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Alaska Excursion


Moby Dick
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We will be in Juneau, AK., on May 15th.  Looking for cheap transportation to/from Juneau to Mendenhall Glacier and back.  I've found "The Blue Bus", $45.00pp.  Anybody got any insight on that?  It looks like it's kinda like a Hop-on Hop-off type of tour.  Comes and goes as you like (every 30 minutes, apparently).  This fits in as we have the Mt. Roberts tram reserved as soon as we dock in Juneau and we don't know how long we will be up there.  Like the freedom of getting on and off at will and not being stuck to a particular time.  

We've already booked a "Street Car City Tour" tour in Skagway.  Any other suggestions?

We don't have anything booked in Sitka, yet.  Again, any suggestions?

Probably not going to get off the ship in Victoria, B.C.

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20 minutes ago, Kathleen said:

We loved the White Pass Railway out of Skagway. Some incredible scenery  and vistas along the way.

Yep, I'd love to try that.  But, there are a lot of social media posts that say that the train may or may not run because of some issues with Canada.  I'd hate to book that and it be canceled at last minute and not be able to find a desirable replacement tour.  

I hope they clear things up well before they sell out and I can get a couple tickets then.  But, time is running short.  

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16 minutes ago, LizzyBee23 said:

White pass will be like it has been for the last few years... It will turn around before it crosses the border.

How many people are you booking for in Juneau? If you are game, you can always rent a car and do things on your own time.

4 of us.  But, we may not all do the same things.  

If the train doesn't go into Canada, how much of the ride and what are you missing.  Is it significant. 

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It doesn't get much cheaper than public transportation.  For $2 per person (one-way), you can take the capital transit bus. Route 3, Mendenhall Loop counterclockwise and Route 4, Mendenhall Loop clockwise.

These buses are very much commuter buses, but they were clean and comfortable enough. You definitely see the resident lifestyle while on them as they go about their routes.  Each bus runs every hour on the hour or half hour, so you can expect one every 30 minutes.  

The closest the buses get to the Mendenhall visitor center is the top of Glacial Spur Rd which is about 1.5 miles away. It is a relatively easy, flat walk to the center with some added scenery. If I recall correctly, the righthand side of the road has the sidewalk that goes the whole way.

Anyhow, we did this last July and it worked out fine as long as you don't mind the walk.

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9 minutes ago, Peter D said:

It doesn't get much cheaper than public transportation.  For $2 per person (one-way), you can take the capital transit bus. Route 3, Mendenhall Loop counterclockwise and Route 4, Mendenhall Loop clockwise.

These buses are very much commuter buses, but they were clean and comfortable enough. You definitely see the resident lifestyle while on them as they go about their routes.  Each bus runs every hour on the hour or half hour, so you can expect one every 30 minutes.  

The closest the buses get to the Mendenhall visitor center is the top of Glacial Spur Rd which is about 1.5 miles away. It is a relatively easy, flat walk to the center with some added scenery. If I recall correctly, the righthand side of the road has the sidewalk that goes the whole way.

Anyhow, we did this last July and it worked out fine as long as you don't mind the walk.

Something to think about.  Thanks a lot.

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I'm booked on the non-Canada White Pass train. They describe it as going to the White Pass summit, which is 2,800 ft up. It's also the border with BC, so you basically get as close to Canada as you can before you turn around. The trip takes 2hrs, 45m. I've never been so I have nothing to compare it too, but it still seems like a fun trip with lots to see. On the White Pass website you can see a map and it looks like it should be really scenic. Website: https://wpyr.com/excursions/product/summit-excursion/

In Sitka we are exploring on our own. We're going to walk to the Sitka National Historic Park, where there are some free ranger talks and a self guided totem pole tour that you can access on your phone. Then we're going to walk to the Russian Bishop House where there is also a free ranger tour. After we might just walk around and explore and find something for lunch. We may also check out the Sheldon Jackson Museum. I saw a tour on the RC website that does the historic park and Bishop House, and while they do provide transportation it all seems really walkable, and if we can do it all ourselves we might as well save the money. Plus it seems like a safe and nice scenic walk too.

