Excursion report. Not sure if I’ll do a ship report because let’s face it, it’s all about Alaska. We did like the ship. It was a different class than our previous cruises. Loved the newly added areas. Only issue we had that it wasn’t convenient to get drinks with our soda card. There were place they just didn’t seem to b in the right pat, or they were closed or busy. Balcony cabins 7132 and 7136. Our cabins were forward. I should’ve chosen aft, I think that locations would’ve been more convenient for food. We were convenient for shows. Rough seas overnight the first and last night. Didn’t bother us. Great sleeping weather. Comedians were good. Epic rock was great. Staff was very friendly. Loved our room steward and dining team. I’m struggling with their menu now, I think it’s time to change. But if I’m not cooking, I’m not complaining. Played bingo and clue. Missed the clues though. We were so busy with excursions and naps. Enjoyed the naturalist that we had. Happy with what we paid compared to other lines. Guess I just did a ship report. Lol:')
We were on the Carnival Legend June 19-26. Here is how we spent our time at each port. Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. ⚓️🛳
We visited Alaska 14 years ago and we loved the excursions that we did then, so I wanted my dad and brother to have similar experiences. This was their first time to Alaska and I wanted this to be a trip of a lifetime for them. No pressure. Lol. 🤣🤣😮
Typically, I start with the excursions offered by the cruise line to see what interest us. Same process this time. I spent hours reviewing cruise critic, an Alaskan Facebook page, and trip advisor to determine what we wanted to do and then researching private vendors. I know that Carnival will match the price and I do have a Carnival credit card that would give me an additional discount. However, I prefer private vendors. I know everyone feels differently about this but it’s what has worked for us for 15 cruises. We have found that the groups are smaller and we can customize if necessary. And the vendors can be reached by email and answer any questions that I might have during the planning process. Try reaching someone at the cruise line. Not easy! I booked most of our excursions in November for our June cruise. This allowed for us to pay for some of the big items months in advance of the final cruise payment. All had great refund policies and we purchased travel insurance. Speaking of travel insurance, we always buy using insuremytrip.com. After chatting with an agent, I found a policy that would cover all five of us. This vacation was way to pricey to chance losing any money. I always buy insurance for the Caribbean too. And never through the cruise line. Better, cheaper coverage is available.
Tracey Arm. Actually ended up being Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.
Our first Alaskan cruise was only our second cruise and we did everything through through cruise line and I didn’t do a ton of research so we missed this opportunity. I was determined to do this excursion if we ever went back. This excursion has to be booked through the cruise line. It’s operated by Allen Marine.
We were picked up at our boat by their boat. Around 11 or so. This was a three hour tour. Lol. 🤣 We were able to get so close! The captain opened up the third deck, the views were amazing. We were able to see and hear the ice calve. Bring your binoculars! The Carnival Legend captain was also able to get incredibly close. The naturalist on our excursion was impressed with how close he was able to make it to the glacier. But still, our experience was the best. So grateful that I was able to go back to Alaska and do this excursion. Doughnut holes and hot beverages were available free of charge. Other items available for purchase. The crew was great, very personable and knowledgeable. If this is offered on your ship, do it. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife. A few eagles and sea otters playing along the way. So don’t expect this to be a wildlife excursion. It’s all about the scenery. It was chilly, I wore a jacket that’s lined inside, earmuffs, and gloves. For shoes, I wore my duck boots that kept my feet warm. Inside the boat was nice and warm. My favorite thing about this excursion is that I didn’t have to worry about where to be on the ship to get the best view or be distracted by happenings on the ship. I was just there. Experiencing a glacier in Alaska. That was worth the price of this excursion. Highly recommend this tour!
