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Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

waterboro
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Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

8 in our family will be traveling to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway - we would like to know what tours people would recommend to get the most out of our time in these ports - only 6 hours in Ketchikan but over 10 on the other days. We are all in our 50's and enjoying having a good time and seeing as much as we can. Thanks for any help you might offer.

Melanie

Michigan
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1. Re: Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

We visited the same ports with Princess this past August. In Skagway, the biggest attraction is probably the White Pass & Yukon railroad trip. It's a three-hour trip up into the mountains, very beautiful scenery. Our group enjoyed it, but it's not something I would do a second time. We like more "active" activities, if that makes sense. In the afternoon we just browsed around town, I wished we had taken another tour since this was my least favorite port.

In Ketchikan we had a Misty Fjords seaplane booked, but they were cancelled all day because of fog. So we spent the a.m. in town, which we enjoyed, and took a short tour to the totem pole park. That was nice, a small park to walk through and the tour was just 2 to 3 hours total.

In Juneau, the couple we traveled with took a helicopter tour which stopped and let them out on a glacier. Expensive, but they said this was one of their favorite things they did the entire vacation. My wife and I took a tour bus to the Mendenhall Glacier, saw the visitor center and took a hike (maybe 90 minutes total) that ends up behind a waterfall near the glacier. Probably the most fun we had during our excursions, too. In the morning we went together on a small (6 passenger) whale watching trip which was awesome. I'd do that trip again in a second. This was our favorite port.

We had another 5 nights on land, so that's where we did whitewater rafting, a seaplane trip, more hiking, etc. If you're only doing the cruise part, there are several options from Princess or private companies with activities like these during your cruise. What's nice in Juneau and Skagway is that you have most of the day, so you can do an early tour, visit the town during lunchtime, and still have time for an afternoon tour if you wish.

wylie, tx.
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2. Re: Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

chip2068, we are in the planning stage for a cruise / land tour. We are strongly considering Princess because we have heard they are one of the best at this. What do you think? what would you do differently? What should we make sure we do? We have heard that the land tour first, then the cruise is best. Any thoughts on that? We are a couple in our 50ties and are very active.

Michigan
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282 posts
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3. Re: Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

We also read that doing the land tour first was suggested. It's a few more $$, but not much. I think the theory is that you'll be a little worn out from your land excursions, and the first couple of days on the cruise you'll be able to rest a little bit. Our cruise was 2 days on board, then 3 ports, then 2 days on board again. (in either direction). It's probably a good idea, in fact we tried to do that, but couldn't get the schedule worked out with traveling companions. So, we started in Vancouver and cruised north.

We've cruised the Caribbean a couple of times with Royal Caribbean. My wife and I preferred their ships & crew, not that we didn't enjoy Princess. It's just that the ship was a little older, the evening shows weren't as polished, little things like that. Nothing so that we wouldn't recommend them. Several cruise lines do Alaska, I'm sure they all have their high and low points. We did like the dine-anytime option that we did.

Loved the Princess McKinley lodge. Beautful, you really felt out in the wilderness with a great view of Mt. Mckinley, when the cloud cover breaks. We had just one night there, a second night would have been nice to just relax for the entire day. The Denali Princess lodge was not as grand, but it was just a minute or two from the park entrance. (only one road goes into the park). We had 2 nights, which was nice. Took a day-long tour of Denali, whitewater rafted the next day. The Fairbanks lodge was right in town, we went to the county fair the one night we were there so we didn't see too much of it before we returned home.

Some favorites: bush plane trip out of Talkeetna (cute little village, inspiration for "Northern Exposure"), hiking at Mendenhall glacier in Juneau, whale watching trip in Juneau (6 passenger boat, awesome), the day trip into Denali Park, seeing Mt. McKinley from the lodge, cruising College Fjords.

Some things I wouldn't do again, but I can't say I was disappointed in anything. For instance, I loved the cruise, but if (when) I return, I'll just do a land trip. So much to explore! One thing I would recommend is spending a couple of days before/after your trip in Vancouver, if your ship ports there. Beautiful city, we only got to explore the downtown for an afternoon before we started our trip.

Skagway, Alaska
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for Skagway
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4. Re: Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

mfrost, Don't book anything ahead of time for Skagway! Fog and wind are Major factors to touring here. The good news is that it is only about three blocks to the National Park Service, from your ship. Walk there first and get all of your local info from them! It's all free and the most valuable place to go first! If you would like more bias and bad humour, click on dbigfoot, for more free local advice from one who lives here. DD

are only

Pompano Beach
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5. Re: Need Information on Tours from Princess Cruise Line

I agree with the idea of resting on a southbound trip. I have been planning my 6 land days before our July 17 Princess cruise, and I get tired just thinking about it. There is SO much to do and see, and it will be a very active week. Hiking, visiting glaciers, white water rafting, visiting more glaciers, more hiking, we will welcome a few days to just cruise. I read this advice somewhere on TA, and I am glad we are taking it. DD, will look for you in July. Love 2