My wife and I travelled with Princess ( Island Princess) to the Panama Canal at easter 2004. The cruise was brilliant and beyond our expectation. A lot of the Americans we spoke to highly rescommeded Alaska. So we have booked Isl;and princess again with a landtour first from Fairbanks to Whittier in August, 2005.
I have done some reading and the mosquito seems to be a problem? Does anyone have any advice or experience??
We went from Anchorage to Fairbanks (with Denali stop and 8 hour tour) then to Tok,up to Eagle, Yukon river to Dawson, then down to Scagway,,never saw a mosquito. Trip was during last 2 weeks of August. Thought I saw a post once saying the little buggers are more prevalent earlier in the season.
We took the exact same itinerary, ship and time that you're taking in 2005, that we did in 2004. It was on the Island Princess, end of August, and we took the same cruise tour and cruise and it was our first time to Alaska and we brought mosquito repellant and spray and we did not see even one; not even in Denali. Maybe we were lucky. I don't know. Just go prepared, but we didn't need it when we went last August.
I would love to see Alaska again, but this year, we're taking another cruise to Hawaii in September, so I guess Alaska will have to wait awhile.
PS Of course I packed everything I owned; since everyone said you would be wearing layers of clothing as the temps changed so often, and they were right. Next time I'll know how to pack better for Alaska. One thing I'm glad we didn't forget, was our binocculars and be sure to take a camera.
WHEN in August- earlier will have more "bug" potential, but rarely do the cruisetours even hit any bush areas and stay in generic tourist areas that are bug free. MORE important- be certain you have the Tundra Wilderness tour included in your package and NOT the Natural History- worthless.
Karen16 If you are going to use the park shuttle to go to at least mi 66 in the park . Do you say the Tundra Wilderness Tour is something you should do as well? All will be done independently
I was responding to the "landtour" comment above- maybe wrongly assuming it is ship booked??? Anyway- no absolutely NOT, independent tourists are way better off using the shuttle buses and NOT the tour buses. But I never go to Wonder Lake before mid August- just to many agressive bugs- that ruin the trip any earlier for me. This year Eielson will be closed so my recommendation would be as far as Fish Creek mile 63 before the above date.
H, the Tundra Wilderness Tour is one of 3 possible ways to tour inside of Denali NP. You may do other excursions or hikes in Denali, but the touring is the big reason you're going there.
There is 1 road through the park and it is largely closed to private vehicles...the lone tour operator licensed for this has 3 options that travel in and out on this 1 road and the difference is largely the distance into the park. The natural history tour at 3 hours does not go far enough in to get to the really amazing locations ... both scenery and wildlife. Wildlife can be random, but most people see very little on NH tour...when we were there, stories were about seeing a moose's antler, which could have been a bush, the people weren't sure. On the Tundra tour, we got amazing scenery and grizzly, caribou, moose, and Dall sheep walking around us and around our bus.
Denali is usually a highlight and you spend a long time in transit, so Karen and many of us here will always recommend you choose 1 of the 2 other options: Tundra Tour or the shuttle system. Shuttles allow you to pick your distance and you'd want to go to Eilson Visitor Center. Tundra tour stops short of this, although it is elongated to get closer to Eilson when Mt. McKinnley is visible (not too often). Tundra tour is much more expensive than shuttles and includes a small largely inedible lunch. Shuttles let you get on and off at various spots for hiking/walking and although they are not guaranteed to give you as much commentary as a tour, most people are not disappointed by the tour-like nature of these tours.
On a cruisetour to Denali, either Tundra or Natural History is usually included in the cost (because you've already paid for the tour, shuttles factor out of the mix). So, Karen wanted you to check to see which one you have. You should be able to find these pre-paid activities on any of the literature about your cruisetour or on your itinerary. If Natural History, consider picking another tour that will allow the tundra tour and/or consider upgrading to the tundra tour (if there is space and if time is available on your tour). All too many learn the difference between these 2 very different option only when its too late.