Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
theinkykitty

Sailing to Alaska via Explorer OTS - recommended excursions?

Recommended Posts

My husband and I are going on our first Alaska cruise this June and I'm curious - what excursions would you recommend? We've got our eye on a couple of them but I'm interested in input from others. We'll be stopping in Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, BC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Skagway, we enjoyed the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad trip to the Canadian border.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the White Pass railway excursion. Absolutely gorgeous. In Juneau we did an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching boat trip. Would highly recommend that as well. In Victoria (which is beautiful) we took a taxi into town, explored on our own and had lunch at the Bard and Banker restaurant which we really enjoyed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In Skagway, we enjoyed the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad trip to the Canadian border.

 

I would second the White Pass Railroad as well. I would take the combination of train and bus.

There are a number variations of the bus/train combination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also enjoyed the White Pass Railroad. The scenery is amazing.

In Juneau there are several. Taking the local bus to Mendenhal Glacier is very inexpensive and a nice look up close to a glacier. It's been awhile, but I believe at the time it was a blue bus. For an expensive excursion we did float plane trip to Taku lodge right at Taku glacier. Again an amazing view from the air of the beauty of Alaska. This included a salmon lunch, very good. We also had some excitement with a small black bear that climbed up a tree outside of the lodge. We were all trying to get close for picture taking.

Whale watching is also a popular excursion from Juneau.

Please, go to the Alask port of call board to read what others recommend.

Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I second the White Pass railway excursion. Absolutely gorgeous. In Juneau we did an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching boat trip. Would highly recommend that as well. In Victoria (which is beautiful) we took a taxi into town, explored on our own and had lunch at the Bard and Banker restaurant which we really enjoyed.

I am booked for the same tour in Juneau. I read some reviews that said you don't have enough time to hike to Nugget Falls and back with this tour. I will be really disappointed if this is true. I was hoping they made some adjustments after so many complaints about it. Was this true on your excursion? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With ships tour you won’t have enough time to walk to Nugget Falls. Why not take the local shuttle and spend as much time as you want there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did the local shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier last year. It was nice to just take our time and explore. We went to the falls. IMO, the falls were so worth it! We went in May and it was going strong. It was amazing how close you can get to it. We also went to the Visitors Center and looked around and hiked a short trail and saw a Mama Black Bear and her two babies! Awesome!

We have also done a whale watching trip in Juneau on a previous cruise to Alaska. That was also so much fun! If I had to choose between the glacier or whale watching though, I would choose whale watching.

In Skagway we did the 8 hour excursion with the bus first. You stop at some places and have lunch and then ride the train back down. There is also a shorter version where you ride up in the bus and then ride the train down or the other way around.

Whatever you decide will be great Alaska is just so beautiful and there is so much to see and do. Have a great cruise!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taku lodge flight over the glaciers. Best excursion ever! Expensive but worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With ships tour you won’t have enough time to walk to Nugget Falls. Why not take the local shuttle and spend as much time as you want there.

Could we just take the local shuttle back or would it have to be round trip thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have taken the shuttle to Mendenhall ($45/p) which includes park entry. This year we are 6 adults so have rented a car for the time in port. Will again go to Mendenhall and enjoy the walk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The railroad is a must. I also second the recommendation on a float plane excursion. Any sort of sled dog experience is well worth it too. Landing on a glacier is great, but I'd advise against drinking the water despite many reports that it's fine to do so. If you'd have the opportunity, my top recommendation would be to book a day excursion up to Barrow. While rather costly, it remains as one of the most memorable places we've ever visited. We gave up our entire day in Anchorage to do it, but well worth getting up in the wee hours to fly up there. Neat experience also just to have been above the arctic circle.

Edited by three4rd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also did the helicopter to the glacier to do dog sledding. While quite pricey, it was a trip of a lifetime! My son still talks about that one.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My husband and I are going on our first Alaska cruise this June and I'm curious - what excursions would you recommend? We've got our eye on a couple of them but I'm interested in input from others. We'll be stopping in Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, BC.

