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steve4031

400 to spend on one excursion-Which would you choose

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This is my first Alaska cruise.  I am on the 2020 August 1 sailing if the konigsdam  to Tracy Arm, Skagway, and Ketchikan.  If there was one excursion on this itinerary that was a once in a life time experience, what would you pick?  I will spend a lot (400) on one excursion and  then be more economical on the others. 

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My splurge excursion for my upcoming Alaska 2020 trip is the helicopter/sled dog trip.  Even on sale, it costs just over $500, but it is something I always wanted to do.

 

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2 hours ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

My splurge excursion for my upcoming Alaska 2020 trip is the helicopter/sled dog trip.  Even on sale, it costs just over $500, but it is something I always wanted to do.

 

This trip is often cancelled in August due to warmth/ice conditions.

 

I wouldn't count on this tour happening. Some years, it is cancelled mid-August. I think this year it was cancelled earlier than normal due to the hot Alaska season.

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It appears you will visit Juneau too.  We took a helicopter for a glacier walk for around $300 each.  I felt it was totally worth the price.  It was one of the most interesting things we did the entire cruise.  I would do it again.  We flew with Coastal Helicopters.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Coral said:

This trip is often cancelled in August due to warmth/ice conditions.

 

I wouldn't count on this tour happening. Some years, it is cancelled mid-August. I think this year it was cancelled earlier than normal due to the hot Alaska season.

Thanks for the heads-up.  Luckily, my cruise is late May and I booked it thru the cruise line.  I do accept that the excursion can be cancelled due to unsafe flying conditions.  Hoping for the best!

Edited by Ferry_Watcher
spelling error

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

Thanks for the heads-up.  Luckily, my cruise is late May and I booked it thru the cruise line.  I do accept that the excursion can be cancelled due to unsafe flying conditions.  Hoping for the best!

 

It is one of the most cancelled shore excursion in Alaska. Though you won't run into the camps shutting down for the season in May. That is a plus.

Edited by Coral

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6 minutes ago, Coral said:

 

It is one of the most cancelled shore excursion in Alaska. Though you won't run into the camps shutting down for the season in May. That is a plus.

Thank you my friend!

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Posted (edited)

We did the helicopter ride onto Mendenhall glacier, in Juneau, and it was worth every penny!! I was hesitant at spending that kind of money, since the other excursions weren't really cheap either. But we agreed that it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Edited by kctwinmommy

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I suggest doing do a float plane trip in Juneau - perhaps the one to Taku Lodge, which includes a salmon bake. Just an FYI - there are many kiosks right at the dock in Juneau that sell the same tours as the cruise lines but usually at slightly better prices + you have the option to change plans if the weather conditions are less than perfect.

I never prebook anything in Juneau.

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You go to Alaska to see something unique.   I loved the glacier landing and scenic flying.   You find me raving about the dogsledding but IMHO on a tight hard budget I'd skip the dog sledding, its short, a gimick and can be had for cheaper elsewhere.

 

Don't discount whale watching as something to consider and add the scenic flying/heli and glacier landing.

 

A hike at Mendenhall gets you a beautiful lake and waterfall and close to a glacier.  if you do the right cruise you get Glacier Bay or Hubbard so you also get amazing close views.

 

 

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The highlight for our group was the floatplane trip to Anan Creek Observatory to see the bears fishing for salmon! It was very expensive, but so worth it! It looks like early August could be the perfect time to do this! We flew with Carlin Air in Ketchikan, but there are other vendors there https://www.experienceketchikan.com/bear-viewing-in-alaska.html

 

We also did the dog sledding on a glacier, which came in at a close second place to the bear viewing. We decided to cut costs on other things (no balcony, just had snacks in port and ate meals back on the ship, etc).

 

I believe there are other bear viewing tours that don't require a float plane and may be less expensive.

 

We felt both of these were very "Alaska" things to do and "Once in a lifetime" - no regrets at all! 

IMG_2486.JPG

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Ditto the Helicopter to glaciers in Juneau...  mind blowing and more than worth the $400pp.

 

 

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On 10/5/2019 at 11:12 PM, steve4031 said:

That looks pretty awesome. 

 

It was really cool! And I don't like to fly, although I do it, obviously. LOL! But I just knew that this would be a chance to see something really neat, and probably never do it again. LOL!

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Take a helicopter or float plane ..... our ship floatplane excursion was cancelled for Juneau.    In Ketchikan, we talked to one of the people selling tours at end of pier and can’t speak highly enough about them.  

 

RDM ketchikan floatplanes  had cheaper prices and longer flight times than the cruise line.  They pick you up and drop you off at the port.  Ryan owns the business - super personable!   There were 6 of us. 220 a person for a 2.5 hour flight with a water landing at a glacier made lake 40 miles outside of Ketchikan.     Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

 

learn from my mistake-  use a Wide/ regular lens on your camera instead of a zoom lens.      

 

.... so even if you do a helicopter ride someplace- in Ketchikan, you can’t go wrong with RDM floatplanes.

 

I am not a fan of small planes or turbulence and was extremely nervous.  But this was a once in a lifetime thing.  Honestly, I had next to no problems in his plane at all.  Very smooth- even thru some storm clouds.  I have to admit there were 4-5 instances when I would reach up to the ceiling.... but then laughed it off.      In my 13 cruises, this was my BEST excursion, EVER!       We are, in fact, thinking of going back again in 2 years and booking with them again.

 

so please consider it

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I would do a fight over Glacier Bay from Skagway with Mountain Flying Service.  Scenery is spectacular

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I am most intrigued by the bear tour out of Ketchikan. I’m going to go for that one. 

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On 10/10/2019 at 9:11 PM, bound4dbeach said:

Take a helicopter or float plane ..... our ship floatplane excursion was cancelled for Juneau.    In Ketchikan, we talked to one of the people selling tours at end of pier and can’t speak highly enough about them.  

 

RDM ketchikan floatplanes  had cheaper prices and longer flight times than the cruise line.  They pick you up and drop you off at the port.  Ryan owns the business - super personable!   There were 6 of us. 220 a person for a 2.5 hour flight with a water landing at a glacier made lake 40 miles outside of Ketchikan.     Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

 

learn from my mistake-  use a Wide/ regular lens on your camera instead of a zoom lens.      

 

.... so even if you do a helicopter ride someplace- in Ketchikan, you can’t go wrong with RDM floatplanes.

 

I am not a fan of small planes or turbulence and was extremely nervous.  But this was a once in a lifetime thing.  Honestly, I had next to no problems in his plane at all.  Very smooth- even thru some storm clouds.  I have to admit there were 4-5 instances when I would reach up to the ceiling.... but then laughed it off.      In my 13 cruises, this was my BEST excursion, EVER!       We are, in fact, thinking of going back again in 2 years and booking with them again.

 

so please consider it

I guess their prices have gone up.

https://www.alaskaseaplanetours.com/

 

and their safety record is a little rough.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g31030-d1818192-r598053002-Alaska_Seaplane_Tours-Ketchikan_Alaska.html

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Another vote for Island Wings out of Ketchikan for bear watching.  We did that in early September around 4 years ago and saw a number of of bears fishing right below our observation platform in the creek with their cubs hanging around the perimeters. We even observed a big male bear chased away by several protective mama bears.

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