- Feb 3, 2006
Bumping this thread up to see if anyone who has cruised Alaska in the 2016 season might be interested in posting their excursion reviews/thoughts....
I can answer the first couple of questions:OK, I have read EVERY one of the 74 pages on this thread. THANK YOU! I have come up with my own 23 page of Ketchikan reviews so far. We are doing the 5 (FIVE) night Aug 2nd 2017 cruise. YES, there is only one! Wishing we had known it only has one stop...Ketchikan! Even 4 nights to Bahamas has 2 stops! But dont get me started...
Got a few questions:
1. On port adventures some say (seasonal), what does this mean? Are they not all seasonal, lol.
2. what time does ship arrive in Ketchikan? I have seen stuff all the way from 7:30am to 1:30pm!
3. life jacket sizes...do they have them to fit big chested me? My hubs is 6'5" and is very broad shouldered plus the cake gut. Love him! We have been to other excursions where they didnt have life jackets to fit. But then read things about not over 350lbs and he is only 280lbs so maybe they keep big man life jackets.
4. what are the differences between all the misty fjord excursions besides price? EXCLUDING the two over $1500, which to pick?
5. what are the differences between all the rainforest excursions besides price? which to pick?
6.If our one day of excursion gets rained/fogged out we came to Alaska for a cruise. I am not going for the cruise, we cruise yearly anyway. Is this cruise going to be fun woth out Ketchikan if it is not what we choose? (we are not into characters, we pick DCL bc it is the best)
7. Is neets Bay bear watch worth it? Floatplane apparently jacks the price up but we wanna see more than bears.
I will research more on the other stuff but those all sounded the same so wanted opinions from some folks who maybe have done several in several trips and can truly compare. Really want to hear the negatives. Feel like we got one shot so gotta get it pretty good!
I just looked up your cruise on the DCL website and it indicates that you are in Ketchikan from 9:00 AM to 7:45 PM. This information should also be included in the email you received from DCL when booking your cruise. It should have a subject of "Reservation Confirmation for..." and then your confirmation number. Scroll down towards the bottom of the email and you can see your port times. Here's a screenshot of one for my upcoming cruise next year.2. what time does ship arrive in Ketchikan? I have seen stuff all the way from 7:30am to 1:30pm!
I saw that but figured that was padded. Good time to do other stuff! ThanksI just looked up your cruise on the DCL website and it indicates that you are in Ketchikan from 9:00 AM to 7:45 PM. This information should also be included in the email you received from DCL when booking your cruise. It should have a subject of "Reservation Confirmation for..." and then your confirmation number. Scroll down towards the bottom of the email and you can see your port times. Here's a screenshot of one for my upcoming cruise next year.
View attachment 201566
That is a wonderful description, Thankyou so much. Many others will love that review too.I have to say that Neets Bay Bear Watch was such a fabulous excursion for our family. We went on the August 15th cruise (2016). Our son (nearly 5) has always been interested in bears and with a family cottage on a lake in Ontario he has grown up watching float planes but never actually seen them up close. We had the afternoon excursion which was a good thing since the morning excursions were cancelled due to fog. We took a tour bus to the Taquan Air float plane dock (this bus ride takes longer than expected since the streets are narrow and it can't make a bunch of turns so it needs to take a roundabout route to get there. Our float plane held 10 passengers and the pilot and we were all given headphones. The flight there is about 25 minutes and after the plane gets up in the air, the pilot told us about the area. When you arrive at Neets Bay you need to stay together with the guide, especially at the time of year when we visited because it is prime black bear season. The salmon were really running well. It is just a short walk to the viewing area and nothing separates you from the bears except a metal grate on the ground. We had great luck that day as we saw Ronan an older male bear that comes every year. The bears are completely focused on getting salmon and pretty much ignored us. The best treat for us was when a sow came with her two cubs that were born in May (so only about 3 months old). That was the first time she had come to the creek with her cubs. We were able to watch them for about ten minutes and then some other male bears came along and she took off fairly quickly with her cubs. Altogether we saw about 8-10 bears in an hour. It was totally amazing to see. We also had a quick explanation about the salmon hatchery and then a walk back to the dock (a different route past a few bear dens). The plane trip back was a different route and we were able to see mountain goats in the hills and we did a fly-by of the Wonder (we got some great pictures). The hour we spent watching bears at Neets Bay was one of the fastest hours of my life! So, yes, it is an expensive excursion, but watching those two little bear cubs grabbing the first fish of their life, waiting to see if a couple of big males were actually going to fight over a salmon, seeing up to 4 wild bears at once fishing on a wild stream in Alaska - that's what memories are made of! As a side note, we walked back from the Taquan Air docks instead of taking the bus and made it back to the Wonder before the bus and even were convinced by our servers to join them for the early seating even though it was 6:15 (they saw us walking by the restaurant). So even with a not even five year old, it was faster to walk back than to wait for the bus.
