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peggi Feb 11th, 2005 07:08 AM

Short land tour after cruise
As a result of reading this board, we have decided to do our "land tour" portion will be very short as we are boxed in by plane reservations made based on cruise's package. We arrive Seward Fri, Aug. 12th. Plan to get a rental car and drive to Anchorage, stopping for lunch. Then drive to Denali (4 1/2 hrs) to check into (hopefully) McKinley Chalet Resort near the park entrance. On Saturday, do the Tundra Wilderness Tour (6-8 hours). Sunday, we might do a plane thing in the am and then catch the 3:45 train to Fairbanks. Arrives 8:15 pm. We will only have Monday in Fairbanks due to 5pm flight to Seattle. Any other suggestions?

repete Feb 11th, 2005 07:54 AM

A couple of questions:

1) Boxed in is right. Flying out of Fairbanks rarely makes sense, I shudder to think what you could have done with the extra money. You're paying more money for a place with less to offer on a short visit, plus you're adding a one-way car rental from Seward to Denali to the mix.

Airfares on Aug. 15 are $519 if you want a non-stop from FAI-SEA or $370 for the ones that stop in ANC.

Meanwhile, you can get ANC-SEA non-stops for $204.

It might be worth looking into the penalties for changing the air.

Here are some alternatives:

Day 1 -- the 12th
1) Either leisurely drive from Seward to Talkeetna on the first day or 2) Spend the day in Seward (Kenai Fjords trip) and take the train to Anchorage.

Day 2 -- Aug. 13
Drive to Talkeetna (if you didn't on day 1) and flightsee, then drive to Denali.

Day 3 -- Aug. 14

Tour Denali, stay either there or Talkeetna.

Day 4
Back to Anchorage with stops at Hatcher Pass, Eagle River Nature Center or Anchorage sites.

BudgetQueen Feb 12th, 2005 03:48 AM

I too agree you have made a mistake with Fairbanks air. You also have several problems with your plan- first off the only place you will be able to drop off your car is Anchorage, as Hertz in the past doesn't have one way drops Anchorage- Fairbanks (but certainly verify this, changes happen), only one way rentals Anchorage/Fairbanks in the past were Avis and Thrify. You also will have NO option to drop off at Denali Park- there are no rentals there, so the train is out for at least the driver. You have a 3 hour drive Seward-Anchorage then, you need to allow about 5.5 hours for the drive Anchorage-Denali Park- it isn't a marathon and you are missing the best flying option- Talkeetna not to mention the great experience of seeing the area. Again for clairfication- I never recommend the Tundra Wilderness tour for independent visitors- you want the SHUTTLE bus to Fish Creek UNLESS you want to spend $76 vs $33.75. You will have to pack in all your food and drink with the shuttle however. And lastly I would not limit myself to the McKinley Chalet- it is clearly a large volume tour hotel. There are plenty of other nice options expecially with a rental car.
Bottom line- this is not a recommended itinerary. My first suggestion would be for you to absolutely change your air to Anchorage. THEN spend your time between Seward- you are missing that gem completely, and Talkeetna. Frankly you do not have enough time for Denali Park.

peggi Feb 12th, 2005 08:25 AM

Thanks for the advice; we'll start looking into the possibility of flying home from Anchorage instead of Fairbanks. If I can arrange that, then we may just skip Denali; as much as I'd like to do it, it sounds like there are things that would be of more interest to the kids.

peggi Feb 13th, 2005 03:17 AM

We WERE able to change the flight back so now we have a completely different plan! We'll get off the cruise ship Friday morning, spend the day and that night in Seward and on Saturday, take the train to Anchorage. Monday, we'll fly out to Seattle and visit with friends there a few days before heading back to the east coast. We'll see less of Alaska, but the kids will be VERY happy! Thanks for all the help; perhaps this will just be our FIRST trip to Alaska!

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