Apr 28th, 2005, 10:32 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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We have two teens and have always wanted to see Alaska glaciers by water- but do not have the budget for cruise. Also prefer 'non-tourist' personal activities. Any suggestions for altenatives to see spectacular scenery! We may be using a timeshare week in Banff also BC. Thanks.
vb is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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Considering that NCL has cruises for around $399 per person, that's about as cheap as you're going to get to see glaciers. You can fly into Juneau and take a day cruise to Tracy Arm, or fly to Gustavus and take the day trip to Glacier Bay, but each of those trips are well over $100 per person. Add airfare, hotels at around $150 per night, food, etc. and the cruise is going to be your cheapest bet.
wolfie11 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Hi vb, you will see incredible glaciers in Jasper National Park, just north of Banff. You can drive the spectacular Columbia Icefield Parkway or actually take a SNO-COACH tour on a glacier. Amazing, and cold! Dress warmly even in the summer (we were there in july) as the temp hovers at freezing and it never stops snowing. They sell a nice variety of columbia snow gear in the gift shops.

Have fun, its stunning scenery!
ellen_griswold is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 02:31 PM
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ellen makes a good point about the Columbia Ice fields except that it definately is a "tourist" activity.

If you can get by that, I highly recommend it as well. I was there in late July and missed out on the snowing, would have liked to see that.

Banff to Lake Louise and Jasper is a fantastic vacation. Some people favor that area over Alaska.
placeu2 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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I've been to Alaska once for three weeks and Jasper and Banff twice. Alaska is such a large area and it's hard to see much of it in a small amount of time. Jasper and Banff on the otherhand are easy to see in a week or so of time.

The two times we were in the Jasper - Banff area the weather was pretty nice. We also had a couple of days of snow in early July. They even had to close the Icefield Parkway for a couple of days, but then the sun came out and it was beautiful!

The SnoCoach tour onto the Athabasca Glacier is really awesome....even if it is a touristy thing to do.

utahtea is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 08:06 PM
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As nice as the Columbia Icefield is, marine glaciers (especially calving) are more spectacular.

One option might be to fly into Anchorage (usually cheaper than getting to Juneau) and take the 26-glacier day trip out of Whittier or the long Kenai Fjord tour out of Seward.

Going into Anchorage also allows road trips to Portage Glacier (not nearly as scenic as it used to be) or Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield.

A different option might be drive from Anchorage to valdez -- stopping at Matanuska Glacier and Worthington Glacier -- before catching the ferry to Whittier past Columbia Glacier. You won't get as close to the glacier as designated glacier trips, but they usually (or at least used to) make a few stops.
repete is offline  
Apr 28th, 2005, 09:39 PM
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The Alaska Marine Highway might be the answer for you. It is a series of ferry ships which has a weekly cruise schedule used primarily by Alaska natives and runs from Washington through the inside passage and also up to the Valdez area.

They have minimal private rooms, restaurants, National Park personnel onboard lectures and they stop at all ports large and small. I used the AMH and had a fantastic time and made lots of new friends. It is sort of "non-tourist". They have a web site and brochures.
jorr is offline  
Apr 29th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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I would echo the recommendation about flying into Anchorage and driving down to Seward (which can end up being an entire day or even more - lots of cool stuff to see) and then take the full day boat trip from Seward out to Kenai Fjords National Park. We did that prior to getting on a Princess cruise and we saw everything we wanted to and then some. We had been to the Columbia Icefields the year before which was beautiful and fun and this was as much so if not more. Saw calving glaciers, otters, orcas, sea lions, humbacks, puffins, waterfalls, etc, etc, etc. Banff is a great town and there is lots to do around that area - hiking and nature. Can't go wrong with that.
jcasale is offline  
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