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Snorkeling out of Ketchikan


travelingjan

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I really want to do it also. I hope someone will provide some input. I also posted on Fodor's. I'll let you know if I get a response from that site. The description in the booklet says "clear waters" but I would like confirmation.
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We did it last summer. It was fantastic. We had a beautiful sunny day--which is not the usual in Ketchikan. The waters were clear. We saw schools of fish, sea cucumbers, kelp, sea urchins, and thousands of starfish. As Ferrluvr mentioned, the guides would bring up various creatures for people to pass around to see up close.

Being in a wetsuit was a new experience for us. The water is cold initially, but your body warms it up pretty quickly.

We had a wide age spread in our group--from teenagers to senior citizens.
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geoherb and Ferryluvr-

Did you book the excursion through the ship? How much did it cost and how big of a group was it? Is it a shore snorkel or did the company take you out on a boat?

Based on the water temps, you probably wore a full "drysuit" with a hood. Did you wear the usual swimsuit underneath? How was the equipment they provided? (we may bring our own mask and snorkel).

Telling folks back home that you snorkelled in Alaska must have gotten a lot of comments.

Norwegian Spirit 5/22/04
[img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

NH
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We did this tour last year as well. Really great trip. Crystal clear water on that day. From what I understood from the guides, the visibility fluxuates day to day but the average is around 30 feet and even clearer down deep. My wife said it was the "Ritz-Carlton" of snorkeling tours. The wetsuits work great. We weren't cold at all. No drysuits needed. They have a website if you want to see what the water looks like.
[url="http://www.snorkelalaska.com"]Snorkel Alaska[/url]
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dushi:
geoherb and Ferryluvr-

Did you book the excursion through the ship? How much did it cost and how big of a group was it? Is it a shore snorkel or did the company take you out on a boat?

I went also and it was wonderful. I booked through the ship, can't remember how much, but under $100. There were about 16 of us, four guides.
It was a shore snorkel.


Based on the water temps, you probably wore a full "drysuit" with a hood. Did you wear the usual swimsuit underneath?

The water was in the mid 50's and we wore a full wet suit, not a dry suit, including hood, gloves, booties. As far as the swimsuit, everyone I saw wore one, but the guides like to call it the only clothing "optional" tour in Alaska. They brought us to a building where we changed into our swimsuits and were fitted with the wet suits. There was also one indoor toilet available. On the way back, they brought us back to the building to change back into our dry clothing - why they don't recommend wearing your swimsuit under your clothes. While the water is in the 50's you don't want to be walking around in Alaska most days with a wet bathing suit on.
As soon as the water "floods" your wet suit you feel just the tiniest "pinch" of cold before the temps adjust. We were in the water over 1/2 an hour and I never felt cold.

How was the equipment they provided? (we may bring our own mask and snorkel).

I usually like bringing my own mask and snorkel, but didn't this time. Their equipment was in excellent condition - wet suits had no tears that I saw. They took great care of the equipment, best I've ever seen on a snorkel excursion.

Telling folks back home that you snorkelled in Alaska must have gotten a lot of comments.

Even better, I bought a tee shirt ($10 or $12) that says Snorkel Alaska on it [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Thanks for the last very detailed response. That has some very useful information. The t-shirt sounds great.

I went to the web site listed and it says to see the shore excursions for your ship. It sounds like that is the only way to sign up with them.
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I did this snorkel excursion two years ago, and would highly recommend it. Everything the other posters have stated is correct. One tip I picked up from these boards before my trip, and which worked, is to put vaseline on your lips before you get in the water. It does seem to help insulate them a bit.
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NH: Telling people we were going snorkeling in Alaska was half the fun. When we kayaked in the San Juan Islands a couple of years before, I had seen the starfish and kelp from above the surface of the water. When I found out we could snorkel in Alaska and see beneath the surface, I knew we had to do it.

We booked the excursion through Princess. It cost $89 pp last summer and looks like it's the same price this year. [url="http://www.princess.com/planner/shorexdetail.jsp?shorexId=KTN-V"]Here's the link to the description[/url] on the Princess website.

I thought the equipment was in good condition. We take our own snorkels and masks on Caribbean cruises but did not want to take up the extra packing space for a one-shot deal in Alaska.

It's definitely a wetsuit and not a drysuit. We wore our swimsuits underneath it. The bus took us to the snorkeling company's building about 15 minutes from the dock. We got fitted for equipment and changed there. We had another 5-minute or so ride to the place we snorkeled. We had three guides for 20 passengers.

This excursion sold out online a few weeks after we were able to book it--a couple of months before our cruise. They opened up another timeslot onboard and it also sold out.
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Your responses have been totally helpful. I checked the site that billyzmtn sent and it mentions that we should book through our cruise line. Unfortunately, NCL does not offer this excursion (even though 2 of their divers used to work for NCL - hmmm...).

I noticed that the Coral Princess is docked with us at each of our Alaskan ports. As geoherb indicated, Princess offers the trip at $89pp. I'll probably have to contact the company directly to see if they're willing to take on a few non-Princess passengers. [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

NH
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  • 2 weeks later...
Bummer-

Norwegian did not offer this as a shore excursion so we contacted the company directly. Unfortunately for us,the company works only with Princess and could not accomodate us. Oh well... [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

NH
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dushi:
Bummer-

Norwegian did not offer this as a shore excursion so we contacted the company directly. Unfortunately for us,the company works only with Princess and could not accomodate us. Oh well... [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

NH<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

that's too bad [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]
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One more question - did the tour company provide life jackets if one desired one?

Although I can swim I am not that strong a swimmer and really prefer to snorkel with a life jacket - that way I can relax and enjoy myself without fear.

Thanks everyone!

Happy Sailing!

Cyndi Wagner, AKA Transaction Chick
Carnival Celebration - 5/98
RCI Rhapsody - 5/00
Carnival Sprit - 10/01
Celebtrity Mercury - 5/04

Parley Vouz Francais? Si vous pouvez, email moi en Francais!
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Neoprene provides automatic bouyancy. We're not strong swimmers but with a neoprene wetsuit and fins, staying afloat is not a problem. Having a lifejacket makes it harder to swim efficiently. [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

NH
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Cyndi,

they had some floaty type thing for you to hang onto if you wanted to, but as Dushi said, with the neoprene wet suit you are really quite bouyant. I like snorkelling with an inflatable vest as I am not a particularly strong swimmer and the wet suit provided about the same bouyancy.
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Thanks for replies about the life jacket question.

Dushi, I found a company that offers this independantly - the cost is $75 pp and they pick and bring back to the ship.

Here's the 411:

[url="http://www.alaskadeepsix.com"]www.alaskadeepsix.com[/url]

Happy Sailing!

Cyndi Wagner, AKA Transaction Chick
Carnival Celebration - 5/98
RCI Rhapsody - 5/00
Carnival Sprit - 10/01
Celebtrity Mercury - 5/04

Parley Vouz Francais? Si vous pouvez, email moi en Francais!
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