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Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

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Kuala Lumpur
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Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

Eight of us will be arriving from Vancouver on the 30th May to board the cruise ship on the 1st June. Could anyone recommend a decent hotel to spend a night?

Any recommendations on how we get from the hotel to the cruise terminal?

Thank you.

fti
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1. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

are you spending both nights in Anchorage? what are your plans for those 2 nights? that will help decide how you get to Whittier.

haines, alaska
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2. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

ptthom, will you have a rental car while in Anchorage ?......If not, choose a hotel that offers shuttle service from the airport.......they will probably also provide that same shuttle service to the train depot, if you choose that route to get to your cruise ship.......

Also check with your cruise line, they may offer bus transportation for an additional fee which may be less than the train cost.....

This question about transport from or to Anchorage comes up quite often......why don't the cruise ship companies communicate with their customers ??

fti
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3. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

The cruise lines offer a transfer, but very often it is not a great option. It can be more expensive than private options, plus, depending on one's itinerary and plans, the cruise passengers might want to spend more time en route from Anchorage to Whittier (or Seward) than a cruise transfer will allow.

With 8 people, my first reaction was to contact a bus or shuttle company for a private transfer. But we really need more info from the OP to help them further.

Lake Tahoe...
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4. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

If you are not concerned about the cost, just take the Princess shuttle that will drop you off at the convention center downtown Anchorage on 5th Avenue. However, if you arrange your own transportation they might just take you to the hotel you are staying at

Kuala Lumpur
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5. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

Dear mombear, fti and k2iks, thank you very much for your responses.

Actually, I made a mistake, we are arriving from Vancouver on the 31st May. That gives us only 1 night in Anchorage. We were not planning (out of ignorance) on doing anything and just were going to be in transit for one night in Anchorage before boarding the cruise ship on the 1st. I expect that our flight from Vancouver will arrive in Anchorage around 2 or 3 pm. We have not booked any hotel yet and will remember your suggestion of booking in one that provides shuttle service to Whittier. Cost is a concern and from what you are saying I gather that private transportation may be the cheaper option.

Thank you very much for your suggestions and look forward to any other suggestions that you have about what to do on an overnight stay. I dont think we want to go on a tour somewhere but maybe just relax, walk around, have dinner etc.

fti
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6. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

With just one night, I would first nail down your flights. Once you know exactly what time your flight arrives you can figure out how much time you have and what you do.

Note too that no hotel in Anchorage will provide a shuttle service to Whittier. What the poster meant was perhaps a shuttle service that operates between Anchorage and Whittier might pick you up at your hotel vs. at a central meeting place. But I STRONGLY discourage you from this option.

In any case I would definitely look into some transfer option that allows you to spend the better part of the day along Turnagain Arm. It is a Scenic Byway meaning it is one of the most scenic drives in the US. Your ship doesn't sail until 8pm so you can easily arrive in Whittier at 6pm, have dinner and have plenty of time to be out on deck for the sailaway (and also to stay out on deck for 2 hours looking for marine wildlife - last June my sister and I stayed out on deck for a couple of hours and saw whales and other marine wildlife).

If it were me with 8 people, I would try to rent two minivans. They cost about $280 each from Avis with pick up at the airport. Then you can use them as your transfer from the airport to your hotel upon arrival, for your transfer for dinner that evening and for your scenic drive the next day. That is $560 for EIGHT people or only $70/person plus gas. You might end up paying $50 for two taxi cabs just to get you from the airport to your hotel and another $50 or more from your hotel to a restaurant and back again - money you would save by renting two vehicles.

That will also give you a full day to explore the Portage Valley - Potter Marsh, the numerous scenic turnouts, Girdwood, the hand tram, possible gold panning, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Byron Glacier, the Portage Glacier boat trip, the Begich Boggs Visitor Center and more. You will have to narrow down from those what you will actually stop at. What are the ages and interests of those traveling?

Edited: 25 February 2013, 23:58
Kuala Lumpur
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7. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

Dear fti

Thank you again. So much of useful information and advice in your response!

We are a mixed group, 3 families actually, 4 in the 50s, 2 in the 40s and 2 in their 20s. The only common factor is that we all love to eat! Good scenery will be of interest. We are from Malaysia and most of us have never seen snow or whales, experienced really cold weather etc. We have Malaysian driving licences but I am not sure if we are allowed to drive in Alaska. Is it easy to drive in Alaska? Are icy roads a problem. Many years ago we lived in Austin, Texas but I'm sure driving in Anchorage is very different.

fti
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8. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

It is easy to drive in Alaska and I am sure you can drive there. Check with your local motor club - they probably offer an international drivers license for about $10. That is really just a translation of your current Malaysian license and you can only use it in conjunction with your Malaysian license.

There is one and only one road from Anchorage to Whittier. You really can't get lost! No ice on the roads by June 1st unless it is a (very) freak day and then it would melt quickly. Once you get off the main road (the Seward Highway), you might encounter some snow at the higher elevations.

I can see the two groups even splitting up a bit - maybe take the cars to Girdwood on June 1st with stops, but then a group that might want to spend more time hiking do that and the others walk on a glacier or spend more time at the Wildlife Conservation Center, etc. Girdwood has several options for eating so I would plan to be there by lunch time (it is only an hour drive from Anchorage without stops, but I can see you making several stops en route). You could all go gold panning or walk to the hand tram at the Winner Creek Trail (from the Crow Creek Mine side the path is much shorter). Although come to think of it, last May 31st I tried to get to the hand tram and there was so much snow it was not possible (not to mention that there were signs saying the hand tram was not operational anyway).

So you will have to play things by ear. But there are lots of options if you have your own transportation. I would have driven last year but with just two of us the rental car cost was prohibitive. We decided to use the money instead for a Prince William Sound tour from Whittier before our cruise began. Using a 2-for-1 coupon it was much less than renting a car. We were on a very strict budget that trip.

Edited: 26 February 2013, 01:11
Lake Tahoe...
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9. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

Not sure what you mean by coming to see snow.Our highways most likely will be clear of such by then, although the peaks will be covered in places.

Would suggest when dining to split into groups (no larger than say four) or you will be hit with that American custom where your server will automatically add a 18 percent tip to the bill. I like to decide on how much I should tip

Anchorage, Alaska
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10. Re: Anchorage Hotel and Transport to Princess Cruise Terminal

Avoid the Anchorage Hilton or Sheraton Anchorage downtown. Both hotels are involved in local labor disputes & are under worker-called boycotts. Picket lines, bull horning & other actions occur at both properties regularly as a result of the disputes and boycotts.