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Excursions-Sapphire Princess Cruise 9/5-9/12

Discussion in 'Alaska & Pacific Northwest Ports' started by CUgirl, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. CUgirl

    CUgirl Guest

    Hello,
    My husband and I are taking our first trip to Alaska on a cruise with Princess. We have booked the following excursion and want to make sure that they are OK, or if anyone has any suggestions. We also would love any suggestions for places to visit while not doing an excursion. For example-a good place to purchase Salmon and have it shipped back home, or any cool shops to buy momentos for family and friends. We should have at least 2-3 hours at each port after we do our excusions. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise & Flight -Ketchikan
    Experience the grandeur of Misty Fjords National Monument by sea and air.

    Board your floatplane for the flight to Misty Fjords. From the air, marvel at the magnitude of this 2.2 million-acre
    national treasure. Land in a secluded cove and rendezvous with your cruise vessel. Glide past towering cliffs and
    waterfalls plunging into the fjord’s placid waters. See New Eddystone Rock, a volcanic plug rising 237 feet from the water. Keep watch for seals and bald eagles, as well as the numerous sea birds dotting the waters or nesting in mossy niches on the cliffs.

    The emerald waters reflect the lushness of a temperate rain forest. Your guide provides commentary on the wildlife, plants and geology of the area as your vessel returns to Ketchikan

    Orca Point Lodge & Whale Watching-Juneau
    Sail on a deluxe vessel to view southeast Alaska’s wide variety of wildlife and then enjoy a hearty meal at a secluded lodge.

    Your experienced, local captain takes you through Stephens Passage to explore areas known for their abundance of humpback whales and other wildlife. An onboard naturalist discusses the wildlife you may encounter, including humpback and killer whales, Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, bald eagles, Sitka blacktail deer and, occasionally, bears. A refund of $100 per adult and $50 per child will be given if a whale is not spotted on the trip! Stunning mountain peaks and glaciers provide photo opportunities throughout the cruise.

    At Orca Point Lodge, the friendly crew greets you on arrival and serves a delicious meal of freshly grilled Alaska salmon and chicken along with rice pilaf, green salad, roll and dessert. The lodge features peaceful seclusion with modern comforts and delicious food in a wilderness setting. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a rainproof jacket and stroll along the beach before the return cruise to Juneau.

    Alaska Sled Dog & Musher' Camp -Skagway
    Experience a thrilling Alaska adventure as a team of powerful huskies pulls you through the great back country of an historic gold rush site! Glimpse a unique northern lifestyle and see the dogs in action when they take you on an exhilarating ride.

    Relax and learn about gold rush history and present-day happenings on the drive to the northernmost point on Lynn Canal, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and our dog camp. Meet the dogs and climb onto a wheeled sled - custom made for running during the snow-free summer months. Your husky team whisks you along a wooded trail through southeast Alaska’s beautiful temperate rain forest. Spruce and hemlock trees, glacier-fed waterfalls and
    views of the Taiya Inlet tidal flats surround you on this fun ride. Then, enjoy refreshments and cuddle the adorable husky puppies. Wander through the musher’s camp and learn about the equipment, hard work, strength and endurance that define dog sledding in the wild, rugged North.

    Victoria Pub Tour
    Victoria is known for its flowers and gardens, but there is a secret treasure few visitors have the time to experience - the pubs!

    Downtown Victoria has a wide array of pubs and microbreweries. Relax in a traditional English-style pub and visit others with a uniquely Canadian atmosphere that’s not be found elsewhere. Visit three different taverns and sample the local brews - the finest Canada has to offer. Complimentary light appetizers are served at two of your stops.
     
