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  #41  
Old April 8th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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ace1zoe2 ace1zoe2 is online now
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Default Worth the $

We went in 2008 (just husband/wife, kids are grown) for a 7 day cruise in Alaska. It was our first trip to Alaska (we're from Texas - hot Texas) and we were blown away at the visual sights you see and the sounds you hear in Alaska. It is simply beautiful!

We stayed in an outside cabin (had never been in a balcony at that time) & did 2 nights pre-cruise in Seattle & 1 night post cruise in Seattle. I got an incredibly good deal on airfare that I lucked in to ($209 round trip including taxes & fees non stop from Texas) and we used Marriott points for our note 1 night & paid for the other 2. I think the cruise portion was around $3200 & we spent another $700-$1000 for excursions including a boat ride/zip line tour in Juneau, a lighthouse & whale watching excursion in Prince Rupert, BC and a tour into Canada where we saw Emerald Lake which was unbelievably beautiful, stopped at a couple small towns on the way with a return trip to Skagway on Whitepass & Yukon railway where we saw the Trial of '98 the settlers took, an outpost of the Northwestern Mounted Police, waterfalls, gorges, 10 foot snowdrifts - we felt like all our excursions were worth the price we paid. All of our excursions for this trip were booked thru the ship (we hadn't discovered private tours back then).

We loved our trip so much we said we wanted to go back & visit the interior. We've done several Caribbean, Hawaiian, etc. trip since then & just booked our trip for 2013 to do 1 week pre cruise land tour (thru RCI) and 1 week cruise Southbound from Seward to Vancouver. Paying around $6k for 2 weeks for a balcony cabin 6/1-6/14/2013. This is before airfare & excursions... this is our first land tour thru the cruise line but includes all hotels, travel 3 different days on the Wilderness Express Train line wit the huge glass windows & windrow wrapped ceilings, Denali, a 3 hour fjord cruise, a guided tour in Denali, etc. We are super-excited and feel it will be worth every penny. Port excursions I will probably research & book on my own to save $. And you can be sure I will diligently watch our cruise prices for any price drops and get my balance credited. I always book as far out as possible so that I can pay it out over many months & hopefully take advantage of a price drop and plenty of time to research.

But as everyone has said, WORTH it is up to you and what you feel is worth it. We had a great time in an outside cabin the first time. Bt we've discovered balconies since then & enjoy our private time on our balcony... so the cost of that is WORTH it to me. You may be super social & enjoy spending your time with lots of other people & be just as happy in an inside or ocean view for less money & enjoy more tours or drinks for the same amount of money spent.

Only you can decide what's best for your family. Whatever you decided I hope you have a great time!
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  #42  
Old April 8th, 2012, 08:47 PM
jetsfan jetsfan is offline
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There are 6 of us heading to Alaska this summer. As for the cruise line, unless it is a very upscale one, most mass market ones are the same to us. My DH and I have been on 14 cruises covering 3 lines and they all provide us the vacation we are looking for, with a budget that works.

From what I have read and researched Alaska will be like nothing we have seen before. I am awed by the pictures that are posted on CC.

We have 3 cabins, a balcony, and 2 insides. Our flights are from JFK to Seattle with 2 days pre-cruise. I have booked all our excursions and prepaid all of them. We are at 11,000 and I do not say that number easily. I know that with the economy and the way things are, it is a crazy amount.

I guess for me it is the fact that I am able to get all 4 of my kids to go and we will have a "family vacation". They are all busy with jobs and college so we are spending less time together.

I am trying to put away a little bit each pay period for on board expenses. We are not doing the land tour and I am sure there will be things we will miss. However, my DH and I, God willing, will go again. As for my kids it will give them a small taste of the beauty of Alaska, and leave them with great memories of us when we are gone.

I guess the answer is a very personal one, but from the reviews on these boards, I think it will be one of the most wonderful things we have ever done.