My brother loves trains so I knew we had to do the Yukon Rail and Bus excursion. We had done a similar excursion previously that went to Liarsville and we had a salmon bake. Really wasn’t interested in redoing that part of the tour. Based on my research it seemed that Chilkoot Charter had the best options and reviews. So that’s who we used. https://chilkootcharters. You can read the tour description on their website. We elected to do bus first, train second. This was suggested as sometimes it’s foggy in the morning and might interfere with views from the train. It was also suggested to sit on the right side of the bus going up, and the right side of the train coming down. So we did. Because we had only 13 on the tour everyone could sit on the right if they wanted on both the bus and train. Our group had our own train car as well. And yes, passports are required. We did go into Canada. They did check our passports as we entered. Also, when we returned to the US on the train, customs boarded and checked our passports. This was actually the reason we obtained our passports 14 years ago. Once you book, they email meeting instructions along with your confirmation. 8:30 meet time. Their rep was right outside of security as we disembarked. We were sent to a bus (shuttle type) where we met our driver Anne. Anne, native of Ireland, was awesome. Of course, with that Irish accent, I could listen to her all day. We hit many points of interest, and our guide was always willing to be a photographer. She knows the ropes and knows how to avoid most of the crowds and if there was a crowd, she worked with the other guides so everyone could quickly get their pictures. There are a couple of stops for the potty along the way but there aren’t many, so you may want to wait to hydrate until boarding the train where water and a bathroom are provided. 😁Sometimes I needed a jacket at our stops, but not on the bus. I wore tennis shoes and had my Columbia fleece jacket. If it was raining I would’ve wanted my duck boots. This tour includes lunch at Caribou Crossing. It was good, the doughnuts being the star of the show. And this is also where you can pet the husky puppies. Oh. My. Word. My daughter is now searching for a husky to buy. Lol. Yes, it’s kinda a cheesy tourist trap. But it has great history and we actually enjoyed it. My favorite stop was Emerald Lake. Gorgeous!! We also saw a bear! 🐻Just walking down the side of the road. Very cool! We stopped in Carcross and had about 30 minutes to be tourists. Then we headed to Fraser where we boarded the train. 🚂 Loved our train ride! We spent most of the time outside on the platform. We needed jackets on the platform, not in the train. Our weather was amazing! No rain. The train ride ends just north or town. Anne met us here, sometimes it’s a different driver, just an FYI. She dropped us in town and we went straight to the White Pass train store for souvenirs. There’s a coupon in the book they give you onboard for a T-shirt and hat combo for $15 or so. Great deal! Onboard they sell some things as well, like a hat you can only buy onboard. We bought a few things in town and then headed back for dinner onboard. We were docked till 9 so there was lots of time for exploring the town. We were tight time wise at our other ports so we knew this was the best place for us to shop. It may not be the best place to shop but it was the best for us. It’s a short walk back to the ship or you can take a SMART bus for $2. We loved Skagway! So much history. Another great option here is to rent a car and use Murray’s guide. If we ever make it back, this is what we will do because I’ve done the train twice. I don’t know that I would choose the rental car over this excursion because we loved the train ride. Highly recommend this company and this excursion!
I knew right away that I wanted to do a whale watch and go to Mendenhall Glacier. I originally booked this excursion through the cruise ship because of our short port time. But after additional research, I cancelled and booked the Whale Watch and Mendenhall Glacier tour with Juneau tours. http://www.juneautours.com/. I had originally booked the tour that included the whales, the glacier and a city tour. About two weeks before, I emailed and cancelled the city portion because I wanted more time at the glacier. There might still have been enough time for this, so if it’s something you really want to do, email and ask the timeframe for that excursion. This was an early day! 7:30 meet time. Again, detailed instructions were emailed with our confirmation. They were right where they said they would be near Mt. Roberts tramway. Their shuttle bus took us to their boat. We were lucky! We were on their brand new boat! One month old. There were only 12 of us on this excursion. There is nothing like being on the boat in Alaska. It was a warm day but I still needed gloves and my warmer coat. The doors to the inside area were closed as we went out looking for whales but eventually they were open and we moved quickly sometimes to get to the whales, so it did get chilly. I wore tennis shoes because of the walk to the glacier later that day. Loved the crew! Tori was our naturalist. Very personable and knowledgeable. We were given bottled water, granola bar, and fruit snacks. We only saw one whale, Flame. It’s so incredible to me that the recognize and know the whales names. 