Alaska Excursions--post your reviews here!

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

  1. blossomz

    blossomz Proud DVC owner since 2002!

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    Is there much of a risk of cancellation due to weather? I was concerned about booking a floatplane only to have it be cancelled and then not have anything booked... We are going mid July.
     
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  3. Mackie Mouse

    Mackie Mouse Even my dog loves Disney

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    This is a risk you run with many excursions in Alaska. The nice thing about going to Misty Fjord is that even though Ketchikan is extremely rainy, the weather in the fjord may prove very different. To be honest, if there's an excursion you want to do...I would just book it, especially if you are OK with booking on your own. The company we booked with would have refunded our money if our excursion was cancelled due to weather, and it's not hard to find or come up with backup excursions or activities if need be. The trip on our floatplane also only took about 2 hours, so had it been cancelled, our day wouldn't have been ruined.

    Here is an FAQ right from Island Wings: http://www.islandwings.com/frequently-asked-questions#FAQ_Q80

    If you scroll up a bit, you'll see their cancellation policy.

    For what it's worth, although it rains about 50% of the time in Ketchikan...we had a GORGEOUS, 65-degree, SUNNY day when we visited! Your mileage may vary, but the word about town is that Disney did a great job of bringing the sunshine ;)
     
  4. blossomz

    blossomz Proud DVC owner since 2002!

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    Thanks for the advice!
     
  5. swooshbear

    swooshbear Mouseketeer

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    Last May, we had great weather in Ketchikan and did the Misty Fjord floatplane. It was really cool to land on the water and step out onto the pontoon for photos.

    We had a dog sledding via helicopter trip planned in Juneau but the weather was so bad that day, no flights were able to take off and our trip was cancelled. We ended up walking around the town and eating one of those monster crab legs at Tracy's Crab Shack. We'll be back in August so hopefully the weather cooperates this time.
     
  6. hygienist999

    hygienist999 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the info on the float plane excursion. I hope it doesn't get rained out.

    We are planning to do the hike at Mendenhall Glacier. I hope we will get some great photo's.
     
  7. Sorcerer Mom

    Sorcerer Mom Mouseketeer

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    Does anyone have any reviews on the Klondike Bicycle Tour? It says you need to be comfortable with hand brakes and going downhill 15-25 mph, which I think I'd be okay with. I'm a casual bike rider and just want to be sure I wouldn't be getting in over my head here. Thanks in advance for any feedback! :goodvibes
     
  8. love280mickey

    love280mickey Mouseketeer

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    Looking for reviews on Best of Juneau - how many people are on the whale watching catamaran?

    Also anyone do the Back Country Canoe and Jeep adventure in Ketchikan?
     
  9. LJC1861

    LJC1861 DIS Veteran<br><font color=teal>Suffers from a Tag

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    I am glad I found this thread! We are going to Alaska on the Wonder on the 6/22/15 sailing. I am so excited, and can't wait to begin planning excursions. I think we are going to try to do as many as we can independently so all the tips on this thread are going to be so helpful. Thanks everyone!
     
  10. buffalorun

    buffalorun Earning My Ears

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    We found that many, many of the excursions ran over their time. On more than one occasion we were dashing for the ship, with them hastily pulling out as soon as possible. But, they held the ship for us because we were on a Disney run excursion. Otherwise, we would have very possibly missed the ship and had to get ourselves to the next port. Due to that experience we usually choose to book with the Disney excursions, depending on the location and time of excursion. Thatis our thoughts on the matter, for what it is worth. Enjoy!
     
  11. LJC1861

    LJC1861 DIS Veteran<br><font color=teal>Suffers from a Tag

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    Thanks for the input, I will take it into consideration. I would hate to be left behind.

    Linda
     
  12. dclwonderprincess

    dclwonderprincess Mouseketeer

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    I book all of our excursions independently, most companies will guarantee to get you back to the port or they will pay to get you to the next port. Just ask them when you're thinking about booking.
     
  13. noahdove

    noahdove DIS Veteran

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    I wouldn't like to be left behind for any reason!!! I will be booking thru Disney for sure...
     
  14. MouseMomx2

    MouseMomx2 DIS Veteran

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    We rarely book through Disney and have never come close to being left behind. The independent tour operators are used to working with ship passengers and their tours are usually scheduled to get you back in plenty of time. Plus, booking independently can save you a lot of money. :thumbsup2
     
  15. jetskigrl

    jetskigrl No mumbojumbo here

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    Yep, the cruise ships are their livelihood and they aren't going to chance having their reputations ruined by causing people to miss their ships. Especially in Alaska I have noticed that most independent companies advertise they will guarantee that you will be back in time or they will pay to get you back to the ship (to the next port).

