Jump to content

Expert Alaska Excursion Itinerary Help Needed!!


Recommended Posts

 

Looking for some advice from the destination experts here on CC. Family of 6 booked on the HAL Konigsdam leaving out of Vancouver on 5/16/20. The stops are as follows:

Juneau from 1pm-10pm on 5/18

Skagway from 7am-8pm on 5/19

Ketchikan from 10-6pm on 5/21

 
We were considering the following:
  • Jayleen Alaska in Juneau for whale watching or Mendelhall Glacier, and/or the Glacier flight seeing tour through Wings Airways (or is there another location off the beaten path that would be good to see)
  • The Bennett Scenic Journey (8 hours) which includes the bus and White Pass train in Skagway
  • The Misty Fjords Float plane through Island wings in Ketchikan
 
  • We are also wondering about the Sled dog discovery and mushers camp experience. It seems this excursion is available in Juneau and in Skagway. Wondering if there is any difference? 
 
The only thing my family will not do is anything that involves a helicopter. I know that limits some of the most spectacular things we could see/do but they will not budge on this. Are there any tours that have glacier landings with a float plane? Any feedback if there are?
 
My interests are primarily seeing as much natural beauty and wildlife as possible, the once in a lifetime opportunities. I'm not interested in crab or salmon bakes/all you can eats, unless you tell me that the float plane to George Inlet Lodge in Ketchikan is a must do 🙂 We also are not interested in the rain forest or in zipline adventures. 
 
Thank you in advance for your help! This is a present for my mom (her bucket list trip!) so we want it to be really special. My eyes are bleary from all the research, haha.
 
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, if you are going to do a flightseeing at Juneau.  I would do one that includes a landing on the glacier and perhaps walking about a bit.   

 

I have a very strong memory of actually being on the glacier, seeing the amazing blue, the dirt, and hearing the natural history of the area.  It was a long time ago, but it was through Northstar helicopters. https://northstartrekking.com/

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your choices look good!

 

Do not miss whale watching in Juneau. We are going with Jayleen/Amber in June, but have done ship-tours twice before. One of those was the "scientific" boat, which was not as good, although there were fewer passengers and more narration. 

 

You can book with Chilhoots Charters for a different long day that goes into the Yukon and includes meeting husky puppies. I haven't done it so I'm not recommending it, but I looked really hard at that tour! It seemed too long a day for the people I am traveling with so only doing the White Pass bus-and-train loop and then browsing the town if up to it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Jnsplace1 said:

Personally, if you are going to do a flightseeing at Juneau.  I would do one that includes a landing on the glacier and perhaps walking about a bit.   

 

I have a very strong memory of actually being on the glacier, seeing the amazing blue, the dirt, and hearing the natural history of the area.  It was a long time ago, but it was through Northstar helicopters. https://northstartrekking.com/

 

I so want to do this but my travel partners refuse to get in a helicopter. I was trying to look for flight seeing in the float planes. Any ideas?

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, crystalspin said:

I think your choices look good!

 

Do not miss whale watching in Juneau. We are going with Jayleen/Amber in June, but have done ship-tours twice before. One of those was the "scientific" boat, which was not as good, although there were fewer passengers and more narration. 

 

You can book with Chilhoots Charters for a different long day that goes into the Yukon and includes meeting husky puppies. I haven't done it so I'm not recommending it, but I looked really hard at that tour! It seemed too long a day for the people I am traveling with so only doing the White Pass bus-and-train loop and then browsing the town if up to it.

Thank you!!! I've done a ton of research and I am trying to be an educated traveler. Was the day really that much longer?? I feel like the White Pass bus/train loop is 8 hours.

Did you like Jayleen?

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Italy52 said:

We have taken 6 whale watching excursions with Jayleen and have two more planned for this May.  I assume you have already checked out her website...if not, here is the link:  https://jayleensalaska.com/

 

If interested, TripAdvisor has many reviews about experiences with Jayleen's Alaska.

Thank you, I have. I'm guessing by your repeat business, you really enjoyed it?!

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Snowerin999 said:

Thank you, I have. I'm guessing by your repeat business, you really enjoyed it?!

