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Advice on Pre/post cruise vacation in Alaska/Pacific Northwest

Advice on Pre/post cruise vacation in Alaska/Pacific Northwest

Old Jun 29th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Advice on Pre/post cruise vacation in Alaska/Pacific Northwest

My wife and I are going on an Alaskan cruise May 21-May 28, Vancouver to Anchorage (Seward). We are going with her parents and other family, and we want to take a bit of a vacation before, after, or before and after the cruise. At most, I could take 10 days off from work, but between weekends and Memorial Day, that gives us 15ish days to work with. We need to be home in Philadelphia by the afternoon of May 31.

Currently, we are leaning towards something like:

May 16 (Tues): Leave PHL arrive Seattle
May 17: Seattle
May 18: Ferry to Victoria, overnight
May 19: Victoria
May 20: Ferry to Vancouver, overnight
May 21: Vancouver - board cruise ship
May 21-May 28: Cruise
May 28: Cruise ends in the morning; see Seward/Kenai Fjords, night in Seward
May 29: Kenai Fjords boat trip, night in Seward
May 30: Seward to Anchorage, leave on a late night flight

However, we haven't booked anything yet except the cruise, which is already booked and can't change. Does anyone have suggestions for a better itinerary? Will we have enough time to at least get the flavor of Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria, or do we need more time to see these cities? We can't spend more time in Alaska as we need to be home by May 31. Is it worth spending 60ish hours there after the cruise, or are we better off just taking a Kenai Fjords boat tour and flying out that night (which would mean more time in Seattle/Vancouver)?

We are very much city people, and our intention for the pre-cruise part of the trip is to see cities for the most part - art, pleasant neighborhoods, parks, etc. But if there are any natural wonders (maybe one of the Puget Sound islands?) that we could fit in, we wouldn't mind that. We aren't planning on trying to see Olympic NP / Cascades / Mt. Rainer / etc on this trip.
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Old Jun 29th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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Mmm...that isn't very much time for either Seattle or Vancouver. You'll be able to pick a couple neat things to see/do in each, but you sound interested in delving a little deeper. If I were you, I'd try to spend an extra day at least in each city-that way, you can really relax and enjoy the neighborhoods/art/island trip (a ferry trip to Bainbridge is always nice)/food etc that each city has to offer.

A day is plenty of time for Victoria-the area of interest to tourists is quite small.
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Old Jun 29th, 2005, 08:50 PM
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I would suggest you spend your precruise time based in Seattle. You will have enough time on the water as it is.

STCOLT
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Old Jun 29th, 2005, 09:16 PM
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IMHO, you will want to spend every second in Alaska that you can. It's incredibly beautiful. I think by seeing Seward & doing the boat tour, then driving, (or taking train), to Anchorage, you'll get to see a small part of the terrific Kenai Peninsula scenery. It'll be just enough to make you want to come back to see more the interior of Alaska! ;-)

We took the NW Fjords boat tour (in the rain) and loved it!! Truly a highlight of our 2 week trip!

Enjoy! Alaska is not to be missed!
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 04:39 AM
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This isn't a bad plan, and I definately disagree- you need that overnight in Victoria, it isn't worth a day trip in my opinion. But I wouldn't ferry from Seattle since that is passager only. I would drive up to Ancortes and take a one way Seatac-downtown Vancouver car over. Otherwise you are going to be stuck with a bus schedule on your return to Vancouver and less options in your short time. One way cars are more expensive than round trips but would give you plenty of freedom and good scheduling in Victoria, way more convenient.
As for Alaska- that's all you have time for. You may want to consider taking the Alaska RR to Anchorage, BUT you would definately need a 1am flight if you were leaving that night. No earlier since you will have to cab to the airport and Anchorage is a very congested airport.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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I was wondering about a car. Do we actually need a car to see things, or can we pretty much walk around the cities? I was hoping to avoid renting a car as neither of us really like driving, unless we have to.

If we took a floatplane from Victoria harbor to Vancouver harbor, would that eliminate the need for a car?

(I realize to see Butchart Gardens we'd need to take a bus, but I figure that must be a pretty easy bus route?)

As far as time in Victoria, I know we want to overnight there, but it sounds like we probably don't need two nights, right?
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Old Jul 1st, 2005, 04:39 AM
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Of course "it depends" but there is far more to see on Vancouver Island than Victoria and a car makes it all possible. There is the Inner Harbor area with plenty of walkable attractions, if that is all you want to do. As a cheap option for Butchart, you can take the city bus, allow about an hour, but a big bargain. Pick up is on Douglas, behind the Empress and across from the MacDonalds
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