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Old April 3rd, 2003, 10:55 AM
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Default First Timer

This will be my first time in Alaska and cruise.
Is there a cruise itinerary that starts from Vancouver, cruise to Inside Passage, then ends up in Seward? more like a one way cruise, and if there is such a thing, is it cheaper to cuise round trip?
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: First Timer

Hi Amelia,
Only savings by a round-trip is the airfare, are you doing your own or the cruiseline air. With this type of trip you'll need an open-jaw ticket, be sure to have your travel agent get you a price on that. I think by doing this route, you get to see a bit more over the round-trip??

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Old April 3rd, 2003, 02:40 PM
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Donna,
Thanks for the reply. Yes we are trying to do this on our own.
We'll fly to Anchorage, rent a car for 3 days drive up to Denali (if we have time to Fair banks...is it really worth it, are there lots of things to see in Fairbanks?)
Then drive back to Anchorage to return the car, then take a train to Seward. The itinerary says 9:00 P.M. docked, what time the ship leaves?, what time do we have to be there?
This is our first-time...everyone I talked to sais I have to try Alaska cruise, is it really a great experience? Me and my husband loves to hike and do some sightseeing, we are not party couple though, we retire at 9:00 P.M.(usually)
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 02:54 PM
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The trip to Denali will take most of the day if you stop in Talkeetna and other places along the way. You will need at least a full day in Denali to ride the shuttle bus into the park to at least Toklat River or Eielison Visitor Center. You don't say when you are going. Most of Denali will not open up until after June 1st. That means if you only have three days you won't have time to see Fairbanks unless you can add another day or two. You can problably board your ship after about 2:00 depending on which line. HAL? I know there is a train that leaves about 12-12:30 and arrives about 5:00 Princess? I don't have my info with me so can't remember exact times. You are taking a southbound one way cruise and that is considered the best way by many since you can tour on your own before and then relax on cruise back to Vancouver.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 03:39 PM
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John,
Thanks for the info.
I ahve not booked this itinerary yet, I am hoping that I can find a cheaper one.
It's Celebrity Summit on July 11. Do you have any idea what's the weather that time?, my first choice is early to mid August, but I have not found the one I like. I prefer Seward to Vancouver.
Should I really try to see Fairbanks? I can push for 4 days if I have to.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 03:30 AM
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4 days is NOT enough to tour the interior, I would never consider less than 5 for independent travel (not counting arrival/departure days), 7 on a cruise tour. You are severely underestimating travel distances and attraction times. For Denali Park you need 2 over nights IF you wish to get any distance into the park for wildlife viewing- it is a big waste of time to settle for any shorter. You are looking at AT least 5 hours, Anchorage- Denali Park, an all day shuttle bus, another 2 hours to Fairbanks- which has plenty of worthwhile sites. 350+ miles Fairbanks- Anchorage, 3 hours, Anchorage- Seward 124 miles. This should never be a marathon driving trip, you need to allow plenty of time to stop and see the many sites you will encounter along the way. In 4 days you wouldn't find me going past Talkeetna. It is necessary you get a copy of THE MILEPOST- try your library.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 07:37 AM
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To: Karen,
Is the early July a great time to go to Alaska or August?
Which month has more rainy days? I have a cruise quote for 1,000 pp outside cabin(travel agent said it has a large window) with Celebrity Summit. Is this a great deal? Can I do better ? Should I wait 'till I find one I like in the month of August (I really prefer August)?
Thanks,
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Old April 4th, 2003, 01:10 PM
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Hi Ameila

I found a great site to compare prices on cruises. vacationstogo.com They are in the selling buisiness but you can look at their database for free. You have to register with them (free also) and then you can use their search feature and check their prices. I believe those prices give you a good idea what the different lines are charging.

Vacationstogo.com
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Click on find a bargin

In your case I choose Alaska as the region
July 2003 plus 1 month as the date range
Anchorage as the departing port

Saw lots of cruise offerings and lots of prices

One jumped out at me. Aug 1, Holland America Ryndam from Anchorage. Goes to Glaicer Bay, College Fjord for glaicers (maybe the best two) and Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. Finishes with inside passage and Vancouver.

Their outside price looked good.

