MISTY FJORDS & WILDERNESS EXPLORER
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I did the cruise/fly because just the cruise option was not offered on our ship. Though with the exception of the 5 of us who did the combo option - everyone else on our boat did the RT option. They booked it through Crystal (I was on Princess). From the people I spoke to, they thought the trip was long but they did enjoy the Misty Fiords section. It just took awhile to get there and get back. They did enjoy the trip.
As far as the boat - it was very nice. It was 2 floors and had plenty of room both inside and outside. They provided a nice snack - they had clam chowder, salsa and chips, cheese and crackers, hot chocolate, soda, coffee and other items that I can not think of.
The commentary on our boat was lacking but it is possible they did more of it going to Misty Fiords (I did the return trip). I don't remember them pointing anything out except for a few eagles.
Sorry I don't have first hand experience of the RT but thought I would give you my input.
Edited to add - I enjoyed the boat portion better then the flight portion.
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I felt we spent an adequate time in Misty Fjords viewing the waterfalls and beautiful geologicaly formations.
Binoculars were provided. Snacks were served on the ride back to Ketchikan. The guides were friendly and informative. For example, one thing they shared I found interesting is that 7th and 8th grade students are required to take survival courses as a protection against the elements if ever needed. The 8th graders are dropped off on a remore spot for 3 days with just a coffee can filled with supplies to see if they can "survive."
I would do this excursion again - the close up view of wildlife and geology is worth the price.
The naturalist does a good job and he's personable and interesting, but otherwise this excursion was nothing special.
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The flight back was good too but too short. Out first time in a floatplane. We were in a larger Twin Otter. Everyone had headsets and between commentary they played some nice music to fit the views (and muffle the engine noise). The flight path was direct over the penninsulas back to Ketchikan so did not duplicate the boat trip. Climbing up and out of the canyon like fjord was interesting with the rock walls gliding by. Not at all scary. Upon landing it was very interesting to note the eagles catching small fish stunned by the landing planes. They would swoop in on the wake and fight over fish. Hundreds of them.
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I too thought the cruise was too long and much preferred the flight. I think a combo would be the best. There were interesting things on the cruise--the town of Panic, a floatplane in a driveway instead of a car, coming within inches of some waterfalls, and some neat geological formations, but it was nowhere near the spectacle of seeing the high mountain lakes and waterfalls from the air. We didn't see any whales, and of course it's never guaranteed.
RdM Pilot/Guide and Alaska Seaplane Tours
420 Front Street • Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
1.866.858.BEAR • 1.907.225.1974 • 1.907.209.9509 • email@example.com
Very enjoyable flight and very informative pilot.
We booked independently and when the ship came in late, I called on my cell phone and he said he would be waiting on us, no problems. I would suggest doing the second trip out instead of the first, since we were about thirty minutes late docking. Less stress, and lots cheaper than booking through the ship.
Anybody know of a company that does the combo plane/boat....without going through a cruiseline?
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Here's a link to our Webshots photo album that includes photos from the excursion.
Noordam March 2011 Southern Caribbean Wayfarer
Noordam 04/10 Southern Caribbean Seafarer
Noordam 11/09 Southern Caribbean Wayfarer
Westerdam 03/09 Circumnavigation of CUBA
Oosterdam 10/08 Mexican Riviera
Maasdam 04/08 Southern & Eastern Caribbean
Oosterdam 10/07 Our annual Halloween Cruise
Volendam 04/07 Southern Caribbean Panama Canal
Veendam Western Caribbean 12/06 (Grand Cayman, Jamaica)
Veendam Western Caribbean 10/06 (Belize, Guatamela)
Oosterdam Mexican Riviera 4/06
Westerdam Eastern Caribbean 12/05
Ryndam Mexican Riviera and the Sea of Cortez 10/05
Ryndam Alaska 05/05
We spent a total of 30 minutes in Misty Fjords out of a 4 1/2 hour trip and this was a new High Speed Catamaran, nice boat, wonderfull comentary from a young man but other than that, saw a couple of waterfalls, and a few seals sitting on some rocks, nothing more than that. Would opt to spend the money doing a Whale Watching trip somewhere or shopping in Ketchican, since we got back late the shops were already closed!!!
Sequim88, Coral - What company did you book your seaplane/boat combo tours through?I booked it through Princess and am glad I did. We were 20 minutes late getting back to Ketchikan and our ship was scheduled to sail right when we were scheduled to get back. The ship waited for us and was checking our names off of their clipboard when we boarded. We had one elderly person on our trip and Princess walked to the boat to pick him up so our ship could sail. My friend who I was traveling with who did not do this excursion said Princess called my name and cabin number several times on the ship (along with the rest of the people they were waiting for) to see if I was on the ship.
Goldbelt operated the boat ride and ProTech Air did the flight - not sure if this helps or not. Maybe you can contact these companies and see if anyone other then the cruise lines operates the combo tour.