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Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Sulphur, Louisiana
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326 posts
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Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

We (age 60's) are planning our first trip to Alaska, probably in August or September. We would like to cruise some , see Denali Park, ride a train, see whales, bears,etc. and glaciers. Can we do all this in one trip?

Orlando, Florida
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1. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

You sure can. I'm not one of the experts on these posts, and hopefulyy one or more of the "experts" can respond in more detail. I'm planning my first trip to Alaska in early August, and have gotten a lot of useful information from these posts. Some feel it is best to fly into Alaska, do a land tour, then cruise from Whittier or Seward. I'm doing the reverse. I'm cruising on Celebrity from Vancouver, which cruises the inside passage. I have excursions scheduled in Juneau (whale watching) and Skagway (Yukon adventure). Upon docking in Seward, I will remain overnight, and do the Kenai Fjords tour (the locals feel this is a must), will see marine wildlife and Glaciers. Then take the train to Anchorage, then up to Denali Park for 2 nights> Will fly back home from Anchorage.

I booked my land tour independently, however all of the cruise ships have extended cruise tours that you can book through them.

Best of luck.

jq
Sacramento, CA
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2. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Hi Deex

I am one of those who prefer southbound one way tour to vanc after a week on land touring before. I also prefer doing my own land tour with rental car and/or train. It depends on what you want to see and how much time you have. The train is nice for a few segments like to denali and to Seward. But if you want to see denali np, you need to stay in denali area for at least two nights. Princess McKinley Lodge is not in the area, being about 2hrs away and not near anything else. So be wary if booking a Princess land tour.

For denali, the road is 95miles long and can only be seen from a shuttle bus, run by park service, or a tundra tour, which caters to land tours by cruise ships. Same kind of school buses, same road, both have excellent narration and make all stops when wildlife spotted. Tundra tour only goes to Toklat River, mile 53, while shuttle buses go to Fish Creek, mile 66, or Wonder Lake, mile 85. Further is better if you want your only chance to see bears. Shuttle buses are about 1/2 or less the cost of tundra tour. Do not take the natural history tour as it only goes 15 miles into denali and you will not likely see wildlife.

Check out cruisecritic.com Alaska board for lots of good info on cruising and seeing this area. A rental car is the least expensive and most flexible way to see more in the same time. The train to denali is not any better views than driving. The train to Seward is nice ride and nice scenery. But then you can't stop at Portage Glacier or have car in Seward to see Exit Glacier.

Seward is a nice are to see, Small port town. Take at least the 6hr Kenai NP tour to see glaciers, puffins, other wildlife, and maybe whales. Your next best bet will be to book a whalewatching tour in Juneau or ISP on your cruise, as they have 100% sightings there.

JQ

Sulphur, Louisiana
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326 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Thanks so much jq

That is a lot of useful info. The brochures don't tell us these things. We're from south Louisiana, so we want to see as much as we can. Are August or September good times to go? We're retired, so we're flexible.

Sulphur, Louisiana
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326 posts
14 reviews
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4. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Thanks so much jq

That is a lot of useful info. The brochures don't tell us these things. We're from south Louisiana, so we want to see as much as we can. Are August or September good times to go? We're retired, so we're flexible.

Orlando, Florida
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5. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Hi deex9.

Ahhh retirement! I can only dream.

If it were my choice (my daughter is still school aged), I would travel in September. The rates are down, and there are less crowds. I also understand that the fall leaves (we call it foliage here in the northeast) is beautiful.

I would recommend purchasing the 2 for 1 Toursaver book. (advice I received from these posts) There are wonderful discounts that will remain available through September, including hotels. If you type "toursaver" in the search engine, it will bring you to relevant information.

Sulphur, Louisiana
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326 posts
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6. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Thanks again aquablue. We're taking my 80 year old (active) mother.

london
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7. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Hi There,

Myself and my fiancee spent two weeks in alaska last year from late august to mid Sept (around the 12th), everything closes down apparently after that especially inland in Denali.

it was always a dream of mine to travel alaska and being from Ireland i knew it may be my one and only trip as it is a long way to travel - however i was undaunted by the wet weather as its all very similar to the emerald isle!

we flew into juneau and spent three nights there and around Glacier bay afterwhich we flew to Anchorage and took the scenic train to Seward for more wildlife cruising, from there we got a bus to Denali National Park via an overnight stay in Talkeetna with great views of Mt Mckinley. From Denali we again went by train to Fairbanks i think we pretty much covered everything we wanted to see. I loved the town of Juneua but if you are going to Seward and cruise Denali it could probably be cut from the trip, likewise with Fairbanks.

My favourite things were the Scenic railway from Anchorage to Seward, staying in Seward a few nights to walk Glendenhall Glacier and partake of the wildlife cruises and view the glaciers, and of course Denali National park were we saw bears very close up, moose and caribou, views of Mt McKinley from Talkeetna and the town itself was great.

Denali in early September was awash with fall foliage all pinks reds and purples pretty spectacular.

i have photos from my trip uploaded to a website which i could give you a link to. And also recommend the hotels we stayed in.

We only did day cruising prefering a land trip and overnight in lodges.

any further questions don't hesitate to ask.

most importantly enjoy your trip!

Sulphur, Louisiana
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326 posts
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8. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

Thanks so much, carolq

I would love to see your photos on your web site. I was wondering how hard it is to get hotel rooms and if we needed to make reservations ahead of time.

MASSACHUSETTS
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9. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

I am also going to Alaska the first week in September, spending 3 days at Denali then heading down towards Anchorage for a 7 day Royal caribbean cruise. I have found this post to be extremely informative. any sugestions as far as geting from denali to Anchorage would be appreciated.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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10. Re: Cruise & Land tour of Alaska

If you aren't renting a car, I would take the train from Denali Park to Anchorage - it's a beautiful trip! :)