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Need info for cruise and land

Louisville, Kentucky
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Need info for cruise and land

We would like to go to Alaska in June or July of 2008; never been to Alaska or on a cruise. We travel a lot, however, always fly and rent a car and drive. I believe that to see the most in Alaska we need to do an inside cruise and land package. Do not know the best month to go June or July and we have no time limit, but think that 14 days should be about right. I need lots of info on cruise lines and what to expect from a cruise and anything to help me plan this trip. I am thinking that I might need to go to Triple A and let them do the planning. We live in KY and there will be at least two, maybe more plane connections. I prefer a laid back, no dress up cruise and my husband has had hip replacements and while he does really well, I don't want a lot of walking for him. Don't want to have to lug luggage any more than we have to do so. Know that I will get some good help from some of you. Thanks, Sue from KY

Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: Need info for cruise and land

Hi Sue! June and July are both good months to go to Alaska. I'd suggest June, partly because the people who live there recommend it, and partly because the kids aren't out of school yet, lol, so it will be a bit quieter.

Two weeks is good, longer is better! A one week cruise plus two week landtour would be great if you can manage it.

I suggest you arrange the land portion of your tour yourself. That way you get to go exactly where you want to and spend as much or little time at an event as you want to. Also costs less than joining a landtour. There are lots of posters here who will be happy to help you arrange an itinerary. Read over a few trip reports that have been posted here to see some of the things that are available, and then give us a list of specific things you would like to see and do, plus the interests you have (scenery, wildlife, whale-watching, bear-viewing, kayaking, fishing, goldpanning, museums, glaciers, flightseeing, sled dogs, etc).

Obviously long hikes are out--roughly how long can hubby walk without having problems?

If you don't want to lug luggage, have you considered renting an RV so you take your hotel room with you? That gives you more flexibility too, because you can pull over almost anywhere for the night rather than worrying about getting to a reserved hotel room.

As for cruises, most lines are good. I don't recommend Carnival, though, unless you want a "party" atmosphere. Here is a list of ships going to Alaska in 2008: www.alaskacruisingreport.com/page2.html Look at the itineraries and decide which ports/glaciers you want to see, and take the ship that gets you there. Of course you'll want a northbound or southbound route, not a roundtrip.

As for no dress up, most lines (except ones like Cruise West if you can afford it) have one or two formal nights. But you don't have to wear a tux and gown if you don't want to, a nice sports jacket or pantsuit will suffice. And if you'd feel uncomfortable dressing that way when many of the other passengers are in their finery, just eat elsewhere. I've cruised only on Holland America and prefer to eat almost ALL my meals up on the Lido deck buffet. Much faster, you get what you want and how much you want of it, plus if you get there a little early, you can always get a table near a window so you can look out at scenery or sometimes a passing whale or eagle. Nobody dresses to go to Lido. Well...they do, nobody is naked, lol, but jeans or slacks or even shorts are the norm. I don't think I've ever seen a tux there.

Hope this helps.

Cadiz, Kentucky
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2. Re: Need info for cruise and land

I agree with everything MM has told you. (Of course, I listened to her lots before we took our trip!) As to cruise dress, we were on Coral Princess - there were more men in shirt & tie on formal night than there were in tuxes. And there were some with just a jacket and no tie. The only person I saw turned down in the dining room was a woman that showed up in short-shorts! Otherwise, as she said, there are lots of other dining options.

I definitely recommend the RV so you don't have to worry about toting luggage around, and are not stuck on any schedule since there are sooo many places in AK where you can just pull over for the night.

I agree that our connections from KY are pretty bad - that's why we did the northbound cruise - not as many changes between here and Vancouver as there are from Anchorage back. I didn't want to be worn out to start the trip! The itenerary we used is back a few pages under our Great Alaskan Holiday - I think page 4. It's LONG, but may give you some ideas. I hope you have as much fun planning, and as marvelous a trip as we did!

Manitoba, Canada
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3. Re: Need info for cruise and land

In case you're not too sure with finding your way around the forums yet, here's the link to cjnky's trip report:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k14973…

As you can see, she provided lots of details, which is really great in helping other people decide whether they want to do the same things or not. You can do the exact same trip, or partly the same, or entirely different. Up to you. But it should give you a feel for what's available.