We have traveled that route several times. In Juneau, whale watching with the salmon dinner on an island is wonderful. In Skagway, the White Pass Yukon railroad is well worth your time. In Victoria, we used a private tour company through Victoria's London Taxi Tours. You can find them on line. They are very accommodating for your schedule and Sandra will work with you. No, not being paid by them to sing their praises, but if you book, tell them Reverend Jelf recommended them. (We will be using them for the May 25 cruise). Merricat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two of our favorite Alaska excursions were in Skagway.

 

(1) We independently booked a White Pass railway train up, mini bus trip back. That way you can see different scenery, plus there was much more narrative provided by the mini bus driver than the railroad, and it was cheaper. There are at least 3 options for how far to go (I think we did the middle one, into Canada, but not the full day one to the lake).

 

(2) Our second trip we did the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari. Lots of travel time (van, boat, school bus, walking, canoe, then the reverse), but beautiful scenery and a fun adventure out to the Davidson Glacier. Very memorable too.

 

In Juneau, both times we just did our own thing out to Mendenhall, Alaskan Brewing Company (free tour and beer tasting, although you need to take a cab or a van from their downtown gift shop to get out there), shopping, etc. We've done whale watching many times before so skipped it, but I believe most recommend Juneau over Victoria for whale watching. Doing a helicopter tour is also popular, but quite pricey, and very often cancelled due to conditions (so have a backup plan for if that happens).

 

In Victoria we've also only done our own walking tour, usually bar hopping and picking up alcoholic souvenirs to take back home (easy for us as we drove to the Seattle port). Butchart Gardens is very popular though. There are also some historical buildings, water taxi and/or bus tours, etc.

 

No Ketchikan? That is probably our favorite port as far as scenery and the town itself (very cute), and unfortunately usually the shortest stop. We loved the view from the top of the cable car line, and had an awesome kayaking trip through Southeast Sea Kayaks.

 

Lots of neat shops at all the ports, especially when you get further out from the dock. Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My husband and I are going on our first Alaska cruise this June and I'm curious - what excursions would you recommend? We've got our eye on a couple of them but I'm interested in input from others. We'll be stopping in Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, BC.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with taking the White Pass Railroad/Bus combination. On some you get to pan for gold, learn about the Iditirod dogs and pet the puppies! Fascinating.

 

I talked to people who took a helicopter ride to the Mendenhall glacier, then stopped at a mushers camp. It was very expensive (600.00 each) however, the pictures they got plus the kids had a blast. I do agree with others that taking the bus to the Mendenhall Glacier is a great inexpensive way to get there and back.

 

If you are there during the summer solstice, being able to have it be light out is absolutely fascinating. We all came out of dinner amazed at the sun at 2100.

 

Whale watching is worth going to as well.

 

You will have a blast. Enjoy every second. Don't forget your binoculars and a good camera.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taku lodge flight over the glaciers. Best excursion ever! Expensive but worth it.

 

A second vote for Taku Lodge. Consistently one of the top-rated excursions out of Juneau and one of our all-time favorites in Alaska.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harv and marv whale watch excursion in Juneau. Very good company and they have a shuttle that Wil pick you up when you dock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our helicopter/dog sledding tour was out of Skagway with Temesco. Like I said, expensive, but worth every penny to us!

 

We used Rum Runners to do whale watching in Juneau. We really liked them and we were the only ones on the boat. We saw whales, Dahl’s porpoises, sea lions, and eagles up close and personal. We probably saw some other wildlife but those are what I remember the most. They will also pick you up and take you back to the ship.

 

Taku Lodge is something I really want to do someday!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I did Alaska, I did the White Pass train to the Canadian border, the sea plane (can't remember what excursion that was - was just ok, wouldn't do it again), and the helicopter ride to the glacier - a must do if you can!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In Skagway, we enjoyed the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad trip to the Canadian border.

Also recommend this excursion and the helicopter over the glacier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...