Help with Alaska Adjenda...please?

Old Apr 24th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Help with Alaska Adjenda...please?

I have been appointed 'travel agent' for my two single adult children. They plan to fly from the East Coast on 8/6 to attend an event in the Anchorage area on 8/8. They will spend the next week "seeing and doing" in that area of Alaska. They want me to recommend things that they must see because they view me as an authority…I have been there. (Also, I suspect because it will eliminate a lot of work on their behalf. LOL!) Actually, my experience is limited to the Inside Passage, but I still have in mind some ‘must sees’...glaciers, whales and wildlife.

I have looked (unsuccessfully) for a 5 day cruise. Does anyone know of one? In lieu of that, I will recommend a one day cruise to see glaciers and wildlife. I really want them to see whales. Can anyone make a recommendation based on experience? One-day cruises go from a couple of different ports…suggestion, please? If they cruise for only one day, they should have time to take the train to Denali and stay there for one overnight. Suggestions based on experience?

What recommendations can someone make to help them enjoy this trip which I suspect is a "once in a lifetime" for them?
pollyvw is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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They should spend the week on the Kenai peninsula, visiting Girdwood, Seward, Homer and perhaps Whittier for a day cruise. They can take a day glacier cruise out of Whittier or Seward.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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We did a one day trip out of Seward which included a buffet meal and narration by a park ranger, which we thought was excellent. We saw lots of wildlife including whales, bear, goats, sea lions, etc. and spent an hour near the Aialik Glacier enjoying the calving. We were there in September, and the boat was not crowded at all which probably made it more enjoyable, but I think it would be a good trip anytime.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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I second the cruise jkdavis is recommending (Major Cruises), although any company from Seward is fine as long as they go out long and far enough. They need to take one that goes all the way to Aialik Glacier. This will take the better part of a day--several hours but it's amazing the whole time--fabulous scenery and always watching for whales.

They can walk right up to a glacier at Exit Glacier just north of Seward. You can hike for hours up to the Harding Icefield but it will only take about 30 minutes or so to walk on a paved path to the glacier and back.

It will take several hours to drive up to Denali, then the whole next day (8 hours) to take the park shuttle bus into the park and back out. They should see moose, caribou, grizzlies. No need to pay for a fancy, overpriced private tour bus--all the buses are just old school buses. They were packed--we were not. We've done it twice and the drivers are well educated and will always stop for wildlife spotting and views. You can do a search--you will find most people will give you the same advice. So, they will need three days--one day to drive up, one day to see the park and one day to drive back to Anchorage.

Another great thing they can do on their way back down to Anchorage is stop in Talkeetna and take a flightseeing tour over the mountains. It's one of the most special things I have ever done. It's just breath taking. They will fly over huge, long glaciers and see the mountain range in a way you can't see otherwise. Some trips let you land on a glacier.

We found the Alaska TourSaver coupon book to be worth the $99 we paid. Most of the coupons are 2 for 1. We got our money back on the flight alone. Then, you can sell it on ebay and get some money back--just be sure to list which coupons you used.


Day 1--drive or train to Seward--do Exit Glacier, Sealife Center, buy tickets for cruise the next day, just chill and enjoy the scenery
Day 2--boat tour
Day 3-drive or train to Denali--great scenery along the way
Day 4--Denali shuttle bus tour
Day 5--stay another day?
Day 6--drive to Talkeetna--take flightseeing tour, then drive to Anchorage
Day 7-I'm guess they fly out that day??

If they have extra time in Anchorage, there is a really good Alaskan history museum downtown.

If they like to fish, all the locals fish on the Russian and Kenai River confluence a few hours north of Seward. They could spend their extra day there. It's quite a spectacle seeing hundreds of people "combat fishing" and it's really fun to get in there with them. They could rent equipment at the local Cooper Landing store. There are lodges in the area as well as campgrounds.

You might think about renting an RV to do all this. We've done it twice and loved it.

I'm sure you will have other good advice. This is just what we've enjoyed doing and how we learned to do it in two trips.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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The above "itinerary" is missing getting to Anchroage from Seward??

Overall, a round trip car rental out of Anchorage would be the best option, make the best use of time. Spending 2 nights in Seward, a night in Talkeetna and two in Denali park, is a min.

Seward There also are other glaciers besides Aialik. With the "better" option- for more varied wildlife, Northwestern Glacier. Bottom line, you need to consider any boat tour of Kenai Fjords of 6 hours or longer.

For clairfication- look at shuttle buses in Denali Park ( not tour buses), with my min. recommendation to Eielson.

If a glacier priority, at the least stop at the Portage Glacier Visit center. Boat tours out of Whittier are excellent, with the best being, again the longest, to Esther Passage.

Toursaver is a great cost saver, there is also Northern Lights coupon books to purchase. Compare what works best.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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You can drive all the way to Denali from Seward in one day--I've done it several times. Yes, you do have to go through Anchorage but you'll be going through lots of towns.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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You might want to check out options in Valdez as well. We did a kayaking trip with Anadyr Kayaks...they visit Schoupe Glacier, hiking, etc. You can also book overnights or multi-days on a small boat...pricey but very cool.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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TY all for responses. I have alerted the 'travelers' of this thread and they are now following it. They will be renting a car for at least part of the trip, the part that involves the Kenia Peninsula, but the portion that involves Denali is still unresolved.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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thanks for the great in formation. Has anyone taken the train between Anchorage and Fairbanks?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:17 AM
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Yes, I have taken the Alaska RR on all the routes. It requires TIME in my opinion, at least an extra day. Overall, Anchorage/Fairbanks, is no advantage over a car rental, just about parallels the Parks Highway, and no opportunity to stop anywhere along the way.
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