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  #1  
Old December 29th, 2012, 04:27 PM
Amy5000 Amy5000 is offline
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Default Excursion Questions: Ketichan fishing. How to See Mendenhall Glacier

Hi all. I'm trying to cobble together our Alaska and I'm looking for some advice on excursions. I've read several guidebooks and checked out reviews so I'm starting to "dial-in" what we want to be doing:

Just about the only thing I've figured out is that in Ketichan I'd like to try fishing. I read several reviews on "Trip Advisor" and was going try "Salty Sea Charters". (Seemed like a husband wife team with a clean boat). Another charter that caught my eye was Experience One (Capt Johnny and nephew JR). Then I read here and it seemed a lot of people mentioned they booked "Northern Lights". Any one have first hand experiences to share regarding fishing charters or any feedback on these boats? (I'm traveling with 7 people and six have agreed to try salmon fishing, so I do have a full boat). Any thoughts or advice welcome.

Other excursions: Unforturnately, my funds are not limitless, and I'm not sure where to "spend the money" on other excursions. After Ketichan we will be visiting Juneau and Skagway before departing at Seward for Denali (Tundra tour included), then onto Fairbanks and flying home.

Of course, what jumped out at me was Dog Mushing and a Helicopter Tour a the Mendenhall Glacier. But at $500 per person, it would cost my immediate family of 4 people $2k!! As amazing as it sounds there also seems to be a lot to experience in Juneau for less $. So here are some questions:

1. Is there anyway to get to / do the dog mushing without the costly helicopter trip? If not, dog mushing is out.

2. Also, we would like to try Whale Watching. I'm guessing Juneau would be the place to do it. (Please let me know if I should consider it in Seward instead). Also, I noticed people here like Harv and Marv's and one person mentioned the smaller boats. It did seem a little pricey. One of the excursions offered by HAL is the 5 hour "Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest" which is not much more Harv or Marv's and seems to include more (Mendenhall plus Whale watching). Anyone familiar with these tours want to guide me in one direction or the other?

My last questions relates to what to do with the Seward / getting to Anchorage day. But I think I'll leave that for another post because this is getting too long....

Sorry for the rambling post and TIA for any advice.

Best, Amy
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  #2  
Old December 29th, 2012, 05:40 PM
frugaltravel frugaltravel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy5000 View Post
2. Also, we would like to try Whale Watching. I'm guessing Juneau would be the place to do it. (Please let me know if I should consider it in Seward instead). Also, I noticed people here like Harv and Marv's and one person mentioned the smaller boats. It did seem a little pricey. One of the excursions offered by HAL is the 5 hour "Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest" which is not much more Harv or Marv's and seems to include more (Mendenhall plus Whale watching). Anyone familiar with these tours want to guide me in one direction or the other?
You said that Harv and Marv's seems a little pricey, but then you say the ship's excursion is "not much more." So it is MORE pricey . Actually Harv and Marv's will stop at the glacier for no additional charge (for 20-30 minutes). If you want to stay longer you just take a taxi back to the dock or pay +-$10/person one way for the shuttles.

My guess is that Harv and Marv's tour is longer than the one through the ship. Plus, I would rather be on a boat with 6 people max (in your case, four of whom are in the same family) than with 100+ others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy5000 View Post
My last questions relates to what to do with the Seward / getting to Anchorage day. But I think I'll leave that for another post because this is getting too long....
Are you on a cruisetour? Does the cruiseline not take care of you from Seward? If not, when do you need to be in Anchorage - the morning following the arrival in Seward? If you need to make your own way from Seward to Anchorage and if you don't need to be there until the next morning, I would probably rent a car for the four of you and take my time driving. It is a 3 hour or so drive, but can take much longer with the many possible stops. Also, you might consider a Kenai Fjords tour in Seward before driving to Anchorage.
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  #3  
Old December 29th, 2012, 06:52 PM
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CowPrincess CowPrincess is offline
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Let me add another wrinkle to your Whale Watch If you do the one through the ship, it might be something your mom could manage. Large boat, big windows, comfy seats, main floor bathroom. Picked up by a big bus at the dock, delivered nearly to the boat.

