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kuddles14

First time to Alaska — please help

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We will be going to Alaska in August 2020. Our ports of call are Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau. 
 

Looking for recommendations for excursions for each port . Also, is there a port we can just do on our own? I believe in Ketchikan and Juneau we do not leave port until 8:30 so is there some place we might grab a bite to eat? 
 

Also interested in private tour operators. If recommending one , please tell me your experience with them . 
 

Thank you for all your help. .

 

Kathy 

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If you look down the board, all 3 are covered extensively.  Yes, you could do each on your own, if you wish. Yes there are recommended vendors and things to do.

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We have no idea about your interests, activity level or budget,  so it's impossible for us to advise you on what to do.  There are hundreds of activities available.  You'll need to do your own research to determine which activities and vendors are best for you.  

There are hundreds of past trip reports posted near the top of the page. Many are detailed photo journals with info about sights, activitieis, excursions, and which vendors were used. They will provide you with helpful information. Look thru your ships excursion list and see what appeals ..... if you prefer a private vendor, post again for more info.

But you really need to do some research first, then post again when you have ideas about what you want to do at each port.

 

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12 hours ago, kuddles14 said:

We will be going to Alaska in August 2020. Our ports of call are Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau. 
 

Looking for recommendations for excursions for each port . Also, is there a port we can just do on our own? I believe in Ketchikan and Juneau we do not leave port until 8:30 so is there some place we might grab a bite to eat? 
 

Also interested in private tour operators. If recommending one , please tell me your experience with them . 
 

Thank you for all your help. .

 

Kathy 

 

How did you pick Alaska?  Perhaps start with that to build your list of activities and desires, as the previous poster said w/o knowing your interests, budget, level of adventure what is my best might be your worst nighmare and break the bank too.

 

But since you asked:

 

Ketchikan:  Private fish charter, then walked the town for sighseeing and a little shopping, LOL

 

Juneau:  Mendenhall glacier hike and tour of vistor center DIY after private whale watching tour. 

 

Skagway:  Direct booker helicopter -dog sledding then walk around the town and more shoppoing, argh.
 

 

0AFDCD60-F2B0-47A4-8CA1-D3318ADF0315.jpeg

 

8D9465F8-040C-4F4D-9D37-DE9280769A68.jpeg

 

032D34EB-18C2-4EFB-825C-6F30FDB2D512.jpeg

 

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00BA6D81-AA1E-4FD5-92FF-FAC7A79295C0.jpeg

 

69C4A027-E92D-40A6-BAD9-A4D6522820F9.jpeg

 

BCFBC4BC-342E-4591-BB77-2141DA4807F8.jpeg

 

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F3B45696-94FE-4071-A0BE-303B5C16ADAE.jpeg

 

49AC9238-2582-4DB2-A596-39B995037870.jpeg

Edited by chipmaster

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The way I started planning for Alaska was first determine which ports I wanted to visit, then where I wanted to depart and return, then pick the cruise line and itinerary that matched, which you have already done. Phase 2 was to see what excursions the ship offered to get an idea of what is available. Then I checked the excursions offered by all the cruise lines in Alaska to see if anything was different. Almost everything offered by the cruise lines can be booked independently in Alaska, because they all use local vendors. Then I researched what I and others travelling with me were interested in extensively on these boards and started narrowing the choices, then finally made decisions before the beginning of the Alaska cruise season and booked a combination of ship sponsored and independent excursions.

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5 hours ago, Elvis1001 said:

The way I started planning for Alaska was first determine which ports I wanted to visit, then where I wanted to depart and return, then pick the cruise line and itinerary that matched, which you have already done. Phase 2 was to see what excursions the ship offered to get an idea of what is available. Then I checked the excursions offered by all the cruise lines in Alaska to see if anything was different. Almost everything offered by the cruise lines can be booked independently in Alaska, because they all use local vendors. Then I researched what I and others travelling with me were interested in extensively on these boards and started narrowing the choices, then finally made decisions before the beginning of the Alaska cruise season and booked a combination of ship sponsored and independent excursions.

Thank you very much for your help . Was there a particular excursion that you booked that you really liked ? 

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On 10/14/2019 at 11:14 AM, chipmaster said:

 

How did you pick Alaska?  Perhaps start with that to build your list of activities and desires, as the previous poster said w/o knowing your interests, budget, level of adventure what is my best might be your worst nighmare and break the bank too.

 

But since you asked:

 

Ketchikan:  Private fish charter, then walked the town for sighseeing and a little shopping, LOL

 

Juneau:  Mendenhall glacier hike and tour of vistor center DIY after private whale watching tour. 

 

Skagway:  Direct booker helicopter -dog sledding then walk around the town and more shoppoing, argh.
 

