Taste of Alaska

Old Mar 29th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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Taste of Alaska

My husband and I, age 65, would like to spend around 2 weeks in Alaska. I'm confused with so many fabulous places to see. After having been on many strenuous tours around the world, we'd like to see a few beautiful places to get a taste of Alaska rather than travel huge distances to take it all in. Any suggestions to see a few spectacular places would be appreciated.
What about starting with a 7 day cruise?
Also any suggestions for reasonably priced
airfares from Newark?
MarciaR
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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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You say "starting with a cruise" A one way sailing to/from Alaska is a wonderful way to see another part of Alaska compared to Interior.

I like Seward sails over Whittier. With HAL the winner for including College fjords. For the other week, I recommend spending the day in Seward - taking a Kenai Fjords boat tour, then the train to Anchorage, can overnight in Seward if activites are of interest.

A day or two in Anchorage, then 1 in Talkeetna and 2 in Denali Park.

No way around the distances- Alaska is vast and requires some driving, it is well worth it.
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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 08:02 AM
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Thanks for info. Any suggestions for overnight stays at those places reasonably priced, but private bathroom? Where to rent car? More specifics for D. Park? How long a drive? Is the drive to the park an easy drive? how long? Suggestions for where to stay there, and what tour to take? In general, what suggestion for tours to take at those sites? We prefer beautiful scenery rather than museums. What exactly do you see in park which can only be seen there?
Thank you again for all info!
MarciaR
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 01:31 AM
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Rent a car out of Anchorage, allow 6 hours for the drive Anchorage/Denali park. Take the park shuttle bus to at least Fish Creek, you need two nights here. Do your homework, this is a highlight for scenery and wildlife. nps.gov/dena

All Alaska main roads are simple to drive, no way to get lost, only one road. A necessary reference is THE MILEPOST. See if your library has a copy.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:59 AM
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If you concentrated on Anchorage and Seward and everything in between you would see some of the most beautiful scenery in Alaska. The drive is about 3 hours but will take longer if you stop to do things. This includes tramway up Mt Alyeska, Portage Glacier visitors center, etc. Anchorage is a large, fascinating city. Seward is a quaint but busy port, Portage is a ghost town, Girdwood (where Alyeska is) is a ski resort. And there's some smaller spots in between.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:03 AM
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If we take 7-10 days Anch. to Denali Park and return & then take a cruise, any suggestions on what tours to take from cruise. I understand they offer many different tours at each point they stop, so I'm undecided which ones to take. Course price is also a factor. How long a cruise recommended
considering we go HAL.
Also, any recommendations for good deals on airlines out of Toronto. I think now we may be flying to Toronto to start.
Thank you all for spending the time to give so many suggestions. (Where do you find the time for all that?)
All your suggestions have been so helpful.
MarciaR
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:15 AM
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One more question please. Are there
B&B or even just room with bathroom where we can stay along the way like in the Rockies
or Scotland, or are there only a few which have to be booked way in advance?
MarciaR
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 03:19 AM
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It would be a good idea to have a list of recommended B&Bs. I think some advertise in the Milepost. The accomodations can range from spotless, professional run homes to rooms with a private bath over the garage. I prefer a B&B where a hearty breakfast is served and a common area where guests and hosts can visit. The room over the garage with a bagel, coffee and juice for breakfast will do in a pinch but isn't as much fun. You really need to map out your trip. Between Anchorage and Denali there aren't as many options and some of those places are not on the highway. When there weren't any vacancies in Talkeetna we were referred to some wonderful cabins about 30 minutes away. The only other option was to go back to Wasilla. I thought mid-week I wouldn't need reservations. A post earlier this year from an Alaskan B&B owner said they expect a lot more vacationers this year and advised reservations.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 06:22 AM
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As for the cruise, they are all 7 days back to Vancouver. My clear prefernces are itineraries that sail out of Seward and hit College Fjord and Glacier Bay.