(Nothing against any of the small operators, I plan to use a small operator on our next trip to AK, but I know from your other post your parents will be coming along on the cruise)
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  #4  
Old December 29th, 2012, 08:51 PM
Amy5000 Amy5000 is offline
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Originally Posted by CowPrincess View Post
Let me add another wrinkle to your Whale Watch If you do the one through the ship, it might be something your mom could manage. Large boat, big windows, comfy seats, main floor bathroom. Picked up by a big bus at the dock, delivered nearly to the boat.

(Nothing against any of the small operators, I plan to use a small operator on our next trip to AK, but I know from your other post your parents will be coming along on the cruise)

You have a good point Cow. My mom is pretty relaxed about missing excursions she's not up for, but I have to say I find myself gravitating to active excursions and I'm starting to wonder if I should cut back. It seems really hard to gauge what she'll be able to do. Even HAL's excursion specifies that it's "Not suitable for wheelchairs due to the number of stops requiring (dis)embarkation of transportation equipment and uneven terrain."

When I look at the itinerary, it does seems like there's lots of time "at sea" to spend together and I know we'll also get time together in ports as long as I can get her an ECV or wheelchair. (I'm actually going to look into the "Travel Scoot" I saw mentioned on Disabled Cruise Travel board for use at home).

I guess I'll call her before I make the arrangements. (Which I would have done anyway, but now I can dig deeper to figure out the difference and be clear about what's involved). It's a good thing I'm enjoying this planning thing. I find it such a pleasant diversion from all the things I should be getting done....
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  #5  
Old December 29th, 2012, 09:39 PM
Amy5000 Amy5000 is offline
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Originally Posted by frugaltravel View Post
You said that Harv and Marv's seems a little pricey, but then you say the ship's excursion is "not much more." So it is MORE pricey . Actually Harv and Marv's will stop at the glacier for no additional charge (for 20-30 minutes). If you want to stay longer you just take a taxi back to the dock or pay +-$10/person one way for the shuttles.

My guess is that Harv and Marv's tour is longer than the one through the ship. Plus, I would rather be on a boat with 6 people max (in your case, four of whom are in the same family) than with 100+ others.



Are you on a cruisetour? Does the cruiseline not take care of you from Seward? If not, when do you need to be in Anchorage - the morning following the arrival in Seward? If you need to make your own way from Seward to Anchorage and if you don't need to be there until the next morning, I would probably rent a car for the four of you and take my time driving. It is a 3 hour or so drive, but can take much longer with the many possible stops. Also, you might consider a Kenai Fjords tour in Seward before driving to Anchorage.

Hey Frugal. I do need to do more comparison before I figure this out. As for Seward....I am doing a Cruisetour with HAL and HAL will get me from Seward to Anchorage. The problem: I picked this tour b/c my Dad has always wanted to go to Alaska and he wants to see Denali. From reading this board my mind has started to wander to "what if" I didn't have to stick to HAL's schedule. I would really love to spend some time on the Kenai Pennisula, visit Homer, then head up to Denali and head home.

The problem is that I do need assistance getting my parents from place to place. All the work of moving us would fall on me and my DH and I really think I would be so stressed about making sure my parents were happy and comfortable that I would not enjoy myself.

I need to find to work with HAL's schedule and take any opportunities I can to see what interests me without breaking the bank.

Last edited by Amy5000; December 29th, 2012 at 09:40 PM.
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  #6  
Old January 1st, 2013, 10:28 PM
tilly's mom tilly's mom is offline
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I just booked a whale watch with Orka International tours for my DH, 2 grands and me. They have a 10% discount if booked by Jan. 5th. The adults were $110 each, and the ship holds about 20 I think. It was a compromise between the $$$small boat and the big and also $$$ ship's tour.
Thought I'd let you know if you're interested.
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  #7  
Old January 2nd, 2013, 10:13 AM
Amy5000 Amy5000 is offline
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Thanks Tilly's Mom. It does sound like a good compromise!
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