I greatly prefer the first bus out. But you already have your tour included and paid for- over $70pp. If you want your own tour- strongly consider going on your own rather than with the cruise tour- you will see significantly more at probably 1/2 the price. My min. distance into Denali Park is Eielson on the cheap shuttle bus- about $28. How many days do you have, overnights at Denali Park and how are you traveling there???
We customed a tour directly with Princess. Four of us (two couples) from east coast and didn't know how else to handle all the luggage transfers otherwise. Will fly into Fairbanks, then train to Denali, train to McKinley Princess and coach to Kenai Princess. Two nights at each of four lodges - maybe sounds boring 8 nights at all Princess - but I didn't want to be rushed with transports. This is for two weeks of relax/sightseeing, no stress!! I do need to decide on my cabin tho - that's my STRESS. Note above in messages. Going South - B310 (more seasick or does that amount of space not really matter) OR B649 midship but starboard. Appreciate any help!!
For clairfication- you won't "train" to McKinley Princess. It sounds like you are getting off the train in Talkeetna??? Princess is 40 miles away. Coordinate your touring there to avoid a lot of back and forth. Same with the Kenai Princess- only major very busy activity there is fishing. All other touring will be out of Seward again 40 miles away. For information only- Alaska RR also offers package tours. You are quite limited without a car however. Plan carefully. You don't mention?? but do you have the Tundra Wilderness tour included??? If not definately go with the shuttle.
I used to work for Princess and I also live in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Here is my two cents:
You are very lucky to be staying at the Princess Hotels because they are by far the most beautiful in Alaska, especially the McKinley and the Kenai! The McKinley is the BEST view of Mt.McKinley in ALL OF ALASKA!
Don't worry you'll have plenty to do and see, it won't be boring, just ask the Princess staff for suggestions when you get there.
As far as cabins go. I would spend the money and get a more expensive room, because they are higher on the boat, less movement, and definatly get an outside room, no windows in an inside room and you miss a lot of beautiful sceanary.
Carnival Pride 9/05/04 Second Anniversary, First Honeymoon!