We leave for an Alaskan cruisetour with Celebrity on July 19th, 2006 and will go everywhere by "deluxe motorcoach" for the first 3 days. I am wondering how long each of the transports might be. They are Anchorage to Denali.........Denali to Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge........Talkeetna back to Anchorage for lunch..........and then on to Seward to board the Summit. I'm traveling with 9 family members ranging from 20 - 82 and most of the group wanted to do the cruisetour, instead of touring the land on our own. This was the package deal that fit into our varied work and vacation schedules. Has anyone else taken a similar bus tour and, if so, how did you enjoy it? Thanks to all who reply.
Anchorage to Denali will be 6 hours with brief stops. Denali to Talkeetna 3 1/2 hours with no stops, Talkeetna to Anchorage 2++ hours. Anchorage to Seward 3 hours.
If you are only on a 3 day tour, you probably are on the Natural History tour. I do suggest you may want to consider McKinley flightseeing out of Talkeetna, an excellent excursion and your only way to likely see the Mt.
As also, only another suggestion- I would definately consider skipping the bus to Seward- big reason, you have NO time for anything in either Anchorage or Seward with their timeframe. Instead you may want to consider taking the Alaska RR which will get you into Seward around 11am, plus superior scenery compared to the Seward Highway. THEN you have time to add one of the top Alaska tours, a boat trip to Kenai Fjords, if not of interest- you would also have time for any of the other several attractions this "don't miss" city has. No loosing your family members who don't want to go, just meet them on the ship.
If you care to look , here are some photo samples of what is possible for you to see out of Seward. Way superior to anything you can see from your ship in the way of varied wildlife and close up glacier viewing. This and Denali Park are my top two must dos on every Alaska trip for me.
Thank you, Karen. I will definately take your advice into consideration. I don't know whether or not we can afford any more excursions. Here is what we have already booked: White Pass Railway in Skagway, Four Glacier Adventure via Helicopter from Juneau, Whale & Marine Mammmals Cruise at Icy Straight Point and the Misty Fjords Seaplane Adventure from Ketchikan. My husband and I might try the Motorcycle Adventures there too, if we have time and it's not pouring. One of my sons is also doing the Remote Bush Exploration & Brown Bear Search with his uncle. What do you think of these choices? They are all booked through Celebrity, as I was out-voted and everyone else thought it was wise to do it that way. It was actually reading your posts that made me think about booking things ourselves, but I guess I'm not very convincing and majority rules.
I did think about the railroad before, but then a friend who did this last year told me that her bus ride to Seward was one of her favorite parts of her whole trip. I was disappointed when I found out that we were not going to get to ride the domed car train at all with this cruisetour. Maybe the White Pass will make up for that.
I do appreciate any and all advice and/or comments. I have learned a great deal from this site. I am glad that we are doing the land portion first. Three in our group are not able to walk very much or very far, so this may be for the best. Plus, with everything that we are missing, we'll just have to go back again sometime!
Your pictures are amazing, Karen. Thanks for the link. We just bought a digital camera last night to take with us and I need some practice with it before we go - hope my shots are 1/2 as good as yours!
Again, my only desire is for a great trip for you. But if it would help any print out my post. SIGNIFICANT in Hoonah- is to definately do an independent whale watch- reason being, they go out TWICE as long, meaning a far better tour with much more sightings. I highly recommed Floyd Peterson- a top long time fishing/whale watch operator. http://www.visithoonah.com/fishes/ This is so important that I would spilt off from those who will only go on the ship tours.
It is also superior to book and independent for Misty fjords. A significant reason is a much more personal tour and less "shuttle " like. You will be going with a big operator, probably Taquan. Their turn around is fixed and they frequently fly the route back and forth all day. Again with an independent, you will mostly be able to land and get out of the plane, you have never "heard" such silence. These flights are not rushed. So I suggest you might want to consider my top venders- www.islandwings.comwww.southeastaviation.com There are also some well recommended others.
To put your mind at ease over the "you'll miss your ship, if your independent tour is late" I have NEVER heard of anyone ever missing their ship due to an Alaska vender. If you book with one, verify your port times with them and always go with their scheduling recommendations. They clearly are superior tours, not always cheaper, but a wonderful link with some people who run excellent businesses.
I would speculate your friend has NOT taken the Alaska RR??? By far the scenery is superior via rail vs road, Anchorage/Seward. I have driven and taken the railroad many many times. The main reason I highly recommend this is for you to consider an 11:30am Kenai Fjords boat trip, of which the train gets you into Seward in time for.
