Alaska Excursions--post your reviews here!

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

  1. tink too

    tink too DIS Veteran

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    Tracy's is in Juneau. We haven't been (yet) so can't comment personally, but all reviews I've read have been great. :)
     
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  3. Disneynut64

    Disneynut64 DIS Veteran

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    In Juneau did you do both excursions in the same day ??
     
  4. noahdove

    noahdove DIS Veteran

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    I have to sub to this as I am trying to plan a cruise to Alaska....
     
  5. jenna7394

    jenna7394 Earning My Ears

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    We booked through DCL and also did the Knudson Cove excursion. We tried to book privately but I had a hard time finding someone who wasn't already booked or contracted through DCL. I think we could have done it cheaper, but I have no complaints booking through DCL. I hope he has a great time!
     
  6. jenna7394

    jenna7394 Earning My Ears

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    We went to Tracy's and I wish we could have gone back! I will definitely try and get back there someday. It was the best crab we have ever had. We had the sampler (not sure what it was really called) and it was a good size lunch for 2 of us. We had early dining and lunch was late. I could have eaten more (like ordered another king crab leg) but we didn't want to be too full for dinner! Totally worth the money and hassle trying to find a table.
     
  7. jenna7394

    jenna7394 Earning My Ears

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    You are all going to have so much fun! It was the highlight of our trip. The dogs and musher were great and the ice field landing was beautiful. Never would I have guessed we would have had so much fun! I am so excited for you to experience this excursion and am wishing we could join you! We would love to do it again!
     
  8. tink too

    tink too DIS Veteran

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    Thank you - I couldn't book my DH on a private tour as they all had minimum booking requirements - usually 4 persons.
     
  9. Spart02

    Spart02 Mouseketeer

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    Just returned from our cruise and I thought I would share our thoughts on our excursions!

    Skagway: Husband and 13 year old son did the Hike and Raft Excursion. Booked through Shipmate. They had a great experience! Guide took as much or as little time as the group needed. Hike was fairly strenuous and best for those in good physical shape. Float was enjoyable. Mosquitoes were present, but not persistent. Would recommend this!

    Myself, son age 10 and daughter age 5 did the helicopter ride to the glacier. Booked directly through TEMSCO. This was AMAZING! Lots of freedom to explore the glacier. I felt like we weren't rushed. Guides were great in taking us to a few highlight areas. Helicopter ride was smooth and enjoyable. Company ran things well. At the berth that we were at, we exited the ship and you could see their building and helicopters from the gangway. Very easy process to get there, get prepped to go, take-off and landings, etc. Warning: you are not allowed to take any bags with you, including small camera bags. Everything that you take has to fit in your pockets. I would HIGHLY recommend this excursion and it was the highlight of our trip!

    Juneau - Our entire group of 7 did the Taku Lodge and Float Plane Adventure. We booked directly through them to save some money. Very easy to find; no issues with that process. Float plane ride was enjoyable. Narration was fine (not done by the pilot, but pre-recorded). Landing was smooth. Once we arrived, we noticed all of the people standing on the shore were swatting at bugs. When we got off the plane, we were greeted by an overwhelming amount of mosquitoes. I have never in my life seen so many! They were swarming around our faces like CRAZY! Fortunately, they weren't really biting. We did have really really strong bug spray on, so maybe that is why we weren't bitten; just bothered.

    After checking out the lodge, we tried to go for a hike. The mosquitoes were actually even worse in the woods. We got about 100 yards and had to turn back. They were in our eyes, you couldn't open your mouth, etc. It was just not tolerable! So, we ended up going to the restrooms, gift shop, and sitting in the lodge waiting for the meal.

    The meal was very good. Very tasty! It was a serve yourself kind of deal and then they brought around the cookies afterwards. Plenty of food!

    After the meal, we hung out indoors for the most part due to the mosquito problem. Then we boarded the float planes again and were off back to the docks. Overall, it was an okay adventure. The scenery was beautiful and the planes were fun. The meal was great. We did not see bears, but we hit it on a very warm day and they said the bears stick to the shade when it's hot.

