Alaska Shore excursion on the

Aug 7th, 2017, 05:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2017
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In JUNEAU you think it's good idea to rent a car- we will be there from 11 to 10 (we have 5 people)?
b1287 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2017, 06:30 PM
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If it is me. I wouldn't. I don't recall any car rental places close to the dock. I think they are all located at the airport. Not sure if they will come by and pick you up or you will have to cram in a cab to get there, and back, which means lost time and $$.

Unless you want to do it yourself, hiring a local guide with a car would be your best bet.
Eschew is offline  
May 22nd, 2018, 02:30 PM
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It's been a while since I last post but it's about time yo update the Alaskan Shore excursion on the cheap. After all, that trip was from 5 years ago.
This is probably my longest running trip report/post I have as every spring/summer, people post and ask questions.
It's about time to head back to Alaska again. We will leave in mid-August and, again, doing it on the cheap.
It will be a south bound cruise from Whittier with Princess, and again, the target budget is $1000 per person.
So far, the cruise fare, port charges and return airfare is $700 per person, and that's with an ocean view cabin. An inside cabin would be a touch less.
Add on $100 for gratuity and another $35 for transfer, that doesn't leave too much room for trips ashore.
With time pass and things getting more expensive by the day, the $1000 target is going to be harder to achieve, but we'll try anyway.
Please feel free to comment.
Eschew is offline  
May 25th, 2018, 02:41 PM
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Eschew, I've been hoping you would update this thread, as we are going on our first Alaska cruise in September. I'll be looking for your new trip report at the end of August/beginning of September!
Kathie is offline  
May 26th, 2018, 08:45 AM
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Kathie, when are you leaving and what is your itinerary? We are leaving on August 17 and back on the 28 so you might have left before any update is posted.
Feel free to ask questions and I will see if I have an answer for you. From I have gathered so far, other than pricing and some (very few) new stuff, not much has changed.
Eschew is offline  
May 28th, 2018, 05:52 PM
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Hi Eschew,
We leave Seward on Sept 11 and Arrive Vancouver on Sept 25. (14 nights) The only ports (as far as I can tell) are Juneau, Sitka and Vancouver. The rest of the time is scenic causing. They do offer some things like kayaking and such during some of the cruising time. That's fine with us, as we are gong for the scenic cruising.

The itinerary I have reads:
Resurrection Bay

Holgate Glacier

Aialik Glacier

Chiswell Islands

Kenai Fjords

Inain Islands

Icy Strait Pint


Sweduction Pint

Haines, Alaska

Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm

Sitka, Alaska

Decision Passage

Sumner Strait

Wrangell, Alaska

Stikine Strait

Clarence Strait

Misty Fjords

Prince Rupert, BC Canada

Princes Royal Channel

Ki]lemyu, BC

Bella Bella

Alert Bay

Johnstone Strait

Seymour Narrows

Vancouver, BC

Thanks for any thoughts you have,
Kathie is offline  
May 28th, 2018, 06:33 PM
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Isn't Haines a port? We stopped there with Holland America. Cute Town, museum is worthwhile. They used the local school bus to take us around, there is also Ft. Seward with some galleries.

There were a number of bald eagles perched out on some of the docks when we arrived. I believe there was only room for one cruise ship so the town is not overwhelmed.

Haines is also a good spot for grizzly viewing on tour or if you find a car rental.
mlgb is offline  
May 29th, 2018, 01:29 PM
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Kathie, That's a great Itinerary! I am envious! I am guessing that you are probably on a much smaller boat.
Based on what I see on your list, you have more than 3 ports, some of those places are really small and more of a stop off point to go elsewhere, or activities. You might want to start using google to find out more about the ports and what you wanted to do there.

The weather would be cool. More like mid 60s. And that would be near end of the tourist season. Dress warm and in layers. head gear, gloves, scarfs. Better take them off if you are hot than have nothing to put on. Waterproof windbreaker jacket with a hood would be good.

Inian Islands are a group of small islands and accessible with zodiacs. I would get off the boat and get on the islands (if you can) and look at the wild life up close and personal. Sensible and waterproof shoes are good. It will be windy.

