We plan on taking a 7 night northbound cruise in May 07. After reading a few boards it seems that Princess, RCI, and Celebrity will be what we will choose between. We will have two fiftysomethings, two thirtysomethings, and two 12 and under.
Is there a line that offers a superior land package up to Fairbanks? They all seem so expensive. I lived in North Pole for 13 years, but have been in the lower 48 since 95, so there are some specific things I want to see in Fairbanks that are not the usual tourist things. I have been to Denali a few times, so maybe we will only need one night there, but at least two in Fairbanks. We want to ride the RR in a dome car, and I could see Talkeetna, but don't want to overnight in Anchorage or Alyeska. My mom used to be a travel agent and believes that things will go much more smoothly using the cruise line, but it seems alot less expensive to go indepently. Does anyone have any suggestions? BTW, this will be my family(DH, DD, DS)'s first cruise!
My opinion only, absolutely do not consider a cruisetour. This is the most costly way to go and a fixed schedule is not going to mix well with your individual touring preferences. As a further add, extremely few if any kids take these tours.
Since you are a former resident, you know that the Alaska RR Anchorage/Fairbanks, is a 12 hour trip and parallels the Parks Highway just about the entire trip. Way more scenic is Anchorage/Seward which I would suggest you consider instead? And rent a car from Anchorage. There is no way around an overnight in Anchorage if you want to take the train since it departs at 8am and returns at 8pm, no time to get elsewhere.
As only a suggestion to consider, get a Seward cruise, the top attraction which for me is a don't miss is Kenai Fjords boat tours. Take the train to Anchorage. I would spend one day there since it will be brutal getting on the train again the next morning? I would only go to Talkeetna, overnight, then Denali Park- again if you take the train you need two nights there, otherwise you will be very limited on your timing and shuttle bus into the Park. Then your 2 days++ in Fairbanks.
If you car rental, it is extremely costly for one way Anchorage/Fairbanks rentals, If you have the time make the loop Anchorage, Fairbanks, Glennallen, Anchorage.