We just got back late Tuesday night, and I thought I should share what we did since this thread helped me out so much before we left for our cruise.
We got to spend a day in Vancouver before we got on the Wonder, so I'm including what we did there as well.
Vancouver: We found a stretch limo driver that was FABULOUS! He charged us $75 per hour, and we could use his service for as many hours as we wanted. We decided to limit our tour to two hours, and we were so happy we did this! For $150, we got to customize what we wanted to do, and our limo driver was a native to Vancouver and provided us with so much information on the city. We chose to have him take us to Grouse Mountain so we could do the tram ride to the top. We then went to the fish hatchery and got to view some salmon jumping upstream. This was cool and probably not something I would have chosen if our limo driver hadn't suggested it to us. He drove us thru Stanley Park, to a beautiful place called Prospect Point, to the famous Steam Clock downtown, and then just took us around the city showing us beautiful homes (and they are GORGEOUS) and telling us the history of Vancouver. I cannot say enough good things about Vancouver. I'd definitely vacation there again, and I highly recommend the limo driver we had. I have his info if anyone is interested.
Skagway: We did the White Pass Railway, City, and Yukon Suspension Bridge tour. This was also a great excursion! We took the train to Fraser, British Columbia, and the sites along the way were beyond beautiful! It was about a 90 minute to two hour ride on the train, and then we boarded a bus that took us to the suspension bridge and then drove us back to Skagway. It was neat to take the bus back because it all looked different from the point of view you get on the bus compared to the views from the train. Plus, our driver was wonderful and provided lots of information as we drove back. I'd also recommend this tour.
Juneau: We did the Alpine Zipline and Glacier tour. This tour was amazing! We had ziplined in Hawaii on a previous trip, and the ziplining in Alaska was WAY better than what we did in Hawaii. Our ziplining guides were wonderful, and it included 7 ziplines and a suspension bridge. When we got back to the lodge, they had blueberry tea for us, and we could make s'mores over a fire if we wanted to. Very cool excursion and one we would highly recommend. The glacier was cool too! We thought it was better than Tracy Arm because we could actually get quite close to the glacier here. It's quite a hike to make it close to the glacier and to the huge waterfall that is near the glacier, but it's worth it! We only had a limited amount of time at Mendenhall Glacier, but we were able to make the trek up to the glacier and waterfall with time to spare when we got back to meet the bus.
Ketchikan: This is by far the highlight excursion of our trip. My kids are already begging us to let them do this again some day! At the last minute (and thanks to a fellow DISer on this thread), we booked a float plane adventure to Misty Fjords thru a place called Island Views. Michelle is the pilot, and I cannot say enough good things about this excursion! Michelle is very knowledgeable and has been flying for many, many years. The sites are breathtaking! We got to land on a lake in the fjords and walk around on the side of one of the mountains. I cannot wait to get our pictures back from this one! We even saw a mini avalanche while we were there (but nothing to worry about). Island Views is a small company that goes above and beyond to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. The ship was scheduled to leave port at 8:00 that night, and we didn't have our excursion with Island Views until 5:00. We booked the two hour tour so we could have some time on the mountain when we landed at the lake. The price was far more affordable than booking something similar thru Disney, and we will definitely book thru this company again if we ever go back. SUPER GREAT EXCURSION!
Hope this helps someone out there! Let me know if you have any questions or want the contact info for the limo driver we had. I told him I'd be recommended him on the DIS!