Icy Strait Point is a place recently developed by / for the cruise ship industry. The port is call Hoonah. Top things to do are local cultural stuff, ATV and wild life.

Everyone goes to M
endenhall Glacier at Juneau. If you have time, go up to Mount Roberts. The thing is: if you go with a shore excursion, you don't spend enough time at the Glacier. You may want to look into taking a bus there and back and explore on your own for a couple of hours. You should still have time to go up to Mount Roberts. Make a stop in the Red Dog Saloon for a local experience.

Haines is small. Go try their local beer bearing their own town's name. (Haines Brewing Co.) Good hiking and kayaking too. If they have transfers to Skagway, I would go to the Rangers' station there and do the walking tour with them.

I love Sitka, it was the old Russian capital for Alaska before Alaska was sold to the US. There are STILL lots of remnants of Russian influence. The Orthodox church is right in the middle of town. There are historical sites and landmarks that you can explore. Russian cultural show at the community hall, hiking in the rain forest, visited the Russian sailors graves, the old battleground, and probably most impressive totems in the area at Sitka National Historic Park.

Wrangell is a place that I have not been to.

I've told everyone willing to listen to visit Misty Fjord if they are going to Ketchikan. Spend the money and do the sea plane over Misty Fjord. If you have a whole day there, you can do all three things (1) sea plane to Misty Fjord, (2) visit the Anan Wildlife Observatory, (3) Cape Fox Lodge. By the way, Ketchikan is probably the single best shopping port. Make sure you buy genuine local Alaskan products!

Rudyerd Bay is in Misty Fjord. Cruising via ship vs flying overtop is two different adventure and it is great that you may ended up seeing them both ways.

If you like fishing, Prince Rupert would be the place. Plenty of decent hiking trail and wild life as well. If there is a way to get there, visit Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park.

Klemtu is small. Population may be 500? But the scenery is awesome. Fiordland is probably "the" place to go. Plenty of water activity, and if you get lucky, catch a glimpse of the famed spirit-bear. I've been told it has not made any public appearance recently.

Alert Bay is slight bigger than Klemtu. More wild life sighting, eagles, bears, whales ... you got the idea.

And of course, the final stop is Vancouver. Best Chinese food in all of North America!
Eschew is offline  
May 29th, 2018, 07:02 PM
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Yes, we are on a smaller ship.

Thanks so much for your comments. I do have more research to do.

​​​​​​​Your comment about Vancouver and Chinese food surprised me - I always think of it as having the best Indian food in North America. But we will have to check out Chinese as well. We are spending a few days in Vancouver after the cruise.
Kathie is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 09:34 AM
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The Vancouver airport has some good dining options land side, including Chinese. If you wait, though it may only be Tim Horton's airside.

One of the nice things about flying out of Vancouver airport is you go through immigration there rather than in the US.
mlgb is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 10:27 AM
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mlgb, sorry, I missed your response just before Eschew. Yes, Haines is a port and my cruise offers lots of options there.

We will be spending several days in Vancouver, so won't plan to eat in the airport - we will have a good amount of time to visit restaurants in Vancouver, both some old favorites as well as some new experiences. If you have recommendations, I'd be glad to hear them.

We are taking this cruise because I have developed Parkinson's Disease and walking is difficult for me. I can walk short distances, but my balance is impaired and my stamina is limited. Climbing in and out of boats is a set-up for disaster. Cheryl may do a zodiac tour, but I won't.

I'm interested that you recommend he seaplane tour of Misty Fjords. I believe Gardyloo also recommends it. Is there a company you would recommend for the sea plane? Our cruise only offers kayak and zodiac excursions at Kemtu. What do you recommend there (especially even my mobility limitations)?

Thanks for all of your assistance!

Last edited by Kathie; May 30th, 2018 at 10:30 AM.
Kathie is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kathie View Post
I'm interested that you recommend he seaplane tour of Misty Fjords. I believe Gardyloo also recommends it.
My recommendations for float planes are usually for Rust's in Anchorage, . I'm not personally familiar with any of the Ketchikan operators for Misty Fjords.