Last edited by jetsfan; April 8th, 2012 at 08:50 PM.
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  #43  
Old April 8th, 2012, 09:22 PM
3DSNVA 3DSNVA is offline
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Here's the way I look at it....if you are already considering paying this amount for a trip to Alaska with your 2 kids, you can afford to do it and it will be a wonderful experience. We are going back to Alaska this July (1 week on land on own and 1 week SB cruise) and this time we will have our then 11 year old with us. We know what we saw before, and what we are determined to do again with our daughter, plus adding some extra experiences. We are at around 15K for our 2 weeks and we know it will be worth every last dime for "us". Every vacation is more about what you make of it instead of how much you spend..you will determine whether the trip is worth 10K!
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  #44  
Old April 9th, 2012, 07:21 AM
Colexis Mom Colexis Mom is offline
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We did Alaska in June/July 2011 with two kids, who were 12 and 9. A week land tour DIY before the Radiance southbound (balcony cabin - about $5500), followed up by 4 days Vancouver/Seattle. We did spend over $10,000 (not too much over though), but it was an 18 day vacation. Airfare was $1650 for the 4 of us (BDL-ANC then SEA-BDL). And it was booked 5 months out, so had I booked sooner, I probably could have saved even more money. I felt it was worth every penny! Our best vacation yet! And we are looking forward to going back (just doing a land tour DIY the next time)!
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  #45  
Old April 9th, 2012, 09:10 AM
Budget Queen Budget Queen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT New-Cruiser View Post
After reading the OP's post and all of the replies, I wonder if the OP actually got the answer they were seeking?

I believe the OP was asking if it was worth it to spend $10k for a week long trip to Alaska. It is a lot of money and I think they wanted to know if the experience was worth the expense.

Clearly based upon the replies, it is possible to spend less than $10k for a week, but others have shown how you could easily spend more than $10k....the difference is due to cabin choice, airfare, excursions, etc.

Anyone who plans a trip to Alaska (or anywhere for that matter), makes choices about cabin, excursions, etc based on what is important to them and how much they want to spend.

So, back to the OP's original question (and not whether $10K is the right price for a trip to Alaska) - they asked:

"Do other people that have been to Alaska feel it was worth the expense?"


....(I am not looking to offend anyone, am actually curious about what people who have been there think. We will be taking our first trip to Alaska this summer....will be making final payment on the cruise this week! I have no intention of changing my mind, but it would be nice to have confirmation that our hard-earned $ is being well spent.)
Lots of options with the replys. For $10,000 "worth the expense" for they have listed- for me- never. I didn't spend that for the month I was there last year.

But I certainly have spent way more than anyone else on this board , total, touring Alaska- so, definately well worth all the costs to me.
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  #46  
Old April 9th, 2012, 10:00 AM
account4fun account4fun is offline
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We spent more then 10K on our two weeks and it was absolutely worth every penny!

We decided where we wanted to put our money to use though:

Balcony - a must in Alaska (IMO) with all the scenic cruising
Excursions - We did a lot of flightseeing / helicopter excursions so it was very pricey but that was the most important to us.

Other things that we didn't care about we allocated less.

Only you can decide if it's worth it to you and how much you can afford! IMO Alaska rates 2nd only to my 3 week honeymoon in Tahiti/ Bora Bora and that's saying something!!!
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  #47  
Old April 9th, 2012, 10:17 AM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Whether the cost would be worth it, does depend on what you expect to get out of your cruise. As mentioned above, if nature is your thing, you will likely not be disappointed. However, if your family likes an action packed vacation of Disney type activities, you may find you wasted your money. Since you have doubts, I would probably pass for now. Wait until you have researched more and then perhaps you can make a good decision if this is a trip your family would truly enjoy. I chose my two Alaska cruises strictly on itinerary, not giving the ship a second thought. We cut our expenses by booking insides both times, but with price drops we were able to secure a OV for less than we originally booked the insides on both of our cruises. One cruise we combined with a independent land tour, the other was the 14 day HAL roundtrip. Not once did it cross my mind that the money spent was not worth it. In fact, Alaska keeps calling me back. I would go every year if I could, but that is not in the cards. However, my priority with vacations is scenic places. Big cities, amusement parks, Disney, etc. are not our interests. Only you can decide if you think it will be worth it. I will say you can cut your costs if that is a concern. HAL often offers great deals for 3rd and 4th passengers in the same cabin. Good luck whatever you decide. If you do go, I hope you are blown away like most on this forum have been. Not everyone loves Alaska as much as the regulars on this forum. There are those who went once and have no desire to go back. I can't predict where you will fall in the spectrum. I can only say I did not feel I wasted a penny on either of my two trips.
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Last edited by vbmom87; April 9th, 2012 at 10:18 AM.
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  #48  
Old April 9th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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agabbymama agabbymama is offline
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My first cruise "only" to Alaska cost us $499 pp on HAL in 1999 (including airfare from LAX to Anchorage and return from Vancouver to LAX). I booked a guarantee outside. We did not do one excursion, just walked around the various ports and took a hop on/hop off shuttle in Sitka.

