Alaska Disney Cruise Excursions for May 2020??

Nanalisacampbell

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
NEED HELP!! - My husband and I are needing to schedule excursions for our Late May 2020 7 night Alaska Cruise. Any suggestions on the best tour company to call?? Not sure what the $ difference between going through Disney or going individual...
 

Chemist

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
We start with the Disney website to see ideas of what we would like to do at each port. Or I read trip reports to see what others have done.

Then I use google and reviews on either trip advisor or cruise critic. Haven’t done Alaska yet but that’s how we did excursions on our last trip. Either cheaper or a smaller/better experience.
 

Dizney73

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
I don't know what you are looking for in excursions... but I just did a lot of asking around on here, I stalk trip reports on here and CC and makes notes on the excursions. I use Trip Adviser to check company reviews and work from there. After lots of reserach and questions I just booked our tours over the past few weeks.

Skagway... DIY Jeep Tours (I found this in someone's trip report and loved their review). It's walking distance from the port and cost a bit over $300 I believe. We are going to drive to the Yukon Territory and visit Tutshi Sled Dog tours, Emerald Lake and whatever else we can fit in.When we were in Alaska before we did an awesome tour that kayaked from Haines City. The views were awesome but it was tough work for my husband because he paddled and I took pictures! hahaha

Ketchikan... Private salmon fishing charter with Captain Jerry at FishKethican.com. Again, I found this recommendation here in someone's trip report and checked reviews on Trip Adviser. We did salmon fishing the last time we were here too and booked through the cruiseline. Much more $.

Juneau... I asked here on DIS just a week ago and had so many responses for whale watching with Rum Runner that I booked it!
The last time we were in Alaska we did the helicopter excursion to a glacier with a hike. It was absolutely awesome! We booked this on our own through a company but I can't remember who right now.
We were also looking at Wing Airways for a sea plane flight and salmon lunch for this year but honestly didn't know what my son who eats NOTHING would eat! Maybe next time. I did contact them and it can be booked directly with them which is cheaper. You actually go on the same tour but have to provide your own transportation to their meeting place.

Happy Research!
 

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  • Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    If you are interested in the Yukon and the White Pass railroad experience, I’d highly recommend Chilkoot Charters tours out of Skagway. Here’s some info I posted about them in my August 2020 cruise thread -

    I thought I’d share our experience with a local tour company in Skagway from when we were on our first to Alaska in 2015 - Chilkoot Charters. They offer bus and bus/train tours on the White Pass railroad up to Canada and the Yukon.

    https://chilkootcharters.com/

    They are an awesome tour company!! Several of us separately booked a tour in Skagway through them, and none of us were disappointed. I’d book with them again in a heartbeat if they offered other tours in the Skagway area. They offer full and half day tour options to Canada and the Yukon, either bus only or bus/rail combos with a choice of bus first or train first. We booked their 7:30 all day trip to the Yukon, rail/bus combo with the train portion first.

    Reasons why we went with them over the similar excursions offered thru DCL -

    1-lower cost. While DCL does not yet have their 2020 pricing posted, we found that Chilkoot was cheaper than Disney for essentially the same basic tour content.

    2-smaller groups. The Disney tour used the large busses that hold maybe 100 people or so per bus. Chilkoot uses smaller busses, think hotel shuttle size, that hold around 20-25 people. Also made it much easier to ask the driver questions as we went along.

    3-smaller busses resulted in more tour stops. We made several more stops along the way both up and back for the bus portions of the tour than the Disney tour and larger busses, so got to see more things. We could also stay long enough so everyone could get their photos. Most of the “extra” stops had no other busses there.

    4-tour flexibility. With the smaller bus and private company, the driver had options to change things up to make for a better tour. As an example, rather than hit the Welcome to the Yukon sign on the way up, as the larger busses will do due to the side of the road with the sign, we hit it on the way back when there were no other busses stopped so we could get great photos without a lot of crowds. Smaller busses can make the u-turn to the other side of the road. The driver knew the train schedules, so we were able to stop at a spot again on the other side of the road where we could wait for the afternoon train in the canyon on its way back to Skagway and get some great pictures. We also made a couple of unexpected stops when we spotted wildlife along the road, something the larger busses cannot do.

