Denali Tour

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#1
80 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We are taking Cruisetour #19 in August this summer. In the description of the land part in Denali, its says we will be getting a tour. Has anyone been on this before and what does it include. A friend who is going has a cousin that has a tour business and does the Denali tours. Any info would be great. Thanks!
#2
4,184 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Can you post a link to the specific cruisetour? There is no way for us to know what "cruisetour #19" includes. Thanks! Did you really spend thousands of dollars on a purchase that you had no idea what you were buying? Unfortunately that happens time and again for travel-related products!
#3
80 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
So sorry. I forgot I wasn't on the RCI message board. It's with Royal Caribbean crusietour #19, southbound. I know we get a tour in Denali, but I was wondering if anyone else had taken it and can describe it in more detail. We will also be going to Talkeetna and we will be on our own. Any suggestions for that town. I know it's very small. Thanks!
#5
Redmond WA
8,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
The link to #19 is posted below. The itinerary is quite specific, altho it doesn't provide exact arrival or departure times.
Do you realize that most of your time is spent in transit? You don't have time at Denali or Talkeetna for activities. IMHO, a poor itinerary......
On Day 2 it says you have the evening in Denali on your own. The shuttles in the park have ended for the day so you're basically stuck at your hotel. Look at the princess lodge web site to see what's available thru the hotel.
Day 3. NHT in the morning . The NHT only goes to Mile 17 of 100 miles of available park road so obviously not much opportunity for wildlife viewing. A FREE courtesy bus goes to Mile 15! Then you take a bus to Talkeetna where it says you have an evening free. The hotel is very isolated, about 45 minutes from the town so it's probably too late to take a shuttle into town.
If getting into Denali and viewing wildlife is a priority, this tour will be a huge disappointment.
If you can cancel the trip, consider replicating the trip on your own, either with a rental car or with the Alaska Railroad and Park Connection Bus.
http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findac...=RD10A219&date=

This is the reservation link for Denali shuttles and tours which includes a map of the park road. It clearly shows popular stopping points on the road. The NHT goes 2 miles beyond Savage River.
http://www.reservedenali.com/shuttles.aspx
#6
7 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
I had an answer for you that you should reserve a shuttle bus but then I saw that your trip does not include a full day in Denali so you might be stuck with the Natural History Tour. Depending on the time you leave Denali you might be able to get an early shuttle bus that goes as far as Toklat River as that is about 6 hours round trip. You probably would not have enough time to go as far as Eileson unless you get a real early shuttle bus. You should also check with the cruise line to see if they offer an upgrade to the Tundra Wilderness Tour which goes deeper into the park and will be a better tour than the Natural History Tour. The upgrade should be about $60.
#7
2,016 Posts
Joined May 2007
You should be able change to the longer Tundra Wilderness Tour that goes further into the park for only the cost difference in the two tours. I was able to do this with Princess. No private transportation is allowed into Denali beyond a point about 16 miles in. There are three main tours that are available.
#8
4,184 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by mapleleaves
If you can cancel the trip, consider replicating the trip on your own, either with a rental car or with the Alaska Railroad and Park Connection Bus.
If the OP only arrives into Anchorage on "day 1" of the cruisetour they really can't replicate the trip on their own (and why in the world would they want to? It is a terrible cruisetour). Day 2 would be driving to Denali. Maybe Day 3 shuttle or TWT and right after that drive back to Anchorage, but that is poor. Day 4 then to Seward. With a cruise on Day 4 there is no way at all they should risk trying to drive from Denali to Seward the same day. Any hiccup with construction or road closure due to an accident and they miss the cruise.

