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cruisetour without the cruise?

San Francisco...
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cruisetour without the cruise?

I'm trying to plan a big first-time trip to Alaska for me and my partner, and my 75-y/o dad. With intensive web research over the past week, I've gone from considering a 7-day cruise out of Seattle, to a cruisetour (~5 days in Anchorage/Denali) with 7d cruise to Vancouver, to now considering skipping the cruise altogether.

Facts to consider: not particularly interested in the cruise scene or being herded through crowded gift shops in quaint towns, more interested in scenic train trips, seeing (and photographing) mountains (and glaciers) and wildlife. Need hotels or lodges though, no camping or roughing it.

So now I'm thinking of starting with 4 or 5 days doing the Anchorage/Talkeetna/Denali loop (going by Goldstar train) including a park bus tour and some flightseeing, either booked independently or as a package (like the Denali and Spencer Glacier Tour on the AlaskaRailroad.com website), followed by a flight to Juneau where we could spend 2-3 days doing excursions to Glacier Bay, Mendenhall Glacier, and whale watching. Then fly home.

Any thoughts on this current plan? What would we be missing out on (that should not be missed on a first visit to Alaska)? This assumes I can find hotel/lodge bookings for late summer now, though I think it would be easier than trying to get 2 balcony rooms on August cruises at this point. But a cruisetour is not totally out of the picture.

Thanks for any advice. The options are overwhelming.

Juneau Whale Watch
Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Other Outdoor Activities
Gastineau Guiding Company - Juneau's Premier Guiding Company
Dolphin & Whale Watching, Other Outdoor Activities, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Boat Tours
Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska
Boat Tours, Private Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Adventures in Alaska
Nature & Wildlife Tours, Boat Tours, Private Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching
North Bend, Oregon
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639 posts
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1. Re: cruisetour without the cruise?

Give Murray at Explore North a call. He's the expert on setting this sort of thing up.

Also, if you ONLY do the "cruisetour" land portions up north, you'll be missing out on the wholly different part of the state called South East Alaska. Without "joining the cruise scene" at all, a private yacht charter, ferry or jet hopping can be arranged to see the Inside Passage without all the big cruise ships... then move on to the land touring portion up north.


2. Re: cruisetour without the cruise?

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