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In Sitka, I recommend a visit to the Alaska Raptor Center. If there are no Royal excursions, arrange private transportation - it's well worth the visit.

My parents have been long-time supporters of the ARC and when my father passed in early 2021, a nice chunk of change was donated to the endowment fund there (the fund is now named "The Alaska Raptor Center John H. Ellis Endowment Fund").

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10 hours ago, 1st Mate said:

Yep, I'd love to try that.  But, there are a lot of social media posts that say that the train may or may not run because of some issues with Canada.  I'd hate to book that and it be canceled at last minute and not be able to find a desirable replacement tour.  

I hope they clear things up well before they sell out and I can get a couple tickets then.  But, time is running short.  

I had the white pass up the mountain and bike down. It was canceled this week. 

They now have a bus ride up and bicycle down. I'm chewing that one over.

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10 hours ago, 1st Mate said:

Yep, I'd love to try that.  But, there are a lot of social media posts that say that the train may or may not run because of some issues with Canada.  I'd hate to book that and it be canceled at last minute and not be able to find a desirable replacement tour.  

I hope they clear things up well before they sell out and I can get a couple tickets then.  But, time is running short.  

I received this email yesterday evening.  The issues have not been resolved.

Dear Guest,

Due to operational challenges that would cause significant delays at the US/Canadian border, the White Pass Railway tour operator has advised they're temporarily suspending any train services into Canadian territory for the 2022 season. Unfortunately, this impacts several of the shore excursions operating out of Skagway, Alaska.

As a result, we've modified this tour so that guests will now take a roundtrip train that remains within the U.S. We know how much time and effort go into planning your vacation, and we're sorry for the inconvenience. If you would like to cancel your reservation for this excursion and receive a full refund, please visit Cruise Planner and select cancel. A full refund will then be issued to your original form of payment, which you should see within 14 business days.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We look forward to welcoming you onboard!

Sincerely,

Royal Caribbean International

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39 minutes ago, steverk said:

I had the white pass up the mountain and bike down. It was canceled this week. 

They now have a bus ride up and bicycle down. I'm chewing that one over.

Being 70 with vertigo, I think the bike part is a NO GO, for me. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Toby said:

I received this email yesterday evening.  The issues have not been resolved.

Dear Guest,

 

Due to operational challenges that would cause significant delays at the US/Canadian border, the White Pass Railway tour operator has advised they're temporarily suspending any train services into Canadian territory for the 2022 season. Unfortunately, this impacts several of the shore excursions operating out of Skagway, Alaska.

 

As a result, we've modified this tour so that guests will now take a roundtrip train that remains within the U.S. We know how much time and effort go into planning your vacation, and we're sorry for the inconvenience. If you would like to cancel your reservation for this excursion and receive a full refund, please visit Cruise Planner and select cancel. A full refund will then be issued to your original form of payment, which you should see within 14 business days.

 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We look forward to welcoming you onboard!

 

Sincerely,

 

Royal Caribbean International

 

My guess is that this is really going to impact the small town of Skagway, instead of the crowds being spread out throughout many excursions, the Train tour being the largest, I think, those who don't want to settle for less will just stay in the town.  That's probably good for the in town vendors but bad news for the cruisers struggling with lines and crowds.  Now, all of that is an assumption as I've never been to Skagway, I've never played a doctor on TV, I do have Google Earth and I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once or twice.  

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We got the email yesterday, just outright cancelled our excursion.  I would take a train that remained in the US. Thanks Trudeau

Dear Guest,

Due to operational challenges that would cause significant delays at the US/Canadian border, the White Pass Railway tour operator has advised they're temporarily suspending any train services into Canadian territory for the 2022 season. Unfortunately, this impacts several of the shore excursions operating out of Skagway, Alaska.

