Our extended family of 7 spent 6 days with ATG in early June. We were ages 16-72 and everyone had an amazing time. I had originally looked at taking one of the cruise extensions, but I didn't think it would be a great fit for our family. I began doing some research and spoke to several tour companies, then called ATG and spoke to Bob. He was very easy to talk to and really understood the goal of our multi-generation family vacation. The other important decision maker was the set up and quality of their vans. Three men in my family are over 6’2” and we need a lot of leg room. I also couldn’t see my niece and nephew having to sit next to one another during an entire trip – the captain’s chairs and the large windows of the van were the perfect set up. The van was super easy to get in and out of, no twisting hips to move around seats, etc.
The day after I spoke to Bob, Doreen sent me a proposed itinerary and worked with me on dates to precede a 7 day cruise. Doreen kept up a great communication stream and was careful to ask about food allergies, preferences, etc. She also continued to communicate via email during our trip.
Our guide was Jeremiah Millen and although I don’t recall submitting a detailed family personality profile to Doreen, I must have to have gotten such a great match for our family (or the Toller’s just have a great group of folks working for them.) Jeremiah was the best guide imaginable - personable, relaxed, aware, diligent, intuitive, flexible – we couldn’t have asked for better. There were a couple of days when members of our family decided to take a break from the days activities and Jeremiah easily kept them engaged. Whether it was fetching ear plugs and yogurt or making stops at Walmart and Burger King – nothing was out of the question for Jeremiah. At our request he found small local art shops, great restaurants and a local seafood shop that would ship fish back home. Our comfort and enjoyment was his top priority.
It was simply an amazing trip - from the train ride to Denali to our record setting (according to our Denali bus driver of 7+ years) animal viewing day at the park, to glacier trekking and homemade picnic lunches, to dog sledding and whale watching, one thing was better than the next. At the end of our trip I’m still hard pressed to pick a favorite thing.
A couple of other important things to us - All of our lodging arrangements had magnificent settings, were clean and comfortable and check in was seamless. We are a family of horrible packers. With the 7 day cruise after our land tour, we were 2 bags+ per person. The 1st hotel asked if we were leaving or moving out. I was trying to imagine how we were going to stack our luggage into the back of the van and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Jeremiah pull in with a small trailer behind the van – brilliant!! My husband and I travel extensively and I’m a diligent researcher for vacations/travel. At the beginning of our trip I thought this was a good value. After our trip I realize it was an amazing value for our family. The things that were included in our trip, ice trekking, whale watching, dog sledding, were easily $200-$300 excursions per person from the cruise line and we would have never had a small group of just our family, nor would we have had the unique and personal attention to detail that we got from ATG and their associates.
During my initial conversation with Bob I had asked whether it was better to cruise before or after the land tour – he said “Honestly, most people do the cruise, and then wish they had spent that week on land.” Bob, you were right. We could have easily spent another week touring with ATG and are already talking about a return trip. Thanks for an amazing vacation!
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