Alaska 2018 on Golden Princess

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#1
17 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Doing an Alaska cruise tour on the Golden Princess, land first, on 8/12/18. Looking forward to hearing from others doing this cruise. I was torn between starting the land portion in mid-August or the end of August. Any thoughts on this? I live in Florida, so I'm looking forward to seeing wildlife and autumn scenery.
#2
Cincinnati. OH-Go Reds
5,621 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I just returned from a July sailing to Alaska. The weather is always changing. We had cool temps. I don't think the temp got above 63 during our time in alaska. We had rain one day; so that was good; the rest of the trip was partly sunny but not too warm. We wore jackets in every port. Scenery was beautiful and so were the excursions. We did not do land portion, only cruise; did not have enough time off to do both. You will enjoy it
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#3
Austin, Texas area
746 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
I'll be following this thread; looking at Alaska in summer 2020, so starting my research now. We cruised on the Golden Princess in June 2011, cruise only. For 2020, I'm looking at adding a land portion too.

My first question is regarding the land portion. An online cruise website that I looked at showed the land portion as being bus transportation. But I'm looking for a land portion that includes train travel. Is there some place specific I need to look to research that? @pumpkin30, which land tour are you considering?
#4
Northern California
3,181 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by Kellie in Texas
I'll be following this thread; looking at Alaska in summer 2020, so starting my research now. We cruised on the Golden Princess in June 2011, cruise only. For 2020, I'm looking at adding a land portion too.

My first question is regarding the land portion. An online cruise website that I looked at showed the land portion as being bus transportation. But I'm looking for a land portion that includes train travel. Is there some place specific I need to look to research that? @pumpkin30, which land tour are you considering?
Go to princess.com and look at cruisetours. You'll be able to see which ones include train travel. The train from Denali to Anchorage (or the other way around) is great!
#5
Austin, Texas area
746 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Thanks, @Sea Hag, that's where I saw the train travel included in tours. I guess my question should be rephrased as "are the Princess cruise tours the only ones that include the trains?" And if Princess owns the trains, then the answer is most likely yes. A train would definitely be more fun than a bus!
#6
Hickory, NC USA
3,322 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
On our cruise tour we took the train from Anchorage to Denali/Mt. McKinley, a bus from McKinley to Copper River, a bus from Copper River to Valdez where we boarded a smaller boat to meet our Princess ship in Whittier. We had fun on all types of transport and really enjoyed the bus portions.
#7
outside of Anchorage
1,827 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by pumpkin30
Doing an Alaska cruise tour on the Golden Princess, land first, on 8/12/18. Looking forward to hearing from others doing this cruise. I was torn between starting the land portion in mid-August or the end of August. Any thoughts on this? I live in Florida, so I'm looking forward to seeing wildlife and autumn scenery.
You will not see any autumn scenery in August....Anywhere...It is the middle of September and the leaves have not changed in Anchorage yet. the Southeast is very much like Seattle weather so you won't see it there either. If you want to see autumn leaves, you need to do your land portion the 2nd week in September...Usually....Denali peaked this past weekend and it was spectacular. I have some of the photos posted in the Alaskan Cruises with Princess FB site...In fact, lots of people post photos there...
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#8
17 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by Kellie in Texas
I'll be following this thread; looking at Alaska in summer 2020, so starting my research now. We cruised on the Golden Princess in June 2011, cruise only. For 2020, I'm looking at adding a land portion too.

My first question is regarding the land portion. An online cruise website that I looked at showed the land portion as being bus transportation. But I'm looking for a land portion that includes train travel. Is there some place specific I need to look to research that? @pumpkin30, which land tour are you considering?
Hi, Kellie. We're doing the 13 night Denali Explorer, land portion first.
#9
17 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by laughing husky
You will not see any autumn scenery in August....Anywhere...It is the middle of September and the leaves have not changed in Anchorage yet. the Southeast is very much like Seattle weather so you won't see it there either. If you want to see autumn leaves, you need to do your land portion the 2nd week in September...Usually....Denali peaked this past weekend and it was spectacular. I have some of the photos posted in the Alaskan Cruises with Princess FB site...In fact, lots of people post photos there...
How was the weather the 2nd week of September? Is it very different from August?
#10
Ridgeland, Mississippi
637 Posts
Joined May 2002
We are doing a cruisetour on The Golden Princess, land first. Tour starts on May 22. We are taking the 10 hour train ride back from Denali on the Princess Train to the ship. Will post a review when we get back.

