I am trying to decide between two cruise/land tour options and am hoping someone might have some opinion/recommendation as to which of these two offers the most value. I am not necessarily talking about monetary value but cost, opportunities, experiences all pay a part. I have been reading extensively on this forum and am aware that the greater majority of posts recommend doing the land component of an Alaskan holiday independently to get the most flexibility and value for money but that is not something I am interested in doing on this occasion.
So a bit about us. My husband and I are in our early 60's and want to have a holiday where everything is taken care of for us (not everyone's cup of tea I know). We will be traveling from Australia in June 2014 and hope to achieve several things - have a relaxing cruise, take pretty pictures and view some wildlife all with the minimum of fuss.
To fit in with the time we have available (my husband is only semi-retired) there are two cruise tours which fit in.
One is the 11 day Holland America Classic Denali where you fly to Fairbanks, travel by domed railcar to Denali for 2 nights to do Tundra Wilderness tour and have own time, then railcar to Anchorage for overnight, then Alaska Railroad on Coastal Classic route to Seward, then 7 day Glacier discovery tour. Obviously with this option you don't go to as many places but it costs less and I wondered whether day trips added to the cruise would give us as much of an Alaskan overview and we could hope to achieve in the time available to us (and if this is the case any recommendations of particular day trips).
The second tour visits more places but we would be there at the very beginning of June so more may not mean better. The Insight vacations Jewels of Alaska tour does 2 nights in Anchorage seeing Native Heritage centre and float plane base, Alaskan railroad to Denali for 2 nights to do theatre dinner, one hour guided walk to learn about tundra and wildlife and free time, motor coach on George Parks highway stopping to see dog musher then Seward Highway and Turnagain Arm to arrive at Girdwood for two nights where we can ride the aerial gondola and have free time and then the following day do a 26 glacier cruise through Prince William sound, the final day is a visit to SeaLife Centre and transfer to Holland American 7 days cruise.
Any and all input would be appreciated.