Posted December 12th, 2012, 09:38 PM
Okay, thanks to the helpful advice of those here and some research, I feel as if my trip is starting to come together. My goal is to make the most of the relatively short time we have this trip. I hope someday after retirement we can spend more time, because it looks amazing!
Here is my tentative schedule; please comment if I am misguided somewhere along the way!
Tuesday, June 18
- Fly from Dayton through Minneapolis to Anchorage, arrive about noon. We used FF miles for the flights (which would have been $1100 per person!), so I "splurged" and spent $79 for Economy Plus seats for the MSP-ANC.
We will rent a car (still pricing those) and stop at the Elmendorf AFB commissary (DH is retired AF) for drinks, snacks, etc.
I haven't decided for sure what we'll do this afternoon, but I appreciated the helpful link on scenic drives from Anchorage
that someone posted.
For a hotel, I am leaning toward the Comfort Suites Anchorage Airport
. With a military discount, it's $60 to $100 less per night than almost everything else I checked, and it has good reviews from TripAdvisor. Is anyone familiar with this hotel? I haven’t seen mention of it.
Wednesday, June 19
- We decided against trying to drive to/stay in/explore Denali in the short time we have. That will be for another trip! But because of that we are considering splurging for a Denali flightseeing tour from Talkeetna. Talkeetna Air Taxi
has overwhelmingly positive reviews, and if we book before January 1 we can add a glacier landing for $25 per person (usually $85). Thoughts?
Thursday, June 20
- More day trips from Anchorage, still researching which one(s), possibly a weather fall-back date for the Talkeetna flightseeing.
Return the rental car in the evening. Since the train is so early, we don’t want to have to worry about returning a car in the morning.
Friday, June 21
- We have the train booked to Seward, so an (early) taxi from the hotel to the train station. We got a military discount on the GoldStar service. I am really looking forward to that!
I have some questions about our arrival/afternoon in Seward. I understand the train pulls right up close to the dock, is that right? Is it possible to check in on the ship, mostly to get rid of the luggage and possibly to have some lunch, then disembark to do some touring around Seward for the afternoon? If not, where do people leave their luggage while they tour? We would like to see the Sea Life Center and possibly some other highlights. This is another area that looks incredible, so we will have to plan another trip when we have more time to spend!
On the ship, we have a stern balcony, and we reserved My Time Dining. On our previous cruises we did main dining and enjoyed getting to know our tablemates, but for this trip I want to be able to explore the ports and spend time on deck and our balcony without trying to make a set dinner time. We also don’t plan to bring formal wear - more space in the luggage for layered weather gear! We will just do Windjammer on formal nights for sure.
Saturday, June 22
- Hubbard - As an avid photographer, I am tremendously excited about this.
Sunday, June 23
- Juneau - 9 to 9 - Harv and Marv’s whale watching tour
in the morning. We will do the Mendenhall glacier stop with them after the tour. We will probably stay longer at Mendenhall to hike some and just pay for the shuttle back for $8. Any other recommendations for the late afternoon/evening in port?
Monday, June 24
- Skagway - 7 to 8:30 - Dyea Dave’s tour to Emerald Lake, from 8 to 3. Several on our roll call have done this and loved it. Right now we are planning to take the van both ways, although there is the option to take the train one way. Any advice?
Tuesday, June 25
- Icy Strait Point - 7 to 4 - Nothing booked here, just plan to do a nature trail and explore on our own.
Wednesday, June 26
- Ketchikan - 9 to 6 - Misty Fjords Flightseeing with Island Wings
- SO excited about this!
Thursday, June 27
- Inside Passage - Cruising - Camera and Binoculars in hand!!
Friday, June 28
- Disembark in Vancouver - I haven’t even really started planning here, although I did make a reservation at Blue Horizon, with the plan to cancel and change it if I find something I think would work better for us.
Saturday, June 29
- Fly from Vancouver to Ohio, 12:45 pm departure. So we have all day Friday and the morning on Saturday to see a bit of Vancouver.
So to me it sounds amazing, and I have time to research and learn even more over the next six months! Our priorities are scenery and culture, with wildlife as a “bonus”. Once I started researching I realized that it’s a good idea to book the popular tours now, both for availability and, for some of them, a better price.
Thanks for all your help!