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Need advice on land excursions.

Discussion in 'Alaska & Pacific Northwest Ports' started by Skyglider, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Skyglider

    Skyglider Guest

    Just booked our first cruise ever (on HAL) which departs Seattle on 5/23/2008. Now we need help in figuring out how to handle the two days in Seattle and in the ports of call. Here's the itinerary:

    5/21: Seattle .... All day
    5/22: Seattle .... All day
    5/25: Juneau...... 11:00am-10:30pm
    5/26: Glacier Bay. 7:00am-4:00pm
    5/27: Sitka ...... 8:00am-5:00pm
    5/28: Ketchikan .. 7:00am-1:00pm
    5/29: Victoria.... 6:00pm-11:59pm

    In Seattle, thinking of taking a tour to Busch Gardens on the first day and a motor coach tour of Seattle on the second day. Any suggestons on which motor coach tour to take on the second day?

    Any suggestions for a nice inexpensive hotel in Seattle?

    Sitka is 9 hours to book an excursion. Suggestions?

    Should we forget any excursions in Juneau (late day) and in Ketchikan and Victoria and just wander around the towns near the dock?

    Thanks for any suggestions,
    Skyglider
     
  2. BSeabob

    BSeabob Guest

    a nice Seattle hotel. Crown Plaza . inexpensive IF you get a good price somewhere on line.

    Juneau Ketchikan and Victoria are all easily walked from the dock although a shuttle into inner harbour in victoria is needed.

    In Seattle try to get out on the harbour if the weather is good.

    We don't do excursions so can't help much there personally but our friends all have taken private tours in all those places and loved them.

    check out their sites.

    Jim and Kathleen http://web.mac.com/jimbellomo/Travel/Our_Trips.html

    Mike and Carol http://www.thepreismans.com/
     
  3. Skyglider

    Skyglider Guest

    BseaBob,

    >> In Seattle try to get out on the harbour if the weather is good.

    After many hours of searching, I found the Clippervacations tour from Seattle Pier 69 to Victoria which includes a catamaran ride to Victoria and a city tour on the way to Butchart Gardens. This will get us out on the harbor as you suggested plus fulfill our plan to visit Butchart Gardens (misspelled as Busch Gardens in my original post). My wife is a gardening nut so she is so looking forward to that.

    Have made note of your other info. Thanks,
    Skyglider
     
  4. BSeabob

    BSeabob Guest

    The clipper to Victoria is a great trip. It is a full day though.
    Butchart is simply marvelous. If I had of know Busch was Butchart. I could have given you a heads up. :clown

    Late May should be wonderful I think for spring and early summer stuff.
     
  5. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    In Victoria, go see Butchart Gardens! Well worth the trip!

    In Seattle defintely go to Pikes market.

    We stayed outside the downtown area where the hotels were a lot less expensive.

    In Juneau to whale watching or go to Mendenhall Glacier. You can catch a local bus to the glacier downtown for $5. Close to downtown. Very worth the trip!
     
  6. Skyglider

    Skyglider Guest

    Sorry for the delayed response. I need to figure out how to "subscribe" to this thread.

    [quote BSeabob]The clipper to Victoria is a great trip. It is a full day though.
    Butchart is simply marvelous. If I had of know Busch was Butchart. I could have given you a heads up. :clown
    Late May should be wonderful I think for spring and early summer stuff.[/quote]

    DW will be thrilled to hear that late May at Butchart should be wonderful. ... If she's happy, I'm happy!

    [quote Jeana]In Victoria, go see Butchart Gardens! Well worth the trip!
    In Seattle defintely go to Pikes market.
    We stayed outside the downtown area where the hotels were a lot less expensive.
    In Juneau to whale watching or go to Mendenhall Glacier. You can catch a local bus to the glacier downtown for $5. Close to downtown. Very worth the trip![/quote]

    Thanks for the confirmation about Butchart Gardens being worth it. I did book a Victoria Clipper day trip from Seattle to Butchart. In Juneau, I booked a HAL tour to Mendenhall Glacier which includes a salmon bake + chicken, ribs, etc before I read your reply. Glacier for me, salmon bake for the DW ...:) But with the local bus being $5 (one way or round trip?), maybe we should cancel that excursion, catch the bus to Mendenhall, then return to town to eat. What do you think?
     
  7. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    You'll love Butchart gardens! Take lots of picture taking capability! Don't forget extra batteries (mine usually go out right at the worst moment!)