    Ketchikan - We did the Deadliest Catch excursion and booked directly through the company. This was fabulous! Everyone in our party enjoyed it from the grandparents to the youngest (age 5). The people who worked on the ship were outstanding. It was very interactive and the time went very fast. They threw fish to the bald eagles and there were so many eagles that it was absolutely amazing! Swooping down right in front of the boat to get the fish out of the water. Very cool! They pulled up crabs, an octopus, and several other interesting creatures. The tanks on the boat are cool for the kids to get an up-close look. We were able to hold the crabs and take pictures with the crew. I would definitely recommend this one as well!

    Let me know if you have any specific questions to the excursions we did! We got a lot of information from this thread and want to pass it on!

    -Kelly
     
  10. MickeyMomTo2

    MickeyMomTo2 Lauren S. @baseballsbows

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    Thanks so much for sharing! We have the Deadliest Catch and Temsco helicopter tours planned also, so I am glad to hear they were good! Question: I thought I read you could take your camera with you on the helicopter. Is this correct? I have a DSLR, so it won't fit in my pocket. I thought you could wear them around your neck. Do you know?

    Thanks!
     
  11. waudio1

    waudio1 Earning My Ears

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    Yes you can wear your camera around your neck. Just has to be out of the camera bag. We had a very large Nikon and it wasn't a problem. You absolutely need a camera - I brought back some amazing pictures. Temsco helicopter and dog sledding was the highlight of our trip. It was a beautiful day. Bright sunlight up on the glacier and the mushers were in t-shirts. When you ask my teenage girls their favorite part of the whole cruise they will say holding the puppies at the dog camp (even though they only got to hold them for a few minutes). It was truly the experience of a lifetime up there on the mountain mushing with the dogs.
     
  12. MickeyMomTo2

    MickeyMomTo2 Lauren S. @baseballsbows

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    Thanks!
     
  13. ScottFamily2005

    ScottFamily2005 Mouseketeer

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    Our two excursion highlights:

    Skagway- Dog Musher's Summer Camp. You see some beautiful scenery way off the beaten path and learn about the Iditarod. We got to hold four week old pups! The kids absolutely loved it.

    Ketchikan - big surprise for us was the Lumberjack show. Everyone had a great time, especially the kids. It's cheap, only an hour and close to the ship. I had lunch at the Alaska Fish House next door - smoked salmon chowder and salad, about twelve bucks. They also had halibut, cod, and salmon fish and chips (but I had had my fill by this point). As others have said, Ketchikan was my favorite port for shopping. We also wanted to see totem poles, but didn't have the budget for a big excursion, so we took a ten dollar cab ride to Saxman Native Village. We couldn't get into the clan house or the carving shed, but DD took pictures of the totem poles and that was enough for her. LOL

    We had a long/rough day whale watching in Juneau. We did see a few tails, but it was hot and the boat was enclosed without a/c. They moved semi-formal night to Juneau AND we had the MU premear and Pixar party, so it was just one of those loaded vacation days in general.

    Overall, we loved Alaska and will probably go again in a few years.
     
  14. JSMT

    JSMT Earning My Ears

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    We loved our June 3 Alaska cruise. I booked all our excursions through Disney. Two adults and two four year old boys on everything.

    Skagway -- Yukon suspension bridge, city, and white pass railway. We book a narrated bus ride into the Yukon first. Beautiful views and lots of picture stops. The driver/guide was very willing to take group photos. Then a 45 min or so stop at the suspension bridge. This was fun but more "tourist trap" type experience then I expected. We bought drinks and snacks, checked out the gift shop, walked across the bridge and that's about it. Some nice gold rush displays to read. Nice view of the river. Finally we took the white pass trip back down. The train itself has been well reviewed elsewhere. My kids especially liked being out on the platform.

