I am looking for peoples opinions on Cruise Tours. Which of Princess's cruise tours do you feel give you the best bang for the buck? Also, do you think it is better to do the tour portion before or after the cruise?
I would love to hear your opinions. It might help me decide on what tour I would like to do.
We did an Alaska Cruisetour on Princess about three years ago and liked it very much. I strongly believe that you're better off doing the land portion first, just because of the psychology of having the "schlepping" behind you once you hang your clothes in the closet on the ship.
Not that the schlepping was painful at all. We did the Fairbanks to Anchorage land route, then picked up the ship in Seward. Fairbanks is a sleepy little town, really, but the activities on the cruisetour were quite worthwhile. We thought the riverboat cruise would be just a typical tourist run, but it is really much more. You'll come away from the half day on the riverboat with a very decent appreciation of local history, cultures, and ways of live. This was a delight.
Their train cars are very pleasant, and the ride to Denali was quite enjoyable. The lodge at Denali is also lovely and we enjoyed the activities there, especially the float trip down the river to Talkeetna. And, of course, the park itself is a "must." We were fortunate that the mountain was "out" the entire time we were there, so we had wonderful views.
Anchorage was fun--the closest thing to a big city in Alaska--with much good food and very nice art galleries.
At the end of the cruise in Vancouver we stayed on for a couple days to explore the city, and we're glad we did. We liked it so much that we returned to Vancouver and Victoria for a week the following year.
Thanks for the response. It sounds like taking the land portion first is the way to go. I really want to see more of Alaska than just the ports, even though they sound great. Denali is on the my list as a "must see".
I second all of ARs comments. We did the land tour portion first and cruised on Dawn Princess from Seward to Vancouver. During the landtour we encountered travelers who had already concluded the cruise and almost to a man they indicated that were they to do it again they would do the tour first. I know that there are those however, who claim that by traveling northbound the spectacular scenery increases dramatically each day. While that may be, the ability to recover from the rigors of the land portion during your first two days onboard ship make the entire trip more enjoyable IMHO. There is so much to see in Alaska that a landtour really adds great value to the entire experience. When you get to Vancouver, I encourage adding on a day or two to savor this wonderful city. We've been there twice now and would go back in a heartbeat. Have a great trip.