Here are my recommendations for each of those ports: In Ketchikan, take a day trip by boat to Misty Fjords National Monument, or a flight/boat combination. In Juneau, take a whale-watching tour, where sightings are usually at about 100%. The must-do in Skagway is the White Pass Railroad to Whitehorse.
If you take the three activities you mentioned instead of the ones above, whale watching definitely fits in Juneau.
I enjoyed an Alaskan cruise last May and went whale watching from Juneau, with Orca Enterprises.
They are highly recommended by everybody that has used them and I came first came to learn of their popularity using the cruisecritic forum. Just about everybody on their was raving about the company and Captain Larry.
We were advised to book well in advance as their tours are so popular. Captain Larry takes you out in a smaller and faster boat than the ones that the cruise ships use, you therefore go further afield with a smaller group and cover more ground.
I cannot fault them as the day was absolutely incredible (despite the rain! but hey I'm British, I should be used to it!! lol)
Here is the link which may help you out.
Their offices are based directly opposite the cruise terminal in Juneau, so they're easy to spot!
White Rail Pass in Skagway is a must, we also went husky dog sledding from Skagway too, which was fab!! Try the Red Onion Saloon for a real glimpse of the way girls earned their money during the gold rush!!! lol Fascinating place and the beer and food is great too!
The helicopter tours in Skagway feature the same ice field as the Juneau tours, so if you've got something to do in Juneau, the heli can be done in Skagway as well.
I agree, of the ports mentioned, Juneau is the best for whale watching. That leaves kayaking in Ketchikan, although you'll enjoy this particular excursion in any port.
For whale watching, I can't comment on the quality of the tour as I'm taking my business to one of their competitors. I can say as a fact, however, that Orca Enterprises is one of the highest volume whale watch tours in Juneau. They operate 4 boats with capacities ranging from 12 - 50. That puts them with Dolphin in what I call the "medium sized" category for boats. The cruise lines book with Allen Marine and 4-Seasons. Their boats carry between 100-150 guests. You'll get to customize your own tour if you keep the groups small on a boat. There are a number of great private charter companies that often tip Orca (and the rest) off as to where the whales are. The smaller companies don't get the "press" in these forums or in the news because they just don't do the volume of passengers... usually not more than 6-12 folks per trip or per day.
We'll be on the same cruise! I was just researching what to go see as well. Most of my party (4 of us) will be doing really physical things that I'm just not able to do quite yet.
See you on the ship!
We are going on May 26 Princess Sapphire , but will be in Anchorage the night before. So we can go to the Farmers Market they have on Saturday at 10am then take a shuttle to the ship. FY I : if you need a room in Anchorage we scored with Hot Wire for $44.00 at Extended Stay America in downtown Anchorage. We rented a car in Skagway from Avis for $68.00 so we can drive the same route as the railroad and see the same sights also stopping at the Yukon Suspension Bridge, Carcross and Emerald Lake. This sight might help you (Portreviews.com)
travelad4u- Please drop me an eMail or be sure to post a review of your stay at the Extended. I didn't care for my experience there at all, but that was a LONG time ago so I don't recommend or condemn the place since my information is a bit out-dated.
Could you let me know how the cruise went and which whale watching trip you took. I am taking the same cruise the end of July.
Bluecuzco: I also will be on the cruise leaving out of Whitter on May 26th. Just wondering what boat company in Ketchikan did you fine to take you too Misty Fjords? I would be intersted instead of flying. Thanks travelad4u.
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