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We are on the Diamond in July arriving in Ketchikan at 6am and leaving at noon. Have seen many recommendations on this site about Misty Fjords. We are not wild about float planes and were debating this excursion as an alternative. Does this excursion do it justice? Or do you spend most of your time on the boat getting there & getting back?
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.
I dont know anything about the excursion you speaking of...but...we just returned yesterday from Alaska.We took the Misty Fjords Float Plane excursion with Michelle of Island Wings.I must say that was the highlight of our trip! It was wonderful.I heard nothing but good things about her and everything I heard was true.It was a wonderful flight and then the 30+ min landing on the lake was incredible.I cant say enough good things about it.I understand you dont get out on land booking thru the ship though.We saw evidence that a bear had been there earlier,but we never did see him! Kinda wish we would have as we lifted off! We did a Helicopter/Glacier trek too which was fun...a little scary at first,but once we got going it was nice,but the Fjords was the BEST ! Go and enjoy! Dot
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I did the MISTY FJORDS & WILDERNESS EXPLORER excursion in May and enjoyed every minute of it. On the way to Misty Fjords, we saw 8 humpback and orca whales, seals and bald eagles. The boat stopped or slowed to ensure viewing and made sure both sides of the boat got to see them.
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.
We did this excursion July 1, 2005 and it was, in my opinion, a big waste of nearly $300 (for two of us) that I can imagine. For all practical purposes, it was nothing more than a three hour boat ride. We saw very little wildlife (a couple of bald eagles and a few harbor seals) and the scenery in Misty Fjords, while pretty, wasn't anything outstanding. It didn't look anything like the pictures I've seen.
The naturalist does a good job and he's personable and interesting, but otherwise this excursion was nothing special.
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We very much enjoyed the boat/plane Misty Fjords tour. It was probably the best excursion we did on the whole cruise. The boat trip there was scenic and we did see a fair bit of wildlife including one grizzly in a shoreside meadow. The crew was very helpful and the chowder was excellent. In the fjords the scenery was amazing. Like Yosemite valley flooded. Motored right up to the petroglyphs and some waterfalls.
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.
I have experienced Misty Fjords both ways and must say that the float plane is the best experience. If for some reason the plane isn't an option then, by all means, take the boat as Misty Fjords shouldn't be missed.
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Hi, Can we book the float plane when we get there (at dock) or should I call in advance? We don't buy the shore excursions on board, but I'm worried that the ship might be delayed getting in. What is the website/phone number to book in advance? Thanks! Karen and Doug Buelow
You should book in advance. If for some reason the ship is late, you can get a refund.
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.
We used the following company and really loved them on our June 9-20 cruise on NCL Dream.
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.
Last edited by Mollyb1; July 7th, 2005 at 12:52 AM.
We are doing the MISTY FJORDS & WILDERNESS EXPLORER by boat, instead of the plane. The plane costs more & I am scared of heights. Hope it will be more it than the plane.
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DH and I did the MISTY FJORDS AND WILDERNESS EXPLORER boat tour during our cruise last month and we LOVED it. The scenery was breathtaking, we saw lots of whales, seals, sea lions and eagles. The boat was nice, the guides, etc. very friendly, and we thought it was a great experience. To us it was well worth the money.
Here's a link to our Webshots photo album that includes photos from the excursion.
Did the Misty Fjords Wilderness Explorer last month. Would not spend the money for this trip.
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.