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apnvarette Apr 16th, 2007 08:41 PM

Seward or Anchorage?
Traveling this May on Royal Carribean and our ship disembarks in Seward. My original plans were to take the ship transfer on the train to Anchorage which leaves at 9AM and gets into Anchorage at 2PM. Our flight does not depart until 11PM so we'll have a good 7 hours to kill. I'm wondering do we stay in Seward to see sights and rent a car to Anchorage, or take the train and see what Anchorage has to offer? Does it really take 5-6 hours on the train or is that because the train stops alot along the way?

Thanks is advance,

rm_mn Apr 17th, 2007 04:41 AM

I'd recommend the train. On the train you both can enjoy the scenery rather than being worried about the road condition and traffic. The train takes that long because it isn't a fast track. Alaska winters are tough on roads and railbeds with freezing and thawing as well as snow slides. Since it travels through some fairly rugged terrain it has to go slow, but that gives you time to view at leisure.

Anchorage has many things to do to kill the time until your flight.

repete Apr 17th, 2007 09:11 PM

One-way rentals are pricey, but I'd recommend the drive.

The drive is one of the best in the U.S. Road conditions are good and traffic -- unless it's the end of Memorial Day weekend -- will not be an issue in May.

You'll get a chance to stop where you want, including taking a little more time in Seward if needed. Girdwood is a great stop and there are numerous other possibilities along the way. There's also Portage Glacier and roadside wildlife opportunities.

BudgetQueen Apr 18th, 2007 10:06 AM

I too recommend you drive with your short timeframe. Hertz is your only rental option, so see if anything is available first. Expect rates of $200++/day.

Then I would suggest a 8am Kenai fjords boat tour- just fantastic for varied wildlife and close up glacier viewing. Exit glacier when you return then leave for Anchorage. This timing allows for some time for stops along the way. The Airport is off the Seward Highway and easy to find. A full, but great touring day. You need a 2 hour window at the Anchorage airport.

apnvarette Apr 18th, 2007 08:24 PM

Hmm, yea, I was kind of undecided because we already are doing the White Pass train ride/shuttle back (to get different views) in Skagway but everything I've read on the boards and in books says to take the Seward train because the scenery is really pretty too. But I know there is alot of nature to view once in Seward which is why we're going to Alaska in the first place and I didn't want to just see another downtown area. I think we paid $125 each for the train transfer so the cost of the car wouldn't matter. Is there a particular recommended tour to Kenai? I think I can still cancel the train transfer can't I?

Thanks again, Ang

BudgetQueen Apr 19th, 2007 05:40 AM

It isn't Kenai you are looking for- a city on the Cook Inlet. It's Kenai Fjords. :) My preference is always the Northwestern Fjords trips, but not really doable in your timeframe.

Look at Alaska Heritage, Renown and Major Marine. All three are well established companies that run excellent tours.

repete Apr 19th, 2007 06:21 AM

"everything I've read on the boards and in books says to take the Seward train."

This is <b>simply not true.</b> The train is fun and a different experience for many, but ... there's a trade off.

While it does go through some beautiful country away from the road, it's not like the highway is routed through slum and heavy industry. In fact, the only place I have seen a wolverine in the wild was along the highway. And the closest, I've ever been to twin moose calves was there as well.

Here's the trade off: A bit of scenery that's different from what you'll see along the highway vs. the opportunity to stop and enjoy some great sights along the way.

I've done both.

Plus $125 is a complete ripoff.

apnvarette Apr 19th, 2007 05:38 PM

Budget Queen, sorry, I did mean Kenai Fjords, I was too tired to write it all out and didn't realize there was a Kenai city.

Haha Repete! Thanks for that honest opinion! If I paid too much for that transfer, is $25 too much for the transfer from the airport to the pier? I booked all our other excursions independent of RCCL after reading everyone's recommendations.

In any case, I am totally ramped up about ditching the train and doing the drive so we can see more nature. I think I will definitely do a boat tour, and check out Exit Glacier. BQ, I assume you are recommending I do a 6 hour boat tour from 8-2? Do I have enought time to stop at Portage Glacier and Girdwood too?

Sounds like rentals are hard to come by in Seward, is there another option if I can't get the car? The AR train doesn't leave until 6 and I need to be at the airport at 9 for an 11pm flight.

I was going to do the Mt. Roberts Tram in Juneau, but is the other tram in Alyeska(?) better? Is that the one I saw one of you two recommend in another post? Any other parting words of wisdom? Sorry for all the 40 questions, I'm just trying to finalize our itinerary so I can sleep! :)

Many thanks for your great advice.


apnvarette Apr 19th, 2007 07:54 PM

BQ, I noticed you didn't mention the Kenai Fjords Tours (or did you in an earlier reply and I didn't get it?) but mentioned 3 other touring companies in a later response. Is Kenai Fjords Tours good because they are the only ones with the 8AM tour. That must have been what you meant right? I am dumb, sorry!


BudgetQueen Apr 20th, 2007 07:18 AM

Kenai Fjords tours is Alaska Heritage.

See if a car rental is available now. And book it. :) If you take the 8am boat tour, you should have time for the Portage Visiter Center and tram. Allow 3 hours for the drive plus stops. :)

apnvarette Apr 20th, 2007 08:05 AM

Thank you BQ and Repete! I'm on it! Soooo excited!

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