    Disney will run later excursions because they know where their groups are and can keep an eye on those running late. Example, in Cabo, we were heading back to the ship about 1 and 1/2 hours before departure time and we passed a DCL excursion heading over to the Dolphin facility. If you booked independently, you would never do an excursion that late. As it was, that group ended up being over 1/2 hour late and of course they held the ship for them since they know they were on their way back.

    If you want to go with an independent tour company, just make sure the end-time of the excursion leaves you plenty of wiggle-room. I have independent tours booked at all three ports for our upcoming Alaska cruise, and all of them end 3-4 hours before departure time.
     
  16. buffalorun

    buffalorun Earning My Ears

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    In agreement with all the posts. There are times and reasons when to and when not to book independently. We take excursions that tend to be affected by weather more than others. For instance, if you fly Misty Fjords with a boat trip back - the building weather or seas can make for a very long trip back as the boat pounds the chop. Been there, done that. Other times it is a dreamy trip. Not being the last trip of the day minimizes those considerations. The most important thing we do is to enjoy the adventure and breathe in the scenery and experience. :dance3: ENJOY!
     
  17. Cibahwewah

    Cibahwewah DIS Veteran

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    Skagway: Booking through Disney, we did the White Pass railway to the Canadian Border (very pretty), bus back (meh) to Yukon Gold Rush dredge and panning experience (tourist trap!) and walked around the town a bit for some shopping and had lunch in town.

    Juneau: booked independently through Alaska Galore tours and did the Whales, Bears and Glaciers tour. It was awesome and the highlight of the entire trip. Highly highly recommended. We were the first off the ship and were back an hour before departure time. Had a personal tour guide with us all day. First went in small plane to Chicagof Island to meet a native tour guide and go see bears. DisneyNature had just wrapped up filming "Bears" and we recognized a couple of sites. Back in plane to fly over 5 glaciers, narrated by pilot with headphones. She really got down in some valleys then swooped up and over. It was literally awesome! Then went on small boat for whale watching. About 12 people total. Up close and personal. Lots of humpbacks putting on a show. Felt sorry for folks on the large boats. Some dolphins raced the boat back across the bay. It was a lot of fun.

    Ketchikan: walked around in the morning, up Creek St to the salmon ladder, took the funicular to the lodge, saw Totem center and hatchery. Booked independently with Southeast Sea Kayaks. Met guide at the visitor center and walked to pier. They took us to Orca Cove where we met our kayaking guide who took us (family of 4) on a 2 hour paddle. Saw sea stars and eagles but no orcas. It was quiet and beautiful, very peaceful. Delicious smoked salmon lunch afterwards. Back to ship in plenty of time. They knew the ship schedules better than we did, so no worries.

    Don't worry about booking independently of Disney. I felt we had better, more personalized service, much smaller group, well, it was just us most of the time, and we were well taken care of. It was nice to meet locals, not just summer hires for the cruise line.
     
  18. tink too

    tink too DIS Veteran

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    We also found that the independent tour companies made sure you were back to the dock in plenty of time before all aboard times.

    We got dropped off in town after one of our excursions for a bit of shopping and were still back on the ship with 2 hours to go before sailing away.

    The only tours that seemed to return later on our sailing were the Disney operated ones but I don't think any of them were late enough to hold the ship up.
     
  19. Freesia123

    Freesia123 DIS Veteran

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    We booked for the Liarsville character experience with salmon bake. Then I realized it was from 8:45-11:45. Do they eat at like 10:30? I'm a bit confused.
     
  20. Made Up Name

    Made Up Name Mouseketeer

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    No offense, but, I'm not sure I believe you. I doubt excursion operators want to deal with the problem of having their customers miss the ship.
     
  21. jetskigrl

    jetskigrl No mumbojumbo here

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    In buffalorun's case, it was indicated that they were DCL excursions. DCL will run excursions that end very close to departure time. They can do it because they have a CM with the group and/or a primary contact person from the tour company. So they can stay in contact to ensure that the group makes it back in time (or they will hold the ship for a little bit if they are on the way back).

    But with independent tour companies that guarantee to get you back in time, you are right. They will not let you book something that has a chance of getting back late (because DCL won't hold the ship in that case and they don't want to be responsible for you missing the ship).

    I found that the independent companies in Alaska all know more about the Wonder's schedule than I do. ;) They told me what time we would be docking, and in one case, at what berth, LOL.
     

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