Originally posted by biker1972
You should be able change to the longer Tundra Wilderness Tour that goes further into the park for only the cost difference in the two tours. I was able to do this with Princess. No private transportation is allowed into Denali beyond a point about 16 miles in. There are three main tours that are available.
Did you even look at the itinerary linked above? Please tell us how arriving late afternoon on Day 2 and departing in the afternoon of Day 3 allows time for the TWT. It is not possible unless they know the exact departure time of the bus to Talkeetna on Day 3. My guess is that it would be early afternoon so they can be at the hotel in time for dinner.
#9
Redmond WA
8,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
[quote=frugaltravel;33592611]If the OP only arrives into Anchorage on "day 1" of the cruisetour they really can't replicate the trip on their own (and why in the world would they want to?

The only detail we know is that the ship departs at 8pm, so there could be several options to consider. "replicating" the cruisetour might make the OP feel more comfortable about considering those other options.
#10
Las Vegas
10,272 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by mapleleaves
The link to #19 is posted below. The itinerary is quite specific, altho it doesn't provide exact arrival or departure times.
Do you realize that most of your time is spent in transit? You don't have time at Denali or Talkeetna for activities. IMHO, a poor itinerary......
On Day 2 it says you have the evening in Denali on your own. The shuttles in the park have ended for the day so you're basically stuck at your hotel. Look at the princess lodge web site to see what's available thru the hotel.
Day 3. NHT in the morning . The NHT only goes to Mile 17 of 100 miles of available park road so obviously not much opportunity for wildlife viewing. A FREE courtesy bus goes to Mile 15! Then you take a bus to Talkeetna where it says you have an evening free. The hotel is very isolated, about 45 minutes from the town so it's probably too late to take a shuttle into town.
If getting into Denali and viewing wildlife is a priority, this tour will be a huge disappointment.
If you can cancel the trip, consider replicating the trip on your own, either with a rental car or with the Alaska Railroad and Park Connection Bus.
http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findac...=RD10A219&date=

This is the reservation link for Denali shuttles and tours which includes a map of the park road. It clearly shows popular stopping points on the road. The NHT goes 2 miles beyond Savage River.
http://www.reservedenali.com/shuttles.aspx
It always amazes me that people book trips and tours without doing any research to see if the itinerary makes any sense at all. In my opinion, this tour is a total waste of time and money.

If it were me and it was not too late to cancel it, I would do so immediately and book something else.

DON
#11
Redmond WA
8,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by donaldsc
It always amazes me that people book trips and tours without doing any research to see if the itinerary makes any sense at all. In my opinion, this tour is a total waste of time and money.
If it were me and it was not too late to cancel it, I would do so immediately and book something else.
DON
It IS very surprising how often this issue comes up, especially with the 3 and 4 day cruisetours. I think people place to much confidence in the cruiseline, thinking that the company would only put together an excellent land tour.
Hopefully the OP can cancel. And will consider a rental car. A car could give them a pretty nice trip even if they only have 4 days.
#12
Boston
77 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
I am doing a Holland America Cruise tour in August and I know how many of you feel about the cruisetour vs. do it yourself. But the OP already has it booked as I do, and instead of supporting the OP and assuring him/her that Alaska is great and it will be a great vacation all I hear is negative. I booked a cruisetour because it would be too stressful for my husband to try and plan everything on our own, for him he wants to arrive and have all our worries taken care of, while I agree we could do it on our own, we don't want to. I am sorry but I feel that others on the board can't see both sides of the coin and are too quick to condemn what others decide.
#13
80 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thank you Jemenybostons. We are a group of 16 and we were trying to do the best for the group. Now I'm worried we might have made the wrong choice. But hey, how can you go wrong when you are in Alaska! I'm sure we'll have a great time. I see you are from Boston, we are all from Massachusetts too!
#14
Indiana
50 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I just wanted to share my story (keep in mind I'm 16). We had booked a very similar cruisetour without realizing what it truly entailed. After I did my personal research on this site I realized we were making a mistake. It was beyond easy to change our cruisetour to just a cruise (same sailing dates and everything!). We kept our same flights and saved soooo much money. We are arriving in Seward, driving up to anchorage for a night, driving to Denali the next day, taking the shuttle to wonder lake the next day, and then driving back to anchorage for our flight the next. I personally planned this all out myself. Yes it takes research but these boards are so helpful. If a 16 year old can do it you can too. I just want you to see there are options that can really make your trip wonderful. Here is a link to the thread where I figured all this out.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1599344

