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About mapleleaves

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    Redmond WA
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    DIY land travel
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    W Med

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  1. Jimbo, if you would like more responses and input on your itinerary you may want to start your own thread. Most of us don't re-open old trip reports. I did, but totally by accident :>) The usual way is to start a thread titled "please review my itinerary" then lay out your plan, Day 1, Day 2, etc. Most people hope to hear it's a winner, or get a few tweaks, or recommendations for lodging, activities, etc .
  2. Since your question is specific to RCI, you might have better luck posting on the RCI forum. Also, post a link to the excursions so that people know which tours you're referring to.
  3. when ? Successful bear viewing tours coincide with salmon runs. Ketchikan is the best location for those tours but they're costly since you fly-in. Check the town web site for details: https://www.experienceketchikan.com/bear-viewing-in-alaska.html Unless you do a tour, your chances of seeing bear are pretty slim during a cruise. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it's rare, primarily because it's you and 15,000 other people in town for the day. There are LOTS of trip reports posted above .... read thru them and see what excursions were successful or where people just happened upon bears. ie some people have seen them in May/early June during the drive from Skagway.
  4. Weather in the Pacific Northwest/ Alaska is always a crapshoot. but after mid August you run the risk of a Fall storm and they can be brutal .... heavy rain, strong wind, cold temperatures. My trips (land) are always in August and I only get a couple of dry days. Not to say you could have sunny, warm weather BUT be aware of the risk. That weather is also why flightseeing trips are frequently cancelled. And after mid Aug some of the heli dog sled camps close down due to lack of snow on the lower elevations. There are many trip reports posted above. This particular one is a late season. Read the synopsis on page 2.
  5. duh .... you were asking about Skagway and I provided the Juneau vendors. Sorry bout that. In Skagway the only vendor I've seen is TEMSCO . http://temscoair.com/skagway-tours/ <<< Though there are no age requirements for TEMSCO tours, they do require a moderate level of activity. Guests will need to be able to walk a minimum of 100 feet to and from the helicopter, over uneven snow, as well as have the ability to get on and off the helicopter (which requires navigating two 13" 18" steps with minimal assistance). >>>
  6. Check your library to see if they have ' THE ALASKA CRUISE HANDBOOK; A MILE BY MILE GUIDE ' by Joe Upton, or buy a used book on Amazon.
  7. Call a few vendors to find out where the put-in point is. It's probably shared. Hopefully it's close enough to the Visitor Center that they will drop you off there. From the Visitor Center you can take one of the shuttles or call a cab when you're ready to return to the ship. If by cab, have their numbers in your cell phone and call about 30-40 minutes before you're ready to go. The cabs are sitting there and may have to come from downtown. You may find other people who will share the cost with you, so don't be shy about shouting "anyone wanna share a cab? " Either way will probably cost you about $45. Transportation companies listed in this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/about-forest/offices/?cid=fseprd495443 The trails are pretty easy and will only take 2-3 hrs, unless you plan on doing the East Glacier trail which is marked as challenging. You're going early in the season so check ahead of time for conditions .... ie snow or thick slush in case you need boots for the walk.
  8. Where is the put-in location for the raft trip ? And are you talking about these trails near the Visitor Center ?https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd604841.pdf
  9. This question is asked FREQUENTLY on the Italy board. As a matter of fact, there's a post right now on this topic. Seems that after 11am is a safe bet, but read thru past responses to see how you feel: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/464-italy-ports/
  10. Given that Traitors Cove is a priority, the 8/13 date would probably be best since that the middle of their peak viewing period. I've always read that Anan is the better location. maybe because black and brown bears can be seen?). I'm content with bear viewing at Denali so it's not something I've researched. Might be worthwhile for you to research further though since its a priority. https://www.experienceketchikan.com/bear-viewing-in-alaska.html http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=bearviewing.main
  11. Rather than dealing with the crush and getting the earliest train, I'd look for the fastest train. We were on the Epic this past Sept ( embarked Barcelona). We figured the Civi station would be busy early due to people leaving the cruise and everyone else heading to Rome for the day. So we took our time. We probably got off the ship around 8:30, took the free shuttle to the port entrance, then the city bus to the station. We had good timing and only waited about 5 minutes for each bus. The station was VERY busy; the machines and the agents. The store directly next door had a sign "RT TICKETS ONLY" so we bought tickets for the 9:30am EXPRESS to Rome. 15 minutes later we were on our way to Rome. I'd say it took 45 minutes from the time we left the ship to when we arrived at the station and that was getting a later start, so I imagine earlier would take more time due to the crowds. This doesn't really answer your question, but hope our experience helps you.
  12. as noted in my 2nd post, I made a reservation for our private driver about 5 months out. However, for 6 months before that, I researched each port to determine what to see and do, and how to do it. I bought Rick Steves book "mediterranean cruise ports' and I read trip reports from pax on Princess, RCI, Celebrity, etc; they might not have been on the same ship as us, but they were visiting the same ports. Some of the trip reports were very detailed and provided lots of helpful information. So use the next year to research your ports and come up with great itineraries. Enjoy your research and planning!
  13. I can only think of 3 vendors in Juneau for heli dogsled tours: Coastal, Temsco and Northstar Trekking. I would contact each of them and ask specific questions. Pg 33 of the Juneau Visitor Guide has their contact info. http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/10785063#/10785063/33
  14. We (4 adults) were on the Epic this past Sept. We went DIY at all ports except Naples where I hired a private driver for the day. I started contacting various vendors in January 2019 because I wanted to make changes to the pre-set itinerary of "Pompeii and Amalfi Coast'. Went back and forth with a couple of vendors about changes, and finally decided to give up Pompeii in order to see more of the Coast. Went back and forth again then finally decided on a vendor and made the reservation in late April. I was a getting a little nervous at that point since we were only 5 months out. Joining your Roll Call will help in that you will see who is having a hard time filling their group tour and which tours are booking up quickly. I felt badly for people who in August were trying to join a small group tour but it was sold out so they had to start their own. Unfortunately they were too late to find pax to join them, so they lost their tour.
  15. tours of what ? or to where ? Are you talking about private / group tours OR just entry to sites ? If you're interested in small group tours you should start/join your RollCall.
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