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Alaska excursions (Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan)

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Hi,

With prior help (thanks again) we've booked our first cruise to Alaska and are now thinking about excursions. We'll visit Juneau and Sitka for a day each, Ketchikan for a morning, and Victoria for an evening. We are reasonably active, like nature and are travelling with an elementary school-aged child (which rules in and out a number of excursions), and we are thinking of splurging on one flightseeing tour.

Right now for Juneau, we're thinking about trying to fit in gold panning and a whale watch. The gold panning seems to mostly be offered through the cruise lines-- is that right? The timing is ok but not great-- we could then do a whale watch with Capt. Larry from 11:30-3:00. Should we try to see the Mendenhall Glacier on the way back too?

For Ketchikan, we were thinking of Misty Fjords flightseeing (Island Air?) which will take most of the morning. (If it's a matter a little more time flightseeing vs. in town I'm assuming we should we go with the plane?)

For Sitka we were thinking of a hike and maybe some of the wildlife tours (otters, raptors). Does anyone have suggestions or comments about cruise or independent options? (Looks as though there are a couple of hikes that you can pick up in town, but I am not sure if it's worth going with a group to get further out of town).

For Victoria I think we'll probably just walk around the harbor area and probably find someplace for dinner.

If anyone has advice for alternative excursions, or operators, or other tips, I'd appreciate it hearing it.

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