Post cruise land itinerary 8 days in July

Nov 8th, 2019, 03:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2
Post cruise land itinerary 8 days in July

Our July 2020 Royal Caribbean cruise ends in Seward from Vancouver, and we have 8 days for a land tour.

We have read many (many) trip reports and suggestions - and like everyone else - we are staggered by so many possibilities
and raw beauty in so many seems harder to plan this trip than anything we have ever done before.

We were hoping for a suggested itinerary (we would need a car from Seward (super expensive),
and then drive to Anchorage and trade it (the cars in Anchorage are super expensive).

We want to see beauty in Alaska, do some easy to moderate hiking (we are in our 50's).
We LOVE stopping as we go along - but where are the best towns to stay for the night and how long to devote to each place?

Not sure about doing the Kenai Fiords (we will have just gotten off a ship for a week).

So, Seward - Anchorage - Denali (then is Fairbanks worth it, or back to Anchorage to fly home)?

We saw some great suggestions for stopping - but we need a "reality check" for an itinerary for the 8 days, if you can help us?
TGeorge is offline  
Nov 9th, 2019, 01:41 AM
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Does cruise have a bus going to Anchorage? The Seward highway is one of the most beautiful drives we took. To save $ I would take the bus to Anchorage to rent a car and then return to Seward stopping along the way such taking the tram up Mt. Alyeska. I don't think there is any comparison between being on a huge cruise ship and a Kenai Fjords small boat. The day trip was one of our highlights. We got so close to a humpback whale we could smell whale breath. We stopped to watch glacier and with the engine shut off could hear the ice crunching against the sides of the boat. The day trip out of Whittier would also be an option. It's a long drive from Anchorage to Denali without the incredible scenery you have on the Seward Highway and you have to gamble on a clear day and animals to view in the park. Take a look at what you can do from Anchorage to Seward and plan your 8 days accordingly. I really liked Independence Mine north of Anchorage. With no stops Anchorage to Seward is about 3 hours but it can easily take a whole day. If the salmon are running in the Russian River I would make a slight detour to watch the fishing.
dfrostnh is offline  
Nov 9th, 2019, 07:34 AM
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When in July do you arrive? I'm assuming you WON'T be in Seward on the 4th of July; the annual Mount Marathon race draws thousands and thousands of people to the little town, congesting everything including the roads to and from.

Some various thoughts...

The Kenai Fjord tours (there are various lengths, from 6 to 9+ hours) will let you see tidewater glaciers, lots of marine wildlife, and spectacular scenery. However they cross open ocean and can be rough and seasickness-provoking, so if that's an issue it might be best to pass.

The train leaves Seward for Anchorage at 6 PM, so it's possible to get off the ship, do a tour, and be on the train by 6 and in Anchorage around 10.

One-way car rentals, be it from Seward to Anchorage or v.,v., or from Anchorage to Fairbanks or v.v., are horrendously expensive.

For some sample days in July, a 4-day car rental from Fairbamks airport will cost under $100, compared to the same days from Anchorage airport costing $500 or more. A one-way plane ticket from Anchorage to Fairbanks costs $76 and takes an hour (round trip $153.) Hotels are also cheaper in Fairbanks, and the drive to Denali from Fairbanks is half as long as from Anchorage. So it's possible to save money on a Denali trip by flying to Fairbanks, getting a car there, drive to Denali then back to Fairbanks, and fly back to Anchorage, compared to just driving from Anchorage.

Remember that around half the people visiting Denali never see the mountain; it creates its own weather. Also remember that visiting the park interior requires sitting on a school bus for 8 - 12 hours. It is not a self-drive national park.

How willing are you to get off the beaten track? Let me just throw out an alternative idea that you can weigh.

Round trip airfare from Anchorage to Kotzebue, an Inupiat Eskimo community on a branch of the Arctic Ocean, is $300. Kotzebue is above the arctic circle, so for the first ten days or so of July the sun will be up for 24 hours, but after that it will only set for an hour or so, and it won't get dark at all, so if you're interested in seeing the midnight sun, here's your chance. The local Native community operates a comfortable hotel - Nulla?vik Hotel :: Home - right across the street from the beach, and you can visit the local Native heritage center, visit a fish camp, learn about this remarkable culture... it's a terrific way to spend a couple of days. You won't need a car.

Or, for around $30 more in airfare, you can fly to Nome, the historic gold rush town on the Bering Sea. Nome's not above the arctic circle, so no 24 hour sun, but you'll still have midnight sun (it sets around 1 AM) and it won't get dark there either. What Nome has, however, is a surprisingly extensive network of roads that lead off into the bush of the Seward Peninsula. You can rent a vehicle locally and drive these roads, which will offer terrific wilderness scenery and some "living history" (there's still a lot of gold mining going on - watch Bering Sea Gold to see) and there's a LOT of wildlife in the area - muskoxen, moose, caribou and reindeer, foxes, bears... and a LOT of birds, including some hard-to-include-on-your-life-list species. Nome has decent hotels, which will cost around the same or less than comparable quarters in Anchorage, and this would give you a glimpse of Alaska that 90%+ of visitors never see.

Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 9th, 2019, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Meant to include a link to the Bering Sea Gold TV show - for those interested.
Gardyloo is online now  
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