Karen and all you Alaska experts
We are considering the last week of August for a land portion and then a southbound cruise back to Vancouever in the first week of Sept this year. Can we expect lower prices by that time in hotels for land portion? For Denali, should wildlife still be abundant and close to road on an early morning shuttle run to Eielson? What is the cutoff date for changing shuttle shedule? Is it the last of August or does it go thru first week of Sep? Will cruises get any cheaper between now and another month for the southbound cruise? Or will it sell out? Airfare any cheaer as we approach end of season? Are the days that much shorter and colder at that time as compared with late May or early June as we had on our first trip? Thanks in advance for all the brainpicking. Contemplating a second cruise of year is exciting, but I don't have nearly the time to research it properly, thus I'm cheating and relying on my experts.
Almost 2 years ago, we cruised that week and we did find that most of the stores had some decent sales, for them its the end of the season, so keep an eye out for some good deals. Everything else seemed to be regular price.
Perhaps some bargains but don't expect any rate drops in lodging until Sept. Going that late I would encourage you to consider going to Wonder Lake. It is the earliest I will ever go- 3rd week in August. The shuttles run into the second week of Sept, but on a continued reduced schedule up to then. So you need to book ahead. It isn't the end of the season- so I would grab some air now. AND place an add on this sites. shopping page for a cheap one way cruise. There already have been bargains. Yes the days are shorter and cooler, but not significantly so- dusk 9-10pm interior, around 8 Inside passage. I would make lodging inquires now. I will be there the same time and I found some limited availablity.
Thanks Donna and Karen
I picked up the latest Alaska AAA book today and for lodging it looks like rates change on 9/1 or 9/15. So to take advantage of some of these 50% savings we would have to do land portion after 8/31 and then cruise after. Can it still be done and have first rate wildlife experience? We were very lucky on our two days in denali on 5/31-6/1002, and would be disappointed if we didn't have prime viewing. Why go all the way to Wonder Lake? Would wildlife on that portion past Eielson be better? or the lake itself? or better chance of seeing mtn? What about whalewatching into first or second week of Sept in Seward, Juneau, or Icey Straights Point? If we would have to just settle if we move it back another week, I would rather wait until late May, 2005.
Karen, do you shop price for lodging or do you have your secret list of b&b's that you stay at each trip? Have you posted ad on here before? I get newsletters from several internet companies like vacations to go, but have never booked that way. I don't mind doing my own booking since I spend as much time watching over the TA's shoulder.
jq, I did my last Alaska cruise in the late Aug-early September timeframe of 2002. It was the northbound Vancouver to Seward. I was in Seward on Sept 4, 2002 and took a 5 hour post-cruise excursion on Resurrection Bay. We had a number of really good Orca sightings on that day. It was a bit chilly and overcast, but all of the wildlife in the bay made it worth it. I can't tell you if that was the exception or the rule for that time, but I am hoping that it was representative of early September. I am booked on the Sept 5 southbound Statendam cruise and am arriving in Seward a couple of days early so that I can do one of the 8-9 hour Kenai Fjord tours.
I would never use AAA as a lodging reference and rate drops are different depending on the property- some don't discount until later. I would recommend going with your current end of August plan- cruising after the first week of Sept- has way more opportunity for poor weather- rain and dusk by 7pm. There is not a significant difference in land viewing opportunities out of Denali Park- look at the park map and see the distances. I go to Wonder Lake every trip end of August- but not earlier. Excellent scenery and more wildlife spotting. Choose what is right for you? Did you go to Eielson before? Juneau will have humpbacks on 100% of their trips through Sept. Out of Seward- this is a ROUTE trip so wildlife is varied, after the first week puffins are usually gone if those are of interest. I do have my favorites in B&B's and I do go with reasonable priced ones. I never hesistate to try new places and have only run into one that I will never recommend Ocean Front in Seward. I'm never loyal to any booking agent and book cruises based solely on price only. I need no hand holding and price is the most important factor for me- I need nothing more than a valid ticket. If this is right for you- then consider it- it can be the cheapest way to go.
thanks Karen. We will keep our planned window to look for great cruise savings opportunity and pounce! I find AAA consistent and another way to evaluate unseen hotels. I was also using them to see what dates the hotels were changing their rates. We did make it to Eielson on our 2nd day in denali, but we caught a misty overcast day with no mtn view, cold and windy at Eielson , wich was 3/4 closed for repairs. We decided not to stay and hike around there that day and stayed on same shuttle. Wildlife was plentiful, but further away then day before and driver not much interested in stopping any more than he had to. Just checked airfare and they want up to $700 from Sacramento for Anc & vanc one way cruise. So unless we can find cheaper airfare without having to camp in airport overnight somewhere or a 12 hour total time, we may have to consider a vancouever round trip or wait until late May next year. Thanks again for help.