family was on the May 28th sailing from Seattle. I've been hard at work on writing review posts (including tons of photos) on my blog. Here's what I've written so far:

    An overview of various aspects of the ship and the cruise as a whole.

    A pictorial review of our day in Skagway. We did the 4x4 Takshanuk Mountain Trail.

    A pictorial review of our day in Juneau. We used ERA helicopters for flightseeing and a dog mushing camp.

    The final installment (floatplane into Misty Fjords Natl. Monument) is forthcoming and should be posted later this week.

    I hope those reviews help other guests! :thumbsup2
     
  21. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much! We booked the Takshunuk Mountain Trail excursion for our August 27 cruise and we're really looking forward to it! Still not sure what we'll do for dinner that night, since we have main dining and the excursion is scheduled to return at 5:45pm (sounds like you were back even a little later.) Did you have main dining and if so, did you do something else for dinner? Or were you not ready for dinner after the late lunch? Thanks again!
     

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