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Home > Member Reviews > jbar434's Port Reviews of Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria

jbar434's Port Reviews of Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria
Norwegian Pearl cruise in May 2014
Member Name: jbar434
Cruise Date: May 2014
Embarkation: Seattle
Destination: Alaska
Member Review: jbar434's Norwegian Pearl Review
Juneau
Mendenhall Glacier Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Juneau – We did the Costal Helicopter tour and had Jamie as our pilot. We went to and landed on the Herbert Glacier. Well worth it and our favorite excursion. (more info on Tripadvisor) The port itself was nice.




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Skagway
White Pass Scenic Railway Rating: Not Rated

Skagway – This port was COLD and windy. We did the Yukon/ Rail ride excursion with Chilkoot Charters. James was our driver. (more info on Tripadvisor) He did a decent job given the construction. A little preachy at the end, but still a good story teller, very informative, safe, and accommodating. We got to see two bears from a distance.. one on the bus and another on the train. Dog sled camp was interesting .. “puppy” area not what I expected as they dogs are between 6 m to a year or so. Lunch was decent and fast. White Trail Train ride back was outstanding and a “must do” for sure!




Yukon Van Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Skagway – This port was COLD and windy. We did the Yukon/ Rail ride excursion with Chilkoot Charters. (more info on Tripadvisor) James was our driver. He did a decent job given the construction. A little preachy at the end, but still a good story teller, very informative, safe, and accommodating. We got to see two bears from a distance.. one on the bus and another on the train. Dog sled camp was interesting .. “puppy” area not what I expected as they dogs are between 6 m to a year or so. Lunch was decent and fast. White Trail Train ride back was outstanding and a “must do” for sure!




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Ketchikan
City Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Ketchikan – We did the “Ketchikan Taxi Cab Tour” with Kat. (more info on Tripadvisor) It’s one of the Scarbourogh Taxi Cabs. It sounded like you could get cheaper options, and they would be about the same price, so I might check around a bit before booking this one. She did a good job. Showed us the sites there were to see, there just weren’t a lot of them. She had binoculars we could borrow (since our last minute Walmart ones were crap). She was very polite and accommodating. We got to see some eagles, a deer and some marine life by a boat dock, as well as one of the totem parks. She was also knowledgeable and helped us find the place to get some crab shipped back for a friend at home. This was the only stop that required bug spray for us. The shopping by the pier was good. If I had it to do over, I think I’d try the float planes at this stop.




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Victoria
Whale Watching Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

Victoria – CRAPPY port times. 6PM to midnight.  We were able to find BC Whale tours that took us out. (more information on Tripadvisor) They were accommodating and willing to work with our times available. They picked us up, got us suited up (the suit for our 4 year old worked out mostly but was WAY too big) quickly and we were off. They knew where the whales were, but didn’t tell us it was over an hour away. That would have been nice to know.. but didn’t change anything in the long run. They went out of their way to make sure we saw some Orca (even though we went all the way to Vancouver .. seriously) to see them. We saw at least a dozen (some at a distance), probably 8 fairly close, and 4 or so that hung around for a few minutes and were very close.
Sooooo…. Here’s the thing.. I’m torn on my review… they really did do a good job for us seeing the whales.. so they get 5 stars on that..
BUT… on the way back, WE RAN OUT OF GAS. We were about 5 miles from the harbor where you would have to slow down to no wake and the boat just lurches to a halt. The pilot handled it well and didn’t panic, and answered all of the one young boys questions well.. better than I would have tolerated it when I was dealing with a situation like that. He called for help and was able to get one engine started and we limped towards the harbor. It was PITCH BLACK in the middle of the Peugeot Sound and we were crawling back to shore.. AND we were about 40 minutes from “all aboard” for our ship. Also it was getting cold.. and there were 15 or so people, and only enough room inside the "cabin" for about 6.
Help arrived but it was too choppy to transfer fuel or people, so they just stayed alongside us as we slowly made our way back. They decided to drop us off at the dock by the cruise ships since we now had about 20 min before we had to be back on board and the trip to the normal dock and the drive back would have made us miss our ship.
Here’s the only time I actually thought we were in danger. One the other boat had to keep herding our boat away from shore.. had we run out of gas totally and were as close as we were, we could have been pulled in. Then, we went to go around the cruise ships to get to the dock we needed when suddenly, and with one engine and no gas to spare, he hurries and puts the boat in full reverse. The Holland America ship was backing out and we almost went right behind them!!!! OMG!!! Granted.. it wasn’t like 3 feet or anything.. but it was probably less than 100.. and that is a BIG ship with a BIG pull. The pilot blamed the ship for not doing the 3 blasts with its horn, but it was after 11 PM.. and I think there’s a time frame for waking everyone one, that they don’t do that.. and the pilot should have known that too.
The crew didn’t apologize or offer any money back.
I think an apology was due as it did scare some of the kids and the adults were stressed about the timing thing. The money part, was probably fine since we did get to see the whales, and we did have to go a LONG way to see them, and we did make it back in time in the end. Still left me a little unsettled.




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