You are going to be extremely limited in your wildlife if you are on the NHT, and this tour more than makes up for it. My opinion only.
Thank you, again. I will certainly give your suggestions some serious thought and see what I can do. You're right - my friend has only been to Alaska once and never took the Alaska RR. But she did enjoy the motorcoach very much. I would like to be able to go back to Alaska in the future and book everything independently and spend more time on our own. This trip will be a great introduction for our family group, however, and we are really looking forward to it. You have been a tremendous help, Karen.
My husband and I just returned from a cruisetour (thru RCCL) and loved it. Our motorcoach was different though - went from Fairbanks, to Denali, to Anchorage. Then took the train to Seward. We are 40 and had two others with us in their 50's - those others on the bus I would say were our age and up. This included a group of 16 that were traveling together (which took up about 1/2 our bus), but I do know that the RCCL motorcoach that was traveling along with us had families on it. So the younger will enjoy as well. The trip was fun with the guide traveling with us giving interesting facts along the way as well as the bus driver who was from Alaska. We actually drove thru his hometown and his kids/grandkids came out to wave at us as we drove by.
I have to say that the train from Anchorage to Seward was wonderful, our guide did say that from the whole train route this was her favorite part.
If you have time in Seward - do the Sea Life Center. We really enjoyed it and it appeared that so did everyone else (age wise).
Enjoy your trip!! We want to go back again and do the land portion on our own next time.
Thanks for the reply, Donna. I'm glad that you had such a nice time. The youngest in our group will be my sons, ages 19 and 22. My husband and I are 49 + 1 and our 3 parents range from 74 - 82. I'm sure that we will all have a good time. Our parents each have different walking problems and I am hoping that they won't feel too tired out.
I am adding your tip about the Seward Sea Life Center to my notes. I might need another suitcase just for all the research that I have been doing!
Did you find an advantage to sitting on a specific side in the motorcoach? And did you feel like sardines, or was there plenty of room? Thanks again for your comments.
I've been busy planning trip to Wash D.C., but now I am here to haunt----I mean help you!!! We have ridden the bus to seward twice, driven that road three or four times and took the Alaska RR once. While I like the driving best so we can stop along the way for goats/sheep, glaciers, etc, the train was very nice way to go. The buses were nice but you can't move around or go up to the scenic car to see more.
Since so much of your limited time will be in buses, you might want to inquire about upgrading to the train for that section.
You have some nice excursions planned for the ports. We have done most of them, except we drove to Emerald Lake from Skagway. We did use Michelle from Island Wings for Misty Fjords and she would be our first choice again. Top notch. In ISP, we were there in the first season and took the ship whalewatching tour so I could meet Koo Hook, a local historian and guide. Next time we may take private charter boat. We saw tons of whales, probably 50-60 or more doing all kinds of things. Shot 7 rolls of film in three hours.
Hello and thank you for your comments - I appreciate this site very much. I had inquired about upgrading to the train through our TA quite some time ago and she tried, but couldn't get our whole group on the train as, I am assuming, they were full already. So, we'll just go and make the best of it - hey, we'll be in Alaska! I hope that we'll get to see lots of whales, too. We have been on 3 whale watches before, out of Boston, and hardly got to see much but "blows", although we saw lots of dolphins on one of them. We also watched dolphins playing around the ship on our Disney cruise last year. Any further comments/advice would be welcome. Thanks again.
We have been on 3 whale watches before, out of Boston, and hardly got to see much but "blows", although we saw lots of dolphins on one of them. .
For clairfication, this is normal sightings. Don't expect anything more than blows, backs and tails. Anything else is a gift, that I hope you get.
I go out of Gloucester several times/year. Its an excellent humpback area. IF you did go out of Boston, this is the worse place to go out of Ma. If you look at a map, you have all that "bay" area to get out of until you are at either Stellwagon or Jeffery's Ledge. You are far better to go out of Cape Cod, or Gloucester/Cape Ann since your tour involves at least an 1 1/2 hour less travel time to get to the viewing areas. A great many Boston trips essentially, make the run out, see one whale and have to return.
Hi Karen. We went out of Gloucester also. Maybe we were on the same boat! Do you remember me? I was the one with a sunburn and wind-blown hair. Whale watches are lots of fun, no matter what you see. We're looking forward to the Alaska experience.