Of course it will depend on your interests, but a couple things I might suggest as shore excursions are, for Juneau, visit the Mendenhall Glacier (10 miles out of town) or go whalewatching, and for Ketchikan, choose an excursion that visits either Totem Bight State Park or Saxman native village, to see totem poles - at the latter, you may get to see people carving them. Prepare for rain in Ketchikan (everywhere, really, but that's where it is most likely) and bring layers of clothes, plus make sure to bring rain gear. All these towns are very walkable from the cruise dock too, and just having time to walk around can be fun and interesting (and good shopping!)
As was said, in Juneau you can visit Mendehall Glacier. Whale watching is excellent here. There is also a ride on the tram up the mountain side. There are tours of some of the old gold mines and panning areas here. If you wish you can take the local trolley system and travel throughout Juneau very cheaply and get on and off.
Ketchikan the totem parks are interesting. There is also the lumberjack show right near where the ships dock and this can be entertaining for an hour or so. Fishing tours are big here but costly.
If you can afford it a flight tour is always fun especially if you get one that lands on a glacier but as I said if you can afford it they are expensive.
Thank you Karen and PEB for your replys. We just finished making our reservations for our shore adventures...yeahhhhh!
Skagway, we'll be doing the Yukon Expedition & White Pass Railroad. Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest and the Best of Ketchikan by Land and Sea. It was very hard picking but with the help from this site and a few others, I have to say it made it a little easlier. I did a lot of reading. What you you think? I would have loved the plan trip or landing on the glacier but they are soooo expensive. Who knows, this just might not be our only trip. From what I hear, once you have been biten by Alaska... you have to go back...
Al & Karen you will enjoy the tours you picked. Yes you may find you will want to return to Alaska. I will be ending one of my Alaskan cruises as you start yours.
Some advice for the whale watch. Look for the spray from the blow of the whale. They shoot water 30 to 40 feet in the air so it is likely that is what you will see first.
For the glaciers when you are near them watch where they hit the water. When you see small splashes they are starting to break and a big chunk should fall above the small splashes very soon. Do NOT go by sound because you can hear them cracking from miles inland.
Enjoy your time in Alaska and I will tell them to look for you.
My husband and I are doing the Island Princess 14 day trip leaving May 29th. We are overwhelmed by all the excursion choices. For anyone who has made this trip, do you have recommendations for the land tours at any of the lodges? Many thanks!
Hello Dr. Linda, I have done sooo much research. I received some great information from this site, as you can read but also from a done of others. Your right about being overwhelmed. All of the research I have done, the people I have either spoke to or received emails from all have mentioned these two things: Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching and Yukon Expedition & White Pass Railroad. After so many people talking about these two excursions I figured they must be pretty good. I can give you the other web sites I used to do my research but your time is getting close. I know you can go off the ship with private companies, I personally have a problem with, that because I have heard about other peoples nightmares...and if you miss boarding the ship before it sails...hmmm very costly to catch up with it! If you would like the other sites let me know. Also, you have to consider your time. My husband and I wanted to go ATV'ing in Denali, but after I had ordered the excursion, I had discovered that we would come back from it at 5:30 and the dinner show started at 6.Sooo, canceled that planned..LOL! But I made up for it in McKinley, we are going river rafting (well sounds worst than it is..LOL) and also horse back riding. Told my hubby, he gets to relax in Denali, which he really wants to do and I get my way in Mckinley and have lots of fun..LOL.. I hope this helps in some somall way. If you really would like the other sites just let me know.. Good Luck, keep plugging along..