Duane (sportsfan)
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Old April 4th, 2003, 01:52 PM
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Thanks sportsfan.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 04:47 PM
Laura J.
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We sailed Inside Passage on the Mercury last year - June 9 week- had WONDERFUL weather. It was sunny and cool to warm most days. One day it went up to 80 in Stika. One good thing about mid-June is there's still a lot of snow on the mountains. I've seen pictures around the glaciers from August/early Sept. and the mountains look totally different with less snow/ice. The salmon are spawning in August (although this appealed to us less.)
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Old April 4th, 2003, 05:04 PM
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Amelia, as far as the Alaska cruise weather is concerned, we did the inside passage Vancouver-Vancouver last year July 4 on HAL Ryndam and had near-perfect weather every day. The crew was amazed and said we should consider ourselves very fortunate, as they usually have several rainy days on the week-long cruise. For this summer we had put our deposit down for northbound Vancouver-Seward on HAL Statendam July 20 but checked back often, and what we consider a better cabin location opened up on the Ryndam July 18 southbound Seward-Vancouver, so we switched. The itinerary includes College Fjord, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. Whichever cruise line you decide on, I would strongly recommend a balcony/veradah cabin if budget allows. There is so much beautiful scenery and wildlife to see, and it's great to be able to sit outside your own cabin to watch it go by. I am so excited about this trip I can hardly stand it. I bet you'll have a wonderful time!

Susan
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Old April 5th, 2003, 09:04 PM
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There is no rhyme or reason to Alaska weather- so there is no use trying to predict. For first timers- I strongly feel it is important to go no later than the first week of Sept. Almost a sure thing of rain, cold and short days. I have gone twice at this time as a cheap second yearly trip. Going earlier was far better all the way around with mid -late August my favorite. I just returned from my 15th trip and first winter. Far exceeded my expectations!!!!
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Old April 7th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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Thanks to everyone, I really appeciate all the info.
We'll try to have a post-cruise. Is it better to get a land package? or rent a car and do it on our own?
Has anyone heard of explore tours? we are planning to use them for a post-cruise.
I am so excited already.
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Old April 8th, 2003, 01:32 AM
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I will never take another cruisetour, you will see and do twice as much for 1/2 the price going on your own. You see far more of Alaska since the tours are on fixed schedules and only go to the tourist areas. Generally the same depending on the area. Eg Fairbanks- includes gold dredge and paddlewheeler boat, stop at pipeline, little else. Anchorage- Native museum. There is so much more to see!! It is extremely important to note what the tour descriptions don't tell you. I get a load of emails from purchasers who contact me to confirm what I have posted re Denali buses, distances etc. AFTER they have purchased. Most are shocked and then want advice on how to "fix" it. If you want to see wildlife in Denali Park be certain to have at least the Tundra wildlife tour included- not the Natural History- (I don't understand why anyone would travel 8 hours via rail to only take the too short 3 hour tour once they get there???) If you do decide to go on your own- extremely easy. ONLY one road Anchorage- Fairbanks- can't get lost. You can use cruise tour sched. for a guide and ideas. A necessary reference is THE MILEPOST, try your library.
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Old April 8th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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Karen, Thank you very much.
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Old April 21st, 2003, 10:22 AM
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Amelia, we are taking Celebrity's Denali Dscovery cruise tour beginning Aug. 3 in Anchorage. Price includes the Tundra Wildlife Search, the Riverboat Discovery sternwheeler cruise and a tour of Fairbanks. Friends of ours are going with a large group and asked us to join them. We are getting a good price that includes airfare (from Dayton, OH) It is our first time in Alaska, too and we are excited.
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Old April 21st, 2003, 02:57 PM
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Amelia,
The price on Celebrity that you mention does not seem out of line for outside cabin with unobstructed view. It may not be the lowest but won't be the highest either. Prices could get better, hard to say, but airfare might also go up. As you can see so far, everyone has different ideas about cruising, cabins, ways to tour. If you like to control your own time, are not afraid to do your own research or reservations, talk to a cruise experienced TA, planning your own land tour and determining which cruise itinerary and line to take is rewarding if you have the time. Things like location on the ship as far as middle vs front or rear may be important if someone gets seasick. We enjoyed the one direction tour from Anc to Vancouver as you are considering. I wanted to maximize our view of Alaska in our two week window for our first trip last year. Next time, we may take a different route or stops to see more of this great state. I would rather spend more time up on deck and do more excursions than pay more for a balcony cabin, but that is just an opinion.
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