Since money is an issue, look for the best deal you can find on a cruise that suits you (there are LOTS this year - even HAL has some dirt-cheap sailings), and plan your land portion with a rental car to get the best value in accommodations, meals, etc (and so you see what YOU want to see, when you want to see it). Most people prefer the cruise second, as it's the more relaxing.
I'm doing the land first with Princess. They have awesome 2 for 1 deals on cruises right now. The advice of others convinced me to cruise last. All your moving around is done. Plus, the plane ride home is shorter.
Unfortunately, flying into one place then flying out another is more expensive. Although they do have cruises (with tours?) round-trip out of Seattle.
Your right, I couldn't find it on their (Princess) cruisetour page. I did remember reading about Seattle cruisetours and after searching some more, there was a news announcement on their website (1/8/09) about a deal they had going in February. The promotion is over but it is hard to believe they still don't have cruisetours from Seattle.
Maybe they haven't updated the website? Try calling their 800 number. It sounds like what you're looking for.
Legally cruises from Seattle can't drop passengers off for land tours.
According to the Jones Act (188?) , only american crewed ,flagged
and built ships can carry passengers can carry passengers (also freight)
between american ports . This is why cruises from Seattle stop in
Victoria sometines Prince Rupert before they arrive in Seattle.
The only exceptions are repositioning cruises.
It's the Passenger Service Act. The deal Princess had included transportation to Vancouver/Whittier with a land tour package. NONE included Seattle ships.
For ANY cruisetour, it is best you do your homework. Princess, has WAY too many poor cruisetour choices, especially the ones that include the Natural History tour, completely MISSES Denali Park- why go there??? Princess trains also are table seating, with assigned seats. If you are a couple, you will be seated with another pair. This probably is best for four people traveling together. A significant factor people frequently miss and underestimate is time and distance. Again, way too many cruisetours are all transit with little time at destinations. Know the facts so you can make a choice for your touring priority. Overall avoid shorter cruisetours, at the min, you need to consider at least 5 days, better is 7++. Meals are extra unless specified. Budget 50% more than you would at home.
If you want to ride the Alaska Railroad, try contacting them directly. They offer land tours and you can build your own itinerary. Hope this helps. Happy cruising!
Even better, combine this with a coupon offer. BUT overall, traveling by Railroad requires more time, in my opinion, at least another full day. If short on time, you are far better off with a rental car.
if you want it to be a "once in a life time" trip do the cruisetour that flies you up to prudhoe bay and follows the dalton highway back down.
Best Trip EVER.
it's a rough road... 450 miles unpaved, ravenous mosquitos, portapotties... but a MAGICAL experience and you will see the bush not just some trees and deer statues outside your lodge window. seriously, it makes denali look like disneyland.