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Need help planning excursions


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We are first time Alaska cruisers on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas in the middle of June. Our ports of call are Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Straits. I am in charge of planning our excursions and I am getting confused as to what to do in which port. Which port is better for whale watching Juneau or Icy Strait Point? Is it better to go with the ship's tour or private like Harv and Marv or F.I.S.H.E.S?


The helicopter ride and glacier is that in Juneau? Is it worth the extra money to do the dog sledding on the glacier? What do you actually do on the glacier if you don't do the dog sledding? This might sound like a stupid question but what is the difference between being on a floatplane and going over the Misty FJords (does it land on a glacier?) and being in the helicopter and landing on a glacier?


In Skagway is it worth taking the White Pass Railroad and bus back from Chilkoot Charter or renting a car and venturing out on our own? What else is there to do in Skagway if we don't do either of these?(We are in our early 50's and not overly athletic) We are in port from 7AM to 8:30PM.


Is it worth going salmon fishing and in which port (from the ship's tour or private?)


Finally do we take the Float plane over Misty Fjords or what else to do in Ketchikan?


Any and all ideas and help are most appreciated!!:)

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Only you can decide on your tours, based on your interests. You have listed excellent tour choices.


As for the glacier, landing on and getting out on ice is a fantastic experience, again, IF of interest to get the glacier access. The glacier dog sledding gets raves, but is also the most canceled of all Alaska tours, you need to have back up plans, and realize, you do not drive any sleds, you are a rider. Misty Fiords is all green, you can purchase longer flights that do have glacier fly overs, but you see no glaciers on the regular Misty Fiords tours.


The White Pass RR is an excellent tour, and so is driving the Klondike Highway, same with fishing out of Ketchikan, a top area to do so.


You have these decisions to make, you can't do it all.

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If you are fishermen/women, I would suggest that salmon fishing would be very much worth your time. I have not personally done the deep sea salmon fishing, but that usually gets rave reviews from people going out of Ketchikan. (Which, after all, is the salmon capital of the world.)


My husband and I have done salmon fly fishing excursions out of Juneau and Ketchikan. (Neither of us knew how to fly fish--but the guides are great at teaching you and helping you. The tours are limited in size, so you get plenty of one-on-one time with the guides.)


We booked both excursions through the ship. With the Ketchikan trip, we were taken by van to a private river, "suited up" in fly fishing gear, and hiked a short distance to the river.


In Juneau, we were taken by float plane to Admiralty Island. Again, they provided all the gear.


Both excursions were catch and release only--so no salmon to take home. With the deep sea trips, it is my understanding that you can keep what you catch, and many people have it shipped home.


Both of our trips were the highlights of our cruises. (We did one trip each time.) Again, if you enjoy fishing, I would highly recommend trying to get salmon fishing in there.



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Thank you for the info. We did want to try the salmon fishing (neither of us are fisherman but we thought we'd give it a try.) We did want to take it home. Do you know of any deep sea fishing charters in either port that you recommended?



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You mentioned we, but not how many the we are. As you research be sure to ask how many passengers each independent tour or ship tour can accommodate. Many of the independent whale trips and flights are for small numbers, such as 6 or less. There are independents who can take larger numbers, but it's unlikely that an independent would have more than the ship tours. Since there seemed to be so much to do in Juneau we chose to do an independent whale watch in Icy Strait, which was wonderful. Next time we'll try the whale watch out of Juneau. For this same reason we chose to do a helicopter glacier landing from Skagway. To fit glacier landing in we went on the short train trip. Floatplane trips are in small aircraft usually carrying a group of 7 or fewer passengers with the pilot narrating. Misty Fjords is very scenic with lots of forest, water, mist...very relaxing. We went with an independent Island Wings and had a great time.


There were so many options that I felt totally confused since I thought we needed to squeeze in every highlight since this was planned as a once in a lifetime trip. Now I'm back on the boards trying to plan a return trip so that we can see/do at least some of what we couldn't manage on the first trip! :)

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Thank you for the info. We did want to try the salmon fishing (neither of us are fisherman but we thought we'd give it a try.) We did want to take it home. Do you know of any deep sea fishing charters in either port that you recommended?




My family is long time customers of Northern Lights charters out of Ketchikan. Add another $100++++ for processing and shipping of fish. :)

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