🐳 We saw Flame a couple of times and Tori told us when to be ready with our cameras. I guess I was expecting more whales, but so happy with what we did see. There were a few other boats in our area so it’s not like they were seeing something we weren’t seeing. Tori did mention that late July/early August is the best time to see the bubble feeding. Although, I just read that some groups this May saw it as well. We were out for two hours but it went by so fast! If I were to do this again, I would see if there was a longer tour available, I don’t think there is with this company, another company might offer a longer tour. It was just so nice to be on the water. Yes, I know we were on a cruise but this was so different and relaxing. When we got back to the dock, our driver took us to the glacier. Randy was very informative about what to expect and how to navigate the glacier area. We toured the visitors center then headed down the path to Nugget Falls. It was a mile walk but not a hard walk at all. I was watching footwear as we went along, hiking boots, sandals, flip flops, duck boots but mostly tennis shoes. We were able to get some great shots of the glacier and the falls. We followed the shoreline back towards the visitors center and eventually met up with the main trail. We walked a little bit of the elevated platform then headed to our shuttle pickup. We explored the town a bit, stopped in the Red Dog Saloon to see Wyatt Earp’s gun. Then back onboard. There are many different ways to do the whale watch and the glacier. Some rent a car, some take a taxi and some use the shuttle. A lot of choices for whale watching as well. Harv and Marv get great reviews and they offer some tours you can customize. We really wanted transportation to the glacier included. Yes, I know you can take a taxi or a one way shuttle. This is just the way we decided it worked for us. Research, ask question and determine what route works best for your family. Highly recommend this excursion and this company!
My dad was with the Blue Angels in the Navy and retired from Delta Airlines. So I knew he would love the seaplane. We had used Island Wings previously and loved our experience, so we decided to use them again. http://www.islandwings.com/. Shona, the operations manager is great! So informative and excellent with communication. It was pouring the day we arrived. I emailed Shona to make sure we were still ok for flying and she said it wasn’t raining in the fjords and we were all set. Short port time here, back onboard at 12:30. So, we knew we had to explore the town before our flight at ten. This would’ve been a great place to have real rain gear. We had planned to see the totems at Cape Fox Lodge. It was raining too hard for that walk (we’re wimps) so we shopped of course. Great deals at Tongass Trading Company. I had emailed Shona to tell her we were staying dry in the Visitors Center and she said she’d be right over to pick us up and she was. Isn’t it amazing when people do what they say they’re gonna do? We got back to the office in time to see Michelle land from her first tour. Then we were off. Michelle, the pilot was wonderful. Smooth flight. She was more personable than I anticipated. I’ve read a few negative comments about her personality but our experience was great! She took pictures and selfies with us and answered all our questions. Very pleased with our experience. It was even better than our first time, I remember thinking the flight was incredible but didn’t really love her interaction with us. She’s still very professional but is more personable now. I like the fact that she lands on a lake and that’s just another experience for us. I just don’t even know how to explain this excursion. There are no words. Breathtakingly beautiful hardly does it justice. It’s definitely a splurge but so worth it! We eventually had to land, Shona helped load the next group and then took us back to the port. This was the only excursion that made me a little nervous time wise. All aboard was 12:30 and we boarded about 12:20. I had even emailed Shona that I was nervous about the timeframe but she assured me that it would be fine. Their dock is literally 5 minutes away. And of course it was fine. Highly recommend this excursion and this company!
I am a planner. I had a notebook full of all our plans for this trip. This port troubled me because of the time in port. 7:30-12. I really wanted to do tea at The Empress but that wouldn’t work in our timeframe. I liked the idea of a double decker bus but was afraid to pre book anything. Because if it was raining or if we were exhausted, we would just stay onboard. So, we decided we would just see what was offered at the pier. First time I’ve ever went that route. It was a wise choice. We found Big Al of Ambassador Transportation. He’s an older gentleman with a mini van. There were nicer cars and limos but this just felt right. So, he gave us a two hour tour of the city. The van was able to go places the bus wouldn’t fit. We walked around the gardens at the governors house, drove through Chinatown, saw the peacocks, and many other points of interest. Great photo ops along the way. We really enjoyed learning about Victoria from him. Two hours well spent. We didn’t shop here, we have enough T-shirt’s and hats, so back onboard.
Well, that’s a wrap for our excursions. I’m very happy with our decisions. Wouldn’t change a thing. Any ?’s, just let me know.