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Shore excursions

virgina
13 posts
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Shore excursions

My husband and I are taking a 19-day cruise/tour on HAL in July/August 2010. We have never been on a cruise or a land tour, preferring to do our own thing but others have raved about this trip. My question is what to do while we are in port during the cruise part of the trip. My inclination is to just do our own thing since so much of the trip is structured but I'm not sure if we will be missing out on some great experiences if we don't book some shore excursions. We are both in our 70's and in good health although we each have a bad knee so no long hikes but otherwise we are fine. My husband is an artist so we like to go to art galleries, museums and are interested in learning about the place we are in. And, of course, seeing beautiful scenery. We will be in the following ports:

Haines - 6:30 am - 9:00 pm

Juneau - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Ketchikan - 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

I have been following all of the advice on TA and welcome any suggestions.

Louise

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
Level Contributor
7,040 posts
33 reviews
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1. Re: Shore excursions

Good morning Louise

How nice that you are on one of the few ships to stop in Haines !!.....

There is a free shuttle bus that will pick you up at the end of the dock, running every 30 minutes, it makes several stops downtown at each of the museums and also makes stops at Fort Seward for a self-interpretive walking tour.....

Since you have so much time in port, you may want to rent a car, pick up an area map at the Visitors Center and just strike out on your own......most car rental here in town will pick you up at the dock (reserve ahead of time)......Drive out to Chilkoot Lake, watch for bears in the river, lots of eagles that time of year, as well.......come back through town and head out the Haines Highway, you may see moose and swans out that way, stop by the Eagle Preserve to walk the boardwalk and use the spotting scopes (you may see mt goats)......Stop be 33-Mile House for lunch or homemade pie..........The Canadian border is only 40 miles north of Haines, bring you passports and drive up to the mountain pass for some great scenery !!......Another nice side trip is to head south of town on Mud Bay Road to the old cannery at Letnikof Cove......continue down that road another mile or so to "Extreme Dreams" to meet one of our local artists......

Edited: 21 January 2010, 14:02
virgina
13 posts
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2. Re: Shore excursions

Thank you so much for your great suggestions, it all sounds so interesting. I took your advice and reserved a car for the day. There seems to be alot of things to see in and around Haines and, after reading your post, I am eager to get there and see it all.

Now I hope that I can get some equally great suggestions from some people from Juneau and Ketchikan.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,320 posts
27 reviews
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3. Re: Shore excursions

What are your interests? Juneau is nice to go whale watching. Costs +-$150/person for a 3-4 hour tour. Taking a bus to Mendenhall Glacier is also possible and cheap - $14 round trip, just buy your ticket at the dock before you board. Figure 1 hour at the glacier for photos and maybe the display in the visitor center unless you want to hike to the waterfall or on another trail, then you will need more time.

Ketchikan has lots to offer - totem poles, hiking, Misty Fjords flightseeing, fly-in bear viewing to Anan Creek is peak time when you are there, and more. It really depends on your interests.

Best is to look at the shore excursion list from your ship. And you can duplicate almost all of them independently, either totally on your own or with an independent vendor. For example, my last time in Ketchikan, I took the public bus to Totem Bight for something like $2 round trip. The cruise ship excursion was something like $50 or more.

John

Cadiz, Kentucky
Level Contributor
1,473 posts
128 reviews
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4. Re: Shore excursions

In Juneau there is nothing to beat a helicopter trip with a glacier landing and a whale-watching tour. These can easily be booked on your own for much less than the cruise ship costs. And definitely one of the highlights of our 3 weeks in AK was the Misty Fjords float plane trip out of Ketchikan landing on a beautiful lake - again, booked on our own. You'll find lots of help on TA's sister-board www.cruisecritic.com No matter what you plan, you are in for a fabulous adventure!!

virgina
13 posts
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5. Re: Shore excursions

Thanks for the helpful ideas. I think we will go to the Mendenhall Glacier on our own in Juneau and, maybe, take a whale-watching boat tour. In Ketchican, I'm leaning toward the Misty Fjords float-plane trip. Another TA poster had a link to his pictures and they were absolutely awesome so I want to go there. You all have been a great help.

Louise

6. Re: Shore excursions

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