  2. jhawkmom

    jhawkmom Guest

    Hi!
    My husband and I are also doing Alaska on the Sapphire the same time. We are trying to make up our minds about some of the excursions also. We have talked to my brother in law and his wife who went a couple of years ago and were told what to stay away from-Salmon fishing and the gold panning. They did say they heard great reviews about the White Pass motorcoach tour.
    It looks like we will be doing the lighthouse and eagle excursion in Ketchikan and the motorcoach tour in Skagway. Juneau and Victoria we will do on our own. I have heard that the carriage rides in both towns are very informative and you get to see a lot of the cities and the architecture.
    This will be our first cruise and we are getting very anxious.

    See you there!
     
  3. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    Just curious (jhawkmom) why stay way from Salmon fishing & gold panning?
     
  4. jhawkmom

    jhawkmom Guest

    According to my sister in law the salmon that was caught ended up costing $60-62 per lb (cost of tour plus shipping to the home.) And the goldpanning was a waste of time, no one in their
    tour got anything out of it.
    That was just their opinion, as I have never been I just feel that we should try something that we may enjoy more.
     
  5. CUgirl

    CUgirl Guest

    My boss actually did an Alaskan cruise 2 weeks ago and did the sportfishing in Ketchikan. She told me to stay away from the that..... you spend so much money for the tour, license, and shipping home that it is ridiculous. Plus she said that 20 people cram onto a boat and you take turns for reeling in the catch. She said she was bored, and they ended up spending over $750 for the tour and only got 10 lbs of Salmon shipped home. I was told it was cheaper to go to a fish market in Ketchikan and purchase Salmon and have it shipped home.

    Tweetygirl-that is cool we are on the same cruise! This will be my 3rd, and my husbands second cruise. It will be both of our first time to Alaska. We live in Arizona and are looking forward to getting out of the heat in less than 7 weeks.

    We are so excited with getting prepared for the trip. I want to buy a video camera, so I have shopping around on what is the best one for the money out there (if anyone has any suggestions that would be great).
     
  6. CJpeanuts

    CJpeanuts Guest

    Hiya,

    I just came off the Sapphire 2 weeks ago so I can help somewhat. For whale watching we took a local tour in Juneau, Orca Enterprises with Captain Larry. The boat is MUCH smaller than the ship's boats and we only had 11 people on the tour (compared to the ship tours which took something like 80). We took the last trip of the day and it was wonderful. We had to laugh at the bigger boats that the cruise ship used because as the whales were swimming directly under our boat, the other boats were about 200 yards away trying to get a good position. Captain Larry was able to predict exactly what the whales were going to do next giving us some really great, close-up pictures. If you're willing to use a company not ship sponsored I can't recommend this tour enough, plus it was cheaper.

    In Skagway I highly recommend the Wilderness Safari. It's a 30 minute catamaran ride during which we saw sea lions, whales, and bald eagles, followed by a 5 minute hike (very easy hike) down to a river where we took canoes (light paddling..canoes are equipped with motors) right to the base of Davidson glacier. This was my favorite part of the entire cruise. One bit of advice, if you choose this tour go early in the morning. The winds pick up throughout the day and the later tours have to be done in full rain gear and believe me, the water is cold! This tour is also listed as the captain's favorite. The best place to ship salmon is also in Skagway but I can't remember the name of the store. It's very small and run by a local which I really liked because the cruiseline got enough of my money. If you ask any of the locals in Skagway they can tell you right away who it is that ships the salmon.

    I didn't go on the musher tour but we were on a helicopter ride (Valley of the Glaciers) in Skagway and the people on the helicopter went on it and raved about it and got some really nice pictures.

    I hope I helped and hope you have a great trip.
     
  7. 51810ss

    51810ss Guest

    Read your great review of excursions from the Sapphire Princess. I am going on the Celebrity "Summit" on 9/10/04 and would like to go on the tour you went on in Skagway to see Davidson Glacier.

    I don't see anything in the Celebrity shore excursions that talk about going there. I was
    wondering if it is the 35 minute high speed catamaran ride called Haines Wilderness Kayak Adventure and cruise.

    Did you go to Haines on that tour? This tour sounds like it is kayaking not canoes with motors on them.

