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Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

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columbia, Sc
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Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

My husband and I are due to leave Seattle Sunday, August 2th on the Norwegian Star for the Inside Passage. Would appreciate any and all tips, especially shore excursion reviews. Anyone travelled

to Alaska on the Norwegian Star recently?

Thank you!

Angel Trumpet

haines, alaska
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for Haines
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1. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

We went to Steve Kroeschel's animal park in Haines yesterday.....took our visiting granddaughters......there was a tour there at the same time from a ship that had stopped in Skagway......

would highly recommend it.......Mr Kroeschel is an animal trainer who has filmed hundreds of documentaries and movies......his animal park is NOT a slick version similar to SeaWorld......the tour is limited to about 20 people at a time and was very educational......including many hands on and up close visits with a variety of animals......(no bears yet ).....but the wolves and lynx were great.......would recommend it to anyone who enjoys animals....

Southern New...
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511 posts
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2. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

Was on the NCL Star this past June and had a ball. Best side trip we took was The Ultimate Yukon and White Pass tour out of Skagway. Takes a bus up to Carcross, Yukon then returns to Fraser, BC where you catch the White Pass RR back down to Skagway. The scenery was supurb and even saw three bears.

I did a review with photos on that side trip here on tripadvisor.com. Do a search for "Ultimate Yukon and White Pass" and you'll find it.

In Ketchikan we took the Eagles, Lighthouse and Totems tour. If you want to see bald eagles then this is a great tour. We even had a Humpback whale breach right beside the boat. The whale wasn't a thing the tour was noted for but it was a nice little extra. If eagles are not of interest then this is not really a tour for you. In Juneau we had misty and dank weather. We did the Glacier Gardens and Mendenhall Glacier tour. Would be good in better weather but other than that is was a so-so tour. If you can aford the helicopter tours that this is a great place for the tour to the top of a glacier, or dog sled run on the glacier.

Really wish we had more time in each port. In Skagway would have liked to do several different trips, especially the one to Haines. Would also have liked to do the Misty Fjiords trip.

Orlando, Florida
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129 reviews
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3. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

I agree with dif in nh, that Skagway probably has the more variety of tours of the Inside passage. I also took the Yukon Extravaganza, an 8 hour tour into the Yukon, and a railroad ride back. It was a gorgeous day, and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. Do not know if I would have had the same experience on a rainy day.

In Juneau, i took a whalewatching tour with Capn Larry of Orca (this is an independent tour). Despite the heavy rain, I enjoyed myself because the whales were in full splendor.

Did not go to Ketchikan.

Southern New...
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511 posts
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4. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

Hi again,

Another suggestion for Victoria (last evening of cruise) is either a trip to Butchart Gardens. When there 6 years ago and it's the best gardens I have ever seen. Other than that just take time to wander around the inner harbor. The Provencial Parliment building is right there and is all light up at night. The grounds have several totem that are about the best in the North West. Also on the harbor are street performers that are rally quite good. Just wander around and you'll find one of North America's best small cities.

I could live there in a heartbeat.

BRICK, NJ
1 post
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5. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