    As for the Mend. Glacier - I honestly can't remember if it is $5 one way or round trip. I am sort of thinking maybe $5 each way. Maybe someone else can confirm this. It's not very far out of town.

    As for the "salmon bake" part of your excursion -- you probably won't be able to get the kind of open pit salmon bake in town -- Those excursions usually cook the salmon outdoors and it's delicious. Check out the details on how they cook the salmon. Wood plank is really the best (imo) or open pit. You'll just have to decide what is most important to you.

    Be sure to report back to us!
     
  8. BSeabob

    BSeabob Guest

    to subscribe click on the "Follow topic" button at the bottom of the last post or the top of your post before you hit "Post"
     
  9. GloBug

    GloBug Guest

    I just booked the Glacier/Salmon bake excursion in Juneau, too, so I am interested in this thread. I was just going to post a thread like this.

    Should Butchart Gardens be ok in early May??? Do I need to book an excursion through the ship or is it easy enough to get there on my own?
     
  10. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    There will probably be different blooms etc. in May but Butchart Gardens shouldn't be missed. It is an exceptional excursion.

    We went on our own - it was pretty easy -- the shuttle bus from the ship drops you off in town about 1 to 2 blocks from the bus station. The shuttle from/to ship and downtown run all day.

    You take a bus directly to Butchart Gardens there and back. As I recall, it's about a 30 min. drive. Can't remember how much it cost but of course, it is less than the ship. You could probably look it up on the Net. If you feel comfortable going on your own, that would be an option. If you prefer to go with the ship, you could do that also. One thing I do remember is people saying they didn't have enough time at the Gardens when they went with the ship excursion. Just depends on what you want to do.
     
  11. Skyglider

    Skyglider Guest

    [quote GloBug]I just booked the Glacier/Salmon bake excursion in Juneau, too, so I am interested in this thread. I was just going to post a thread like this.
    Should Butchart Gardens be ok in early May??? Do I need to book an excursion through the ship or is it easy enough to get there on my own?[/quote]
    Hi GloBug,

    I canceled our Glacier/Salmon bake excursion and we decided to visit Mendenhall on our own. Learned that there are shuttle buses from the dock to Mendenhall that cost about $13 round trip per person. Another option is to use one way bus tickets which allows catching a different company's bus for the return trip instead of possibly waiting in a long line for the same company's return bus. Visiting the glacier on our own will be cheaper for us. After returning from the Glacier, we may eat crab in town to replace the salmon bake or we may just eat aboard ship.

    Regarding whether early May is a good time to visit Butchart Gardens. There are lists of the flowers typically in bloom for the different months of the year on the Butchart Gardens web site. The list for May is a bit shorter than for July but seems long enough and quite adequate for us. We are hoping that the current cold weather does not extend too much into May.

    Skyglider
     
  12. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    We took the bus on our own to Mendenhall Glacier. Bus is right on the dock - very easy to get.
     
  13. GloBug

    GloBug Guest

    From what I understand, and I could easily be understanding it incorrectly, May is still considered winter in Alaska (and nearby), though late winter. When we went to Alaska in 2005 it was mid June, and it was tshirt and short weather in ports. I bet early May won't be like that. :(
     
  14. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    Not at all! We have a friend who went in May twice and had great weather! Alaska's weather is a crap shoot any time - it doesn't stop anyone from enjoying it!:)
     
  15. GloBug

    GloBug Guest

    good to know! Thanks.

    I wouldn't let the weather stop me from enjoying my cruise. I always pack the Good Attitude!
     
  16. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    AMEN to that! Hey, you're on a cruise - how bad could that be!?! :lol

    Seriously, it will be great!
     
  17. GloBug

    GloBug Guest

    I'm excited. We went before, on the Infinity, in June 05. We did a lot of excursions, and shopping, so this time I am looking forward to being able to check out the towns themselves... and doing some of the things I couldn't do before, since our DD was with us. Now it's just the two of us, so we can check out things that would be more interesting to us then it would have been to her!
     
  18. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    There is always something great to see you didn't see before!
     
  19. Skyglider

    Skyglider Guest

    [quote BSeabob]to subscribe click on the "Follow topic" button at the bottom of the last post or the top of your post before you hit "Post"[/quote]
    Just logged back in and found the "Follow topic" button. Am suscribed to this thread now. Thanks.

    And thanks to all for the additional info,
    Skyglider
     

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