For our second trip, I booked a cruisetour with HAL in 2007, at $2770 pp for airfare and balcony cabin cruisetour. Then we spent an additional $1000. So for just two of us, it was $7500 for 11 days.

Now compare that to my trip to Europe 1 day pre-cruise Paris, 3 days pre-cruise Rome, 3 days post-cruise Venice and another 2 days post-cruise in Paris, that cost me $6000 pp total expenses. Per person, per day of $285 versus $340, so yes, Alaska is a little more expensive than other exotic destinations.

Then I took my daughter and granddaughter to Hawaii for a week for $5000 for three of us. That's approx. $238 per day, so again Alaska is more expensive.

Could we have done it cheaper? Probably, but I'm somewhat like the OP, that I don't want to sleep in budget accommodation, inside cabins, etc. I don't stay at the Ritz, but I want a clean, modern hotel.

Only the OP can know if it is worth the cost. I don't spend that kind of money lightly, if it's not a trip I really want to do, then I wouldn't spend the money. If you are satisfied with a $1000 trip to the Caribbean, then maybe Alaska isn't for you. Everything has to be shipped in, the season for most tourists (BQ has gone in the Winter) is short, therefore the costs are higher. Even food is at least 50% more than we pay in the lower 48.

If you are interested in the history of Alaska, the wildlife of Alaska, the awesomeness of glaciers, the Last Frontier of the US in all it's Majesty, then YES, IT IS WORTH WHATEVER YOU WANT TO SPEND!
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Last edited by agabbymama; April 9th, 2012 at 10:27 AM.
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  #49  
Old April 9th, 2012, 12:00 PM
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Alaskanb Alaskanb is offline
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There are lots of "hidden costs" in this kind of trip so if you want a good estimate of cost create a spreadsheet of some sort and add it all up for a xx day trip-- cruise, flights, insurance, transfers, car rentals, pre/post accommodations on land, excursions, tips, any special clothing/shoes, etc. Most of the cost has been spread out over a year.
Only you know how you like to travel and the value of this type of trip.
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  #50  
Old April 9th, 2012, 12:59 PM
gymjudge55 gymjudge55 is offline
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My husband has been asking that question since we booked, but I am confident it will be worth every penny.
$7,000 for two 13 day cruisetour with $200 OBC - Celebrity Aqua Class Balcony
$1,600 plane fares paid for with Capital One points
$1,000 for 3 excursions booked, 6 hour fishing/whale watch in Juneau, rental car in Skagway, flight seeing in Ketchikan
$391 for alcohol package for me
So we are at 10,000 with food on the land portion and one night hotel in Vancouver (Marriott points) and sightseeing there still to go.
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  #51  
Old April 10th, 2012, 09:33 AM
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One thing I find humorous is the WAY in which people have responded to the original inquiry. That is to 'claim' you can cruise cheaper than $10K and you can but who spent the least is not the question. Rather, it was a VALUE question and that is a bit more difficult for ANYONE to answer until we know more about the OP. Any good listener will FIRST try to identify the inquirer's values BEFORE presenting benefits. Yet, everyone here is spewing benefits BEFORE hearing those details (me included).

