I just confirmed our trip aboard the Princess Sun from Anchorage to Vancouver. It is a Monday - Monday cruise and we would like to see Denali the weekend previous. Any suggestions for accomodations/activities? Does anyone know how long it takes to get there from the Anchorage airport by train?
Definately plan on the Denali park SHUTTLE bus to at least Eielson. Any trip shorter is cheating yourself in my opinion. Plenty of reasonable places to stay if you drive - in Healy or Cantwell. By train it is 8 hours- and your accomdations will be more limited. You would need 3 days there if going by train- counting day of arrival and departure. for more information on Denali tours- www.nps.gov/dena/home/roadtour/index.html
Thanks BJB and Karen. Here is my question: We are leaving Monday evening. Is it worth flying up to Anchorage Friday night and going to Denali Saturday and coming back to Seward in time to catch the ship or should we stay in Anchorage instead? What is there to do in Anchorage?
Contact Geri at "Talkeetna/Denali Visitor Center & Talkeetna Aero Services, Inc." <firstname.lastname@example.org> She did all our travel arrangements for our pre cruise tour of Denali. We've got a group of us going in Aug and with the B & B's and car rentals she got us, we're doing an extra 4 days quite cheaply.
We just returned from Alaska, and Denali was a special highlight of our trip. We were in Denali Memorial Day weekend, so the first two days we were able to drive our car to mile 30 to view the wildlife (after visiting Denali you will understand the 'mile thing.') The third day there we took the bus to mile 53 which was a real treat. At this time that was as far as the buses went. We saw LOTS of wildlife. The six hour trip really flew by!
Lodging - we stayed at the Denali Princess and were NOT impressed. I confirmed our reservation at leat five times - when we arrived they said they had no rooms. The room we finally got was from a really bad Motel 6 - and a hike from the main areas. We finally got the room thing worked out and got a riverview room. There really is no river to view from your room - it's about 50 feet below - but it was a better room. I can't say very much for their food either. We are not picky eaters, but my husband and I decided not to give them any more chances after three attempts at a good meal. If you are not locked into your travel plans, I recommend renting a car in Anchorage and driving to Denali. It's about a five hour drive and the scenery is great! You also get a chance to see how Alaskans live - and to view wildlife on the way! In Denali, I recommend the new hotel - the Grande Denali. This hotel is high upon a hill - and very controversial with the NP personnel (they think it ruins the landscape). Their restaurant was very good (ate there 3 times) and we heard their rooms were really nice also.
Two notes - the message boards do not tell you this but you need a sleep mask - it really doesn't get 'dark' this time of year in Denali and it can really mess up your sleep. Second - be sure to pack wrap around sunglasses to block the wind. The winds get really strong in the NP, and you can't see much when your eyes are constantlly watering.
If you have more questions, please feel free to ask.
All the hotels we stayed in had room darkening drapes. I guess the four hour time difference from the east coast had us very tired at night, so we had no trouble sleeping. I know when I would check at 3 or 4 am, it was still light out.
We were fortunate not to have any wind when we were at Denali May 17 and 18. Unfortunately the road was open only as far as the 30 mile marker, so our 6 to 8 hour tour was only 4 hours. After going all the way to Alaska, I would not want to miss the chance to see Mt. McKinley and Denali NP or the lovely scenery on the way.
Anchorage has the Alaskan Cultural Center and a tour of the city. We stayed at the Alyeska Prince Hotel in Girdwood and had a wonderful meal at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant on the top of the mountain. It was a highlight of our land tour.
> We were fortunate not to have any wind when we were at Denali
> May 17 and 18. Unfortunately the road was open only as far
> as the 30 mile marker, so our 6 to 8 hour tour was only 4
> hours. After going all the way to Alaska, I would not want
> to miss the chance to see Mt. McKinley and Denali NP or the
> lovely scenery on the way.
I have posted this several times. With the extended cruise seasons, cruiselines are selling cruise tours that are not offering what the "inseason ones" do. Denali doesn't change. The shuttle buses NEVER start much before June 1 and the tour buses only make the very short runs until maybe the 3-4 week of May. But these are shorter than the shuttle bus anyway. I never recommend any trip less than at least to Eielson. None of the cruise tours include this. Be very careful and fully look over the tour schedule- in my opinion they do not include much of the great Alaska.