As a result, we've canceled your reservation for this excursion. A full refund has been issued to your original form of payment, which you should see within 14 business days. We're sorry for any inconvenience this change may have caused. Please feel free to visit Cruise Planner or the Shore Excursions Desk once onboard to learn more about your options for your time in port.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We look forward to welcoming you onboard!

Sincerely,

Royal Caribbean International

Brand

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13 minutes ago, Peter D said:

With these cancellation emails going out, it's strange that on the Radiance cruise planner, they are still offering the cross-border train excursions. we are doing the short 2hr 45min scenic view excursion, so hopefully it will happen.

It may be possible that they are canceling the tours from the cruises that are nearing.  Others, they are still in "hopeful" mode and hope things may change by then.  Just my guess!

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My cruise planner still has this and we embark in Seattle on May 13th:

Important details and advisements

  • Since this excursion crosses the U.S.-Canadian border, guests must carry their passport, and if applicable, their visa.
  • Guests must be able to climb up five steps to the railway car.
  • Drivers cannot lift/carry guests on/off the coach or push guests in wheelchairs throughout the tour.
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All of this makes me wonder what's going on with the ship going into Victoria.  Not that I plan on going into Canada anyway.  Is the ship going into Victoria or not?  I haven't heard that they aren't, so I guess they are, at least as of right now.  It's a shame, really.  

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4 hours ago, 1st Mate said:

It may be possible that they are canceling the tours from the cruises that are nearing.  Others, they are still in "hopeful" mode and hope things may change by then.  Just my guess!

That would make sense, but they canceled my excursion in June and one in September. 

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4 hours ago, 1st Mate said:

It may be possible that they are canceling the tours from the cruises that are nearing.  Others, they are still in "hopeful" mode and hope things may change by then.  Just my guess!

We received the email and our cruise is in mid August

 

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5 hours ago, steverk said:

I had the white pass up the mountain and bike down. It was canceled this week. 

They now have a bus ride up and bicycle down. I'm chewing that one over.

We did the bike ride down (they brought us up in a van and we biked down).  It was, by far, one of the best excursions we've ever done.

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I received an email last night that our September sailing's White Pass Railway and Motor Coach tour was being modified "so that guests will now take a roundtrip train that remains within the U.S.". No mention of a partial refund or price adjustment, so we decided to cancel that excursion, and book the roundtrip train excursion offered on the Cruise Planner since it's about $10 cheaper than the "modified" excursion for the exact same thing.

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We booked a bus tour into the Yukon and got an E-mail that border crossing is not an issue with them, we only needed to be early to register the vac card and passport.   Seems the train has just decided they dont want to hassle with the few minutes of vaccine card verification required for each passenger. 

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We're doing an Alaskan cruise in late August, northbound from Vancouver. When we reach Seward we plan on taking the train to Anchorage. The train leaves Seward around 6 pm, arrives Anchorage around 10 pm. What do we do with our luggage before boarding the train, and what is there to occupy us in Seward. When we arrive in Anchorage, I figure we'll head straight to our hotel. We fly out the next night around 9pm. Same question, what do we do with our luggage after we check out from the hotel, and what are recommendations to spend a half day in Anchorage. I realize we probably won't do either town justice, but we still work,  and can't take the extra vacation time. 

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On 4/27/2022 at 4:42 PM, Cruiser58 said:

We're doing an Alaskan cruise in late August, northbound from Vancouver. When we reach Seward we plan on taking the train to Anchorage. The train leaves Seward around 6 pm, arrives Anchorage around 10 pm. What do we do with our luggage before boarding the train, and what is there to occupy us in Seward. When we arrive in Anchorage, I figure we'll head straight to our hotel. We fly out the next night around 9pm. Same question, what do we do with our luggage after we check out from the hotel, and what are recommendations to spend a half day in Anchorage. I realize we probably won't do either town justice, but we still work,  and can't take the extra vacation time. 

This is partly why we chose the bus option instead of the train.  It leaves Seward around 9:30AM and gets to Anchorage around 1:30.  Most hotels will let you leave your bags with them until ready to pick them up when heading to the airport.  I would check with them.  Not sure about what to do with them in Seward. 

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