first of all there is no best and certainly no very best. best is in the eyes of the beholder.
what type of flightseeing are you looking for? how many people and if children what are their ages?
do you want fixed wing or helicopters? float plane or wheeled plane? are you doing a land tour before your cruise? what is your budget per person?
Gee this sunk like a stone.. thanks fti.. but a big thumbs down to ta as an info resource ....
There are usually grades of everything, and I assumed that the same might apply to flightseeing.
I don't have any preconceptions or financial constraints , save for a desire to do it once and do it very well.
Two adults, interests topography, nature , any kind of flying machine , no land tour prior as we are coming across the bering/ pacific rim from tokyo.
I will send off some queries to the service providers in each port and see what I can find.
Sorry if you were offended by trying to come here for an answer to the 'best' excursion. It honestly does not exist since 'best' is just too subjective. I know one occasional poster who swears by the Denali summit flights. I have been on several flight excursions (though not that one) and have enjoyed them all. I don't do the helicopter flights for two reasons - my weight increases the cost, plus they are extremely touristy.
First of all, your cruise doesn't depart from Anchorage but Seward. So you could do a helicopter flight in Seward to a glacier and go dogsledding. It is much less canceled from here than in SE Alaska.
Ketchikan has the Misty Fjords floatplane.
If you are spending any time in Alaska before the cruise there might also be other options.
Wow, tgh, you are either not having a good day or read what fti said very much out of context.
We've had people come ask us those questions before, read very thorough replies, and then say that we got it all wrong and *then* they provide what they are looking for.
So, to give you the VERY BEST information we possibly could to try to make your trip more enjoyable, we will at times ask for more information. I don't think fti did it in a rude manner, he was simply trying to explain (as we do on a daily basis) that everyone has their own opinions and expectations and the more you can tell us, the better we can point you at exactly what you are looking for.
For example, here's a recent thread that detailed what people can see on a Mount McKinley flightseeing tour. As you can see, they are different even when the destination is the same.
There are several other options depending on where you are going, but if you want to say, land on a glacier or would prefer to just see things from above, the options are again different.
I'm sure the service providers in each port will be happy to give you the most expensive option without worrying about if it's actually what you are looking for. Since we don't make a profit from this, our focus is to do fit the person rather than the wallet.
I have to agree with fti on the "grading". I seldom agree with anyone's "grading". Heck Pizza Hut seems to always win the best pizza in small towns!!!
Unless SilverSea hasn't updated their web site your voyage does not include either Anchorage or Valdez. You're likely flying into Anchorage and will be bused/trained to Seward by the cruise line?? If this is the case your actual times of arrival and time in ANC will be important to ensure you make best use of your time and get as much of an AK experience as possible.
You are clear in desiring a flight seeing option. Out of Anchorage Rust's seems to be very reputable. See: http://www.flyrusts.com/ Perhaps they'd even customize something for you.
"There are usually grades of everything, and I assumed that the same might apply to flightseeing."
Just to help clarity a little bit more... You won't a difference in the quality of the flights, but you will find different options. In other words, it's not like Flight A is the luxury one and flight B is bargain basement. It's more like flight A lands on a glacier, flight B doesn't. Some people would want a glacier landing and some people wouldn't.
But all the flights will be in the same basic aircraft... Maybe smaller or larger depending on the number of people going.
"But all the flights will be in the same basic aircraft... Maybe smaller or larger depending on the number of people going."
For me, all other things being held equal, smaller plane is better!
But if price for the small plane is 10x (heck even 2x) the next size up, I'd have to reconsider which is better!
Most of the regular posters here (TA-AK) understand that 95% of travelers to AK only get here once. Given that we all really love different aspects to AK and offer a variety of different things to do/see. Roll that all up, we hope you get up here and just end up needing to come back here again (that's why I live here, couldn't imagine living anywhere else).
oh yeah (small bubble helicopter is even better than better!)Edited: 14 January 2013, 22:00
Gee .. I have fired up the response engine ... thanks VERY much everyone.
The Shadow docks in Anchorage at 0700 on the 20/5 and sails again at 17.00.
Later season milk runs all turn around at Seward.
We will have already visited Dutch harbour, Kodiak and Homer before Anchorage. (We will have come across the Bering/North pacific sea from Tokyo.)
I assume there won't be much tourist infrastructure prior to Anchorage.
As I understand it Denali will still closed and probably not doable in a short day anyway.
Plenty of service providers selling their tours.. just hard to sort.as it's very early season. ......anyway I will see what I can find.
All fired up.
One of the many things that is relevant in AK is accurate timing. May 20th is substantially different then early June; especially for purposes of most tourists and their vaction planning (what's open versus what's closed, what type of activities might be possible because of the likelihood of snow still being around, etc.)
Many of the regular readers/posters do a substantial amount of research for their answers because most posters say they are overwhelmed and the responder wants to help and make sure the traveler has a great trip.
In my IMHO if you going to spend the money and you most likely will never take another flight in alaska I would spend a little more on the extras.
For instance I would spring for the extra $90 per person to land on glaicier and have 20 min to walk around. I prefer to use the flight seeing trip to get out and really enjoy the isolation.
Another way you can do this is going on A flight seeing fishing trip where you use the flight to get somwhere that recieves less traffic and takes advantage of the great fishing. You will still get great views from the plane.
Or www.alaskaalpineadventures.com offers a trip which you get out and actually go on a guided hike with a guide in Denali. This is the one I really wanted to do but settled for a fly out fishing trip because I was with a group that prefered the fishing option.
If Fishing or hiking seems like too much activity for your group at least land on the glacier. I find it really adds to the flight seeing trip.Edited: 15 January 2013, 06:55