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Family Alaska trip/cruise - first time

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We're planning our first trip to AK in late June '14. We (mid-50s adults and 2 young adult children) are going to do a Southbound cruise, probably departing Seward or Whittier so that we can arrive early and spend a few days exploring on our own. My prelim. plan is to fly to either Fairbanks or Anchorage and then travel to our cruise departure via Denali. Which is the better starting point? Should we rent a car or take buses or trains? A car seems better so we have flexibility. Alternatively, we could just fly into Anchorage and do a more local trip or two. Would we be better off seeing a different sight (other than Denali) that isn't so far away? If so, what?

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