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Old August 11th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Default Alaska Cruise Tours - Retirement Dream

Anyone out there have experience with an Alaska Cruise Tour?
It is four or five years in the future, but it is my retirement trip from teaching and my husband and I want to do it the right way.

I do not know if I should even attempt to do it by myself, or go to talk to a travel agent. It will be about 20 days with pre-cruise and post-cruise
packages. It is not an Around the World Cruise, but it will mean a great deal to us.

So, if you have any expertise with cruise lines, tours, and shore excursions in Alaska, please be so kind to lend me some help.

Thanks a million
Diane
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Old August 12th, 2009, 10:34 PM
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Wait until the economy is in the toilet, and the cruise lines are really desperate. Then, get a real bargain. Just monitor what trip that you think you might want to do.....................and, wait......................
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Old August 13th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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One suggestion: do the tour part first, since it is more tiring. Save the more relaxing cruise for last.

After the logistics of the tour, on the bus off the bus, check in the hotel check out, have your bags in the lobby by 7am, hurry up and wait, etc, etc, --- the ship was a welcome sight.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 06:13 PM
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Thank you both very much for responding to my concerns. I want this trip to be very special. It was interesting to me how busy the tour portion seems to be. Would it be better to take the north and then the south bound cruise for a total of 14 days or is it still special to do the tour portion?

Thanks
Diane
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Old August 13th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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We took the land part last and were glad we did. We thought the ultimate was Denali - and that was one of the last things we saw. We were also able to use freqent flyer miles for the airfare, otherwise the airfare would have been about $800 per person.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 11:02 PM
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I'm doing the land tour first, thanks to the good advice I received on this board. I liked the idea of the packing/unpacking/go-to-the-next-stop part of the trip done first.

The hard part was paying the extra money in flights due to the fact I am not round-tripping with the airlines. Two one way tickets cost more than a round trip flight from the same airport. However, after weighing my options of exploring both land and sea in Alaska, the short flight home is better than the long flight home.

It seemed the cruises going north were a bit cheaper than going south. However, when all the chips were on the table (and everyone telling me I'd want to go back), I decided to bite the bullet and save the extra money that would have been spent on two airline trips(i.e. two different vacations) to Alaska and put it towards the land portion first and the relaxing cruise second.

And before you all say it, yes, I'll probably go back to Alaska anyway!

Sweet Sailing!
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Old August 13th, 2009, 11:19 PM
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What did everyone that has traveled Alaska find to be the "must see or
must do" on the trip?

Thanks
Diane

Alaska - 2014!
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Old August 14th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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As worthew8 mentioned, the northbound leg of the cruise portion costs less than southbound – so you will pay a premium to do the tour first. Is it worth it? IMHO yes.

There is another advantage to doing the tour first – you get the longer air travel over with at the start of your vacation. We flew to Fairbanks to start our tour and flew home from Vancouver after the cruise.

I can’t think of any “must see” places. The benefit of the land tour is what you would call the “Alaska experience”.

PS: I think Denali is overrated. We thought the bus ride from Anchorage to Seward was more spectacular than the ride in Denali.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Must see-Glacier Bay. This is not an actual port, but the views from the deck are amazing. My mouth hung open so long my tongue dried up and I couldn't talk. And, that is amazing.
Marty
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Old August 14th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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Must see: the College Fjords - Glacier Bay pales in comparison - and Glacier Bay is spectacular!
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Old August 14th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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dianeteacher407 asks about Alaska cruisetours. I honestly believe my website www.AlaskaCruisingReport.com can be a great resource for all kinds of questions like this one. For Diane there is an entire section on Alaska cruisetours covering each of the 15 cruiseline companies committed to Alaska in 2010. Actually, the cruisetours page now on the web is undergoing review and updating but will nonetheless offer a sampling of the type of tours available from each cruiseline. The total website covers every company in the Alaska trade, each of the 39 large and small vessels committed for 2009 and 2010, family cruising in Alaska, each line's ports of call, shore excursions, FAQs and health tips, plus a major section on cruising by Alaska state ferries and much more.
Mike Miller, Publisher
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Old August 14th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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dianeteacher407 asks about Alaska cruisetours. I honestly believe my website www.AlaskaCruisingReport.com can be a great resource for all kinds of questions like this one. For Diane there is an entire section on Alaska cruisetours covering each of the 15 cruiseline companies committed to Alaska in 2010. Actually, the cruisetours page now on the web is undergoing review and updating but will nonetheless offer a sampling of the type of tours available from each cruiseline. The total website covers every company in the Alaska trade, each of the 39 large and small vessels committed for 2009 and 2010, family cruising in Alaska, each line's ports of call, shore excursions, FAQs and health tips, plus a major section on cruising by Alaska state ferries and much more.
Mike Miller, Publisher
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Old August 14th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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Thank you all so very much. I will make it my first stop to check out your websites, Mike.

Thanks again.
Diane
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Old August 14th, 2009, 06:42 PM
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I would suggest as "Must do" to visit the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau. Also try to go whale watching. You'll more than likely see spouts from the ship....but not nearly as closeup as the whalewatch trips get.

If you stop in Skagway, the White Pass rail trip is beautiful and very historic. Your'e a teacher? You'll love it.

If you have the budget try a flightseeing tour. Really pricey however.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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In Skagway, I would do the option of taking the train one way, then the bus back down. I loved that. I don't agree that College Fjord is all that great. Nothing beats Marjorie Glacier in GLacier Bay for me. But, as you can probably tell, there is so much exciting stuff to see and do in Alaska that it is hard to go wrong.
Marty
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