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HAL - Dog Sled excursions - What's the difference?

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Hi --


We'll be sailing aboard the Westerdam this summer, stopping in Juneau. We would love to do a sled dog excursion where we get to meet the dogs (and hopefully puppies, too).


Holland America has two excursions in Juneau that seem to be what we're looking for, but I can't tell what the difference between them are. 


"Dog Sled Summer Camp"


2.25 hrs

Learn what it takes to be a musher in the great Iditarod dog sled race with a trip to a dog sled camp. See an exact replica of an Iditarod Race checkpoint, enjoy a thrilling ride behind a team of highly trained Alaskan huskies, then meet and pet adorable camp puppies.

Your adventure begins as you embark on a breathtaking motor coach ride into the remote and scenic Sheep Creek Valley, and to the home of some of the state’s most famous athletes - the huskies that run in the Iditarod. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a real Iditarod musher and his dog team. You’ll tour the camp, visit the replica of an Iditarod Race checkpoint, and go through the steps each musher performs, as if you’re traveling the route with him. Then you’ll climb aboard a comfortable wheeled sled and relax as your husky team whisks you along the 1.5-mile trail through the beautiful landscape. Returning to camp, you’ll get to visit with the dogs, pet the puppies and learn what it's like to live amid 120 happy huskies.


"Sled Dog Discovery & Musher's Camp"



Visit a musher's camp to experience a true Alaskan adventure and support the state sport of dog mushing. You will have a blast on an authentic dog sled ride, meeting and learning from knowledgeable mushers and dog handlers, and playing with the husky puppies.

Your journey begins with a scenic drive deep into the Tongass National Rain Forest on Douglas Island. At the camp, you will be greeted by a musher and a team of Alaskan huskies who seem like they're about to burst with excitement because they know that, once you board the custom-designed wheeled summertime training sled, they get to run. Feel the thrill of being pulled by these strong huskies, and soak in the inspiring beauty as you race down a one-mile trail surrounded by giant spruce and hemlock trees.

After your ride, meet up with a knowledgeable dog handler and a retired sled dog. Together they will demonstrate the impeccable care sled dogs receive from their mushers and veterinarians.

Walk across the suspension bridge overlooking Fish Creek and step into Alaska's wilderness.

Enjoy an interactive presentation about the adventurous races and the equipment required for dog sledding. And last, but certainly not least, meet the adorable husky puppies. The attention you give them is important because it helps to socialize them, and this is essential to their future athletic success.


Both excursions meet with a musher, take a ride on the summer sled, have a presentation, and have a chance to meet the dogs.


I called Holland America's Shore Excursion hotline, and they had less information than the website. Their only suggestion was to ask the Shore Excursion desk once onboard. When I mentioned that I didn't want to risk it selling out, he then mentioned that one of them is almost full. 


Can anyone help me figure out what the difference between the two are, and which one would be the better one to book?


Thank you!!

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We're stopping in Haines. HAL doesn't have any sled dog excursions from there, but we are not opposed to booking something on our own. But I'm not sure if stopping in Haines instead of Skagway proper makes a difference. 

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Okay, now I am really confused!?!?

I just spent a little time on a holdover in Juneau and had quite a discussion with the mayor of Haines. She was just returning from a conference with some cruise people and she pointedly  professed that HAL was not stopping in Haines, starting this year!?

She was quite relieved that another cruise line was ready to pick up on this deletion by HAL.

We shall see, I guess?

On the original topic, I was just going to suggest something similar, involving dogs, etc. which you might access from Skagway, with a scenic tour thrown in and for a little less money.

This is still possible. From Haines etc.


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I don't know about 2021, but this year, both the Noordam and Westerdam will be stopping in Haines during their southbound journey. Northbound, they stop in Skagway. So, at least once a week, they'll have a ship from HAL. Maybe she meant they were not stopping as much as previous years?

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Try googling each excursion to find the actual tour operator.  Their web site might provide more details.

Also, look on youtube for video of each.   Being able to see the excursion might help you with the decision.

Good luck !

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My May 2020 Maasdam cruise switched from Haines to Skagway months ago.  Great dogsledding in the snow in Skagway.

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