Be advised for anyone considering a future cruisetour. The one we are on departing May 22, 2018 sold out almost a year in advance. Good idea to book early.
#11
25,047 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by pumpkin30
How was the weather the 2nd week of September? Is it very different from August?
I would not do the cruise that late. Potential for bad weather. Maybe land would be safer (cruise first and then land). Hopefully others/locals will post
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#12
outside of Anchorage
1,827 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I would not have a problem with doing a cruise in September....especially with the land portion last. Downsides are, glacier dog operations are mostly closed down, tourist things in Anchorage are starting to close down...plus side....if you are lucky enough to watch the tundra change...it will be life changing. There are absolutely no words for the beauty..downside, it usually only lasts a few days. If you have never seen snow, there is a good chance you will see snow in Denali in September. August is our rainy month....this summer has been our rainy year...

PS. the train only goes from Seward to Fairbanks. No other place. Only way you can get from the other Princess lodges is by car or their bus.
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#13
17 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by laughing husky
I would not have a problem with doing a cruise in September....especially with the land portion last. Downsides are, glacier dog operations are mostly closed down, tourist things in Anchorage are starting to close down...plus side....if you are lucky enough to watch the tundra change...it will be life changing. There are absolutely no words for the beauty..downside, it usually only lasts a few days. If you have never seen snow, there is a good chance you will see snow in Denali in September. August is our rainy month....this summer has been our rainy year...

PS. the train only goes from Seward to Fairbanks. No other place. Only way you can get from the other Princess lodges is by car or their bus.
Thank you! I gather you live in Alaska. Nice firsthand info.
#14
Philadelphia, PA
1,091 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
The truth is - May has the least amount of rain and as the summer goes on, each month has more rain with September having the most rain for the tourist season. Look it up if you need historical information. A few years ago, the storms in Whittier in September were so bad, the ship had to stay in port for a few days. There are several sites where you can look at weather in Alaska averages.
#15
987 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
First of all, we have been to AK from May to Sept. If it's animal you want to see (I'm talking like Yoda), don't go after the middle of August. The animals are not moving but simply bulking up for winter. Good in July. Do land first. WRT fall foliage, go to New England. It's AK is pretty but...
#16
987 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
First of all, we have been to AK from May to Sept. If it's animal you want to see (I'm talking like Yoda), don't go after the middle of August. The animals are not moving but simply bulking up for winter. Good in July. Do land first. WRT fall foliage, go to New England. It's AK is pretty but...
#17
outside of Anchorage
1,827 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by rockdoctor
First of all, we have been to AK from May to Sept. If it's animal you want to see (I'm talking like Yoda), don't go after the middle of August. The animals are not moving but simply bulking up for winter. Good in July. Do land first. WRT fall foliage, go to New England. It's AK is pretty but...
It depends on what animals you are talking about. Brown bears and Black bears are best seen during Salmon season because that is actually when they put on weight. Blueberries do not have the calories...Caribou follow migrations so you see them when they migrate through an area. Probably will never see wolves but it is possible. Most people come for bears. If bears are really important do your research if you are taking a bear excursion from the ship. If it is really important to you, fly out to see bears from Anchorage or Homer. Animals do move around in September. Ask any hunter up here. We have 800 bears in the city of Anchorage but it is likely that you won't see one from your hotel, but you might as they cross 4th Avenue frequently when the salmon are running in Ship Creek. The are opportunistic animals and go where the food is. Summer is our rainy season. It rains a lot...More in the South East...less in the interior. We stretch the same distance as the ND/Canadian border to almost the Arkansas/LA border...The Aleutians hand out over CA., and the South East hangs out over Jacksonville. The weather is as varied as it would be outside where you live.
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#19
74 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I am booked on the golden princess land tour first at the end of August. Does anyone know if meals are included on land? Also have the sip and sail promo is that only for the cruise portion?
#20
25,047 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by mafw
I am booked on the golden princess land tour first at the end of August. Does anyone know if meals are included on land? Also have the sip and sail promo is that only for the cruise portion?
Only the connoisseur tours and they cost more. Some tours may have a salmon baked thrown in but I wouldn't count on it.

You can buy meal plans if you want. Sip and Sail is only for the cruise portion.
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