Go Back   CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums > Destinations > Alaska
Register Forgot Password?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old March 7th, 2007, 11:53 AM
Senior Member
Cruise Maniac
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 172
Default Alaska Cruisetours

We are planning a Cruise to Alaska in June 2008 .
We are considering a Cruisetour instead of Cruise only if everyone has the budget for it. This will be a family reunion.
I would like to hear from some of my fellow Cruisemates who have taken the land tours, ie: Heart of Alaska, Wilderness , Kenia, and Fairbanks.
(7 d. cruise and 3 d land tour). Is it worth the extra money?. We will have two teens(13 and 14) with us. Is there anything for the younger children to do or is this more of an adult appreciation adventure.?

Any info will be appreciated.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old March 7th, 2007, 06:31 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairview Texas
Posts: 52
Default

We have done both. The land was on our own in a motorhome. I would say if you can afford to do a land tour do it! The parts of Alaska you can see from a cruise ship are definately beautiful and well worth every minute, but what you can see on a land tour are also worth even more. Denali National Park is a once in a lifetime experience. Some people live in Alaska all of their lives and never see that mountain but once or twice. The wildlife in the park is unbelieveable. Your teenagers will go home telling their friends about this place!
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old March 7th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,771
Default Re: Alaska Cruisetours

Bandrews,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We are planning a Cruise to Alaska in June 2008 .
We are considering a Cruisetour instead of Cruise only if everyone has the budget for it. This will be a family reunion.
I would like to hear from some of my fellow Cruisemates who have taken the land tours, ie: Heart of Alaska, Wilderness , Kenia, and Fairbanks.
(7 d. cruise and 3 d land tour). Is it worth the extra money?. We will have two teens(13 and 14) with us. Is there anything for the younger children to do or is this more of an adult appreciation adventure.?

Any info will be appreciated.
In Alaska, I think that you would do better to rent a van or a minibus and put together your own land tour. The land tour portions of cruise-tour packages are very expensive. Alaska is part of the good ol' U. S. of A., so you won't be trying to decipher road signs written in a foreign language or following customs of a foreign culture. Alaska's main roads are in good condition and you'll want to drive in daylight so you can see the scenery, so it should be no problem to drive yourselves.

If your ship arrives in Seward, I highly recommend taking the Grandview Rail Transfer from the pier to Anchorage International Airport. The transfer takes about four hours, but the scenery along the rail line is spectacular and the rail cars afford room to get up, move around, and even get a beverage and, if you wish, a bite to eat.

Anchorage offers a lot to do, especially on weekends. The whole downtown area is very walkable and crime is not a problem. There's an open air market on third street every weekend in the summer, and most weekends seem to have some sort of street festival with live entertainment along one theme or another. Anchorage also has many excellent restaurants in all price ranges and styles of cuisine (in fact, I have yet to eat in a restaurant there to which I would not want to return). The downtown area also has excellent shopping and many points of interest that you'll find as you walk the city's streets.

How much more you'll be able to do in Alaska depends upon how much time you have and what you can afford. Here are some options.

>> 1. You can use a hotel in Anchorage as a base for day trips to explore the surrounding area. Possible day trips include a day cruise to College Fjord, home of some of Alaska's most impressive glaciers, out of Whittier, a day at the Mount Alyeska Resort just south of the city, an a drive up to Talkeetna for the views of Mount McKinley (spectacular on a clear day, but check the weather before you go!) and lunch at the Latitude 62 Inn.

>> 2. If your time allows, you can drive up to Denali and Fairbanks to see the attractions in those areas. If you want to do this, you have a choice of either dropping the rental vehicle in Fairbanks and flying home from there, with an additional charge for one way rental, or driving back to Anchorage to return home.

The major destinations in Alaska are much further apart than in the "lower forty-eight," so be sure to allow plenty of time for driving from one destination to the next. Also, be sure to start out with a full tank of gas because services are limited between the destinations and not available in every town. (When my parents went to Alaska about fifteen years ago, the tour guide pointed out one actual town where the population suddenly increased by 50%. It seems that the mayor's wife had a baby.)

In any case, I highly recommend making reservations for your lodging in advance. The summer is Alaska's peak season, so lodges can be full.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old March 8th, 2007, 01:20 PM
Senior Member
Cruise Maniac
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 172
Default Alaska Cruisetours

Thanks to all for the info.

gsel, thanks for your information. We were concerned that the teens might think this part of our cruise was not "too cool"

Actually, Norm, you made some very good points. For the price of all of us to pay for the tour portion of our cruise, I think we could rent a van and do exactly as you suggested. We would be able to see so much more of Alaska.

Wow, thanks alot.

Bandrews
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old March 9th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,539
Default

3 days also, is not enough time. This cruisetour will be all transit time. Extremely few if any kids are on these tours. They are the most restrictive- fixed schedules. A big negative if you have interests outside of the cruisetour- which is easy.

I don't recommend basing out of Anchorage and doing day trips. Alaska is better on the move. Don't miss Seward- especially if your ship is there. It's a gem with plenty of activities, so the main reason why I would never recommend the "Grandview Rail" with the cruiselines, never mind that it is also almost double in price of the regular run of the Alaska RR.

