Posted March 2nd, 2013, 03:31 PM
Hi. These are the excursions we are interested on. Whale watching, helicopter glacier landing and whitepass train. Questions #1 Will we have enough time to do heli-glacier and whales at Juneau. Our cruise will be in port from 1-10:30Pm.
Question 2. I know there are heli glaciers trips in Skagway but I dont want to miss the train excursion. Will it be better to do the glacier and train in Skagway and just the whales in Juneau. Would it make a difference taking the Glacier trip at Mendelhall or another glacier at Skagway? Cruise will be in Port 7am-9 pm.
Question #3. Holland America offers different types of Whitepass excursions and Im having hard time to decide which one to take. I've read here that some people take the train just one way and return by bus, I guess they didnt take the ship excursion as they sell both ways.
I understand that Im asking a lot but I am coordinating our first family trip to Alaska with 12 people and I want to make this trip a memorable one.
Thanks a million
Yes you have time for both a glacier helicopter landing and whale watch. Find out differences with whale watches- ship tours vs independent. Evening whale watches are usually 30 minutes less, which means less viewing. Wildlife is all about time. There are 3 helicopter vendors for regular landings, another that does various trekking tours. 2 of the 3 regulars, are ship contracted. All are long standing, well established, well run vendors.
It makes absolutly no difference which glacier you land on. All are in a constant state of change, Mendenhall is just more known.
With independent- I recommend cobooking, having one vendor drop off to the other- direct. Otherwise, you will have at least an hour of backtracking transit time. Another option is a car rental, which makes excellent use of time,and offers you several- add on's to take a look at. (few people do this with tours, I frequently do)
SPLIT UP, I am very doubtful, all these people think alike.
There is no point in dragging someone along on a costly tour, they have no interest in. There is plenty to see and do.
Several days ago, there was an extensive post about the White Pass RR, with details on the different tours. Cruiselines do do the combo tours with a one way White Pass/Fraser trip and bus. Read the descriptions carefully. I find the ship tours less desirable, due to their fixed limited stops, and the large amount of passengers, and time needed loading and unloading.
There is another train- Lake Bennett trip, which takes the train a lot farther one way- no road access, you then take a scenic road transit the other direction.
Take your time and read descriptions, taking notes can help separate the differences. I have done all these routes, and certainly all are worthwhile.