We are trying to plan a Cruisetour (7 Cruise days/ 4 Land days) . We need to figure out which are the best places to stopover in Alaska along the Train Excursion route between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Princess offers a good package unless there is a better one out there. We have cruised with HAL in the Carribbean in the past. We'd appreciate any good advice. Flying from the East Coast too.
How does the Baggage handling from the train work as well?
My opinion only, but 4 days is not enough time on a cruise tour- land portion. A lot of your time will be in transit compared to actual time at the destination. There is only 2 "stop overs", if going by rail, between Anchorage and Fairbanks- Talkeetna and Denali Park. Be aware that the total time is 12 hours. Denali Park is a highpoint for most. If wildlife is a priority you need at least the Tundra Wilderness tour, but a better value is the NPS Shuttle buses, with my min. recommended distance in Eielson mile 66. The tour bus goes to mile 53 unless McKinley is viewable (rare). Plenty of ranger activities too. Tours in Fairbanks include a boat ride and gold dredge tour, Anchorage - usually the Native History museum. Frankly there is so much more to both cities. If going with Princess- they sometimes include a night at the McKinley princess- be aware this is out in the middle of nowhere, nearest town is Talkeetna 40 miles away (great options for McKinley flights) and the National Park entrance of Denali is 100 miles. Consider going for 7 days interior- you will see and do much more. Or consider going on your own. Very very simple to do and you can concentrate on your interests, plus see all the "small stuff" in between. You can use the "tours" as a guide. Only one road/rail. Alaska RR also offers packages and the Toursaver has a 2 for 1 coupon- look at all options.
has anyone ever booked with alaska travel & tour? I am thinking of booking a land tour with them before our cruise. They seem reasonable, any feedback would be appreciated. the web site is alaskatravel.com. i found them on anchorage.net. please let me know the pro's and con's. thanks so much
We did a 5-day (4-night) landtour after our northbound Alaska cruise and had a wonderful time. We only had 2 weeks for vacation and wanted to do as much as possible. We went into it knowing our days would be fast-paced, did and saw a great deal, and came home with incredible memories to last a lifetime. (We went with a fully escorted cruisetour through the cruiseline--northbound cruise followed by the landtour.)
Places Visited on the Landtour:
Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Fairbanks (overnight stay in each)
The first two legs of the landtour were by coach; the 3rd & 4th by Alaska Railroad. Our coach was quite comfortable, and we absolutely loved the train. We had the same coach, same coach driver and the same landtour guide throughout.
We did not mind the transit time at all as we were traveling through magnificent scenery. We also found transit time great for relaxing and catching up on our travel journals, as we were on-the-go every minute at each of our stops.
The train experience proved to be a highlight of the trip for us. A 2nd guide joined us on the train and was absolutely wonderful--shared fascinating tales of local history, told us about the areas we were passing through, and kept us in stitches with her delightful sense of humor. We were on the train approx 4 hours each of 2 consecutive days, and the time flew both days.
All baggage handling and baggage transfers were done for us. We just put out bags outside our hotel door in the morning, and our bags were waiting for us at our next hotel when we arrived.
Luggage was carried by coach the entire time. While we were on the train, our luggage was transported to our next hotel by our coach driver. We were also able to keep a carry on with us at all times on both the coach and the train. The baggage handling was fast and accurate. Not one piece of luggage was delayed or lost for any members of our landtour.
This post is already very long, so I'll stop here. If you would like more info, please let me know, and I'll email you.