Allow TIME. 5 days is the min. to include Seward and Denali Park. Toursaver can offer significant discounts for independent travelers.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old March 9th, 2007, 01:13 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,771
Default

Karen16

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
3 days also, is not enough time. This cruisetour will be all transit time. Extremely few if any kids are on these tours. They are the most restrictive- fixed schedules. A big negative if you have interests outside of the cruisetour- which is easy.
Yes, I agree. And they are also quite expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I don't recommend basing out of Anchorage and doing day trips. Alaska is better on the move.
That depends how much time you have. For those who have only three or four days, it seems better to focus on one area and see it well than to overextend. In that situation, Anchorage is a convenient base.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
... the "Grandview Rail"... is also almost double in price of the regular run of the Alaska RR.
I know that you disagree with me about the transfer, but your assertion about the price is patently false. Alaska Railroad's "Schedules and Fares" page shows a fare of $65 one way or $109 round trip for an adult ticket beween either Anchorage or Girdwood and Seward. The rail transfer might be $5 or so more than the regular "one way" fare, but it operates between the pier rather than the station in Seward and the airport station rather than the downtown station in Anchorage, making the connections seamless (and thus eliminating possible taxi fares to make the connection) at both ends if one is either picking up a rental vehicle at the airport or flying home directly. A taxi connection at either end probably would eat more than the difference in price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Allow TIME. 5 days is the min. to include Seward and Denali Park. Toursaver can offer significant discounts for independent travelers.
Even that seems tight. I would want at least a week.

Then again, I include Anchorage on the list of "must see" destinations. It's so close to Alaska....

Norm.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old April 28th, 2007, 09:46 PM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 7
Default RV info

The Houston Chronicle Travel Section had a nice article about renting an RV in Alaska and driving the 4 highways. I believe that it was about two weeks ago. You can look it up online and get the phone numbers if still interested. It is a very positive article and made me think that I would like to try it sometime. We are currently booked on Holland America's Cruisetour #6 on May 30. As this is meant to be a vacation, it is a relief to let them do all of the arrangements. We are not taking any of our kids or we would have considered another possibility. Your trip should be fun, no matter which way you decide!
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old April 29th, 2007, 09:40 AM
Junior Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 0
Default

Here is what I have done for my Alaska trip this year (we leave May 16th). I am sorry this will be so long winded, but I have done a year of research and will share what I know.

We are cruising on Carnival Spirit for 7 days northbound. For the price it was the best bargain. I have spoken to a number of people who have been on the Spirit and they loved it. When we arrive we have transportation to downtown Anchorage (we are paying $39 per person from a transportation company that runs buses or private limos(expensive). This is from Whittier. We pick up our rental car from Enterprise at their downtown location because if you pick up a car at the airport there is an additional $15-$25 per day charge for the car. We booked an 11 day land package through a company out of Anchorage. I actually booked it all last July 2006 and am paying 2006 rates for hotels and excursions rather than 2007 rates. We wanted to do some by train, but found that the train schedules did not fit in with our timing and we prefer doing our own thing. Our land pacakge includes 2 nights in Seward at the Holiday Inn Express with Kenai Fjords boat tour. 1 night in Girdwood at the Alyeska. 1 night Copper Center at the Princess Lodge. 2 nights Fairbanks at Pike's River Lodge. Arctic Circle Fly/Drive tour. 2 nights Denali at the Denali River Cabins on the River. Rafting trip. Park tour. 1 night in Talketna. Grand Denali Flight tour. 1 night Anchorage at the Extended Stay.

This is an expensive land trip based on the type of excursions I planned and the hotel types I wanted. It truly depends on what kind of accommodations you want to stay at. My husband and I have RA so we need access to jacuzzi therapy so we had to book different hotels.

The cost of the car for 11 days is $362 including tax. We got one of those Entertainment books and they had a 25% off coupon for Enterprise. Plus we booked off airport. We booked online. That saved us around $500. We booked transfer from the ship outside as it was also about $50 per person less. We also had a $100 off coupon for the cruise from the Entertainment Book and we are in a mini suite. FYI: rental car companies restrict the types of highways you can drive on unless you are in an SUV...

I recommend checking with your cruise agent to see if you can get booked under a "group cruise" classification as sometimes the fares are bettter. But, remember they are not always available for each cruise line or ship so it is a hit and miss type situation.

My agent for the land package is Heidi Schilawski at All Alaska Tours. heidi@alaskatours.com. (907) 277-3000. There is a toll free number, but you have to go to the webite to see it. She was so incredibly patient with me from May 2006 on until I ironed out all the small details and got my timing right. I paid a 10% fully refundable deposit until October then the balance of the 50% deposit was charged. Then in April of this year the remainder was charged. I could have booked all of this independently and most likely saved some money, but I just did not know that much about the hotels, amenities, etc so I felt it was best to let an expert help me out.

Karen16 is right. Toursaver.com can save you money if you are doing independent traveling. I also noticed that at certain times Princess has specials on the rooms at their lodges in Alaska and you can stay at them if you want to as they are located in a number of areas.

Just remember that many of AK's roads are two lane and allow for ample travel time between areas with plenty of time to explore some of the smaller less visited areas.

Whatever you decide just have lots of fun!!

I always recommend travel insurance. Go to insuremytrip.com and you can compare companies and prices. It depends on what you want.


Prue
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
alaska, cruise, cruisetour, cruisetours, extra, money, negatives, princess, tours, worth

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Alaska Cruisetours RCI or Princess billc102 Alaska 1 June 28th, 2006 12:35 PM
cruisetours Rod Penner Alaska 1 April 14th, 2005 06:52 AM
Cruisetours JanetB Princess Cruise Lines 5 December 15th, 2004 06:04 PM
Cruisetours Allan Alaska 1 June 9th, 2004 08:53 PM
cruisetours traveln1 Princess Cruise Lines 2 October 16th, 2001 01:32 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:31 AM.
design by: Themes by Design

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1