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Alaska -- Vancouver to Skagway and back on HAL

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Dec 10th, 2012, 04:18 PM
  #1
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Alaska -- Vancouver to Skagway and back on HAL

Going on the week-long HAL Alaskan Cruise at the end of June with "old" friend (we're both recently divorced and this is our reward for not resorting to criminal measures ) and I'm wondering if anyone out there has some suggestions for port activities, excursions. We're starting in Vancouver and stopping in Juneau, Ketichan and Skagway. (I've actually been to all these places, but a long time ago via the Alaskan ferry system -- this is my first cruise!)
Oh, and has anyone brought wine, champagne on board? I've got a wine cellar with some pretty nice bottles and I'd like to bring a few along -- any tips on flying with them from US to Vancouver?
Thanks!

P.S. SoloNoMo is an old, out-of-date tag, tho my dog stuck with me!
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Dec 11th, 2012, 01:07 PM
  #2
 
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I would not haul the wine along as HAL will impound them until the end of the cruise. Your efforts will be futile. There is plenty of wine available on the ship. It may not be your first choice and it will be expensive.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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I believe the policy is that you are allow to bring personal wine on board for consumption within your cabin. Although there is no specific limits, but a single bottle or 2 would not raise a flag. If you choose to consume them in the dining room, they will charge you a corkage fee which would be around $12 range.

Since you are travelling from the US to Canada first, you are bring alchol into Caanda and there is a limit of what you can bring into Caanda without paying duty, even if it is going to be a pass through. If you do not decalre, they can conficate it at teh border crossing or the airport.

packing wine into your checked bag is not easy as you cannot take the bottle along as carry on. You can bubble wrap them or use a specially designed foam mould in a box. You can buy them for about $5 a piece and they are reusable. I bought a couple of them and have not broke any bottle yet.

One thing about bubble wrap. It seems everytime I used bubble wrap, TSA would open my luggage and take a clsoer look. It had happened twice and none with teh foma mould.

In terms of what to see in the 3 ports, there had been many post here on that subject. Look back at the old threads and you may find something helpful.

First off, Alaska shore excursions are not cheap. It would help if you can identify what your likes and dislike before people giving you suggestions for excursions.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 12:55 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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There's a train that goes from an Alaskan port - it may be Skagway, but I could be wrong - to the small Yukon town of Carcross. This is a very popular excursion for those on Alaskan cruises, and the arctic mountain scenery is downright breathtaking. Highly recommend it!
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Dec 18th, 2012, 06:07 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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We did this itinerary on Princess in 2010. They allow a bottle of wine per person without fees, not sure about HAL.
In Skagway we rented an Avis car and drove up the Klondike Highway to Emerald Lake in the Yukon (train is pretty lame).
In Ketchican we took a kayak trip with Southeast Sea Kayaks into Orca cove.
In Juneau we took a helicopter with TEMSCO to a glacier and rode dogsleds. Very cool. and also had time for a whale watch with Capt Jack's Scania catamaran.

Stay away from overpriced ship tours and plan DIY excursions.
Have fun, Alaska is beautiful..and you cannot see Russia.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 03:25 PM
  #6
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Thanks, everyone -- been busy with the Holidays and all!
I've checked with HAL and they allow wine and champagne to brought on board to be drunk in room or with an $18 corkage fee in the dining room. And Canada allows a person to bring in 2 bottles of wine without paying duty. I'll probably bring just 4 bottles in (there will be 2 of us) and make a purchase in Vancouver before the cruise. And the '75 Margeaux that my ex left in the wine cellar will be well worth the corkage fee! (That's the year that I met my friend!) Thanks for the tip about the foam molds -- I know what you are referring to.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 04:38 PM
  #7
KVR
 
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Booking shore excursions in Alaska is not the same as booking shore excursions in the Caribbean. We did the Alaska Inside Passage with Princess in September, 2011. I booked our shore excursions in Janaury, 2011 and most of the independant operators were already booked up. I also found that the difference in price from the independant operaters and the cruise ship was about $50. I went with Princess excursions in Juneau; whale watching/Mendahall Glacier and Ketchikan; float plane, but went with Chilchoot Charters in Skagway for the train/bus trip. We didn't have any issues with the ship excursions. I also noticed that the closer to the time for the cruise to depart, the more expensive the shore excursions got. Up to $100 more than when I reserved ours in Janauary.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:37 PM
  #8
 
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I believe on HAL you can pour a glass of wine in your state room and then carry the glass to dinner in the MDR. I saw people doing this all the time.
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