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-   -   Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/alaska/246454-inside-passage-vs-gulf-alaska.html)

Mer July 20th, 2002 08:27 PM

Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
Is the Gulf of Alaska cruise really that much better than an inside passage tour? Is the scenery really that different, or are most of the glaciers more or less the same? Flying in and out of Vancouver seems easier than returning through Anchorage, and cheaper too. Is an Alaska land tour really worth all the time traveling on bus or train? I'm an active person, and am afraid I'll get bored with all the sitting and looking out the window.

I'm just beginning my research for a cruise next summer and could use advice. Thanks.

DeniseToAlaska July 21st, 2002 12:45 AM

Re: Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
I can't help you with the land tours, but as for the rest...

All glaciers are not the same. Hubbard Glacier was spectacular. Since Sawyer Glacier is actually a 'destination', I'd imagine that one is spectacular too.

I'm not sure what you mean about the Inside Passage. Almost all cruises go Inside Passage, and that's not where the bulk of the glaciers are. They're in College Fjord and Glacier Bay.

You'd think that in and out of Vancouver would be easy, but Customs makes it a pain. I'd much rather go Seattle to Seattle and forget about Customs. Also cheaper airfare.

I'm compiling a list of Alaska cruises next year for a family reunion type thing, so here is the list of itineraries. Just post the letter and I can let you know which ship/date it's for.

A: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Sawyer Glacier, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Seattle

B: Seattle, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Sawyer Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle

C: Seattle, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle

D: Seattle, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Sawyer Glacier, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

E: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Sawyer Glacier, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

F: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

G: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Endicott Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Lynn Canal, Sitka, Prince William Sound, College Fjord, Seward

H: Seward, Prince William Sound, College Fjord, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Lynn Canal, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

I: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

J: San Diego, San Francisco, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Inside Passage, Vancouver

K: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Sitka, Inside
Passage, Vancouver

L: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, San Francisco, Catalina Island, San Diego

M: San Diego, Catalina Island, San Francisco, Seattle, Victoria, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

N: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Valdez, College Fjord, Seward

O: Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

P: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Valdez, Inside Passage, Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco, Catalina Island, San Diego

Q: Seattle, Inside Passage, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle

R: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Seward

S: Seward, College Fjord, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

T: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver

U: Seattle, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sawyer Glacier, Skagway, Inside Passage, Victoria, Seattle

V: Seward, College Fjord, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Vancouver

W: Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Seward

X: Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle

Y: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Seward

Z: Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Misty Fjords, Inside Passage, Vancouver

AA: Special 3-day: Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle

AB: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Hubbard Glacier, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Misty Fjords, Inside Passage, Vancouver

AC: Seward, College Fjord, Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, Vancouver

AD: Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Seward

PEB July 21st, 2002 11:30 AM

Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
Is it better to do the Gulf of Alaska? IMHO absolutely. The inside passage is beautiful but if you do not go all the way up to Seward you will have missed the best glacier viewing from the ship. It may sound unbelievable but you do not want to miss the sights north of the inside package.

eeinusa July 21st, 2002 11:32 AM

Re: Re: Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
We did the Gulf of Alaska last year, and from my point of view College Fjord and Glacier Bay were the definite higlights. We did enjoy the ports of call that are part of the Inside Passage - Juneau in particular because we went whale watching and then spent time at Mendenhall Glacier, and Ketchikan in particular because we did a sea & air (catamaran/floatplane) trip into Misty Fjords.

Having said that, if an Inside Passage only itinerary has glacier visits included (and (I believe most do), and if you are not going to spend time on what I consider to be mainland Alaska upon arrival in Anchorage, then an Inside Passage may suffice for you. It wouldn't for me because we found the things to do on the mainland very interesting and would not hesitate to go back to explore more of it, but again I think it's a matter of interests.

les July 22nd, 2002 02:11 PM

Re: Re: Re: Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
I am uncertain re the "Gulf of Alaska". We have made five trips to Alaska and the only
itineraries were those from the Inside Passage. Perhaps Sitka is considered to be in
the Gulf, but the Inside passage is the only way to see the major sites as well as the
glaciers. If you have the time and really want to "see" Alaska, the only way is by going
inland. There is much to see even above the Arctic Circle. Take a flight from Anc.to
Kotzebue and Nome---this is where the "real" Alaska is found. ENJOY

eeinusa July 22nd, 2002 03:16 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
Inside Passage is the area around the SE panhandle portion - it includes places like Sitka, and Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, and Haines and many other smaller ports. It may or may not go to Glacier Bay. So unless, the ship crosses the wide open Gulf of Alaska to Seward and visits places like College Fjord and Valdez, the itinerary is usually known as Inside Passage. Otherwise, it's known as the Gulf of Alaska itinerary. On the Gulf itinerary, ports of call normally associated with the Inside Passage will also be included. Hope this helps.

Shar July 28th, 2002 11:18 AM

Re: Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
IMHO the best part of Alaska is Glacier Bay and above. Depending on the amount of time you have, you should consider renting a car out of Anchorage to see Denali National Park and the KenaI Peninsula. Last year we took our cruise on Princess, just to see Glacier Bay. The first time we saw it, it was gray and cloudy - last year the sun was out and it was beautiful. Check out "backman's alaska" in the photo gallery to get a taste of what we saw.

Shar

Karen16 August 5th, 2002 02:01 PM

Re: Re: Inside Passage vs. Gulf of Alaska
 
In my opinion, I would never consider a one way trip without at least 5 additional days interior touring. It is costly in time and money to get on/out of Anchorage and a bus ride does not do it for me (touring the interior:) ). All trips go to the inside passage, the one ways add College Fjords and sometimes Valdez. Consider going on your own interior, Alaska is no place to be stuck on a bus on a fixed time schedule,. it is very easy to go on your own for about half the price seeing twice as much. I also strongly feel that round trips are in no way "sloppy seconds", they offer an excellent experience and sometimes at considerable savings. If you don't have the time or money for at least a 12 day trip- do get to Alaska on a great round trip.


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