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Everything posted by AKStafford

  1. Just help others understand, you are talking in Ketchikan, right?
  2. How long is your DIY land portion? Denali National Park is at least a 3 day commitment with the travel time. So if you don't have at least a week on land, that might be another reason to eliminate Denali National Park. We all hope the Denali Park road will be open to Eielson next year, but only time will tell. There's plenty to fill your time in Alaska with besides Denali National Park.
  3. Even cheaper is the shuttle bus. Same road, same views. https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/shuttles.htm
  4. Alaska is a big state... Weather in Kotzebue will be different than weather in Ketchikan. So, where in Alaska are you asking about? Here in Southcentral Alaska, we woke up to snow on the ground today.
  5. You could do a one-way car rental with Hertz. There'll be an extra fee for the one-way drop off. The Alaska Railroad train runs in the morning, as you've seen. You could do a private car hire with BAC Transportation or Aurora Limousines or PJ's Taxi. You could see if the Park Connection bus or Seward Bus Lines has any options that work. Sorry for the lack of links, but Google is your friend.
  6. Icy Strait Point is not Tracy Arm. Icy Strait Point is a great spot for a whale watching trip. Here's the local vendors: http://visithoonah.com/experiences/
  7. As other's have pointed out, Alaska is big. It's easy to cram in too much driving trying to see it all. So choose the highlights and enjoy them. From Anchorage, Denali requires a minimum of 3 days (in my opinion). The drive up is a day, with time to stop at Talkeetna or Hatcher Pass. You'll want a full day for getting into the park on the shuttle buses ( not a "tour"): https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/shuttles.htm And then a day to get back to Anchorage. If you want to add additional days to Denali, there's plenty to do. You could also add an additional day on the way back at the Matanuska Glacier.
  8. I spent two summers driving motorcoach for Holland America, transporting visitors who were traveling on a cruisetour. Based on that experience, I recommend doing the land portion DIY. There's nothing on a cruisetour that you can't book independently, often for cheaper. Travel is easy to plan using this forum or the TripAdvisor forum for Alaska.
  9. Do you have a link of what you are looking at? Have you looked at booking directly with the tour operator?
  10. I'm going to guess no. Whittier to Denali is a long day, so I wouldn't anticipate a lot of extra stops. I drove tour bus for two years for Holland America here in Alaska. Even a "short" stop takes at least 30 minutes by the time you unload 40+ people and then try to round them back up to get back on the coach. The Portage Glacier has retreated back around the corner on the lake, so to see the actual glacier requires a 1 hour boat ride on the M/V Ptarmigan. So unless it's specifically a part of your package, they won't just stop. Also, with the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, it cost to get in; so again, unless it's specifically listed as part of your package they won't just stop. Reasons like this is why it's my preference to do the land trip in Southcentral Alaska on your own with a rental car. It gives you the flexibility to go where you want to go and stay as long as you want to stay. There's nothing offered on a cruisetour that you can't book independently. A trip is easy to put together using the advice you'll get here or on the TripAdvisor Forum for Alaska travel.
  11. Icy Strait Point has AT&T service.
  12. Here's the local providers at Icy Strait Point: http://visithoonah.com/experiences/
  13. I've been here 40 years and have lived and traveled all over the state. I still feel like I'm barely scratching the surface...
  14. Are you just doing the cruise, or are you interested in a land tour in Southcentral Alaska after your cruise through Southeast Alaska? If so, I recommend the land portion be done DIY using a rental car. There's plenty of planning help on the TripAdvisor Forum for Alaska travel.
  15. When I drove tour bus 20 years ago we had $1 off coupons for our passengers. But that's the only coupon I've ever seen. If you are going to eat at the Café up top, the ride & dine combo is a decent deal.
  16. Here's the local vendors: http://visithoonah.com/experiences/
  17. At least for the Alaska land tour portion, there's nothing they are offering that you can't book on your own, sometimes for cheaper. The cruisetour option is nice in that you don't have to plan anything, but you have very little control over what happens. You spend a lot of time waiting for people to get back on the bus. Dining options are limited. If you see a nice view you'd like a picture of, the bus won't/can't just stop for you. So it's up to you, but my preference for an Alaska land tour is to get a rental car and do it on your own. If you book your rental car in about November of this year, you can get some decent deals on it.
  18. There's several ways to get to Anchorage from Seward... The Alaska Railroad has a train in the evening, there's other bus companies in addition to what the cruise line offers, there's rental cars, there's private transport that can be arranged. My preference would be a rental car from Hertz, but it's pricey for one way drop off. The train in the evening would be my second choice. Don't let the cruise line bully you into anything... There's nothing you book through the cruise line that you can't book independently, sometimes for much cheaper. Look directly at the provider's website... Google is your friend. If you decide to do any exploring of Southcentral Alaska after the cruise, the TripAdvisor forum for Alaska can also be a big help: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28923-i349-Alaska.html
  19. I don't see it becoming permanent. I think the bill was written with a sunset and expiries at the end of the year.
  20. Harv & Marv's has a great reputation: https://www.harvandmarvs-juneau-whale-watching.com/tours/harvs/
  21. Dress in layers with a waterproof jacket for the final layer. That way you can remove or add layers as the day goes on.
  22. In the picture of "local carvers at work", the guy in the yellow shirt was my shop & social studies teacher in high school. Amazing guy, very talented woodworker.
  23. A Prince William Sound glacier cruise is a great choice. Phillips' 26 Glacier Cruise is a popular option. For something a little more intimate is a trip with Lazy Otter: https://www.lazyottercharters.com/ You could catch the Alaska Railroad's Glacier Discovery ( https://www.alaskarailroad.com/ride-a-train/our-trains/glacier-discovery ) train to either the Spencer Glacier stop or to Grandview. Here's our pictures from those trips: http://akstafford.blogspot.com/2017/08/spencer-glacier-via-alaska-railroad.html http://akstafford.blogspot.com/2019/07/grandview-on-alaska-railroad.html You could also rent a car from Avis ( https://www.avisalaska.com/locations/whittier/ ) and explore. I personally don't feel like it's worth it to spend anytime in Anchorage... But with a rental car you'd have time to get to Seward and back.
  24. Look here: https://icystraitpoint.com/ http://visithoonah.com/
  25. I would suggest consider putting together your own land trip, rather than a prepackage tour from the cruise line. Southcentral Alaska is pretty easy to plan on your own. The TripAdvisor forum is a great resource: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28923-i349-Alaska.html
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