As we have seen in this thread, one client might see value in a balcony while others think it is a waste of $'s. However, nobody asked the OP what THEIR views were. More importantly, WHY those were their values. So, before we can tell the OP if it is "worth it" or not, we first need more details on the expectations and their background.

Let's start by working from some basics.
1) What does the OP's family "normally" spend on a vacation?
2) How frequently do they travel (once a year, 3 times, once every 3 years)?
3) What is a general idea of their income source to fund this adventure? Needless to say, a family that makes $200K/year won't blink twice at spending $10K on a 7 day cruise but that same family making $60K/year might need to save up for 3 or 4 years in order to be capable of funding a similar trip (even @ $6K)
4) Do you drive a 10 year old Honda Accord (low-end) or do you "require" a car that is less than 3 years old Lexus (high-end) car? This will tell us what expectations may need to be met (e.g. A small ship with fewer amenities may for for the Honda group whereas multiple high-end restaurants may be needed for the Lexus set).
5) Ages - How old are the travelers and what are their interest.
6) Mobility - How well can everyone on the cruise 'get around'. Lower mobility may drive up costs on certain excursions.
7) Location, location, location - As we know, flight costs have increased so the costs may be 35% higher simply depending on your location (as it is in my case but may not be for the OP). That is a HUGE difference in cost projections so may be the #1 factor in understanding costs
8) Shopping - How do you shop TODAY? Do you drive 20 miles to go to a Wal-Mart for groceries or do yo find it more convenient to hit the local Harris Teeter 1/2 mile from home and pay the higher $'s for that convenience? This answer will tell us what you would be the happiest with regarding a cabin location and therefore, associated costs.

NOTES: Expertise - Some may find using a travel agent to be beneficial but others may not trust that resource to provide them an un-biased guidance. So, asking a TA for these analysis may not be the best for a client as they feel that the TA is simply trying to find "opportunities" to "upsell" a vacation to them so asking a forum like this makes sense but we may need these details to best help
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Last edited by ndabunka; April 10th, 2012 at 09:41 AM.
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  #52  
Old April 10th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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OR - we could take note that OP has already moved on with their plans, is deciding which cruise line to take, and save ourselves the time and speculation....
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  #53  
Old April 10th, 2012, 06:40 PM
CT New-Cruiser CT New-Cruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndabunka View Post

4) Do you drive a 10 year old Honda Accord (low-end) or do you "require" a car that is less than 3 years old Lexus (high-end) car? This will tell us what expectations may need to be met (e.g. A small ship with fewer amenities may for for the Honda group whereas multiple high-end restaurants may be needed for the Lexus set).
this one made me chuckle....we are a 2 car family - a 2003 Honda Accord and a 2010 Lexus....so, where do we fit in?
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  #54  
Old April 10th, 2012, 07:08 PM
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I was debating small ships vs. large -- right up until I saw the prices for the small ships. They ain't no 10-year old Hondas! More like Tiffany diamonds.
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  #55  
Old April 10th, 2012, 07:35 PM
frugaltravel frugaltravel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Queen View Post
Lots of options with the replys. For $10,000 "worth the expense" for they have listed- for me- never. I didn't spend that for the month I was there last year.
I don't spend $10,000 in three months of travel (not consecutive days!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Queen View Post
But I certainly have spent way more than anyone else on this board , total, touring Alaska- so, definately (sic) well worth all the costs to me.
You are probably correct that you spent more than me for the same number of Alaska travel days

