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Old 04-15-2018, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default DCL Alaska shore excursion help please

I'm trying helping my SIL and her husband find great suggestions for their upcoming Disney Cruise Line, Alaska Cruise this summer. Specifically shore excursions. Any must do's? Any avoid at all costs?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:03 PM   #2
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Trip report here.

Feel free to ask questions.
#1 recommendation is 3rd party excursion from Skagway on Day 8.

Charter Member of OOO (Order Of the Oval)
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:46 PM   #3
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We did this cruise last year and had a great time. The only low point was the Liarsville excursion. Avoid it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:36 AM   #4
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We did that cruise two years ago. Have a trip report but I have to move the photos from photobucket:

We did 2 DCL cruise excursions and 2 non-DCL cruise excursions. I would recommend all of our excursions. At Tracey Arm/Hubbard glacier we did the smaller boat that takes you closer to the glacier run through Disney. (We couldn't get to Tracey Arm, so our ship went to Hubbard Glacier but I imagine the experience was similar.) The small ship really gave us better views of the height and scope of the glacier. We also had better views of the wildlife and got closer to the icebergs and waterfalls in the fjord. It wasn't a cheap excursion but I did feel like we got our monies worth.

At Skawgway we used Chilkoot Charters to do the White Pass Train/Yukon excursion. It was identical to the Yukon excursion offered by Disney except that it was cheaper with Chilkoot Charters and our group was smaller (about 15-20 people). We also enjoyed this excursion as our tour group was given the last car on the train which had access to a back viewing area. The sites in the Yukon (emerald lake in particular) were pretty. There was lunch at a tourist stop that was decent but a little hokey. It was a a long excursion but I would recommend it and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Chilkoot.

In Juneau we did the dogsleding on a glacier through Disney. This was a very expensive excursion for only a few hours but its one of those things our family still talks about. From flying in a helicopter to the scenery of being on the glacier, to getting on the sled and touring the glacier with the dogs was really amazing. It was expensive but if your SIL is interested, I would totally recommend it. I heard great things about whale watching in Juneau as well from other passengers.

In Ketchikan we chartered a float plane to take us to Anan Creek to a remote bear viewing area run by the NPS. This was also expensive (due to the cost to rent the plane). This excursion was also tricky because the number of permits issued by the NPS per day are very few and it takes a lot of leg work to be able to get one. That said, the remoteness of the area, in which a viewing platform overlooks a creek where bears come to feed made for an amazing experience. That said, its definitely not an excursion for everyone. If interested, check out my trip report which talks about how we were able to arrange that excursion.

Ketchikan and Skagway were a bit touristy but were nice to walk around. Juneau was more of a real town not tailored to cruise ships. Skagway was also pretty small and the whole town could be seen in about a half-hour or so. It was our favorite family trip so I'm sure whatever your SIL does, she will enjoy it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:55 AM   #5
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We did the inaugural Alaskan in 2011. That was an amazing trip and still one of our top DCL cruises. In Skagway, we did the White Pass Train. That was an amazing excursion. In Juneau, I went ziplining. I actually booked that excursion directly with the operator. It was cheaper than DCL's offering for the exact same thing. The operator picked us up in Juneau not far from the dock. In Ketchikan, we did an excursion that I don't think they offer anymore (or there may be a different version of it). It was a boat tour and seafood boil. There were only about a dozen of us on the excursion. The food was outstanding!! The boat ride, not so much, nearly froze to death even with a heavier coat. I couldn't wait to get off that thing so I might thaw out. Luckily they returned to port via bus.

No matter what excursions they choose, they will have an amazing time! I would cruise Alaska again in a heartbeat!
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:11 PM   #6
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We did DCL Alaska in August of 2017.

Helicopter dog-sledding on the glacier was an extreme highlight in Juneau. We booked third party (Coastal choppers) but you can also go Viator. Went first thing in the morning, which left plenty of time for Uber trip to Mendenhall glacier visitors center and the fish hatchery (last one thanks for the tip, Uber driver).

I'm a relative cheapskate at heart, so I was kind of hoping for weather to cancel the glacier flight - it wasn't cheap to get 6 people up there. The weather cooperate and I actually think it was worth every penny.

I would skip the smaller boat excursion at the glacier. We did it and the view from the Wonder itself was equivalent and much more comfortable.

Loved zip-lining in Ketchikan. Booked via Disney as it was cost equivalent to everything I could find private.

And in Skagway we just rented a car and drove ourselves up Yukon highway. I'd highly recommend that approach to Skagway. It was a very affordable option, and we had complete control of our timing, schedule and destination. Avis pickup was very close to the port. It was nice to break away from the crowds for day. Great time going up to Emerald Lake and back. Stunning topography. Lots of places for little hikes and photo ops along the way.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:24 PM   #7
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Thank you all. They have begun making arrangements.... I think I heard Palo was the first thing booked.... twice.
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kzrooster View Post
Thank you all. They have begun making arrangements.... I think I heard Palo was the first thing booked.... twice.
My Wife, DD, and I are booked Memorial Day week for Alaska. We finally have our excursions booked.

We are doing the Whitepass Railroad with city tour and discover Juneau for Whale Watching.

I am still torn on the excursion to get up close to the Glacier at Tracy Arm.

What have you guys decided on?
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:07 PM   #9
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We went on this cruise in August 2014.

In Skagway we did the Takshanuk Mountain Trail by 4x4 excursion, and it ended up being quite fun. This was my husband’s pick. They take you on a ferry to Haines, AK, and then you go riding mountain trails in 4x4s. BEAUTIFUL scenery and halfway up you stop at a Mountain Lodge for hot chocolate and cookies, on the way down you stop again and eat lunch. It was the best fried fish i’ve ever had in my life. I don’t think this is an excursion that is as popular as others, but we enjoyed it immensely.

In Juneau we were supposed to take a helicopter to go dog sledding, but unfortunately we were rained out...boo hiss

In Ketchikan my husband went zip lining and my son and I went on the Bear Country Expedition at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. My son’s main request for an excursion was to see bears and he definitely got his wish. During our time in the Rainforest we saw 3 different mother bears, and each of them had 2 cubs with her. Since we were there in August it was also the salmon run and 2 of the mothers were fishing for their cubs. It was a great way to see both the salmon and bears. We also saw many, many eagles on the edge of the Rainforest. At the end of the tour you go through an area that has an old sawmill, some other animals, and a master totem carver.

Overall, we enjoyed the excursions we had, but it is hard to pick just a few!
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