Alaska Shore excursion on the

Old Apr 9th, 2019, 03:23 PM
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Eschew, a great trip report even if it is a few years old. Just wondering what Princess ship you were on in your latest cruise last year? I have an Alaskan cruise on my bucket list, but am very susceptible to sea-sickness, even on a calm day!. If we just do the Inside Passage, I maybe okay. IS August preferable to September?
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 02:54 PM
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Nelsonian, I believe the information is still up to date (except pricing), and updates are posted here all the time. Since we live on the west coast, we went back to Alaska on a regular basis, maybe once every 2 to 3 years. For us, it is a great cruise as it is cheap and easy to get to, and if you get last minute deals ... bonus!

I just realize the heading of the thread was cut off. It was suppose to say "Alaska shore excursion on the Cheap" but I guess it was too long and the word "Cheap" was cut off when it was migrated from the old platform to this new format..

The original intend of the trip report was to do an Alaskan cruise for under a $1000 per person, including excursion. There is this myth that Alaska shore excursions are expensive. My point is you can enjoy an Alaska cruise without spending the big bucks. And some excursions charges big bucks but really is not an Alaskan experience.

For Cruises to Alaska, I have done North bound, South bound, Inside passages (round trip Seattle, Round trip Vancouver) and small ships as well that gets me to the not so popular ports such as Sitka.

We have not experience sea sickness on any of them and the sea was never rough, even on open water. We have been there in May, June, July, August and September.

The last trip to Alaska was August 2018, south bound on the Golden Princess. The weather was great. 70 F plus everyday.

May and September are the "shoulder season" and the weather typically is less predictable, and the temperature cooler. August is defiantly better than September. You should be fine on the inside passage cruise. With the big ships, you hardly notice it moving at all. There are occasions that they are in "open water" but I don't see it as a concern. Talk to your doctor and be prepared for it. In my case, my wife uses ginger for any type of motion sickness. real ginger, not the ginger candy. You can buy dried ginger or ginger pills at health food store. Again, I am repeating myself, talk to your family doctor.

One caution I gave everyone is when the ship is moving towards a glacier (for scenic cruising) and you are on the open deck, it will be cold. Just imagine you sticking your head out of your car window while the car is moving .... it will be windy ... and it doesn't matter if the temperature is 90F outside. The forward movement from the ship will create the "wind draft". The other thing that people didn't realize is that summer is their rainy season, and the ports you visit are located on a rainforest. So, expect rain, shower, drizzle, or cloudy sky for at least 2/3 of the time. Your chances of getting cloudy/rainy weather is great. Bring a rain jacket or rain poncho from a dollar store. If you need a rain poncho desperately, that same dollar store poncho may cost you at least five bucks.

Alaska is such a beautiful place and an Alaskan cruise is so relaxing and so full of gorgeous scenery almost the entire time you are on board.

Feel free to ask questions or post comments anytime.
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 11:20 PM
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You can take a public bus to about a mile or mile and half from Mendenhall, and walk. Be sure to leave enough time on the return.
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Old May 21st, 2019, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by nelsonian View Post
Eschew, a great trip report even if it is a few years old. Just wondering what Princess ship you were on in your latest cruise last year?Is August preferable to September?
Although the trip report is from a few years back, if you follow the thread, there are updated information. It is much easier to keep everything in one place rather than multiple trip report from multi year and regurgitate the same info. There are certainly things that will change through the years, but there are also things that I doubt will change.

Last trip was on the Golden Princess in 2018. The Royal Princess is in Alaska this year. It's a newer ship.

August is definitely preferred to September but you will get shoulder season sale price in September, maybe last week of August. Regardless of time or year, dress warm, in layers, and prepared for windy/cloudy/drizzle/raining days. This is pretty much a guarantee.


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Old May 21st, 2019, 01:19 PM
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I am surprised that no one mentioned anything on this forum about the seaplane accident around Ketchikan. It is such a tragic accident, which in a way, was avoidable. My heart goes out to the victims and their family. Not sure what happened and I don't know if anyone will ever find out. In 2015, a sea plane was lost as well, resulting with death of 9 passengers from HAL. This time around, it's 2 planes and 5 perished from the Royal Princess, along with multiple injuries.

Almost every one flies DeHavilland out there and the DHC-3 Otter is the preferred plane for the tour company on official ship's excursions. The smaller independent operators (still licensed by Alaska Tourism) typically uses the smaller DHC-2 Beaver. There are lots of those around and they are very reliable planes and easy to operate and maintain.

For all the cruises (since 2007) that I have took going through Alaska, I have been on those DeHavilland planes a few times: to Misty Fjord and Anan Observatory (aka Bear island). And those 2 remains my favorite activity in Ketchikan, if I have the urge to spend some money and see things that you will see once in your life time (unless you keep going back).

On my Alaska trip reports, the sea plane flight to Misty Fjord is still my # 1 recommendation for Ketchikan despite of the accidents. There are certain level of risk you took every time you do something, be it walking down the street, getting in a car, go on a boat ride (cruise), or a plane, a zip line, or anything that you do.

All I can tell you is that when we try to fly out on the seaplane to Misty Fjord the first time, it didn't happen. The weather at Ketchikan was good with clear sky but it was cancelled at the last minute (we were lined up ready to board) due to weather system moving in. They said they can get us to Misty Fjord but they cannot guarantee that they can get us out safely, so they refunded everyone their money and took us back in town. Needless to say, we were disappointed. Both the operator and the ship lost money (expense/profit), but it was the right thing to do. Safety is always # 1. My record was booked 5 different times, and managed to flew only 3 times. It was cancelled twice on account of something.

Would I go on the seaplane flight seeing again? Absolutely. Are there risk? Absolutely. We just took for granted or accepted the risk of every day driving, getting on a train, bus, boat, plane etc. There are hikers killed on the grand canyon every year, from taking selfies, of all things. Too close to the edge and fell. Would that stop you from going to the grand canyon? Probably not. Would you stop cruising because of the MV Viking incident?

Would be curious to hear everyone's take on this.
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Old May 26th, 2019, 05:54 AM
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I had just returned from a repo cruise to Vancouver and was browsing CC when saw about the tragic crash. Undoubtedly pilot error (hate to draw conclusions) but sounds like the big plane was at fault...see the attached article

https://www.ktva.com/story/40519140/...aska-collision
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Old Jun 5th, 2019, 08:23 AM
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Reading the article, looks like the larger plane descended into the smaller plane. The elevation difference between the 2 planes is only 250 feet which is not much. They are also coming in from different direction so they may not "see" each other visually.

Interesting thing is that cars now have the "avoidance" detection. Why don't we put them on planes so it will give off collision warnings?
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