Last edited by frugaltravel; April 10th, 2012 at 07:36 PM.
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  #56  
Old April 11th, 2012, 10:50 AM
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scapel scapel is offline
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The trip is worth what you can afford. This always seems to be the case.
Don't know how old the kids are. Young children book Celebrity Millennium class ship (Infinity,Constellation,Summitt, or Millennium). Doesn't go to Glacier Bay but Hubbard is beautiful - Book Cabin 7202 or 7199 FV class which has a veranda with a 270 degree view.
If teenagers to stay in cabin by themselves book one of the stern cabins on any of these ships in the center(don't remember the numbers), but on deck 7,8,and 9 there is one inside cabin across from the stern cabin with the veranda (only 180 degree view here) but not much hall traffic and can just about leave the cabin doors open and function like a two room suite, with all of you enjoying the veranda on the stern.
We used this arrangement with friends that had the inside cabin and during the day left the doors open and they just walked back and forth. Nice arrangement for teen agers in an inside cabin and parents across with a nice veranda. Use the bridge cam on the tv to see what is coming up. Book early since only one cabin inside on each deck.
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  #57  
Old April 11th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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ndabunka ndabunka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT New-Cruiser View Post
this one made me chuckle....we are a 2 car family - a 2003 Honda Accord and a 2010 Lexus....so, where do we fit in?
One Balcony/One Inside cabin across the hall...

PS - We are similar with 750Li BMW & a Toyota Highlander both of the same year and that is what we booked for our trip. The frugality of one balances out the luxuries of the other.

Suites are (generally) only necessary for families that both have newer model cars. Then again, if you both have 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass's, you probably also have all the cash you need to be able to splurge on Suites all you want so what do I know. That is why you can't take the questions one at a time but rather need to address them all to get an all around idea of qualifications.
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Last edited by ndabunka; April 11th, 2012 at 12:10 PM.
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  #58  
Old April 11th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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scapel scapel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelin_nat View Post
So maybe a better question for those who have been would be: What was it about your cruise to Alaska that made it a wonderful experience for you? I'd also love to hear what your favorite activities were, and if there are any excursions you wish you had skipped....
Nat & Dan
So maybe a better question for those who have been would be: What was it about your cruise to Alaska that made it a wonderful experience for you?
I have enjoyed all our cruises to Alaska- the cruise idea is more expensive I think but has luxury and with an inside cabin can be done cheaper than with an outside cabin. Just don’t stay in the cabin except to sleep and shower.
One must not forget that Alaska can be done cheaper as a land trip. I have been to Unalaska, Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Homer, Seward, Anchorage, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Valdez, Ketchikan, Denali, Fairbanks, and Anatuvik Pass (spell?). One can book flights when on a land trip to view and land on Glaciers. This way you are spending your money on excursions rather than the luxury time on the ship. We booked a van out of Anchorage and then turned in the van and did the train to Denali, then on to Fairbanks, and rented another van and flew back out of Fairbanks after a few days. Stay in the B&B’s.

I'd also love to hear what your favorite activities were, and if there are any excursions you wish you had skipped....
There are none that I wished I would not have taken, but I think the trip out of Juneau by Helicopter to a Glacier was wonderful and I enjoyed the Dog sleds, but it was $400/p and I think too expensive and would not recommend it because it was too pricey, not because it wasn’t wonderful. The helicopter flight alone would have been enough. They have to charge a lot for the dog sleds because of the expense of keeping the dogs on the Glacier and moving them if the snow freezes.
I think the Misty Fjords trip out of Ketchikan is beautiful and will be doing it again this June.
Skagway—we don’t go this time, but I think I would take a trip to Emerald Lake rather than the White Pass Railroad. The view back toward the inlet is beautiful though.
This June we will finally get to Glacier Bay I hope. We stop in Haines this trip in June and we are looking forward to meeting Drake Olsen. He seems like quite a character.
Nothing better than eating Alaskan King Crab in Alaska.
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  #59  
Old April 11th, 2012, 12:17 PM
Chasey Chasey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morgan5 View Post

Cruise Cost for family of 4 in a basic outside cabin - no balcony: $4500-$5000
Alaskan cruises on RCI start at about $400 PP for an OV stateroom. For the price you quoted or could be in a balcony or even a suite.
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Last edited by Chasey; April 11th, 2012 at 12:18 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Lots of options with the replys. For $10,000 "worth the expense" for they have listed- for me- never. I didn't spend that for the month I was there last year.

But I certainly have spent way more than anyone else on this board , total, touring Alaska- so, definately well worth all the costs to me. __________________
Happy Alaska travels

budgetqueenalaska@yahoo.com......Girl, You need to move up here.....It is cheaper....
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