And I notice you've spent a lot of time on the Hawaii forums. Perhaps you've come across our Coalminer there, who is the forum expert for Denali. Chances are you'll want to include a visit there on your trip, and you'll find Coalminer an excellent source of information.

Moorpark, California
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for Kauai, Catalina Island
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4. Re: Need info for cruise and land

Hi Sue! Just responded to your post on Kauai. We have been to Alaska twice on the same cruise. Loved it! We took the Mariner from Regent Seven Seas (used to be Radisson). In 2001, we went north bound (Vancouver to Seward) and in 2006, we went south bound (Whittier to Vancouver). I would recommend south bound since you will see the area around Vancouver Island during the day light hours. We loved this cruise line and this ship! . It was very comfortable and relaxed with only 490 passengers on board. No formal nights or assigned seating. No tipping allowed. All wine included at dinner and complementary drinks all over the ship (I think they are going to all drinks included this year). All rooms have balconies and wonderful views, no inside rooms. No midnight buffets or congo lines at the pool. NO lines toget on andoff the ship! Definitely, not a party boat but the disco is open late and we closed it down twice. (my sister-in-law is from Australia and wanted to dance). They ran some tasteful parties that we enjoyed. Great kids program (we dropped them off every night before we had a romantic dinner in one of their 3 wonderful restaurants). Great tours. Guest lectures, etc.

In 2001, we rented a car in Seward and drove up to Denali. We spent a week exploring that area. When we do this again (and we will), we will take Regent again but spend two weeks (I love the RV idea) and drive farther north.

We went in August and the weather was perfect most of the time. I like the idea of going in early June to avoid the crowds before kids get out of school.

I also like going south bound since you have a much shorter flight home when the cruise is finished (Anchorage to LAX is a 5 hour flight, Vanoucver to LAX is 2 hours). Spend some time in Vancouver as well.

Anyway, I hope this helps. My 2 cents worth....

Ward, AR
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5. Re: Need info for cruise and land

You can definitely plan out your trip yourself. Much cheaper that way. We did 3 weeks on land and wished we could have done longer so it wouldn't have been somewhat rushed. If time is no problem would definitely recommend at least a second week on land. There are so many interesting towns, activities and museums to see. You could order a map, book and trip ticket planner from AAA. All free with membership. We did that with our basic AAA membership. We also saved some $$ with the membership card at couple hotels. Homer and Seward are nice little towns. A shuttle bus ride into Denali National Park is a definite must. Check out attractions for Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, Seward and Homer just to name a few. Then plan your driving around what you decide to do. We did a lot of luggage hauling around and it got old after a while. If you don't do the RV definitely make sure to request a 1st floor room wherever you go. Every hotel we stayed at we got stuck on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Most places we were at didn't have elevators. We loved the cottages we stayed at since there were no stairs.

Westbury NY
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6. Re: Need info for cruise and land

We were on a cruisetour for two weeks from July 28- August 11 this year and loved it.

We flew into Anchorage on a Saturday afternoon and stayed at Confort Inn Ships Creek for two nights on our own before joining Holland Americas Cruisetour #10. This was 13 days (9 on the land portion followed by a 4 days of Inside Passage/Glacial Bay Cruising).

We liked ending our trip with a 3 night cruise ending in Vancouver.

By doing a cruisetour with a two days on our own we were able to: 1. drive from Anchorage to Seward along HWY 1 and see Dall Sheep upclose,

2.take a 9 hour cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park,

3. have 2 nights in denali with an outstanding 9 hour Tundra Wilderness tour where we saw the Mountain, bear, wolf, golden eagle, moose, and caribou and a Whitewater rafting trip

4.Take the White Pass & Yukon RR from Fraser to Skagway

5. See American Eagles in Haines

6.Cruise Glacial Bay & the Inside Passage

7. Stop at Ketchiken

If I had to do this over I would look at Cruisetur #4 which includes 2 nights in Denali & Dawson City. I would also have added a day or two at the end in Vancouver.

Marty

Louisville, Kentucky
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7. Re: Need info for cruise and land

Thanks for the info, still soaking up info and trying to make good decisions.

8. Re: Need info for cruise and land

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