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Land & Cruise

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San Diego...
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Land & Cruise

We are planning a land/cruise. We've done

preliminary research and need your recommendations

and feedback on our proposed plans:

Aug 29 - Fly to Fairbanks - will we be able to view

auorora bourealis this time of year?

Aug 30 - Fairbanks-Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler &

El Dorado Gold Mine.

Aug 30 - Fairbanks/Denali via Wilderness Express

Tour Denali via Tundra Wildnerness Tour

Sep 1 - Denali/Talkeetna via Wilderness Express

stay at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Sep 2 - Talkeetna/Anchorage - what do you recommend

seeing in the morning?

Sep 3 - Anchorage City Tour & Alaska Native

Heritage Center w/ stay at The Hotel Alyeska

Sep 4 - Alyeska/Seward to board Radiance of the Seas

Sep 5 - Hubbard Glacier (Cruising)-how cold?

Sep 6 - Juneau, Alaska-what do you recommend seeing?

Sep 7 - Skagway - Trail of 98

Sep 8 - Icy Strait Point (cruising)

Sep 9 - Ketchikan - self-guided, Totem & Hatchery

Sep 10 - Inside Passage cruising

Sep 11 - Vancouver/Seattle via car rental

can we rent a car in Vancouver and drive

it to Seattle?

Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: Land & Cruise

Are you doing a cruisetour, or just copied their itinerary to do on your own?

If on your own, I'd suggest skipping Talkeetna and add the extra day to Denali so you could do a shuttle all the way to Wonder Lake (11 hrs), much farther in than the Tundra Tour goes at less than half the price.

I'd also either add a day to do a Kenai Fjords wildlie cruise out of Seward and visit SeaLife Center, or skip the day in Anchorage to spend in Seward.

Re Hubbard, it's cold near any glacier. I don't know where you're from, so have no idea what you're used to. Bring a warm jacket, might need a sweater underneath, and gloves and a hat. You'll want to be out on deck so you can hear the incredible sounds of the glacier as it moves.

At Icy Strait, do the whale-watching boat tour. You can either reserve a larger boat through the cruise ship or the small boat through the local FISHES if he still has room that day (holds only 6 passengers).

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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2. Re: Land & Cruise

Manitoba gives great advice, as always.

Very rare northern lights viewing the end of August, but having said that I did see them the last week of August 2007 from a cruise ship and much further south (near Juneau). So it is possible.

Note that taking the train to Denali limits your options of where to stay (more expensive, more crowded area right near the park entrance). And if you are on a cruisetour, try to ditch the Tundra Tour and buy shuttle bus tickets to Wonder Lake. You won't regret it. The fall colors will be great that time of year.

Even if you are on a cruisetour and can't spend the extra night in Denali, book a shuttle bus for departure after your arrival by train. You should be abel to go right from the train station to the Wilderness Access Center for an afternoon shuttle bus hopefully to Eielson.

In Juneau there is lots to do. What times are you in port? If you arrive by 7am and depart after 7pm, the Adventure Bound trip to Tracy Arm is great (though their office is pathetic). Mendenhall Glacier, hiking, and other activities are all possible. What are you interested in?

You can rent a car in Vancouver and drop it off in Seattle. Check the various companies for rates and availability. Amtrak also goes that route or there is a shuttle bus with mixed reviews.

John

San Diego...
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3. Re: Land & Cruise

Manitoba Maple and John,

Thank you for your sage advice. Much appreciated.

Yes, we are doing a cruisetour with Royal Carribbean.

We live in sunny San Diego so we're looking forward to the change of season and wildlife.

Denali sounds WONDERFUL. Thanks for the shuttle info to Wonder Lake. More distance covered, more options to see wildlife, and the fall colors ---sounds amazing! We're overnighted in Denali. At your suggestion, checked out the reservation system for the shuttle www.reservedenali.com/shuttles/index.cfm Sounds like we'll be ditching the tour for some local shutle scenery. Wilderness Access Center, here we come!

Re: Kenai Fjords and SeaLife Center in Seward.

If we blew off the Anchorage portion of the tour, how

close is Anchorage to Seward? How's public transportation? Not sure how to work this one out.

Juneau we are in port from 8am to 9pm.

Mendenhall Glacier and hiking are added to the itinerary. Guess we'll just have to come back as there is too much to see and do.

Thanks, also for the travel options/suggestions for Vancouver to Seattle connection.