You need to do your homework- look over a shore excursion list and narrow down your interests, then repost your top 5 tour choices for more specific information.
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 12:45 AM
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Southeast Alaska is beautiful. You can take a cruiz to Juneau, Wrangell, Ketchikan. juneau is great when it is not raining. Mendenhall glacier is breathtaking and very accessible even by a city bus. Mount Roberts cable tram is outstanding. It gives you a great view of the downtown Juneau and the Gastineau Channel. Anyway, you can do dome research on it even here in Fodors Talk section. I am sure you'll find the info if you search posts on Alaska.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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MarciaR: Husband and I are also planning our first trip to Alaska. We'd like to know what you decided to do, as we are in the initial stages of deciding where to go, when to go, how to go, what to do, etc.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 04:36 PM
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Your title initially made me think you were looking for dining recommendations so I'm going to give you one anyway. Between Seward and Anchorage, fairly close to Girdwood, there is an area called Bird Creek and Bird Creek State Park. Along the highway in that area, there is a Bird Creek Cafe. In season, it makes absolutely the best blueberry pancakes I've ever eaten. I plan my trips so I can make at least one stop there each time I visit that part of Alaska.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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We cruised to Alaska about three years ago and it was awesome. We especially loved Sitka. It is beautiful!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 02:29 PM
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My husband and I just returned from 10 days/2 days for travel and had the trip of our lives. We flew to Anchorage and rented from Avis - I was told to avoid the extra taxes at the airport so we picked up downtown. We stayed in Talkeenta at the Swiss Alaska - very reasonable for the area, clean, convenient, newly remodeled. Flew with Talkeetna Air flightseeing. Highly recommend you purchase a Toursaver book (www.toursaver.com) - saved on the flight, a day of rental with Avis, the glacier tour with Renown in Seward and SeaLife Center.
Other places we highly recommend are Earth Song Lodge in Healy for your Denali stay and Black Bear B&B in Hope. We're planning on a return trip in 2009 and will definitely go back to Earth Song & Black Bear.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Someone had a similar post earlier today. This is what I wrote:

Early June in Anchorage was a nice time. Tourism had just started. It was just beginning to get warmer and there was 24 hours of light. The sun went down for an hour or two, but it never got dark. Walking around downtown Anchorage at 02:00 AM was an experience.

Rent a small plane and have them fly you around the mountains. They fly real close. If you are lucky, they'll land on a lake so you can get out and walk around in the wilderness.

Rent some time on RV's. Make sure you have a guide too. They are licensed to bring guns -- just in case. Do the 3 hour trip. If you are not used to RV's, your wrists and arms will be very sore after 3 hours.

If you have hotel bonus points, you might want to invest them there. Hotels are very expensive ($200+ per night). We spent a week at a Homewood Suites for free. It was well worth it. That hotel chain has full kitchens. We were able to buy fresh native fish and cook them in our room. It was great!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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MarciaR, My wife and I are planning our first Alaska cruise. If you don't mind letting me know what your final decisions were on your trip. Which cruise lines, land excursions and overnight lodging. We are in our mid 50's and want to see all we can without being worn out each day. Thank you
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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I'd like to add my 2 cents worth for a request for information. We too, mid 50's, would like to plan a trip for 2009. I had been wondering cruise/RV and am still in a quandry. We'll plan about 2 weeks including travel from the Midwest. I'll anxiously be awaiting more info. Thanks Marcia for getting this started.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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We were in Alaska first week of July. If you could do Seward on July 4th there is a big race there. It is 2nd oldest race in US and people run up a mountain and back down it. It is very unique Train from Seward to Anchorage is SPECTACULAR. Renown Tours Catermeran tour of Kenai Fjords was SPECTACULAR. DogSledding in Girdwood/Alyeska was SPECTACULAR. Tram ride and dining at Alyeska SPECTACULAR. We also did a floatplane fishing trip from Soldotna that was SPECTACULAR. I cannot begin to tell you how great the trip was. We are going back and seeing Denali and also plan on going in the winter to see the Northern Lights.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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MinnieNo1, I was in that quandry a couple years ago and then decided we could easily combine the cruise/RV, which is what we're now preparing to do. You can get a good "Taste of Alaska" by crusing there (or back) and spending a week seeing a dab of the interior.
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