Juneau & Skagway excursions...need sugestions

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#1
Puerto Rico
11 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
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
#2
759 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Seems like plenty of time to do more than one excursion per day but you'll have to check with individual vendors to be sure... Plus I doubt a single heli could take everyone at the same time anyway... With such a large group you shouldn't hesitate to break up into smaller groups and choose activities of interest to individuals. Will make planning easier.
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#3
Syracuse, New York
49,980 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Puchungui
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.
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#5
Puerto Rico
11 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by Budget Queen
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.
I contacted Marv & Harv and they have a 1:20 trip but I think it is too close to our arrival at port. The second is at 4:20. Considering the trip will last for 4 hours it would not allow me to take an helicopter excursion as we will be back to late. I think I will consider taking just the whale tour at Juneau, and spendnsome time at Mendelhall visitor center and taking a walk from there. Skip the helicopter trip to Skagway as our port time will give us more time to do glacier and train. Just another quick question. Our cruise begins July 13. We will be flying to Seattle on July 10. Which city do you think we shloud spend the ,or time on. Seattle or Vancouvr. We will have just two entire days and haven't decided where wengoing to stay. Thanks for your time.
#6
Puerto Rico
11 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by Bill Steiner
We like the round trip train
There is one round trip that last 3 hours and another that isn8 hours. Which one did you take
#7
Syracuse, New York
49,980 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Puchungui
I contacted Marv & Harv and they have a 1:20 trip but I think it is too close to our arrival at port. The second is at 4:20. Considering the trip will last for 4 hours it would not allow me to take an helicopter excursion as we will be back to late. I think I will consider taking just the whale tour at Juneau, and spendnsome time at Mendelhall visitor center and taking a walk from there. Skip the helicopter trip to Skagway as our port time will give us more time to do glacier and train. Just another quick question. Our cruise begins July 13. We will be flying to Seattle on July 10. Which city do you think we shloud spend the ,or time on. Seattle or Vancouvr. We will have just two entire days and haven't decided where wengoing to stay. Thanks for your time.
Did you indicate to H&M, your ship, and port time? Did you tell them you wanted to cobook a glacier helicopter landing with pickup/drop off?

Absolutely necessary, rather then you just speculating. go with their recommended timing, they know what they are doing, and how to schedule.

Both Seattle and Vancouver are excellent touring cities. You need to determine, which is of the most interest to YOU. Figure out how you wish to occupy your time, then select your lodging.
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#8
Syracuse, New York
49,980 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Puchungui
There is one round trip that last 3 hours and another that isn8 hours. Which one did you take

I am posting a general list, for you, of the various tours with the White Pass offered. Maybe, this will help you narrow down what you wish to consider.

Round trip Summit/Fraser White Pass RR, usually about 3.5 hours

One way Fraser RR, with a return to Skagway, via the Klondike Highway (or reverse), can include the suspension bridge, Liarsville- with a salmon bake.

One way Fraser RR, continue via the Klondike Highway to Emerald Lake and return to Skagway (or reverse), can include a lunch stop, and dog sled cart ride at Caribou Crossing- read the descriptions.

One way Lake Bennett train to Carcross, stop for a stew lunch- off/on the train, no road access. In Carcross, return via road, Klondike Highway to Skagway, usually includes a Emerald Lake view.

There is an excellent independent operator who offers these tours, as well as the cruiselines.

Necessary is to take your time with the descriptions. They can be easy to mix up.
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#9
Puerto Rico
11 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by Budget Queen
Did you indicate to H&M, your ship, and port time? Did you tell them you wanted to cobook a glacier helicopter landing with pickup/drop off?

Absolutely necessary, rather then you just speculating. go with their recommended timing, they know what they are doing, and how to schedule.

Both Seattle and Vancouver are excellent touring cities. You need to determine, which is of the most interest to YOU. Figure out how you wish to occupy your time, then select your lodging.
No I did not provided them with that specific information. Thanks a million for all your great suggestions. As I am the family member assigned to do all the logistics for this trip definitely will need all references possible and I know for sure I will be posting a few more questions before out trip.

Happy Sunday
#10
Syracuse, New York
49,980 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Puchungui
No I did not provided them with that specific information. Thanks a million for all your great suggestions. As I am the family member assigned to do all the logistics for this trip definitely will need all references possible and I know for sure I will be posting a few more questions before out trip.

Happy Sunday
You have a BIG job.

There is also another independent that does this combo booking, that takes more people, but still a great size boat.

I think you will be able to find the tours you are looking for in Juneau.
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