    5-an unexpected bonus with the trains. Chilkoot being a local company got the last car on the train for their tour group people. Disney groups started with the second to last car. What is great about the last car? For those that wanted to do so, we could stand out on the back outside platform to get photos as we chugged along. The unobstructed views were amazing! This made for some fantastic photos looking back to the harbor (if you do the train portion first) including seeing the ship, as well as pictures of the engine and train on the tracks when we’d go along a curve.
     

    Nanalisacampbell

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2019
    I don't know what you are looking for in excursions... but I just did a lot of asking around on here, I stalk trip reports on here and CC and makes notes on the excursions. I use Trip Adviser to check company reviews and work from there. After lots of reserach and questions I just booked our tours over the past few weeks.

    Skagway... DIY Jeep Tours (I found this in someone's trip report and loved their review). It's walking distance from the port and cost a bit over $300 I believe. We are going to drive to the Yukon Territory and visit Tutshi Sled Dog tours, Emerald Lake and whatever else we can fit in.When we were in Alaska before we did an awesome tour that kayaked from Haines City. The views were awesome but it was tough work for my husband because he paddled and I took pictures! hahaha

    Ketchikan... Private salmon fishing charter with Captain Jerry at FishKethican.com. Again, I found this recommendation here in someone's trip report and checked reviews on Trip Adviser. We did salmon fishing the last time we were here too and booked through the cruiseline. Much more $.

    Juneau... I asked here on DIS just a week ago and had so many responses for whale watching with Rum Runner that I booked it!
    The last time we were in Alaska we did the helicopter excursion to a glacier with a hike. It was absolutely awesome! We booked this on our own through a company but I can't remember who right now.
    We were also looking at Wing Airways for a sea plane flight and salmon lunch for this year but honestly didn't know what my son who eats NOTHING would eat! Maybe next time. I did contact them and it can be booked directly with them which is cheaper. You actually go on the same tour but have to provide your own transportation to their meeting place.

    Happy Research!
    This is my first time on here so please be patient with me Lol.
    Your amazing!! Thank you so much for your information. I was feeling a bit over whelmed. I will be looking at these tonight and will get these locked in.
    Again Thank You So Much!!!
     

    Nanalisacampbell

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2019
    We start with the Disney website to see ideas of what we would like to do at each port. Or I read trip reports to see what others have done.

    Then I use google and reviews on either trip advisor or cruise critic. Haven’t done Alaska yet but that’s how we did excursions on our last trip. Either cheaper or a smaller/better experience.
    Thank You so much!! I needed a starting point and push!!
    THANKS AGAIN!! :)
     

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  • WishUponAStarryNight

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2014
    We looked at the DCL website and I read trip reports from this site to get an idea of what we’d like to do. I reached out to M&M Tours and gave them a list. They came back with times that would work and booked everything for me. Our group of 4 wanted to do more than one excursion in two of the ports and we split up and did different things at points as well. M&M helped coordinate it all seamlessly.
     

    Graymoon

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 1, 2017
    If you are interested in the Yukon and the White Pass railroad experience, I’d highly recommend Chilkoot Charters tours out of Skagway. Here’s some info I posted about them in my August 2020 cruise thread -

    I thought I’d share our experience with a local tour company in Skagway from when we were on our first to Alaska in 2015 - Chilkoot Charters. They offer bus and bus/train tours on the White Pass railroad up to Canada and the Yukon.


    They are an awesome tour company!! Several of us separately booked a tour in Skagway through them, and none of us were disappointed. I’d book with them again in a heartbeat if they offered other tours in the Skagway area. They offer full and half day tour options to Canada and the Yukon, either bus only or bus/rail combos with a choice of bus first or train first. We booked their 7:30 all day trip to the Yukon, rail/bus combo with the train portion first.