Yes, we have always enjoyed our whale watching experiences with Jayleen.  We have gone with a couple of other whale watching vendors in Juneau but none of them provided us with the same personal experience that Jayleen did. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Snowerin999 said:

Thank you!!! I've done a ton of research and I am trying to be an educated traveler. Was the day really that much longer?? I feel like the White Pass bus/train loop is 8 hours.

Did you like Jayleen?

Speaking for the Chilkoot Charters Tours: The Bennett Lake train-bus trip is 8 hours (box lunch to eat in the bus). The Yukon train-bus trip is 7.5 hours (with a BBQ chicken lunch and time with huskies). The White Pass SUMMIT trip either bus or train first, is about 4 hours. If you do train first the tour starts an hour earlier but you probably get more relaxed photo stops on the bus as you are not under pressure to meet the train! 

 

We did the HAL Summit train-up/bus-down excursion in 2016 and very much enjoyed it! It left time to eat at a brewpub in town and shop a little. I'm choosing the Chilkoots reverse tour this year for the opposite points of view, saving $255 (for five people) over Princess's excursion. As I said, I contemplated the Yukon 7.5hr trip, but some of our party have limited stamina.

 

As far as Jayleen (and her other captain Amber) -- I have not met either yet! I learned of her on this forum and have booked her for next June. That means I am neither recommending or panning her yet! per the rules of this board. But I was obviously impressed with her reviews.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, crystalspin said:

Speaking for the Chilkoot Charters Tours: The Bennett Lake train-bus trip is 8 hours (box lunch to eat in the bus). The Yukon train-bus trip is 7.5 hours (with a BBQ chicken lunch and time with huskies). The White Pass SUMMIT trip either bus or train first, is about 4 hours. If you do train first the tour starts an hour earlier but you probably get more relaxed photo stops on the bus as you are not under pressure to meet the train! 

 

We did the HAL Summit train-up/bus-down excursion in 2016 and very much enjoyed it! It left time to eat at a brewpub in town and shop a little. I'm choosing the Chilkoots reverse tour this year for the opposite points of view, saving $255 (for five people) over Princess's excursion. As I said, I contemplated the Yukon 7.5hr trip, but some of our party have limited stamina.

 

As far as Jayleen (and her other captain Amber) -- I have not met either yet! I learned of her on this forum and have booked her for next June. That means I am neither recommending or panning her yet! per the rules of this board. But I was obviously impressed with her reviews.

I was trying to figure out what the real difference was between those two tours, the Bennett Lake and the Yukon! I understand not being able to commit to an entire 8 hours of sightseeing. That could definitely be overwhelming! I want to go up to Emerald Lake and prefer to do the train part first for exactly the reason you mentioned. Plus I'm more energetic in the mornings so best to harness that and get out there 🙂 I haven't booked any of the excursions through the cruiseline because I've found that it's cheaper to book through the vendors directly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is definitely cheaper if you do the groundwork.

 

On my previous (3) Alaska trips, where I was the coordinator, we did use ships' tours. The first trip was pre-cruise Critic and only my third cruise ever, AND we did two-weeks self-drive in AK after. The second I had eight-in-all family members; I wanted them to experience as much of what we did in the self-drive in just Ketchikan/Juneau/Skagway. The third, there were nine of us on a two week cruise. I used ship's tours or no tours, and we rented a van in Anchorage and two cars in Victoria. I was basically a wreck with the planning, even with the ship's tours!

 

Anyway, at least speaking of the Bennett Lake vs Yukon tours from Chilkoot (and after all, it's still the White Pass railway, that runs just so many trains per day so it's similar for other offers) -- for the Bennett Lake run you ride the train ~68 miles/4.5hrs, all the way to Carcross Yukon, with a 45min stop at Bennett Lake, then a bus ride back. OR IN REVERSE! For the Yukon tour, you ride the train 28mi/1hr45min, then bus to Carcross where you have more time for the Husky Camp and local museum, plus the BBQ, then the bus back. OR IN REVERSE. The briefer trip is just the 28 miles and bus back from there, or bus up and train back.

 

Here is their tour page:

https://chilkootcharters.com/reservations

click "Tours by Rail/Bus" Then (Read More) for each tour. Oh yeah, it helps if you set the calendar to your month and day first!

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
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Barbara Muckermann, CMO Silversea Cruises
      • ICYM Our Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...