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Old January 28th, 2007, 06:32 PM
lbernardy lbernardy is offline
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Default First Timers Going to Alaska

We are headed for Alaska in June on a 7 day cruise with a 5 day land tour. Our stops are Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau. We are on the Sapphire Princess. Here are our questions:

Is it possible to book excursions when we get off the ship to save money or will they all be booked?

In Skagway we are doing the White Pass Railway, good choice?

We are torn in Juneau, canoeing by the Glaciers, Menedahl Glacier Trek(husband wants that one), Dog Sledding Glacier Adventure?

In Ketchikan we are wondering if we should do the Misty Fjords or just stay in town and do the duck boats. we are only there from 6:30 am until 1:30 pm.

This is our 9th cruise but our first to Alaska. There are 2 other couples coming along but we dont' expect everyone to do what we are doing. Also if anyone has any info on the "open dining" we would appreciate that also.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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White Pass rail is a great trip IMHO. Great scenery and history.
If you have the budget by all means Misty Fjords. Duck tour is goofy and fun but no comparison with Misty Fjords
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Old January 28th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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Don't miss Misty Fjords...it's one of the most beautiful places on earth. Take a floatplane if you don't have time for the cruise/floatplane combination. You won't regret it. Have fun!
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Old January 28th, 2007, 11:18 PM
lbernardy lbernardy is offline
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thanks so much for the info...we will stick with the White Pass Railway and book something for the Misty Fjords. We are trying to do alot since we dont know if we will be back for awhile or at all. Have any of you booked excursions with someone else besides the ship? We have in the Caribbean and have had good luck. What about Juneau?? Canoe in Glaciers or Plane?
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Old January 29th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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We pre booked Captain Larry (Orca enterprises) for our whale watch trip in Juneau. I don't think the ships use Orca at all. Just an outstanding trip.

You can also "book" a bus to the Mendenhall glacier from the pier without pre-booking.

The Mt Roberts tram in Juneau also does not need pre booking. The terminal is right where the ships dock. You can see how the weather is before deciding to go up the tram or not.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 09:34 PM
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lbernardy....When are you going on the cruise? We are also booked on the Sapphire Princess for June 9-16....Doing a land tour first....Take care, Susan
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Old January 29th, 2007, 09:55 PM
lbernardy lbernardy is offline
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susan,

We leave the 16th from Vancouver and we will be doing a 5 day land tour afte the cruise.

Laurie
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Old January 30th, 2007, 03:59 AM
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The White Pass Railroad is an excellent choice if you get lucky with weather like I did. Some say that if it's a cloudy day, one cannot see much. I had sun so that was the best shore excursion out of 6 cruises.
Misty Fjords too is excellent, but if one doesn't wish to pay the high cost, Ketchikan itself is a wonderful destination all by itself. I love Creek Street ! Ketchikan like Sitka doesn't require a shore excursion.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 03:39 PM
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I have to agree with some of the other posts...don't miss the WhitePass Railway in Skagway. Like Thoth, we had amazing weather and clear blue skies. The scenery was amazing. If you want to see what you're in store for, they have a website and on that site, check out their photo contest section. Lots of people submitted their photos (myself included - but didn't win ) and you can really see the great scenery you're going to see.
http://www.whitepassrailroad.com/
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Old January 31st, 2007, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longbeachlarry
I have to agree with some of the other posts...don't miss the WhitePass Railway in Skagway. Like Thoth, we had amazing weather and clear blue skies. The scenery was amazing. If you want to see what you're in store for, they have a website and on that site, check out their photo contest section. Lots of people submitted their photos (myself included - but didn't win ) and you can really see the great scenery you're going to see.
http://www.whitepassrailroad.com/
Do most people take the shorter ride? I noticed there were a couple of different excursions that involve the railroad.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 09:00 PM
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i am also wondering if it's a better idea to book excursions once there so as to see what the weather will be or do i risk having a particular excursion all booked up by that time? also, i have read so much about these flightseeing and helicopter trips, they sound great, but my question is how safe are they? does anyone know if they ever crash and how frequently? i'm a very nervous flyer but i don't want to miss out on a great trip thanks
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Old February 1st, 2007, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj
Do most people take the shorter ride? I noticed there were a couple of different excursions that involve the railroad.
Steve, we took the trip that went over the pass and into British Columbia but didn't get on the next train to go further into the area. We took the bus trip back which stopped at "Liarsville" a mock up of a gold rush town. They put on a skit and the folks were dressed in period clothes. It was a little hokey but still nice.
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Old February 1st, 2007, 06:55 PM
lbernardy lbernardy is offline
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Thanks for all the info and we will for sure stick with the White Pass Railroad. We also booked the Misty Fjords to with Island Wings. I spoke directly with someone up there and asked about booking when we get off the ship. Sometimes he said you get lucky. But most of the time it is just filling up one spot on a plane or helicopter. Since there is usually more then 1 boat in dock the tours get filled up fast. we were originally booked for a flight at 8 in the morning but changed to 10 just in case there was fog. The 8:00 one had only 1 seat left. We figure if we are spending this much to get up there we want to make sure we have our tours planned out ahead of time. Now we are trying to decide which Glacier Tour to do in Juneau. My husband wants to do the trekking, I prefer the dog sled glacier landing. Or maybe we should make a comprimise and do the Pilots Choice which I have heard really good things about. Any suggestions???
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 10:47 PM
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Default Round-trip

