Landtour before Cruise

Apr 12th, 2005, 12:21 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Landtour before Cruise

Planning on our summer '06 Alaskan Cruise - probably going on Princess from Whittier to Vancouver. We were considering the Princess landtour first, but now thinking about doing this on our own. If we want to see Denali, Mt. McKinley & Kenai, should we fly into Fairbanks, go to Denali, then to McKinley (or Talkeentna) then on down to Kenai... could we do this all by rail? Is it a pain in the neck with luggage for 3 people? We are interested in beautiful scenery and wildlife staying in lovely accommodations along the way. We really only want to do 5 nights if possible... is this too much? What should we cut out if anything? Seems that Kenai is throwing things out of whack because it's kind of out of the way after coming south from Fairbanks... (we'd then have to go back towards Whittier.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Lisa
LPOWMACBACK is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 02:16 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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You need to do some homework. "McKinley" is not an area to stay in, you are referencing the Princess lodge probabaly. Out in the middle of nowhere, better is to consider Talkeetna. Also, Kenai is a city on the Cook Inlet- I'll assume you are referring to Seward? Anyway- the rail can be a great option, but you need TIME. With your priority for scenery and wildlife you would do better going via rental car, so to allow much more touring of all the areas in between. There are few one way car rentals Fairbanks-Anchorage and with only 5 days not enough time in my opinion for both Fairbanks-Anchorage, then Anchorage-Seward. I wouldn't go to Fairbanks and just pass though, it's worth a couple days. If you only have 5 days, frankly you have time for a night in Anchorage- drive to Talkeetna over night, drive to Denali park- 2 nights, return to Anchorage 1 night before cruising. IF you arrange private transportation directly from Seward to Whittier, then an overnight there via rail. With the rail it arrives around 11am and you can do a Kenai Fjords boat tour leaving at 11:30am. By all means, consider adding more days- Alaska travel needs them. A necessary reference is THE MILEPOST, get a copy from your library and review the routing and especially determine if an area is of interest. You can save backtracking by getting a Seward ship- with HAL my pick. Would make better use of your time. Tough choices certainly- but you do need to research everything fully and never underestimate time necessary or the distances. This is a problem with the cruisetours, spending a great deal of time in transit on the tours under 7 days.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 04:57 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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We're don't have enough time to put into doing the whole thing on our first trip. The best we can do is the northern inside passage and 3 nights land tour ending in Fairbanks. I've been to the library and read in 4 books that it's more thrilling to do the northern route as each day you build up the excitement and have Glacier Bay at the end. Right or wrong, this is the way we're doing it.
Len3 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 05:39 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 110
Just another thought - if you have enough frequent flyer miles, it can make a big diff in how you select which way to go. We saved about $1,500 by doing the cruise first and ending in Fairbanks - flying on Northwest for free.
Len3 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 07:57 AM
  #5  
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As much as I'd love to save money, I really don't want to end with the land portion because I want to be more relaxed in the end. The land portion, no matter how many days, seems as it will be rather hectic, traveling from hotel to hotel, whereas the cruise is not....
LPOWMACBACK is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 11:45 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I have sailed both northbound and southbound- my preference is south for the excellent last sailing day back to Vancouver, filled with scenery and wildlife. It's sailed at night north. ALSO, it is more common now to NOT sail along the coast in the Gulf of Alaska, last 2 trips were way out to sea rather than skirting the coast. So not to be a spoil sport- north is not superior. AND with proper planning- the land portion is NO MORE hectic than the cruise. The problems come when not enough TIME is budgeted, on either independent or cruisetours.
BudgetQueen is offline  

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