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peggi Feb 18th, 2005 01:58 PM

Alaska Cruise Shore Excursions
Whew! I am exhausted trying to plan this trip; Fodorites have been a great help, although we're not always "of one mind"! We're doing a 7 day cruise in August with Celebrity, accompanied by our 2 teens. Our ports of call are Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, and Seward. We have 2 land days on our own after getting off the ship. Some of you have suggested making your own shore plans independent of the ship, but I am finding these ships are so big they're "buying out" what is offered on the day you're there! So, in Ketchikan, we're planning on Tatoosh Island Sea Kayaking; in Juneau, Glacier Flightseeing via Floatplane; in Skagway, no excursion, just do the ranger led walking tour and find a place to pan for gold. At Icy Strait, mom & dad want to do saltwater salmon fishing but teens don't want to. Should we make them go, hoping they'll see whales, etc.??? It's a 3 hr. excursion. In Seward, we're doing Mitch Seavey's dog kennel thing and then catching the 6pm Alaskan RR to Anchorage. Our day in Anchorage we'll visit the Saturday market and rent bikes for the coastal trail. I've only booked the dogs and the RR. Any advice before I start plunking down $$$ for reservations???

flbronc Feb 18th, 2005 04:12 PM

I did Alaska cruise on Princess last August and didn't have prob booking trips on my own. Check each town's website - ie: has lots of companies' web sites listed. I did Skagway Float Trip and loved it ! 2 mi hike and then float down the river. Saw a few eagles and gorgeous scenery ! The teens would probably enjoy it - mostly teens/20s. We booked all our excursions from the various town's web sites. IN Juneau: was wonderful ! Nice people, small boat. free local smoked fish on the tour; opt for one of the van tours instead of Yukon Pass railroad - you see more and stop along the way for photos.

peggi Feb 27th, 2005 09:21 AM

I do think I may be having some luck booking a float plane tour on our own in Juneau. Looks like it will save about $100 for our family of four.

jor Feb 27th, 2005 11:16 AM

I have been to some of the ports you are going to. But #1, There are whales to be seen everywhere on your cruise. I saw dozens. Don't make the kids go salmon fishing because they might see whales. I recommend spending time in Skagway. both the teens and you would like the train trip up the mountain along the gold rush trail.

I hope you can find some white water rafting or Kayaking for the teens.

Don't worry about buying side tour tickets on the ship. its lots more convienient.

Don't fall for the "International Lumberjack Championships" in Ketchikan. Stay away. Its is totally fake and runs every time there are cruise ships in port. I met someone who worked there.

In Juneau take a side trip to the Mildenhal Glacier. Lots of hiking trails and not a tourist trap. Other than that Juneau doesn't have a whole lot to offer in my opinion.

peggi Feb 27th, 2005 05:17 PM

Thanks for the great advice! Yes, I am planning to set up sea kayaking in Ketchikan...may do it throught the ship or on our own...I'm still researching that. In Juneau, we plan to do the floatplane thing, the Mount Roberts Tramway...will put more emphasis on the glacier given your input. In Skagway, I plan to just do the ranger led tour??? I wasn't planning to do the rail trip because we're taking the railroad from Seward to Anchorage. I do appreciate your advice about the salmon fishing...the teens really don't want to fish. Maybe we'll just leave them on the ship and we'll go???

travelinwifey Feb 27th, 2005 05:34 PM

We had an option to do a wildlife sightseeing excursion to Haines while in Skagway, it was great. We got to take some really beautiful photos of the water and mountains along the way as wekk as spotting several different species of birds and eagle nests. Don't know if Celebrity offers this type of excursion but it was one of our favorite days in Alaska. We spotted several whales nearby along the short boat ride to Haines, the guide stopped for picture taking.

scubalinda Feb 27th, 2005 10:03 PM

We did the Alaska cruise on Holland America last year with an entire extended family (age range from 7 to 60's). We did shore excursions in every port I think. Hands down, everyone's favorite thing about the whole trip was a helicopter glacier tour in Juneau. The one we went on landed on the glacier and let you get out and walk around (hold on to your children!). We booked it through the cruise ship. It was pretty pricey, but absolutely worth it. Ditto the earlier comment on the lumberjack show, although my 7 year old liked it.

jq Feb 28th, 2005 08:10 AM

If you want smaller groups, book on your own. The cruise ships use different companies. Check into the Alaska toursaver book for 2for1 coupons, good way to save with that many people. Juneau whalewatching with Orca, Cap Larry is one of best tours. Misty Fjords flt with Island Wings, Southeast Aviation are great. ISP whalewatching thru ship, or your fising trip should see whales, but won't be priority if fishing. Go to cruisecritic alaska board for lots of input.

Maple Feb 28th, 2005 08:47 AM

One piece of advice about your Juneau plan......have a back-up plan. We, too, planned for the glacier flight, but the weather was too rainy, and all the flights were cancelled that day. Among other things, we did the state natural history musuem, which was excellent, and walking distance from the dock. We were really disappointed about the change in plans - but certainly better safe than sorry!

BudgetQueen Feb 28th, 2005 12:00 PM

I disagree on the whale sightings being "everywhere" from your ship. They are NOT, the above poster's experience was an exception. Whale watching from a cruise ship requires a great deal of time at a front deck with a good pair of binoculars. Sightings are distance and brief. Tours are necessary for anything more. AND most certainly NOT, never make anyone go on tours of no interest- split up and go with what is. You make reference to funds?? By spliting up you would have your money difference for a glacier helicoptor landing vs the floatplane.

jor Feb 28th, 2005 08:18 PM

Maple, we also ended up at the state natural history museum in Juneau. It was raining cats and bears that day (the second day). it was an easy (rain soaking) walk from the port. I thought the museum would be a bore but it was very interesting and we spent over two hours there.

Alaska33 Mar 1st, 2005 01:15 AM

Man are you in luck, I live in Seward and my folks live in Hoonah, the village where Icy Straits is located. Email me at [email protected] and I can fill you in on things to do and see.

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