Is White Pass Railroad something that's so pretty to be worth going round-trip, or just worth a one-way journey? Thanks!
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelcrazy006
i am also wondering if it's a better idea to book excursions once there so as to see what the weather will be or do i risk having a particular excursion all booked up by that time? also, i have read so much about these flightseeing and helicopter trips, they sound great, but my question is how safe are they? does anyone know if they ever crash and how frequently? I'm a very nervous flyer but i don't want to miss out on a great trip thanks
Many shore trips do indeed sell out. If you really wish to do a particular shore excursion, I personally recommend having a reservation.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcganty
Is White Pass Railroad something that's so pretty to be worth going round-trip, or just worth a one-way journey? Thanks!
I did the one way to Frasier BC. The bus back visited "Liersville goldrush camp" which is a cute living history park.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 03:04 PM
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thanks thoth, i think i have to start checking out all the different trips. there is so much to choose from
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Old February 5th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Thanks, Thoth!
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Old February 5th, 2007, 10:03 PM
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Default First Timers Going To Alaska

There are some cruisers that abhor the "open dining" idea, but we thoroughly enjoy it.

Being able to eat your meals... EX: between 5:30pm to 10:00pm, instead of every night at 8:00pm is great for us. Also sitting at a table of your choise with the people of your choise instead of the same table, same people every night.

Everyone has their own opinion.

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Old February 6th, 2007, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelcrazy006
thanks thoth, i think i have to start checking out all the different trips. there is so much to choose from
You're welcome..and YES there are plenty of choices .
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Old February 6th, 2007, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcganty
Thanks, Thoth!
You're welcome ! 8)
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Old February 6th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Round-trip

jmcganty,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Is White Pass Railroad something that's so pretty to be worth going round-trip, or just worth a one-way journey? Thanks!
It's worth doing the round trip. When you get to Summit Lake, where they use a siding to move the locomotives to the other end of the train for the return trip, they have everybody switch sides so you get a good view the scenery and landmarks on both sides of the track. They don't repeat the full narration on the return leg, but they do point out the major sights again so that you know when to look for them.

That said, the hybrid tours do go a bit further. The train goes to Frasier, BC, and then reverses direction, where passengers who are riding buses or bicycles back to Skagway get off and those who rode buses up get on. On these tours, you need to bring your passport or alternate identification (proof of citizenship and proof of identity) for the border crossing.

Norm.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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I would say book your excursions ASAP, when they fill up you're dead, rarely is there a cancellation. Forget any price difference, with the supply and demand go'n on there in AK take what u can at the moment, forget the $$$$, u only live once and AK is"THE LAST FRONTIER" !


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Old February 8th, 2007, 09:37 PM
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Default whale watching or glacier trekking or dog sled on glacier.

OK...another question. My husband wants to do a glacier trekking on the glacier, I would prefer I thought anyways to go on the glacier and do the dog sledding, but now I am leaning towards the whale watching excursion. Do you think one is better then the other? We could possibly do them both (whale and glacier) since we are in Juneau for a quite a while, but it is costly. But then we look at it like we may never go back again and lets just do it all. Suggestions?????
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Old February 9th, 2007, 11:31 PM
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I heard you need a passport for anywhere in BC now...is that true? Thx.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Default Juneau

You can also book a Traceys Arm tour...We were going to do a whale watch tour but thought this would be better..The smaller boats can get up really close to the glaciers offering you a better look...You can get up close and personal with the ice..
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Old February 18th, 2007, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcganty
I heard you need a passport for anywhere in BC now...is that true? Thx.
It would be a great idea to have a passport. The rules for 2007 seem a bit ambiguous, but my interpretation is YES...a passport in necessary.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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Default First Timers to Alaska

We were in Alaska (Diamond) in 2005 and are planning a return in June of 2008.

We fell in love with Alaska ! Alaska is awsome !

We did the White Pass Rail to Frazier,B.C The scenery was so beautiful.
We didn't get to do the Misty Fjord tour last time so it is top on our list this time.

My favorite tour, hands down, was the helicopter tour of the Juneau Ice Fields, and if I don't get to do anything else this trip I definately will do this tour again. I can't begin to describe the amazing beauty.

It sounds like you are selecting right. To really see and get a feel for Alaska you need to get out of the towns and explore the wildness of this beautiful state.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 04:24 PM
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thanks for your input. I definitely know now we are for sure doing a glacier tour with a landing. I figure we should do as much as we can up there since we don't know if we will get back there again.

LB
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 04:54 AM
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Is it always chilly year round?
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