Whittier Help

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#1
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
DH and I will be in Whittier on Monday, June 3 as the turn around for our 14 day cruise (B2B 7 days essentially). Because most people are starting or ending their cruise, we believe we have the day to explore. We have looked at a few options and are hoping for advice from experienced travelers.

1) Princess says it is in port from 1230 AM to 430 PM. What time would you expect we can leave the ship? Excursions seem to be scheduled starting around 8 AM.

2) What time would we need to be back on board?

3) Has anyone rented a car at Whittier and driven to Seward, Anchorage or other interesting places? Can you share what you enjoyed about it or not?

4) Half way through a 14 day cruise with multiple glaciers, is the 26 glacier cruise a good pick?

What else am I missing? We'd like to spend the day in photo taking mode with as much to see as possible of nature/wild life.

thanks so much!
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#2
Redmond WA
8,155 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Avis is the only rental company in Whittier. If you choose to rent, there is a lot to see and do in the 50 miles between Whittier and Anchorage .. gold panning, hiking, Wildlife Center, Potters Marsh, as suggested in this link:
http://alaska.org/driving/portage-va...spur-drive.htm

(If you drive, be mindful of the tunnel hours to/from Whittier. Only open once an hr in each direction; on the hr leaving Whittier).

Check with Princess as to what times you need to back on board. I thought the sailaway was 8pm so probably on board by 6pm.

People really enjoy the day cruises of Prince William Sound. Personally if I was looking at B2B cruises I'd prefer a day on land. What do YOU prefer?
#3
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Thanks - yes, we are thinking a day on land might make the most sense. We don't mind driving and short hikes (< 2 hours), would like to be active (to burn off all the eating we do on the ship). The Seward drive was recommended to us but we weren't sure if the distance justified it. The 26 glacier cruise seems to get rave reviews but a little time on land seems like a better fit.
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#4
24,253 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I have done several B2B's with Whittier as turnaround day. The reason the ship gets to Whittier at 12:30 am is that the glaciers are very close to port (especially College Fiords). They start disembarking people at 6 am or so, especially those on tours with Princess.

I have always stayed in Whittier for my turn around day and done a boat ride or just enjoyed the ship to myself. I have also been to Anchorage several times so that is not of interest to me. The boat rides have been fabulous out of Whittier.

Sailaway for us was also later. I would double check the time on this. We had people embarking at 6 or so. Muster was in the middle of dinner so people either had to rush through early dining or go after.
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#5
24,253 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Thanks - yes, we are thinking a day on land might make the most sense. We don't mind driving and short hikes (< 2 hours), would like to be active (to burn off all the eating we do on the ship). The Seward drive was recommended to us but we weren't sure if the distance justified it. The 26 glacier cruise seems to get rave reviews but a little time on land seems like a better fit.
There is a lot to do in Seward, I have just never considered the drive as the boat trips in Whittier are so good.
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#6
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Which boat trips have you done that you preferred?
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#7
Arkansas
3,316 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by Coral
I have done several B2B's with Whittier as turnaround day. The reason the ship gets to Whittier at 12:30 am is that the glaciers are very close to port (especially College Fiords). They start disembarking people at 6 am or so, especially those on tours with Princess.

I have always stayed in Whittier for my turn around day and done a boat ride or just enjoyed the ship to myself. I have also been to Anchorage several times so that is not of interest to me. The boat rides have been fabulous out of Whittier.

Sailaway for us was also later. I would double check the time on this. We had people embarking at 6 or so. Muster was in the middle of dinner so people either had to rush through early dining or go after.
We've done the same as Coral except we've walked to the very small area just off the pier. There were several shop's and a couple of restaurant's in walking distance (including the Red Painted Chinese Restaurant that is so popular with the crew .
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#8
Oklahoma
1,118 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Have done 26 Glaciers twice and both were a wonderful way to spend the day! I think for me it would be a matter of convenience for me. Their pier is right next to the ship. They furnish you a lunch meal and a day filled with beautiful scenery.

That being said there is also fabulous scenery from Anchorage to Seward. You do need to check on the tunnel at Whittier and there is quite a bit of traffic on the highway. The driver will be the one seeing less scenery.