People with mobility issues should definitely contact the operator to see what options they might offer.
Gardyloo is online now  
May 30th, 2018, 01:07 PM
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Both times I was in Vancouver recently it was for a single day, pick up car from cruise port and drop it off at airport. To save time, we had a meal at the UBC MOA Cafe. Most recently we didn't have time to eat before customs, so it was a maple donut at Timmie's, but I had eaten at the Chinese dumpling place before and it was good. Post in the Canada Forum and there a people who live there who can recommend restaurants.

Are you bringing your own wheelchair for getting around on the cruise ship, or do they supply them for you?

My stepmother traveled with a collapsible one for a few years and it came in handy if the free "loaners" weren't available. I went with an older friend on a PC cruise and wish we had brought a chair for her.

In Ketchikan, I took the public bus up to Totem Bight.. might work for you.. IIRC it was easy to use the bus in Ketchikan., you drove along the coast and it wasn't a long walk from the bus shelter to the VC.

Totem Bight SHP

In Juneau there are two shuttle companies that take you to the parking lot for the Mendhenhall Glacier, but you had to walk to get to the VC, so a taxi is better.

Last edited by mlgb; May 30th, 2018 at 01:09 PM.
mlgb is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 01:40 PM
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I'm not yet at a point where I need a wheelchair. I do use wheelchair transfers at airports and the cruise line will board me in a wheelchair. Once I'm on board the ship, I plan not to use wheelchair. As I said, I can walk, though my balance is poor as is my stamina. I'm sort of feeling my way along as I try to determine what I can and cannot do. (This is all still fairly new for me, I was diagnosed a year ago.) Some things I know I can't do - like getting into a kayak or a zodiac. The cruise line does offer a number of excursions specifically for people who need a wheelchair. We are more inclined to arrange our own excursions, thus, my questions here.

Thanks for all of your input..
Kathie is offline  
May 31st, 2018, 11:48 AM
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Kathie, You can just book while you are ashore at the booths. They are all licensed by the Alaska tourism. The cost should be less than $200 per person.
Yes, Vancouver also have the bes6 Indian cuisine in North America as well.
For Chinese food, go to Richmond. You will be amazed at offerings at the Chinese Mall food courts (Parker's Place, Aberdeen center etc.). Inexpensive and almost like street food in Singapore. You can experience the food you thought was only available from Hong Kong or other part of south east Asia in Richmond.
I highly recommend Vij's Restaurant (Cambie Street) but Surrey offers many fine Indian Cuisine and you can take the Sky Train there.
Eschew is offline  
May 31st, 2018, 05:44 PM
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Neither my friend nor stepmother were confined to wheelchairs, both could walk but stamina and balance were the issues. Having the collapsible wheelchair made getting to the dining rooms on board a lot easier, for example. If you wont have one, get a handle on how far you would have to walk to the dining rooms, or what the room service options might be.
mlgb is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2018, 09:53 AM
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I hear your cautions, mlgb, and your concerns are appreciated. This is a smaller ship, only 458 cabins. The total length of the ship is 650 feet. We can get room service any time from a 24 hour room service menu, or we can order form The Restaurant Menu and have dinner served course by course in our cabin. If I'm having a bad day, that is an easy option. and there are 4 dining venues.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2018, 04:07 PM
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Wow, Kathie, that is a great itinerary. I'm sitting here green with envy!

I was just at Icy Strait Point. An interesting place; formerly a salmon cannery that has been turned into a museum with shops and restaurants, plus excursions in the area (one of which was a tram through forest/wilderness area; I imagine that would work well for anyone with mobility issues. ISP is owned and operated by Alaska natives for the benefit of same. We really enjoyed our time there.

Haines is another interesting place (and if the weather cooperates, gorgeous scenery). Haines Alaska | The Adventure Capital of Alaska

I'll second mglb's suggestion of the public bus in Ketchikan - there's a free downtown shuttle and the silver line will get you to Totem Bight. It picks you up right in front of the docks and takes about 20 minutes to get to Totem Bight. Roundtrip cost was around $4.00 and the drivers are very helpful.
dsquared is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2018, 05:13 PM
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Thanks, dsquared. This is great information!
Kathie is offline  

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