Does anyone have any input on whether it is best to go from Seward to Anchorage by Motorcoach or rail? Which is better sight seeing? Which is more comfortable? We're going in May 2003, so will the roads be slow because of repairs caused by winter? (I'm from the South and don't know what effect winter has on roads.) Are there any other considerations that I haven't thought of?
Just did the Anchorage to Seward ride two weeks for the Star Princess, depending on when your return flight is, you may want to consider renting a car (Hertz is close by to the dock) and driving yourself, the ride is spectacular.
We rented a car and stopped about 10 times, and you can take side trips to different glaciers. A friend of mine stopped at Exit Glacier and said it was spectacular.
I have done the bus ride, also very scenic, but it is a bus. Talked to several who did the train and they loved it.
> Does anyone have any input on whether it is best to go from
> Seward to Anchorage by Motorcoach or rail? Which is better
> sight seeing? Which is more comfortable? We're going in May
> 2003, so will the roads be slow because of repairs caused by
> winter? (I'm from the South and don't know what effect winter
> has on roads.) Are there any other considerations that I
> haven't thought of?
Last year we took the rail option and it was great. You have so much more room to walk around, get something to eat or drink and the scenery is fabulous. It is so much more comfortable than being crammed into a "luxury" bus. I don't think they do this anymore, but our luggage went right from the train to the airplane which made that even easier. I believe it cost about $30 more for the train option but it was well worth it. They had a student on board, working during the summer, that narrated about the various sites we were passing by.
We did the bus ride in late May 2001. The bus ride was spectacular and followed essentially the same route as the train. Our bus driver was very knowledgible and narrated the entire trip. We also made about 3 or 4 stops for photos and even stopped when a moose was sighted (something you can't do from a train). I'm sure the train was fun, but the bus ride was great as well. As far as road repairs, they do occur in summer months, but Alaska's idea of road repair delays is nothing like the lower 48. If you are delayed 5 minutes it's unusual. Most delays are more like a minute or 2. (My husband and I wondered why they didn't do the road work in the middle of the night since the daylight lasted so late. But I guess it wasn't that big a deal to delay a few people during the day). Cruznliz
I would choose the Grandview Rail Transfer, which is operated by the Alaska Railroad. The train is considerably more comfortable than a bus. You can get up and walk around on the train, plus there's a dining car and a club car where you can buy meals and beverages if you wish. The scenery is most impressive, too!
The Grandview Rail Transfer leaves Seward at 7:00 AM (disembarkation between 6:00 and 6:15); the train is right at the exit from the terminal) and runs express to Anchorage, arriving at about 11:30. Upon arrival, you can go either directly to the airport or, if you have a late flight, to Princess's hospitality room at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage, where you can check your "carry-on" luggage while you explore the city. There are shuttles to the airport every half hour until 6:30 PM.
I should mention that the tracks and the railroad are not "side by side" the whole way, so you will see some scenery on each that you won't see on the other.
If you want a rental car from Hertz, book it now! Cars were gone when I started looking 4 months prior to our cruise. Hertz is the only rental company that will allow one way rentals (at least that I could find and I called several small, local companies). Here's another option instead of the train or bus or car rental....we took a short flight from Seward to Anchorage on F.S. Air Service, Inc. Took a taxi from the Port to the airport for less than $10. They are tiny planes, but that's half the adventure. We rode in an 8-seater. We totally lucked out and had unusally wonderful weather the entire cruise. It was in the 80's and clear all around Anchorage. We could actually see Mt. McKinley from as far away as Seward. The pilot said it was quite special to be flying on such a clear day. One of our fellow passengers actually took a Mt. McKinley flightseeing trip two days earlier and couldn't even see the peak when that was the sole purpose! Oh, and think this flight would be expensive? We actually paid less than the train (it was an internet special I was offered while e-mailing back and forth with the company)! I just re-checked my credit card statement and we only paid $70 for 2 of us to fly! I think other passengers paid about that per person. Our cruise was June 8-15, so it was probably an early season discount or something. If I had to do it again, I would probably rent a car if that was available, but if not, I would definitely fly again. It only took about 20 minutes, so we had more time to start our next adventure - a fly-in flishing trip for 2 days.
I did this trip two years ago...I didn't even know there was a train option. (I guess because I did a complete package with Princess for the cruise & land tour.) The only place we stopped on our bus ride was at a small animal park.
The airplane ride sounds spectacular!
I was fortunate to see the top of Mt McKinley on our rail trip from Anchorage to Denali, but the next day when we toured the national park, it was very overcast and you couldn't see it. On the airline trip home from Fairbanks we could see the peak above the clouds, also I was suprised that I could see the cruise ships in the inside passage from the jet!