Only you can decide what your expectations for the day should be. I'm sure will have a fabulous time either way!
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#9
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Which boat trips have you done that you preferred?
I find a Surprise Glacier tour, excellent, but any of the PWS boat tours are great choices, which I basically book based on coupon offers.

If you had a later port time, most are around 8pm, Seward may have been a good option, but you likely would not get out until the 9am tunnel, add 4 hours on the road, less attractive to consider. Driving back toward Anchorage a better touring selection option to consider.

You would HAVE to be back through the 3:30pm tunnel, and well organized and able to get back on your ship by 4pm,

It also may likely be none of the boat tours are an option due to later return times. See if there is any ship contracted tour?
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#10
24,253 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Which boat trips have you done that you preferred?
I also like Surprise Glacier trip. You can't go wrong with any of them.
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#11
24,253 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Thanks - yes, we are thinking a day on land might make the most sense. We don't mind driving and short hikes (< 2 hours), would like to be active (to burn off all the eating we do on the ship). The Seward drive was recommended to us but we weren't sure if the distance justified it. The 26 glacier cruise seems to get rave reviews but a little time on land seems like a better fit.
I didn't realize that Princess is offering a bus ride to Anchorage as an excursion for B2B cruisers. If you do this, you don't have to worry about renting a car, catching the tunnel at the right time, etc... This may be tempting if you want to see Anchorage. I still prefer the boat rides.
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#12
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Budget Queen
I find a Surprise Glacier tour, excellent, but any of the PWS boat tours are great choices, which I basically book based on coupon offers.

If you had a later port time, most are around 8pm, Seward may have been a good option, but you likely would not get out until the 9am tunnel, add 4 hours on the road, less attractive to consider. Driving back toward Anchorage a better touring selection option to consider.

You would HAVE to be back through the 3:30pm tunnel, and well organized and able to get back on your ship by 4pm,

It also may likely be none of the boat tours are an option due to later return times. See if there is any ship contracted tour?

Oops. 4 PM was supposed to say 8 PM. Sorry for the typo. Does that change your opinion any?
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#13
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
For those who have taken the surprise glacier tour, what tour company did you use that you liked? Doesn't look like an offering on our cruise from princess.
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#14
24,253 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
For those who have taken the surprise glacier tour, what tour company did you use that you liked? Doesn't look like an offering on our cruise from princess.
We did Major Marine. They had a Blackstone Tour which was shorter and the Surprise Glacier Tour which was longer. Princess offered the Blackstone tour at the time. http://www.majormarine.com/pws/princ...lacier-cruise/

If you are in port until 8, you do have more options.
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#15
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Coral
We did Major Marine. They had a Blackstone Tour which was shorter and the Surprise Glacier Tour which was longer. Princess offered the Blackstone tour at the time. http://www.majormarine.com/pws/princ...lacier-cruise/

If you are in port until 8, you do have more options.
Looks like the surprise glacier isn't offered until later in June so that's not an option.The other tour looks interesting. Is it that much different than our two visits to glacier bay?
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#16
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Has anyone done the seward highway. What did you stop and see along the way that was interesting?
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#17
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Has anyone done the seward highway. What did you stop and see along the way that was interesting?
The Seward Highway, between Whittier and Anchorage, is the "interesting" section. Can make a lot of stops, you will have to determine what is of interest to you. There isn't much south, going to Seward, that would be worth a round trip day trip.
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#18
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Looks like the surprise glacier isn't offered until later in June so that's not an option.The other tour looks interesting. Is it that much different than our two visits to glacier bay?
It starts June 8, There is NO comparison to any glacier viewing from these boat tours, and what you see from a cruiseship. Grossly superior with the boat tours.
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#19
24,253 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by WIS-Cruiser
Looks like the surprise glacier isn't offered until later in June so that's not an option.The other tour looks interesting. Is it that much different than our two visits to glacier bay?
That is too bad. The year we did it, we did it in May.
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#20
Wisconsin
104 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Budget Queen
It starts June 8, There is NO comparison to any glacier viewing from these boat tours, and what you see from a cruiseship. Grossly superior with the boat tours.
Yes, and unfortunately we're in Anchorage area on the 3rd
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