I wish you the best of luck!!
#15
Powell, OH
364 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by jemenybostons@verizon.net
I am doing a Holland America Cruise tour in August and I know how many of you feel about the cruisetour vs. do it yourself. But the OP already has it booked as I do, and instead of supporting the OP and assuring him/her that Alaska is great and it will be a great vacation all I hear is negative. I booked a cruisetour because it would be too stressful for my husband to try and plan everything on our own, for him he wants to arrive and have all our worries taken care of, while I agree we could do it on our own, we don't want to. I am sorry but I feel that others on the board can't see both sides of the coin and are too quick to condemn what others decide.
I am with you. I have booked a cruisetour because the couple we are traveling with work 60 hour weeks and don't have the time or energy to try and do a land tour. Plus none of us wanted to be the driver and the domed train was the one of the most important features for my friend. We spent hours with an Alaskan travel agent and found the best cruisetour that accommodated all our wishes. I understand it could have been done cheaper or better but we are happy with the itinerary. I would like to discuss cruisetours on this forum but the negativity is wearing.
#16
Redmond WA
8,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
[quote=jemenybostons@verizon.net;33593682]I am doing a Holland America Cruise tour in August and I know how many of you feel about the cruisetour vs. do it yourself. quote]

I prefer DIY for myself but I think a cruisetour is a wonderful option for some people. In many cases it's the only way folks have an opportunity to see Alaska.
But in this particular case, the OP specifically asked about the Denali tour, "what does it include" and "any info would be great". I gave her the specifics and provided my opinion of the NHT. I'm certainly not going to lie and tell her that it's the perfect way to experience Denali !
If this trip is NOT what she expected, she may have time to cancel and book her own trip using the train, bus or car. OTOH, this itinerary might be acceptable to her.
As the other posters noted ... many people buy a cruisetour and don't seem to know what they bought. There are some nice options available; you just need to educate yourself about the details and choose a tour that meets YOUR priorities.
#17
80 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thank you all. It's always good to get different views. I have been very happy with RCI cruises in the past and thought their cruisetours would be good also. I'm just so excited about spending time in Alaska. I'm sure it won't be my last trip.
#18
Redmond WA
8,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
[quote=gymjudge55;33594620] We spent hours with an Alaskan travel agent and found the best cruisetour that accommodated all our wishes. I understand it could have been done cheaper or better but we are happy with the itinerary. quote]

BINGO !! You found the right tour because you spent hours learning about the various options and chose the tour that best suited your needs. You educated yourself and made a great choice. That's the way to do it! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip!
#19
Redmond WA
8,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by Livy56
Thank you all. It's always good to get different views. I have been very happy with RCI cruises in the past and thought their cruisetours would be good also. I'm just so excited about spending time in Alaska. I'm sure it won't be my last trip.
Have a wonderful trip! BTW, if you can get the shuttle into Talkeetna, some activities, including shopping , are listed on the Chamber web site. The town is known for the Denali flight seeing opportunities; maybe you'll have time for a sunset flightseeing trip.
http://www.talkeetnachamber.org/
#20
4,184 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by mapleleaves
The only detail we know is that the ship departs at 8pm, so there could be several options to consider. "replicating" the cruisetour might make the OP feel more comfortable about considering those other options.
What are the options to "replicate" the cruisetour that you are referring to assuming they can't drive from Denali to Seward on Day 4 unless they want to plan on possibly missing their cruise? If they only have time for the NHT on a DIY independent tour, there is no reason to replicate the cruisetour. IMHO in order to make a trip to Denali worthwhile they need to take a shuttle or the TWT.