    Any information you have would be appreciated. Thanks

    Sherry
     
  8. DoctorB

    DoctorB Guest

    Hi,

    We just returned from Alaska two weeks ago. In Skagway we did the Wilderness Safari that CJpeanuts mentioned aboved and we liked it. In Juneau we did the Orca Point Lodge and Whale watching. It was our best side trip. The crew was great, serving hot drinks etc., the boat was great-3 levels to view from, inside and out, and the Lodge and meal were very good. I highly recomend this trip.

    Good Luck
     
  9. doreen

    doreen Guest

    I just got back Sunday from the Diamond Princess. By far the best excursion was the helicopter/dog sled ride. Landing on a glacier and then having the dogs pull the sled was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The other tours were a distant second. Perhaps the float plane excursions can compare.

    Just my opinion.
     
  10. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    Doctor B...

    What cruise ship were you on? Did you get close up to the whales? How long did you stay at the lodge???? What was to do there (at the lodge)?
     
  11. lisalovlee33

    lisalovlee33 Guest

    Hi all,
    We'll be on the Sapphire in September as well. We're currently booked on the
    HISTORIC JUNEAU GOLD MINE TOUR
    JUNEAU

    and

    HELI-HIKE & RAIL ADVENTURE
    SKAGWAY

    Aside from not panning any gold, are they any other negative points about the Gold Mining Tour?
    In Juneau and Skagway, I noticed that we leave port late in the night. Probably won't do another excursion, but can anyone recommend what else to see/do (aside from wandering the town). Any cheap bus/train to anywhere scenic? (don't really care for whales because we're travel often to Newfoundland)

    Other than that, nothing has been booked and was thinking of just doing Victoria and Ketchikan on our own. Any suggestions here please?
     
  12. CUgirl

    CUgirl Guest

    Lisa are you doing the sapphire September 5th-12th? That is what I am doing. We are doing the following:

    Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise & Flight -Ketchikan
    Orca Point Lodge & Whale Watching-Juneau (Doctor B-glad to hear this was good!!)
    WHITE PASS SCENIC RAILWAY-Skagway
    Victoria Pub Tour

    I would love a roll call of who will all be on the 9/5-9/12 cruise with Princess -Sapphire
     
  13. Lin

    Lin Guest

    We just returned from the Sapphire on 8/15. We did the Salmon Fishing out of Ketchikan which I saw you were told to steer away from. I was sorry to see this as we had a great time on this excursion. We were on a charter boat with a captain, the three of us and another gentlemen and his small son also from the Sapphire. We saw beautiful scenery, some eagles and caught many salmon. We had 15 lbs of the Salmon sent home and it is the best souvenir we could have ever bought. We have wonderful memories from that day and had so much fun.
    Of course, if you add the expense of the trip for 3 people and then add the expense of the shipping and processing for the fish it would sound expensive but it was worth every penny. You have to remember that we would have taken another shore excursion that would have cost the same or more per person and we wouldn't have had the fun and excitement that we had plus the delicious salmon that we are eating now. Sure you could buy salmon and have it sent home but what is the fun of that? I KNOW where this salmon was caught and it was in the cleanest waters. I am sure that whatever excursion you choose you will have a wonderful time as it is a fantastic trip. Enjoy!
     
  14. Night rider

    Night rider Guest

    HI, if you are looking for something great to do, try the Yukokn Horseback. This tour is the most highly rated tour. We took it with Southeast tours and found it first class.

    The Yukon horseback to Emerald Lake is breath talking, with excellant horses that are fat and healthy. The tour was about 5.5 hours with the van ride into the Yukon 2 hours with the horses and then we got to hang out with the guides in a really cool cookhouse. The snacks were excellant with a variety of fresh cakes, sodas or coffee. YukonHorses.com has some pictures of Emerald Lake but best to see in person as pictures don't to it justice...

    Have fun!
     

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