 

0AFDCD60-F2B0-47A4-8CA1-D3318ADF0315.jpeg

 

8D9465F8-040C-4F4D-9D37-DE9280769A68.jpeg

 

032D34EB-18C2-4EFB-825C-6F30FDB2D512.jpeg

 

9E5B40B7-7135-476C-955C-DB0E77891AD1.jpeg

 

E8C86984-A3DB-4E1C-97E8-3C1D699A5A2A.jpeg

 

00BA6D81-AA1E-4FD5-92FF-FAC7A79295C0.jpeg

 

69C4A027-E92D-40A6-BAD9-A4D6522820F9.jpeg

 

BCFBC4BC-342E-4591-BB77-2141DA4807F8.jpeg

 

1932FA6E-EA32-42D6-8D65-F8E177F7FBA9.jpeg

 

F3B45696-94FE-4071-A0BE-303B5C16ADAE.jpeg

 

49AC9238-2582-4DB2-A596-39B995037870.jpeg

Love the pictures !! Thanks for your suggestions! 

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On 10/14/2019 at 10:26 AM, mapleleaves said:

We have no idea about your interests, activity level or budget,  so it's impossible for us to advise you on what to do.  There are hundreds of activities available.  You'll need to do your own research to determine which activities and vendors are best for you.  

There are hundreds of past trip reports posted near the top of the page. Many are detailed photo journals with info about sights, activitieis, excursions, and which vendors were used. They will provide you with helpful information. Look thru your ships excursion list and see what appeals ..... if you prefer a private vendor, post again for more info.

But you really need to do some research first, then post again when you have ideas about what you want to do at each port.

 

Yes, my post does ask for private vendors along with recommendations.

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On 10/13/2019 at 11:20 PM, kuddles14 said:

Juneau we do not leave port until 8:30 so is there some place we might grab a bite to eat? 

 

I can recommend Alaska Fish and Chips Restaurant at the Flight Deck.  It is a building at the end of the street in Juneau where the cruise ships dock.  Next to it there is a larger blue building where The Hanger at the Wharf Restaurant is located.  I have not dined there, but reviews are very good for the establishment.

 

At Alaska Fish and Chips, there is both indoor and outdoor seating.  I enjoyed the best Halibut at that restaurant that I ate in Alaska.  And, I ate Halibut as often as it was on any menu.

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All three ports are very easy to do on your own.

Juneau have a square full of vendors looking to book you on a tour, excursion or whatever. Decide what you might want to do and pick one. If you just want to stay local, either book a bus to Mendenhall Glacier, do the hike to Nugget Falls and spend some quality time there. You can also get there via public transportation for a lot cheaper. You can also do the Mt. Roberts tram which is right in the heart of town. Just buy a ticket and off you go. 

 

Skagway--we rented a car and drove off to Emerald Lake in the Yukon Territory. Very easy drive (you cannot get lost), maybe a few hours each way depending on where you want to stop and how many stops. Just a gorgeous ride and well worth it. You can also walk up and buy tickets for the White Pass train, which is the sort of main attraction there. Very nice trip and well worth the cost. 

 

Ketchikan--A good town to shop, if that is your wish. We have done many things here, but on our last trip, we walked around town, visited Creek Street and walked the Married Man's Trail to see thousands of salmon along the way. Totem Park is another option as well as the Lumberjack show. All easy to do on your own. Many here do a flight into Misty Fiords, expensive but also, well worth it. 

 

Cheers

Len

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My 2 cents: Ride the White Pass Railway in Skagway. The little town is fun to walk and shop too. We did Juneau and Ketchikan on our own and had a great time. Pick up a local tourist map in Juneau and walk to whatever you want to see or catch a cab. That time of year the salmon may be running. You can fish on your own in Ketchikan. There is a large tackle store at the cruise ship docks, and there is a place you can rent rods on Creek street right across the bridge over Ketchikan Creek. Walk from there out to the jetties by the cruise ships next to the marina. You can catch salmon right there. Buy your license at the tackle store by the dock. Restaurants are abundant.

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On 10/16/2019 at 8:35 PM, Giantfan13 said:

All three ports are very easy to do on your own.

Juneau have a square full of vendors looking to book you on a tour, excursion or whatever. Decide what you might want to do and pick one. If you just want to stay local, either book a bus to Mendenhall Glacier, do the hike to Nugget Falls and spend some quality time there. You can also get there via public transportation for a lot cheaper. You can also do the Mt. Roberts tram which is right in the heart of town. Just buy a ticket and off you go. 

 

. . .

When we were last up in Alaska (May 2014) our ship (Star Princess) docked right below Mt. Roberts and close to a small shopping area where one can also buy tours and tickets for the Natl Park bus mentioned above.  I managed to both go out to Mendenhall (mainly to see how far the glacier had receded since our last visit--it's now barely visible from the VC) and go up to the top of Mt. Roberts where I had lunch and walked around to the edge of the cliff above the water--eye level with the eagles <g>.  This trip was almost 20 years after our first cruise there.  My great-aunt visited Alaska back in the 20s or 30s and Mendenhall Glacier was nearly out to the highway!

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