Just returned from our trip on Norwegian Star. Couldn't get Alaska KIng Crab on board. Only had shrimp cocktail in Cagneys. Not offered in other restaurants and you had to pay $20.00 a person to eat there. We used the buy one get one free deal (either by coupon or if you go between 5:30-6:00PM Seating. The embarkation was very unsettling with no one to greet or direct you. We entered on the 4th floor which just takes you to an elevator. We did not enter on the Grand Atrium level. Found our rooms with guidance from various stationed people. The refrigerator was not cold enough for my Father's medicines and since no one really spoke english, we could not get much help until we went through about 4 or 5 different people. Finally, the manager had to get involved and stored the medicine in the medical department. I lost track of which room was mine when I went to help my Dad since the key card does not have your room # on it. After panicking in the narrow halls I found the elevator and went to the Customer service desk to find out my room #. It was pretty stressfull. I recommend placing a tag/ bow or some other removable identification on your door as soon as you get there. Take note of the color of your room door. When you get off the elevator use the clock as a guide for direction to your room. --We had an early departure out of Seattle (check out the "Sleepless in Seattle" night shirt at the Airport) to Newark - I contacted NCL to find out how I can get off the boat early. They told us we had to give our luggage to the crew and we were not allowed to carry our own. If this is your situation, do not be concerned. They have what is called "Express Checkout" where you carry your own bags out early (around 7:30am). There were many, many people using this feature. We had 6 people in our group and wanted to drive to the airport together. The Orange Taxi cab service was right out front and a very capable young man called the mini van around to help us. We were really packed in. The cost was $35.00. From Seattle to the Sea port was also not a problem. A large passenger van was there and cost the same $35.00. No prearrangements were necessary. It all worked out fine. The FREESTYLE CRUISING is really a nice feature. Make your reservations and don't cancel them after 5PM or you will be charged $5.00 per person. The Endless Summer is a Mexican style restaurant that is free but the reservations are needed. If you eat after 8pm, you can probably can get a table without a problem. It is very open with glass on both sides, so a window seat around sunset is great. We loved being able to eat whereever and whenever we wanted. Make reservations for the Italian restaurant "La Tretoria". They have window views on port side which makes it nice on your way to Alaska and its free. On the way back, you will not see the sun. You will not get free soda any where on the ship. You only have water or iced tea, coffee, tea and in the AM orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, coffee and tea. All soda will cost you $1.75 each. The biggest surprise I found was the willingness of the waiters and waitress's to serve under age drinkers. I had my 24 year old buying drinks for my 17 year old when we were not around. I didn't think I had to worry about him drinking due to his age, but they apparently don't care as long as you are spending money. The day we visited Glacier Bay, we purchased a day at the spa to use the indoor pool, hot tub and bubble pool, sauna and steam rooms. We did this after we saw the Glacier outside our room balcony, as the ship turned we went to the spa and spent a few hours there as the ship pulled away from the Glacier, we were the last to see it and had the longest look. If there is one thing I would love to change about cruising is the freedom to smoke just about everywhere. People can smoke in their rooms which fill up the halls, smoke in the bars, lounges and outside. The only place they can not smoke is in Stardust theater or the Atrium area and restaurants. I really wanted to enjoy the Spinnaker Lounge but the smoke was too much for me. We spent very little time there. For family time, there is a game room with cards, checkers, yatzee, rumminkim (sp) and others. In Jeneau we did the Mendal Glacier/whale watching excursion $135.00. We needed more time at Mendall Glacier, there is a path that you can hike which was fun to explore. See if you can find the red squirrel near the tent. He is very friendly. It was a sunny beautiful day in Juneau, we were told about the local history by our driver. She was wonderful -then we went on the whale excursion-they are not allowed to get closer than 100 yards and can not stay in the area longer than 30 minutes. I did manage to get some great video of an eagle in flight. Other than that we did not see any bears, seals, etc. We only had a short time to check out Juneau. The town was right near the port and I would have enjoyed just walking around the town. There is just not enough time to do both. If you want to save money, just walk the town and enjoy and shopping!! Skagway- we did something very different. We rode for 2 hours to go golfing. We never golfed before so this was our big family outting. We loved it and it was a beautiful place to be. They are truly nice people there and the food is amazing. You can tell it is homemade. It was called the Yukon Golfing Excursion. Expensive but we had the most fun together here. We laughed and laughed as we hit par 15 for a par 4 hole. Lost a few balls here and had to buy extras at 6 for $10.00. Don't try and schedule more than one thing a day. Not even reservations unless you make them after the ship leaves. You will want to spend time exploring the towns of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. We did the early morning Lumberjack show in Skagway and still did not have enough time in Ketchikan just to walk about and shop. The Northern lights candle makes a nice souvenier for $10.00. Couldn't find an Alaskan beach towel or a nice flannel nightgown with polar bears. Many stores were having end of season sales since we went at the end of August. Couldn't find any "made in Alaska" clothing either. Victoria was our final port. We arrived at 6:30pm and had to leave at 11:30pm. Don't try to walk to the shopping district, it will take you 25 minutes and costs only $8.00 for 3 people in the taxi. Worth every penny. You may need some Canadian money to buy a soda or beer. American Express is not accepted in all the stores. The stores are located on Government street. It felt like a very safe area. The Taxi driver said the locals stay away until the ships are gone. There is plenty of time to relax on the ship- I can't say everyone was friendly. They mostly seemed indifferent. I don't believe they could understand my questions. Sometimes they just said yes because that is what you want to hear. Customer service was very helpful everytime we asked something. You will be better to save your questions for them.

Orlando, Florida
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2,649 posts
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6. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

Hi NJDREAMER,

That was some report. You provided many details. Unfortunately, many cruisers may not have an opportunity to read it. You may wish to post your report on the cruisecritic.com website, if you haven't done so yet. Go to the "Norweigian cruiseline" page, then to "member reviews"I'm sure it will help some future cruisers with their plans.

(By the way, it will take a while to post. I wrote my cruise report 3 weeks ago, and it still has not posted).

Texas
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14 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

Thanks for sharing your cruise experience. I am going on the same NCL cruise next June with my mother and two sisters. I found your post very helpful.

Philadelphia
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35 posts
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8. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

My fiance and I are planning to take the NCL's Pearl the first week of June 07. I see some of you went with NCL and one the 1st week in June. Could you give thoughts about the weather, cruiseline, excursions, age-ranges? I am a "planner" and want to make sure we have an enjoyable time. Any/all info is greatly appreciated!!

North Bend, Oregon
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639 posts
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9. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

bethaly-

Look over the ship's list of shore excursions in each port, and narrow your choices to anything that seems interesting. There are so many options, that I wouldn't know where to begin or what to suggest for you and your family.

For every ship's excursion, there's an independant vendor offering the same or better tour for (usually) quite a bit less money.

The other good piece of advice I've been given is not to hesitate to split up a group. If one of you really doesn't like boats, but the rest want to go fishing badly, these port cities are small enough that doing separate tours is almost always a good idea. Then you've got LOTS to talk about over dinner!

-Case

10. Re: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Shore Excursions

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