    Reasons why we went with them over the similar excursions offered thru DCL -

    1-lower cost. While DCL does not yet have their 2020 pricing posted, we found that Chilkoot was cheaper than Disney for essentially the same basic tour content.

    2-smaller groups. The Disney tour used the large busses that hold maybe 100 people or so per bus. Chilkoot uses smaller busses, think hotel shuttle size, that hold around 20-25 people. Also made it much easier to ask the driver questions as we went along.

    3-smaller busses resulted in more tour stops. We made several more stops along the way both up and back for the bus portions of the tour than the Disney tour and larger busses, so got to see more things. We could also stay long enough so everyone could get their photos. Most of the “extra” stops had no other busses there.

    4-tour flexibility. With the smaller bus and private company, the driver had options to change things up to make for a better tour. As an example, rather than hit the Welcome to the Yukon sign on the way up, as the larger busses will do due to the side of the road with the sign, we hit it on the way back when there were no other busses stopped so we could get great photos without a lot of crowds. Smaller busses can make the u-turn to the other side of the road. The driver knew the train schedules, so we were able to stop at a spot again on the other side of the road where we could wait for the afternoon train in the canyon on its way back to Skagway and get some great pictures. We also made a couple of unexpected stops when we spotted wildlife along the road, something the larger busses cannot do.

    5-an unexpected bonus with the trains. Chilkoot being a local company got the last car on the train for their tour group people. Disney groups started with the second to last car. What is great about the last car? For those that wanted to do so, we could stand out on the back outside platform to get photos as we chugged along. The unobstructed views were amazing! This made for some fantastic photos looking back to the harbor (if you do the train portion first) including seeing the ship, as well as pictures of the engine and train on the tracks when we’d go along a curve.
    For the Chilkoot bus, are there restrooms on the bus?
    Thanks
     

    Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    For the Chilkoot bus, are there restrooms on the bus?
    Thanks
    Hi - not that I can recall as it is a smaller bus, more like the hotel shuttles at airports. Here is the bus info from their website- no mention of

    We specialize in smaller groups for more personalized attention, better tour quality and more flexibility. Our buses are 25 passenger in capacity. We have the newest bus fleet in all of Skagway and all vehicles are expertly maintained, meticulously cleaned and fully licensed and insured for Alaska and Canada travel. Vehicles also have full view windows, air conditioning and comfortable seating. A picture of one of our buses can be viewed in our "tours by bus" thumbnail pics.

    There is a question about bathroom breaks - here is their response, and there are restrooms on the train. It was not far between the stops as I recall -


    It is true that the restroom facilities (plumbed or outhouse style) are few and far between on the longer Yukon tours. There are 3 outhouses along the highway portion that the drivers can stop at if requested. They are not the most ideal situation, but will work if needed. There are also plumbed restroom facilities at Fraser, Carcross and Caribou Crossing Trading Post. Some restroom stops can be 1-1.5 hours in between stops. Please let your driver/guide know if a restroom stop is required and they can stop at the next available area.
     

    Dizney73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2007
    This is my first time on here so please be patient with me Lol.
    Your amazing!! Thank you so much for your information. I was feeling a bit over whelmed. I will be looking at these tonight and will get these locked in.
    Again Thank You So Much!!!
    Ask away! That's what I always do and I always find that someone here always is willing to help!
    There are so many great things to do and companies to work with... just read lots of reviews and plan so that you aren't racing the clock back to the ship!
     
  • Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    It’s great you are starting to plan early, as it’s highly likely Disney will not be the only cruise ship in Port. If you are considering booking excursions on your own direct & not thru Disney, you are competing with passengers on those other ships. Since Alaska is not a populous state, Availability can be at a premium or not available at all for some popular options for those who wait...

    Here is a link to the 2020 cruise ship calendar with schedules for Alaska by Port.

