Post-cruise whit-alyeska or sew-alyeska?

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#1
1,001 Posts
Joined May 2008
I'm trying to decide post cruise which itinerary to go with. We will be a group of 4, 26-62 in age range, arriving in Whittier in June of next year. We plan on renting a car when we arrive and spend 3days/2nights touring.

2 current itineraries:

One is to take a PWS cruise after debarkation in Whittier. Afterwards we would head up to Alyeska for 2 nights, hitting up the Alaskan conservatory on the way up. Spend a day in Alyeska, going up the mountain, mild hiking and relaxing, hitting anything local, ie, 20-30 minute one way. 3rd day would be a leisurely drive, hitting various points between Alyeska nnd Anchorage, a meal and off to the airport towards evening for a redeye home.

Second choice is to debark, get our rental and some groceries and head towards Seward. We would plan on hitting Portage Glacier and some scenic stops along the way, and hit Exit Glacier on that day as was well. Next day we would do a full day boat tour and relax for the evening upon return. Final day we would get an early start out, maybe 6:30am or so?, and head towards Anch. We would stop in Alyeska for the mountain tram, lunch and scenery before finishing the drive to Anchorage, a meal and airport for redeye.

I was pretty set on the second choice until reading about all the traffic issues. I don't want the drive from Seward to Anchorage to be a pain, I want it leisurely and relaxing. We aren't so much about doing it all, as enjoying what we do. I also don't want to worry about missing my flight because I mistimed a disaster on the road.

Thoughts?
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#2
Wasilla, Alaska
3,573 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Construction you can plan for, so that is a non-issue...there is a website for you to check as you get closer to the time when you have to make your final plans. http://511.alaska.gov/alaska511/mappingcomponent As to traffic problems, that is most likely to occur between Girdwood (where Alyeska is) and Anchorage, so you could encounter that with either plan. Since you would intend to get an early start, you should be fine with plan 2. I mostly want to warn people about the highway when they are allowing very little wiggle room. You have lots of time. Could something still happen? Yes, but that possibility always exists, anyplace, anytime.
#3
Anchorage, Alaska
3,044 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
As mytime53 indicated, don’t let the traffic issue make your decision. We drove from Anchorage to Seward this weekend and made it in 2 ½ hours. The only construction was a 3 mile area around Trail River just north of Seward where our delay was less than 5 minutes. I’ve read of delays up to 30 minutes there, however. Something you can plan for.
#4
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
If you want to include Seward, then do so. But you do have some, perhaps misinformation? You don't "grocery up" in Whittier- you just do so in Seward at the Safeway. Although an Avis car rental is costly, you have chosen the best use of your time. It is well worth the expense.

You can also, still do the PWS boat tour. Would be out the 6pm tunnel, with a 2++ hour drive to Seward.

With a Red eye flight, you have the whole day. Only need a 2 hour window at Anchorage airport, so that would be late evening. Easy to include an Exit Glacier Look, Portage Glacier stop and the tram at Alyeska, with your intended early start.


You first choice, has too much time at Alyeska, with little to occupy your time with your list. IF you choose to stay there, 1 night is enough then consider heading to other touring areas like Mat Su/Anchorage. You can really see a lot in a full day, if you wish to.
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#5
1,001 Posts
Joined May 2008
Thanks folks. It looks as though Seward is the way to go. I was just doubting my first instincts. 2 1/2 hours from Seward to Anchorage sounds great. Now all I have to do is figure out all the stops from Whittier, to Seward to Alyeska and Anchorage, space them out well, and enjoy a leisurely couple of days.
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#7
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by omc329
Thanks folks. It looks as though Seward is the way to go. I was just doubting my first instincts. 2 1/2 hours from Seward to Anchorage sounds great. Now all I have to do is figure out all the stops from Whittier, to Seward to Alyeska and Anchorage, space them out well, and enjoy a leisurely couple of days.
Allow 3 hours Seward/Anchorage.
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#8
Redmond WA
8,140 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
if your trip is near the end of June you might enjoy a short detour to Cooper Landing on your way to Seward. (about 15 miles from the Sterling Hwy junction). There will be a salmon run at that time so stop along the Kenai River to watch the fishing activities. And the Kenai River is such an amazing color due to glacier run off. Or if you're into hiking there's a wide well maintained trail to Russian River Falls. Just a thought.
#9
1,001 Posts
Joined May 2008
I'll be sure to allow at least 3 hours drive time, probably closer to 4, plus time for a leisurely meal in Anchorage. If we hit an accident, hopefully that will give us enough spare time, hungry though we might be, to still make flights out.

Thanks for the tip on the Russian River Falls. I'll have to look that one up. We are a somewhat varied group in so far as hiking ability. All are fully able for shorter, (2-3 miles maybe)/simpler hikes, but steeper/harder/longer hikes won't fly.

Sis is a photo buff and will enjoy any and all hikes we take. She'll also make certain we keep the pace slow for dh while she's snapping away.

Oh, and we'll be there closer to mid June.