Cheers,

Patti

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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4. Re: Land & Cruise

>>Denali sounds WONDERFUL. Thanks for the shuttle info to Wonder Lake. More distance covered, more options to see wildlife, and the fall colors ---sounds amazing!

You will have to pray info from the cruise line but it should not be hard to figure out on your own when the train arrives from Fairbanks - just one train a day. Book your shuttle bus for about 1 hour after your arrival in Denali. Do NOT go to your hotel first.

>>Re: Kenai Fjords and SeaLife Center in Seward. If we blew off the Anchorage portion of the tour, how close is Anchorage to Seward? How's public transportation? Not sure how to work this one out.

Not sure I would "blow off" the Anchorage portion. I would probably visit the things they have planned. The the morning your cruise departs I would book a one-way train from Anchorage to Seward. It departs about 6am and arrives about 11am. Costs something like $70/person one way. You can then be met at the train station for a Kenai Fjords wildlife cruise from 11.30am to 5.30pm. Or you can arrange a taxi or Exit Glacier Guides to get you to Exit Glacier. Personally I think doing this and getting to Seward earlier for $70/person is an excellent idea.

You won't need to worry about your luggage since the cruise line will take care of it.

You asked about Talkeetna. I am doing a Denali flightseeing tour from Talkeetna when I am there next June. Using a 2-for-1 coupon in Toursaver for it and saving $250.

>>Juneau we are in port from 8am to 9pm.

Mendenhall Glacier won't take all that much time unless you are avid hikers. I would plan something else here. As much as I despise the office ineptness of Adventure Bound Alaska, I would contact them to see if they are operating their later Tracy Arm tour that day. They often have 2 tours and with your port time in Juneau, you could do the later tour. Well worth it if you get your boarding passes in advance and have everything IN WRITING from them. Twice they lost my reservation for last year.

I would book a whale watch tour with FISHES in Icy Strait Point. They go to Pt. Adolphus, which is world-renown for whale watching. In fact, I took a Pt. Adolphus whale watch trip (from another town - Gustavus) and a week later took Harv and Marvs whale watch in Juneau. Harv was shocked that I was going whale watching in Juneau since Pt. Adolphus is so well known. As it turned out, both were great and we saw whales breaching and even saw two whales breaching simultaneously a couple of times (from a distance).

John

Sounds like a great trip.

John

Manitoba, Canada
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5. Re: Land & Cruise

Super ideas from John. Just one little change: your last night, you'll be staying in Girdwood, not Anchorage. Which is better for you because you get to sleep in a bit, as the train leaves there at 8:05 a.m. It arrives in Seward 3 hrs later, and as John said, you can do either

(a)the 11:30 to 5:30 Kenai Fjords wildlife cruise, or else

(b) SeaLife Center, Exit Glacier, and Ididaride Sled Dog Tour with wheeled sled ride. You can do the latter 3 on your own (you'd need a taxi or Exit Glacier Guides shuttle to get you out to the glacer), or else take the Seavey's combo of Ididaride/Exit Glacier/history/lunch, which picks you up at the train and lasts until 5 pm. (ididaride.com/tours/seward/realAlaskaTour.htm) Have them drop you off at SeaLife Center, spend 1 to 1.5 hrs. there, then board your ship to have dinner. You can either walk back to the cruise ship (half an hour) or take a taxi for about $5.

If you do the cruise, you could likely fit SeaLife in afterward if you wanted. Just depends on what you're interested in doing.

BTW, other things to do in Fairbanks would be U. of Alaska Museum of the North, Pioneer Park, Ester Gold Camp (Malamute Saloon), Pioneer Park. What time to you arrive on the 29th? You might find this site helpful: http://alaska.org/destinations.jsp

San Diego...
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6. Re: Land & Cruise

Hi John and Manitoba Maple,

Your suggestions are AWESOME and most appreciated. We are starting to incorporate them into our travel plans.

In case you can't tell, we are so excited. This is a ddream of a lifetime. We are so excited to be visiting Alaska.

The whale watching sounds amazing. We saw a few (3) during our recent cruise up the Pacific. The naturalist on board gave an interesting, enjoyable talk.

Thanks for the addtiional Juneau and Talkeetna suggestions.

We have not finalized our arrival time/day into Fairbanks. Need to add Univ of Alaska's Museum to our must see list.

We are looking forward to enjoying Alaska.

Cheers, Patti

7. Re: Land & Cruise

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