We are booked on a July Cruise Tour which includes a stop in Denali, staying one night at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the other at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. I have already picked up the idea from this board that the Natural History Tour is a bit lame but would like to know if we have other options for tours, even if we have to pay.
Bottom line- the Natural History tour is a complete waste of time. It is equal to going to Disneyland and not venturing past the parking lot.
IF Alaska is a priority then you need at least the Tundra Wilderness tour included in your cruisetour. Is a change possible?? Generally with only one night at Denali Princess you do not have time for the longer tour- are you arriving by train or bus and from where. These answers will give me the timing and your answer. Another problem with the cruisetours is depending on shuttles. So IF you were able to catch the 2pm SHUTTLE bus to Toklat- you may be out of luck with a ride back to you hotel at 10pm. Frankly the McKinley Princess is a "holding" area, no activities there, 50 miles to Talkeetna and McKinley viewing is rare. My last trip in August had a 6 day span between views.
If an interest, also consider going on your own, it is simple to duplicate your cruisetour and would offer you far more in options into Denali Park, which is the highlight of your travels. If you care to, here are some photos of my last trip, ONLY wildlife on the portion of the Natural History tour- to mile 16 is the 2 moose. Hopefully this will encourage you to change this poor tour option and get more out of your Alaska travels.