Thanks to all for the input. It definitely helps.
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Sailed Coral Princess Autumn 10/19/2016 / Panama
Norwegian Pearl Spring 2017 / Panama CANCELLED by US
Norwegian Jade Autumn 2016 /CANCELLED BY NORWEGIAN
Sailed Norwegian Escape 12/5/2015 / Bahamas
Sailed Norwegian Getaway 5/92015 / Bahamas
Sailed Norwegian Sun 2/8/2015 / W Caribbean
Sailed Norwegian Dawn 10/3/2014 / Canada
Sailed Norwegian Epic 12/7/13/ Bahamas
Sailed Norwegian Sun to Alaska 6/3/13
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Sailed Norwegian Star 11/27/2011 / Western Caribbean
Sailed Norwegian Jade 10/31/2010 / Western Mediterranean
Sailed Carnival Pride 5/3/09 / Bahamas
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#11
10 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by beckymomof2
I live here and I'm sure you can make it with the time except if there is an accident which can close the road for hours.
We arrive in Seward 6/15 and don't have to take the train until 6pm. We don't have a rental car. Do you have any recommendations? Once in Anchorage, we will get a rental car late that night and stay two nights. I thought we'd rent bikes and tour the city on the bike path and explore the rest of the day and a half. I have no idea which direction to drive for the day and what to see. We'd like to try gold panning if you know anywhere worth driving to. Lots of questions. Thank you!
#12
Anchorage, Alaska
3,044 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
There is gold panning at the Crow Creek Mine near Girdwood/Alyeska. About 30+ minutes south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm. It’s also along one of the most scenic routes in Alaska. You’ll be passing it on the way from Seward to Anchorage on the train.
http://www.crowcreekmine.com/index.h...ctivities.html
#13
Oklahoma
593 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by bbmom7
We arrive in Seward 6/15 and don't have to take the train until 6pm. We don't have a rental car. Do you have any recommendations? Once in Anchorage, we will get a rental car late that night and stay two nights. I thought we'd rent bikes and tour the city on the bike path and explore the rest of the day and a half. I have no idea which direction to drive for the day and what to see. We'd like to try gold panning if you know anywhere worth driving to. Lots of questions. Thank you!
You could visit the Sea Life Center in Seward. Are you wanting to rent bikes in Anchorage or Seward? We've always driven everywhere in Anchorage. Anchorage is so city like for us I'm not sure what tourists do there. If you wanted to walk around you might try going downtown. I think during the summer there is a market type event every Saturday (maybe Sunday too). There are different vendors and usually produce from local farmers. Also in downtown there are restaurants and some tourist type shops. Brewhouse is a nice restaurant in downtown. Simon and Seaforts is expensive and nice but Brewhouse is more of a casual but nice place to eat. The Snow Goose is also nice but not my favorite. A lot of people really like it there too.

Have fun. I'm probably not the best advise as far as Anchorage because when we visit it is to get away from our little town and go somewhere bigger. So we aren't typically looking for the outdoor/Alaska type adventure. Anchorage does have a lot to offer though.
#14
Oklahoma
593 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by bbmom7
We arrive in Seward 6/15 and don't have to take the train until 6pm. We don't have a rental car. Do you have any recommendations? Once in Anchorage, we will get a rental car late that night and stay two nights. I thought we'd rent bikes and tour the city on the bike path and explore the rest of the day and a half. I have no idea which direction to drive for the day and what to see. We'd like to try gold panning if you know anywhere worth driving to. Lots of questions. Thank you!
A couple more ideas...

You could visit Alaska Wildberry. http://www.sourdoughmining.com/

Also I've never heard of this but just looked it up. Juneteenth...

http://www.anchorage.net/events/sand-castle-beach-party
#15
Redmond WA
8,140 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by bbmom7
We arrive in Seward 6/15 and don't have to take the train until 6pm. We don't have a rental car. Do you have any recommendations? Once in Anchorage, we will get a rental car late that night and stay two nights. I thought we'd rent bikes and tour the city on the bike path and explore the rest of the day and a half. I have no idea which direction to drive for the day and what to see. We'd like to try gold panning if you know anywhere worth driving to. Lots of questions. Thank you!
In Seward, you could visit Exit Glacier which is about 10 miles out of town. There's a shuttle for $10pp to get you there and back. Trails take you to the face of the glacier. There are Ranger Led hikes at 10am, 2 and 4pm.
http://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/exit-glacier.htm It's interesting to watch the charters come in with their fish. There's a waterfront trail that you can follow from the harbor all the way into town, about 1 1/2 miles. Watch for otters playing in the water. At the end of the path you'll see the SeaLife Center.

The bike path in Anchorage is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. http://www.trailsofanchorage.com/kincaid_park.htm
Since you're renting a car, consider driving along the Turnagain Arm for about 40 miles south of Anchorage. It covers same route you took by train, but with the car you'll be able to stop at some interesting places, such as Crow Creek for gold panning. I don't know who "we" is in your group but kids might enjoy the programs at Begich Boggs Visitor Center ... there's a Ranger Led ice worm safari.
Walk the boardwalk at Potters Marsh and look for swans and moose. Look up in the ridges for Dall sheep.
http://alaska.org/driving/portage-va...spur-drive.htm
#16
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
If you have any priority of wildlife, a Kenai fjords boat tour is a top choice, out of Seward. Also could do a Prince William Sound boat tour out of Whittier, with added scenic driving the Arm. Or stop at the Animal Conservatory, Portage Glacier Visitor Center etc.

IF nothing in Seward catches your interest, I would suggest you take an early bus to Anchorage and do your touring of the activities of more interest. Easy Glacier Trekking is about 2 hours, Musk Ox farm, Hatcher Pass, Independence Mine. Cheapest of the sled dog cart rides, etc etc etc. Plenty to see and do.
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