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Old October 13th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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Default First time Alaska cruise - any advice would be helpful

Hello all. I'm helping my mom plan her frist cruise to Alaska for May 08.

Saphire Princess, 7-day cruise, disembarks in Whittier. We decided to book tours and excursions independently. But, doing it this way has logistical problems ie. transportation from the port to the excursions. I have ironed most of these out - BUT...

I have run in to a couple of snags in the proposed itinerary.

1) Getting out of Whittier. Does anybody have a (cost effective) suggestion for going from Whittier directly into Denali?

Mom really wants to end her vacation in Denali, do the Tundra tour, etc. Getting her out of Whittier and into Denali (reasonably and timely) has me stumped.

2) The Tour Book: Does anybody have experience with using the buy one get one free coupons? Are there time and date restrictions, or any other restrictions that we should be aware of?

3) Flightseeeing. See Mt. McKinley.
Opinions please: Talkeetna Air, Talkeetna Aero, Rusts, or K2? Which flight route?

4) Crab, Crab, and more crab. But all I can find are Salmon Bakes! What's a trip to Alaska without chowing down on some Alaskan King Crab? Does anybody have a suggestion for a good Crab Excursion?

Any and all suggestions and input is greatly appreciated.

Thank you all.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Though it may not be your preference, my top option to get to Denali is to take the Alaska Railroad to Anchorage and rent a car to get to Denali. That gives you a new experience on a great route, and flexibility to and at the park.

You get the same experience as the Tundra Wilderness Tour at a fraction of the cost by reserving a Park Service shuttle bus (the further the better) - http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/bus-travel.htm

The Toursaver has very few restrictions - using it for Takeetna Aero alone makes it worth the price.

The flightseeing operations are so similar that deciding is like tossing darts - if you get the weather, any trip is magnificent. The longer the route the better IMO. If the weather at Talkeetna isn't conducive to flying, you can also fly right at Denali with Denali Air - http://denaliair.com/.

Crab - you want a restaurant, not an "excursion". Among the best are The Twisted Fish at Juneau and the Skagway Fish Company at Skagway - both ar right on the docks.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 06:39 PM
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Thank you. My mom is going with her best friend. They are both older women and one doesn't drive. So, the car rental isn't a safe option. I have been looking for a shuttle that picks up in Whittier and goes thru to Denali.

Last night, I found a place called AlaskaBusGuy.com I'm hoping that his routes are the same as published on his site. I'm going to give him a call today.

Thank you again.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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It also depends when in May they are there?? Denali Park , at most will only get you to Toklat before June 1, by shuttle bus. About $30 vs the Tundra Wilderness at $90. So that is my only recommendation.

I suggest, they many want to consider, spending the day in Whittier and enjoying a Prince William Sound boat tour, way superior to anything seen from their ship. Then take Alaska RR to Anchorage, enjoy sightseeing Anchorage the next day, then following morning taking the Alaska RR to Denali park, needing at least 2 nights their, ideally 3, if other touring is of interest. IF this gets them there in June, so much the better and book them on the Fish Creek Shuttle. Train Back to Anchorage then home.

I would not be putting them on a shuttle from Whittier to Denali Park in the same day- it would be grueling on a bus that long, at least 7 hours.

Check out toursaver and northern lights coupon books and see if any railroad coupon offers they could use perhaps?
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