    Juneau -- Taku Lodge by float plane. We love love loved this excursion; definitely the highlight of our trip. No issues with bugs unlike previous poster. The two float plane trips (before and after) were just the right length for Mommy to get the experience and little boys not to get bored. Breathtaking glacier views (our weather was very good). Lodge was quiet and peaceful. The kids played in the grass, made friends with the dogs, watched the salmon grilling. We went on a private nature walk for a closer glacier view. Had our own table just for the four of us at lunch. Food was amazing, especially the biscuits and ginger cookies. My kids even ate some salmon. After lunch, there was a guided nature walk to "sometimes a waterfall". More playing in the grass, quick stop in the gift shop, then floatplane back to civilization. The only down side was we didn't see bears. We would absolutely do this again when we someday, hopefully, go to Alaska again.
    We also separately did the Mt Roberts Tram, or "flying bus" as my kids called it. Walked up to the ticket counter and got right now. Nice view of the harbor, captive bald eagle, interesting film on native culture.

    Ketchikan -- Annette Island Native Discovery. I picked this, which seems to be a new excursion this year, because I wasn't really sure what I wanted to to do but was disappointed there wasn't time for whale watching in Juneau and wanted a "small boat" excursion. It turned out to be a lot of fun. It was pouring rain in Ketchikan and as soon as the catamaran was out on the bay everything cleared up. Nice views of the coastline, knowledgeable captain and naturalist. 30 min or so boat trip to Annette Island. Brief bus tour of the town led by two young women who grew up there. Then they took us to the cultural center where the kids were led through drawing a native design on the top of a "drum." Then a fun dancing and drumming demonstration that the kids were invited to join. The leader of the group spent 15 min or so with the kids at the end answering questions and letting them try out his real drums. Then there were native crafts to purchase. Finally, catamaran trip back to Ketchikan. We saw some eagles on the way back. Binoculars were provided on the boat. Overall very nice day.
     
  15. Silly Little Pixie

    Silly Little Pixie <font color=blue>My name is Inigo Montoya. You kil

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    We did both our excursions through Disney and loved them. I'll review them separately though since I'll be adding pictures, and had seen very little in the way of reviews on either.

    Skagway- Glacier Point Wilderness Safari
    Our family group of 6 all chose this one. We were myself and DH, my parents (60's) and my 13 and 16 year olds. This one was THE highlight of the cruise for us all! This excursion takes you by boat past the town of Haines to near Davidson Glacier. From there you do some hiking and then canoe up to the glacier. But it's so much more than that!

    First, if you do this excursion, you don't need to book a whale watching excursion in Juneau. :thumbsup2 I think our group (all DCL) was about 24 people. The boat was enclosed, with windows that we raised when we stopped to whale watch. The boat trip to the base camp was about an hour. We saw LOTS of whales, and the captain would stop and go towards them just like on a whale watching excursion. Our guide on the boat, Lee, was great and very knowledgeable.

    Once we arrived at the base camp, we had a short hike through a meadow, and then we immediately had lunch- turkey sandwich, apple, fruit bar, water.

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    Then we rode via school bus to the base camp, where we were outfitted with boots, extra jackets, life vests. It was probably in the 50's but got much colder when we got closer to the glacier. After all getting geared up, we took a short hike through the forest to the canoes and got a closer view of the glacier.


    Then we paddled up to the glacier (but after the first part, the guide turned the little motor on for us!)
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    My family ready to go!


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    Still about a mile from the glacier, can you believe it?


    We were able to beach the canoes (I guess they can't always) and spent some time exploring around the base. Phenomenal.
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    I have so many more amazing pictures but this gives you the gist.

    After that, we canoed back, then returned to our boat for the return to Skagway. We saw even more whales on the return trip! It was definitely a full day adventure, I think it was 6.5 hours. We were hungry when we got back for sure! The guides were fantastic- they live out at the base camp, no running water or electricity. They are some amazing young people! Just genuinely in love with Alaska and eager to share their knowledge with you.

    In short, my family thanked me over and over for selecting this excursion. Best one we've EVER taken (and we've done a lot over the years!). :goodvibes
     
  16. Silly Little Pixie

    Silly Little Pixie <font color=blue>My name is Inigo Montoya. You kil

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    Our second excursion was also through DCL, Alaska Whales and Science Adventure in Juneau. This was through Gastineau Guiding. This excursion was just myself and my 2 teenagers. The basic premise is that you get to participate in some ongoing research on humpback whales, and the changing Alaska ecosystem. This is their website: http://www.stepintoalaska.com/tour_shore_excursion_details.cfm?tourid=researchexploration

    They were terrific. The first part of our day was the whale watch. We were in a small boat, and only 9 total guests and 3 guides! We were 3 family groups of 3. One other family had a 10 yo girl, and another family had their college aged daughter. The guide said that DCL specified that this tour be kept very small, in order to provide a more exclusive experience than other cruise lines offer.

