Originally Posted by You
I have been to Alaska before on RCCL back in May 2003, but only did the cruise roundtrip out of Vancouver - and loved it. Want to go back around same time in 2009, but do a cruise tour where I and my other half (who didn't get to see Alaska the first time) get to see the interior part of Alaska.
I am a big fan of NCL but they don't do land packages that I like. Any recommendations for the land part of what would be 2 weeks in Alaska? Are most of the land portion of the cruise tours all run by the same company and it is just a matter of which ship we like and what places we want to go?
There are so many options in terms of tour before, cruise second and vice versa. Looking for some opinions so I can whiddle down choices.
Thanks in advance.
This might give Debra a heart attack, but I fully agree with her suggestion to do the interior on your own, as the land tour portions of cruise-tour packages are quite expensive. If you book a Northbound cruise from Vancouver to Seward, you can book the "Grandview Rail Transfer" from the pier in Seward to Anchorage International Airport through your cruise line, pick up a rental car at Anchorage International Airport, and go explore whatever you want to explore. At the end of your exploration, return to Anchorage International Airport, drop off the rental car, and fly home. Or, if you wish, you can arrange a "one way" rental, drop the car at Fairbanks International Airport, and fly home from there. Alaska's roads are in very good condition and are not congested, so you can drive up to Fairbanks and back with no problem.
When visiting "the interior" on your own, I recommend reserving lodging for your trip in advance in the strongest possible terms, especially in smaller communities such as Seward, Valdez, Talkeetna, and Denali if you plan to stay there. If you run into "No Vacancy" signs in these areas, the nearest lodging with vacancy may be several hours away.
Be sure to plan at least a weekend in Anchorage, as there's a lot to see and do there. The downtown area is imminently walkable and very safe, with a lot of unusual shops, great restaurants, and points of interest. During the summer, there's an open air market on Third Street (within a block of F street, IIRC) and a street festival of one kind or another nearly every weekend. There are also many attractions that are easy day trips from Anchorage including the famous Mount Alyeska Resort and day cruises to College Fjord (home of some of Alaska's most spectacular glaciers).