     

    China Expat

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 29, 2014
    I almost missed my HAL ship in Ketchikan after our flight seeing plane was unable to "land" along the harbor due to plane traffic. I booked the flight independently and not through HAL, and I believe the ship was not under any obligation to wait for me. Once we landed, I had to run down the front street in Ketchikan...made it with five minutes to spare!
     

    ofcabbagesandkings

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2014
    Hello, we read reviews here and on trip advisor, and this is what we ended up doing last May:

    Endicott Arm Day - The Glacier Explorer tour only offered by Disney. My husband took the first one and I took the second, we traded off the kids. This was the right choice because they would have whined with boredom. While my husband went, we met Minnie in her Alaska outfit and enjoyed the pea soup and hot cocoa on deck. Then I went. It was my #1 excursion of the trip and I would 100% do it again if we ever took this cruise again. Just incredible to be so close to a calving glacier.

    Skagway - DIY Green Jeep tours. We drove to Tutshi Sled Dog tours and had an sled dog ride driven by Michele herself (she is the Iditarod racer who owns the place) with the most incredible Yukon scenery as a backdrop. Our son also got to try gold panning there. Then we took a Temsco helicopter (parked right across from the ship) to a glacier for a walking tour. We booked that through Skagway Shore Tours.

    Juneau - Private whale watching tour on the Scania. It was just our family on the boat, for pretty much the same price as the bigger tours. Captain Alan found lots of humpbacks including a mother and calf. Was a gorgeous day but cold on the water, bring lots of layers if you do this.

    Ketchikan - Flight tour with Alaska Seaplane Tours to the Misty Fjords. This was stunning but there was a floatplane crash a week before that had us a bit on edge. I'm not sure I would do it again.

    In the end, the only tour we booked through Disney was the glacier tour. We never felt close to missing the boat or anything like that, and I managed to even get a bit of shopping done in Juneau and Ketchikan. The only other piece of advice I might offer is that Tracy's Crab Shack in Juneau is overrated and not worth the long wait. There, I said it.

    Have a great cruise!
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    In Ketchikan we've done seaplanes with Island Wings 3x (twice to - successfully - see bears at Anan Creek and Traitor's Cove - and once Misty Fjord Sightseeing). Love Island Wings!

    In Juneau we went whale-watching twice and did a Pilot's Choice double glacier landing with Temsco Helicopters. We've also gone up the Tramway which provides great views over the town and beyond.

    In Skagway we did the dog-sledding/glacier excursion with Temsco Helicopters and twice we rented a car from Avis (walking distance from ship) and using Murray's Guide to the South Klondike Highway drove to Emerald Lake. (Google for the guide which lists things to see/do by mile marker. Some of the places we stopped at along the way - Tutshi to see the Sled Dogs(puppies), Yukon Suspension Bridge, and the Welcome to Alaska highway sign.)

    We always had an amazing time and had time to walk through the town (Ketchikan has totem poles and Creek Street, Juneau has the tram for great views, etc.) - and there's plenty of shopping although most stores in each port and from port to port are very similar.

    We booked everything on our own - nothing through the cruise line. BTW, if you choose the dog sledding with Temsco check with them which is better. I've heard that the one out of Juneau gets canceled more frequently due to weather. Whatever you do, you'll have a blast!
     

    Nanalisacampbell

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2019
    I haven't seen much about our first port of call - Dawes Glacier, Alaska. Is there anyone else that offers excursions for the glacier besides Disney?
    Also my husband and I want to sample some of the foods in each port. Is there any restaurants in Dawes Glacier Port?
     

    jdb in AZ

    It could end up curdled
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2011
    I haven't seen much about our first port of call - Dawes Glacier, Alaska. Is there anyone else that offers excursions for the glacier besides Disney?
    Also my husband and I want to sample some of the foods in each port. Is there any restaurants in Dawes Glacier Port?
    It's scenic cruising, not a port. The shore excursion is actually a day trip on a smaller boat that leaves from the Wonder.
     

    _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    Dawes Glacier is not a port. It is scenic cruising. You don't tie up or get off the boat. As far as excursions go, it's DCL or nothing, since the excursion is leaving from a ship at sea.
     


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