I think my sister, mother, and I have decided on the Princess Line "Voyage of the Glaciers" cruise. Does anybody have any experience or suggestions as to the excursions? We are also considering adding a 2-3 day land package to it. Has anybody done this?
If you can afford it a helicopter ride to walk on the glaciers is great. If you like whale watching try to get on a tour boat that does not follow a specific route, you will see more whales. Did this with a tour from the Star Princess in 97 in Juneau. The totem parks in Ketchikan are very interesting. They say the White Pass Rail tour is nice did not take it but plan to this year.
My son and I cruised southbound on the Mercury last August, If you are interested in seeing my write up with pics I would be happy to send it to you, If you have access to an AOL address, the pics will open, attached is a pic of my son "fishing for salmon" in Alaska
Check out www.sealetter.com. Go to the reviews section and then Princess, last one i believe is a good one on Alaska. Hockeymom's pics and stuff also good. We will be there May 28 on the Sun. Vancouver also has a web site. www.vancouver.hm/vanframe.html --- Enjoy.
I personally would never consider a cruise tour. They are very costly and being on a fixed intense schedule in Alaska is not for me. I always drive and spend about 1/2 the cruise tour prices and see twice as much. Anyway- shore excursions are numerous and varied, get a hold of any shore excursion list and look it over. email back with your interests, then I'm sure you will get plenty of comments. I never take any ship excursions and do all my independantly, for savings and better tours- seeing some real Alaska!!!!
We did this in 1998 and absolutely loved it. If you are doing the one way cruise, I would definitely recommend adding at least a three night land package to see some more of Alaska's breathtaking scenery. Princess rail cars are very comfortable and the food is excellent. Excursions are expensive in Alaska but, IMHO, packed with value. If you get to Fairbanks, I highly recommend the Riverboat tour (it was included in our land package, as was one dinner on the train). Helicopter flight to a glacier, White Pass and Yukon Railroad, and the Juneau by Land and Sea tours were all excellent. If you can afford it and have the time I would also recommend spending at least a few days prior to, or after, your cruise in the wonderful city of Vancouver. Plenty to see and do (don't miss Butchart Gardens and Victoria - a day trip in itself) Capilano suspension bridge, or Stanley and Queen Elizabeth parks.
Have a wonderful time. My wife was not enthusiastic prior to our Alaska trip. Now she tells everyone that she would return in a heartbeat.
We are thinking about doing this in August. I'm intrigued by the new Fly/Drive cruisetour, since I've heard that lots of people complain about being herded from bus to train to bus, etc., and I think I might not enjoy that The Fly/Drive sounds like a nice alternative that would allow us to have some freedom but still be able to use Princess land accommodations, which I hear are quite nice.
Any opinions? I'm sure it would be more cost-effective to do the rental car and lodgings without Princess, but I hear Alaska is pretty booked up in the summer. Has anyone spent a few days in Alaska, pre- or post-cruise on your own? How were the independent lodgings and is it fairly easy to get around?
For those who see my posts, I would only consider an independant tour of Alaska. For me there is too much to see to be bogged down dependant on a fixed schedule with no car. Alaska is easy to drive and lodgings are NOT primatitive outside of the Princess lodgings. A must reference is THE MILEPOST. Try your library or available from most bookstores. Alaska is easy to get around and is definately the place to be able to stop and take in anything of interest. Another big consideration- going on your own is about 1/2 the cost of the cruisetours and you see more. Just my experience.
Thanks, Karen! We are certainly considering this, along with a few days in Vancouver after the cruise. I'll have to check out the Milepost.
The quotes I've gotten for that fly/drive cruisetour are really high ... in fact, I'm shocked at how much the prices have gone up for Alaska over the past few years. We had originally planned this trip for Summer 1998, but had to cancel when we spent that summer unexpectedly moving from Florida to Virginia instead. Kind of wish we'd been able to do it then.
Realistically, how many days do you need to see Anchorage and Denali National Park without rushing frantically? Denali is probably as far north as we would go, because we won't have a lot of time available. We might also like to do a Resurrection Bay wildlife cruise or the Alaska Sealife Center when we get to Seward.
I am one who prefers the rental car and making my own arrangements for accomodations. We did B&Bs and got to know some real Alaskans! It's much nicer sitting in their living room chatting one-on-one rather than listening to a question and answer lecture with a group. The drive to Denali from Anchorage is pleasant with lots of places to pull off and shoot FANTASTIC
pictures. You can book a Denali tour on-line through the park
system. Even though the busses aren't real comfortable, going in as far as you can afford is real worthwhile. If I had the money to spend on Princess lodging, I'd consider using it for the lodges in Kantishna (approximately 90 miles into the park). I can't and found a wonderful B&B in Healy, which is just a short hop outside the main gate. It would be really worth your while to take the 6 hour tour of the park. Another great thing to do while you're there is go to the Alaskan Cabin Night dinner theater. It's fun, informative, very entertaining, and has reeeally good food. Back in Seward, we took the Kenai Fjord cruise and highly recommend it. Especially the one that includes stopping at Fox Island for a salmon dinner!!! We loved Alaska so much that we're returning in September. This time we're going to spend more time running around the Kenai Peninsula before we get on our Dawn Princess cruise. Whatever you decide to do, you can't go wrong (well, it IS easy to spend too much money....)