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Disney Alaska cruise port excursions

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Mar 29th, 2011, 07:42 PM
  #1
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Disney Alaska cruise port excursions

I need help! Family of 4, (kids 12 AND 10) going on the Disney Wonder in August. What excurisons are must do, and can we do them cheaper not through the ship? I know in the carribiean it is easy to book outside trips at a big discount. We are porting in Skagway, Juneau and Kechikan. We would love to raft, whate watch, helicopter/fly, hike, zipline. Checked on ship, the excursions for the three ports are equal to what we paid for the cruise! But don't want to cheap out, as this is a once in a lifetime trip. Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Mar 30th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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We are doing the same ports for our cruise in Sept. Booking tours in Alaska is not like booking tours in the Caribbean. You will not find great discounts booking from a local operator. We found the difference in price to be only around $30-$50. The real difference is a local operator will have less people on their tour than the ship's tour.

We booked the Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, the Train in Skagway from an independant and the float plan in Ketchican. Those 3 tours for 2 people came to $1,200. It took us 5 years to save for this trip.

Look at your ship's tour list and then look on the Alaska ports of call on Cruise Critic for independant operators and go from there. If you want to book an independent, you need to do so as soon as you can as they only have so many spots and they fill quickly since they don't take as many people.
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Mar 30th, 2011, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for your help! Have a great trip!
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Mar 30th, 2011, 03:00 PM
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I had the same question when planning our Alaska cruise with kids, and got pretty much the same answer -- you can't save much there. I also felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and just did the excursions we wanted to do and ended up being very glad. We did whale-watching, salmon fishing, Mendenhall glacier, helicopter to a different glacier, visit to a sled dog outfit and held puppies, flight tour over Mt. McKinley, zipline. The only one I wouldn't do again was a lame riverboat tour thing but it was included with the cruise anyway. The helicopter to the glacier, and standing on the ice, seeing that amazing blue ice up close, was very expensive and worth it. Go for it!
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Mar 30th, 2011, 05:31 PM
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You should visit the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau.There is also a nice state museum there. Won't you be seeing lots of whales from your ship? We certainly did thus wonder why you would go "whale watching."
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Mar 31st, 2011, 03:36 AM
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We did Alaska cruise with our 2 almost-adult children 2 years ago. Knew in advance Alaska was expensive, but sticker shock at off-ship activities almost killed me.

No real way to save significant money - you can save a bit by booking outside of ship excursion, but you are talking perhaps 10-20%. There is truly nothing to do for cheap or free in port cities, unlike Caribbean cruises. Reason for high cost is that Alaska has such a short tourism season and to get to anything includes significant land/air/rail travel.

Agree with bakerstreet that doing the helicopter landing and walk on glacier was well worth the very high cost (from Juneau). DH, DS, DD did zipline in Ketchikan. Only free thing we found was DS and DH did hike from Skagway - using map they got at a Ranger office downtown.

Not surprised cost for excursions for 4 is close to cost of cruise. I would concentrate on a few "authentic" and natural wonder things - as opposed to lumberjack shows, salmon bakes, etc (we did a few of those - not worth it) so you actually see Alaska.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 03:04 PM
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Always cheaper to do it yourself than through the cruise line. This is the first year Disney is in Alaska so it would be very interesting. I heard the difference between their shore excursions and everyone else is that they will have Disney cartoon characters on the excursion, Goofy in a lumberjack outfit, Donald Duck as a prospector, and Minni Mosue in Klondike era outfits?

Alaska excursions typically are more expensive than your typical shore excursion in the Caribbean etc. Main reason? American operator, American regulations, equipment etc. You will be looking at $100+ per person per excursion, and easliytop out at $3 to $500 per person on certain excursions.

I am not sure what your stops are, but you should consider the following: Misty Fjord, Mendendall, White Pass Yukon Railway, Wild Life adventures (Bald Eagle/ Whale) etc.
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Apr 2nd, 2011, 06:59 AM
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The White Pass Yukon Railway is great if the day is not cloudy or rainy. We didn’t take this tour but our neighbors did and found it disappointing halfway into the tour because rain/clouds in the mountains brought visibility down considerably.

