I took a Princess ground tour last year and it was outstanding. Princess' staff is superb and their lodges are stunning -- very rustic, large cabins with all amenities and you wake up to the sounds of nature. Staying at these places made the trip for so many of us.
What I didn't realize (didn't bother reading the small print) is that Princess doesn't include the cost of food in the majority of its tours. Since we had to eat at their lodges, food costs were around $50 per person, per day additional. And, ground tours cost quite a bit as well, so add on another $50 per person, per day.
I would recommend taking a ground tour BEFORE the cruise -- this way, you can relax aboard ship. There is a lot of moving around from place to place, checking into and out of hotel, and it's tiring. Would hate to do it after a cruise.
My wife and I did a HAL/Westours Alaska cruise tour July 3-16. We did our land tour (Fairbanks-Denali-Anchorage-Kotzebue-Nome-Anchorage-Seward) the first week. We were glad we had our cruise (southbound on ms Statendam to Seward-Fjords-Glacier Bay-Sitka-Juneau-Ketchikan-Inside Passage) for the second week, 'cause we were whipped after week 1. It also was a big help in packing to do the cruise second, since we were anticipating the coin-op laundry facilities on Statendam for our first night at sea. Cheers!!
We did the cruise first on Princess Sun then did the Denali Park but without Princess--we stayed in the Denali Lodges and took their train--and skipped Fairbanks. We took the bus back to Anchorage. Yes it was very tiring, but the fact that we hit sunny weather in Denali made the trip. It was fun going north, further and further from home. Great trip any way you take it. Denali Park Resorts booked our land portion. I am sure I saved taking the bus back to Denali instead of another flight. I heard the bus roundtrip is the best. train is very slow.