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Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Pittsburgh...
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Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Hi, My husband and I and our 12 year old are going on a Princess Cruisetour on July 26. What side trip would capture the essence of each location?

Mt. McKinley - 1 day

Denali-2 days

Kechikan

Juneau

Skagway--railroad?

We like nature, hiking and scenic views. Very little shopping.

Thanks!!

Washington State
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1. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Juneau has a wild life tour where they take you out on a small boat. It was the highlight of our trip. We came upon a pod of humpback whales and watched them for atleast 30 minutes. They would surface, flip their tails and dive back down, over and over. Fabulous!

Don't miss the free musuem run by the National Park Service (I think) in Skagway.

Anchorage, Alaska
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2. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

My opinion, Mt Mckinley- flightseeing tour. Denali- bus tour into the park as far as you can go. Haven't been sightseeing in Kechikan, Juneau or Skagway, only in the airports coming back home on an island hopper flight, horrible day that was. I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting them though.

Indianapolis, IN
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3. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

We just returned from our trip to Alaska July 5th. We loved the White Pass & Yukon Railroad in Skagwy. don't forget your passport!

In Skagway, the most expensive, but worth the trip was our helicopter trip to the glacier walking around a good twenty minutes.

We did not think (or the scheduler from online) our schedule would accomidate both trips in Skagway. We checked with helicopter ride as soon as we departed the boat right on the pier. We were on standby (as it depends on the total weight of passengers). We were able to go to both trips that day.

Check the extended weather for the date you plan to be there as we were told some days trips get cancelled because of fog.

Both Skagway and Ketchikan have old time red light districts. This is not appropriate for a twelve year old. Check any tour you may schedule to avoid these areas.

We went on the whale watch at Juneau. You shouldl see plenty on the cruise ship at some point if you are returning to Seattle or Vancover. The Mendenhall glacier in Juneau is the most famous of glaciers. There is Mt Roberts Tramway on the pier at Juneau with a great view of the area. Obtain your tickets from the ship as it is less expensive.

Have a wonderful trip, hope this helped a little.

Pittsburgh...
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4. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Many thanks to all, especially for the warning about the red light district! This will help us a great deal. I'll post about the trip on our return!!

jq
Sacramento, CA
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5. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

You are kinda waiting til time to go!!! Are you on train or bus with Princess? For denali, agree that shuttle bus in park to at least Fish Creek, mile 66, or Wonder Lake, mile 85. Take mosquito cautions. There is also rafting and hikes near entrance, new visitor center and movie. I prefer independent tours over ships when I have choice. Smaller groups, cost savings, and good people, meet other travelers not on cruise ship.

For Mt McKinley, you could take a Summit Flt. from Talkeetna, Talkeetna Aero has 2 for 1 coupon in Toursaver Book. Outstanding tour if you can get up due to weather. Are you staying at Mt McKinlely Princess Lodge? This is about 60 miles away from Talkeetna and near nothing.

Ketchikan has Misty Fjords NP float plane trips which are well recommended, as well as two totem pole sites, Saxman Village and Totem Bight SP. Michelle at Island Wings, Jeff at Carlin Air, Southeast Aviation are all good operators. For Juneau, best place to take whalewatching tour---Capt Larry with Orca Enterprizes, most recommended tour on boards. Been with him twice, good tours.

For Skagway, White Pass RR is top attraction. Many also rent a car and drive into Yukon to Emerald Lake and Carcross. Scenery different but similar to rr. Nice view. Download Murray's local mile by mile guide to Klondike Hwy for where to stop and what to see. See cruisecritic Alaska board for more on this and many other excursions.

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6. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

I'm not really sure what "red light district" the other poster is referring to. The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway has girls that dress up like they did in the brothel years ago, but I doubt your son will be inside the bar anway. The same goes for Ketchikan, there is only one place I can think of which is Dolly's that the ladies dress up. There certainly are no red light district type areas of either of these towns. In Skagway, be sure and take the railroad. It's lovely and check out the free movies at the Ranger office. They are worthwhile and not very long. You can also take a free walking tour with the rangers. You should take the park shuttle in Denali, not a paid tour. Reserve early. In Juneau, you can take the tram up Mt. Roberts. There are hiking trails on top of the mountain and movies up there as well. You could also go whale watching with Captain Larry (Orca Enterprises). Enjoy Alaska, you will love it.

Indianapolis, IN
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7. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Well, did I ever cause a few comments...

To clairify, there is no red light districts now. I said "old" time red light district. Yes the Red Onion and Dolly's is what I was referring to. These places are fine for the adults to visit.

They still are not appropriate for a 12 yr old to see.

They are included in combination with some other tours. If you end up on one, there is nothing that says you have to go in while your group is there. Just go for a walk or get some ice cream for that time period.

There are many wonderful things to do and see. Your time will go too fast while in each port. Enjoy, I wish you a safe, fantastic weather, and wonderful journey!

Pittsburgh...
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8. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Yes, I understood the Red Light district was reenacted and the post was helpful. My daughter should pass--my dad thought it might be interesting!!! Do we need to reserve something in advance of the trip to ride a bus to Wonder Lake etc? Thanks for all the help!

Indianapolis, IN
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9. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

Penn Wonderer:

I can not help you with Wonder Lake. We only went to Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.

If you have not reserved tours by now, I would suggest going to the tour office as soon as you board the ship for specific information. Usually, the ship will have talks or programs to visit for more information too. Then, they will urge you to get booked at what ever captures your heart.

We had what seemed such a limited time in each port to spend. For us, the tour people are in the business of getting you where you want with the path of the least resistance!

Two tips I have for you. One is to pack a small sample package of dryer sheets in your suitcase. If you do self laundry, you will have them handy. If not, they help to keep your suitcase and your dirty clothes bag a little fresher.

I also took return address stickers. It was handy and fast to use to identify extra luggage coming back. But, we also made many wonderful friends on our trip. That was a fast way to exchange information.

It is nearly time for your trip. Get rested up, your going to need it! Warm regards, Indyglow

Pittsburgh...
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10. Re: Side tours on Alaska trip--Recommendations?

We leave in the morning! We are so excited. Thanks again for all the help and recommendations. I will post a full report upon our return!