Because the town of Skagway is a National Historic Landmark, we did a ranger guided tour of the town (sign up for a time slot at the Visitor Center). http://www.nps.gov/klgo/index.htm With the age of your children, they can become “Junior Rangers” by completing a booklet that you can get at the ranger station and then get initiated in a “ceremony” at the end.
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Apr 14th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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This may sound stupid. We are interested in a sea kayaking and there is a trip to Mendenhall Lake. Can you see the glacier from there?
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Apr 16th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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This may sound really stupid. Do you know if you can see Mendenhall Glacier from Mendenhall Lake? There is a kayaking trip that looked fun. Also, a few trips offered bear viewing.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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This may sound really stupid. Do you know if you can see Mendenhall Glacier from Mendenhall Lake? There is a kayaking trip that looked fun. Also, a few trips offered bear viewing.
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Apr 21st, 2011, 07:19 AM
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It is not "sea kayaking" on Mendenhall Lake, it is fresh water, and YES you can definately see Mendenhall Glacier.
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Apr 21st, 2011, 07:22 AM
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In answer to the above about seeing whales from a cruiseship- you "may", IF you spend a great deal of time out on a forward deck, with a good pair of wide angle binoculars. You HAVE to be accepting of several hours of "looking" for 2 minutes of view. The ship doesn't stop and rarely slows down. I do this ALL the time, and have the advantage of knowing where I am, and where the hot spots are. But, you will also most always see me on the whale watches- every trip.

It is no comparism you get far better viewing from boat tours.
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May 5th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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We want do the flight/helicopter with the dogsled rides. Which port is better to do that? Juneau, Skagway or Ketchikan?
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May 8th, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Ok, we decided we are going to do this right. We have 3 ports Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. We are then staying for 3 nights around Pacific Rim National Park.

We are thinking Ketchikan, the Misty Fjiords flight and boat trip, about 4 hours for $380. Skagway - Helicopter/dogsled trip 2.5 hours $540 or Juneau (Mendenhall glacier/dog sled right 3 hour for $580) (which trip is better, that determines the 3rd port adventure) These are through the cruise line. I usually book directly, but seems like there is more risk in Alaska with weather.

We will do ziplining and some sea kayaking in pacific rim, also a boat trip with whales, sea lions and bears. But I dont know if we will see Orcas.

Thanks for the help!!!!! I have to book trips on the 11th.
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May 8th, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Ok, we decided we are going to do this right. We have 3 ports Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. We are then staying for 3 nights around Pacific Rim National Park.

We are thinking Ketchikan, the Misty Fjiords flight and boat trip, about 4 hours for $380. Skagway - Helicopter/dogsled trip 2.5 hours $540 or Juneau (Mendenhall glacier/dog sled right 3 hour for $580) (which trip is better, that determines the 3rd port adventure) These are through the cruise line. I usually book directly, but seems like there is more risk in Alaska with weather.

We will do ziplining and some sea kayaking in pacific rim, also a boat trip with whales, sea lions and bears. But I dont know if we will see Orcas.

Thanks for the help!!!!! I have to book trips on the 11th.
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May 9th, 2011, 03:00 PM
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Great choice for Misty Fjord. Do the Juneau Mendenhall heli-tour and book Skagway for Whitepass Railway.

You should have alternate plan for Misty Fjord as you may get fogged in and ended up with no activity, or scrambling on the last minute to find a replacement.

Usually booking excursion outside of ship yields 20 to 25% savings. But booking through ship for Alaska is not that much more expensive than booking direct, but you do get smaller group, and as an example: more air time on the Misty Fjord for the same money.
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Jan 1st, 2018, 06:46 PM
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We are looking to book excursions for a Disney Alaska cruise for May 2018. I would really like to do the dog sledding excursion in the snow but it is so expensive. Has anyone done it and is it worth the price? If so what port do you recommend doing it from? Any other advice? Thanks in advance!
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Jan 19th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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Sled Dogs Treatment

Originally Posted by cbailey333 View Post
We are looking to book excursions for a Disney Alaska cruise for May 2018. I would really like to do the dog sledding excursion in the snow but it is so expensive. Has anyone done it and is it worth the price? If so what port do you recommend doing it from? Any other advice? Thanks in advance!
Are you sure you want to do this?
Powerful new film reveals cruelty of sled dog industry - Vancouver Humane Society
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