    We saw plenty of whales, and Stellar sea lions as well. My son got to be the photographer and use their VERY high end camera to photograph the whales so that their tail flukes can be cataloged. Researchers are looking to see if the same whales return to the same places every year, how often does that whale have a calf, etc. All the pictures are mine- with a Canon XTi that is dying. :sick: Needless to say I'm sure the ones my son took on their camera are a lot better...

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    After this, he taps the camera, turns to me and says, "THIS is what I need...":rotfl2:

    The kids got to: pull up a trap that had lots of different sea life in it (crabs, fish, etc), learn how to pull up sea water from 50 feet down and measure its temperature and ph level, and pulled up phytoplankton that humpbacks feed on as well. It was great.

    [​IMG]

    The second part was a hike at the Mendenhall Glacier. There, they checked off plants and the stage of development they were in (first bloom, etc). This purpose was to monitor how the environment around the glacier is changing as the glacier retreats. The guides were very good in explaining how and where the research would be used.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'd highly recommend this excursion as well, especially for it's small size. It was terrific! The guides were great with kids young and not so young.They did provide snacks but you would want to eat a big breakfast, we definitely got hungry. We got back to "town" in Juneau in time to meet up with DH and have a great lunch at Twisted Fish.
     
  17. MickeyRocksInPA

    MickeyRocksInPA Earning My Ears

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    These are great pics. Thanks for sharing.
    I wonder if anyone has some newish navigators to share???
     
  18. topsy

    topsy Mouseketeer

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  19. peachygreen

    peachygreen DIS Veteran

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    The navigators from the first cruise of the season can be found at

    disneycruiselineblog.com/personal-navigators
     
  20. Jimbob22

    Jimbob22 Earning My Ears

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    Skagway: White Pass trainride and trail camp. The first part is about 90 minutes, the views from the left side (per someone else's post) are incredible. The camp is 'liarsville' and is kind of hokey. It was cold, wet, and drizzling a bit, we were not that crazy about this part.

    Juneau: Mendenhall, whale watching. Mendenhall is good, we had around 50-60 minutes there, but not quite enough time to comfortably go on some of the longer hikes (3-4 miles).

    Not impressed with the whale watching. The boat is not allowed to get close to the whales, so it just goes out, parks a while, and you see a whale or two from very far away. The boat does get hot and stuffy, so I went out on top for a bit.

    Ketchican: Ketchican by land and sea. Took bus ride to the totems (Saxman). Driver dropped us off and we had 15 minutes to observe them. We were the only group without a guide to give us good explanations of them. Then we got back on bus and went to tour of non-working cannery (Libby cannery, closed in 1957). This was actually kind of interesting. Scintillating? Not sure, but kind of interesting to see a historical cannery. The Native American guide was eloquent and interesting. Then a boat ride back to port, it stopped here and there to point things out, but I didn't find it all that scintillating.

    We spent around a grand on excursions, overall I didn't feel all that overwhelmed (these were all booked thru Disney). I'd advise against any whale watching or boat rides. If you have good waterproof shoes, I'd look into some self guided hikes and save a lot of money.

    The White Pass rr, Mendenhall glacier, and the Libby cannery are all of potential interest, but there are likely cheaper ways to get to them.
     
  21. mamahemingway

    mamahemingway Earning My Ears

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    What port would you recommend for helicopter?
    I was thinking of doing Mendenhall glacier on our own to save money in
    Juneau and helicopter in Skagway, thoughts ?

    Only other idea was Rum Runner in Juneau. That is more money and not sure enlightened time to see glacier too.

    Ketchikan we have Island Air float plane booked

    Thank you!!!

    Ps -I can't seem to find how to book helicopter on own? They said book with DCL?
     

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