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Alaska on the Coral Princess, Northbound


sjmbruce

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So, the cruise I am looking at goes from Vancouver to Whittier in May.

I'm looking at flying from Detroit to Vancouver a day early, then getting on the Coral.

Once we get off the ship in Whittier, I am planning on using Princess transportation to the airport in Anchorage, as I understand this journey is long and involves some logistics due to a one way tunnel. I'm sure we'll get off the boat fairly early, and then most flights out of Anchorage are later than 8pm or so.

I'm planning on booking air independently. It's cheaper than EZ air and the next port EZ air benefit doesn't apply to this cruise if I miss embarkation.

Does my plan sound okay?

 

Thank you for any suggestions, and any future help. If I end up booking, I sure I am going to be on here until May!

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I am thinking about the Coral or Crown in May '14. I will be flying in from South Carolina the day before. There are several independent shuttles that are cheaper than Princess transfers. Close to saving 50% between the two of them. You will have to look both ways to see which way is cheaper. It does appear for me it will be cheaper if I make my own plane reservations.

 

Andy

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Lots of discussion about this on the Alaska boards. My sister and I flew in separately. She took the train from the airport to the stop nearest Canada Place (we were staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel) and paid $7.75. I took a taxi for $35 + tip. EM

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We took a taxi in Vancouver to Canada Place to board the ship but don't remember the price. In Whittier we took the train to Anchorage which dropped us off at the airport but also dropped off downtown. They used domed cars so we had great visibility. The road/tracks do go through a one way tunnel with priority given to the train.

 

BTW Amtrak operates a train from Seattle to Vancouver if you want to fly into Seattle instead. Quite a few take this making the airfare cheaper.

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I did a round trip on the Coral this summer, so I don't have experience with the transportation to the Anchorage airport. I did do a tour to Anchorage on the turnaround day, though. They dropped us at the convention center in Anchorage for a couple hours and I saw that Princess rents space there for people to use. Maybe someone who has done this can chime in, but it appears that people can check their luggage and then spend their free time in town having lunch, etc. rather than just sitting at the airport all day. There are restaurants and shopping nearby.

 

For Vancouver, I flew in a day early and stayed at a hotel near the airport. I chose that because my friend was coming in later and it was easier for both of us to get to an airport hotel separately and then we took a cab to Canada Place the next day. It cost about $35.

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It really doesn't take much time to travel from Whittier to Anchorage. Most flights leave at night and there is quite a bit to see in Anchorage.....look at Anchorage.net and see what the city has to offer....or even better, spend a few days with us and explore a bit of the area....You can take a bus to the airport for !.75....or a cab for about $20.00...(from downtown)

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We did this cruise in June and saved substantial dough by flying from the midwest to Seattle rather than Vancouver. We flew in the night prior, stayed at an airport hotel (w/ free shuttle) and then took the Princess motorcoach transfer to Vancouver the next day... it was quite reasonable, very easy, and overall saved us a couple hundred $$$ over flying into Vancouver.

 

Once in Whittier, we used the shuttle company mentioned above. They have several options, one being direct to airport, two being a scenic trip to the airport and lastly, a 6 or 7 hour tour. Rather than fly home that day, we rented a car and stayed at the Princess McKinley Lodge for two nights and drove up to Denali for a day. It worked out great!

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We just did the northbound cruise on the Coral in Aug. It was a great

cruise. We booked independent transportation to Anchorage airport through Alaska Cruise Transfers & Tours. They were much cheaper than than Princess. The trip to the airport is not long (2 hours) The only delay is waiting for the one way tunnel out of Whittier to open. They were easy to locate in the terminal & were quite efficient in loading us into buses. They play a recorded audio tour along the route.

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Once we get off the ship in Whittier, I am planning on using Princess transportation to the airport in Anchorage, as I understand this journey is long and involves some logistics due to a one way tunnel.

 

OK, FYI. THe only road into Whittier uses a railroad tunnel for about 7 miles of the trip. From the Whittier side, there is a road from town that takes you a staging area for the tunnel. THat road is only a few miles. At the staging area, you could wait up to one-half hour depending on when you get there. Once the tunnel opens, you will follow the leader through the tunnel. On the other side, you come out in Bear valley and then you follow a short road to Portage Valley. There is a good sized lake there that used to be covered by a Glacier (the glacier has retreated several miles back. If you have sharp eyes and are on the left side of the bus, you can snatch a quick glimpse of the glacier as you drive by. Portage Vally Road leads out to the Seward highway. There you have about 80 miles to get to Anchorage. On a tour bus it could take 2 hours if they stop occasionally for photos. Of course once you get to Anchorage it is another 15-20 minutes to get to the airport and unloaded.

 

THere you have it a rough guide to the trip from Whittier to Anchorage.

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OK, FYI. THe only road into Whittier uses a railroad tunnel for about 7 miles of the trip. From the Whittier side, there is a road from town that takes you a staging area for the tunnel. THat road is only a few miles. At the staging area, you could wait up to one-half hour depending on when you get there. Once the tunnel opens, you will follow the leader through the tunnel. On the other side, you come out in Bear valley and then you follow a short road to Portage Valley. There is a good sized lake there that used to be covered by a Glacier (the glacier has retreated several miles back. If you have sharp eyes and are on the left side of the bus, you can snatch a quick glimpse of the glacier as you drive by. Portage Vally Road leads out to the Seward highway. There you have about 80 miles to get to Anchorage. On a tour bus it could take 2 hours if they stop occasionally for photos. Of course once you get to Anchorage it is another 15-20 minutes to get to the airport and unloaded.

 

THere you have it a rough guide to the trip from Whittier to Anchorage.

 

This was my experience too. It took about two hours.

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Just took the Princess transfer Sept 4. Two buses left for transfer. One at 8:15 and 1 at 9:15 . I booked the airport transfer. The bus driver gave a good commentary about the Whittier tunnel - very interesting. It is a one way tunnel - on the hour traffics goes from Whittier towards Anchorage and on the half hour the other direction. We stopped for a few minutes after the tunnel for photos at a lake. The driver continued to give excellent commentary and we saw 3 beluga whales in Turnagain inlet as we were driving. The transfer took just under 2 hours. Our luggage was not on the bus- it had been taken to the luggage room at the airport. This was very convenient. The bus took us to the hospitality centre in Anchorage and we checked our hand luggage there. We walked around Anchorage for an hour, had a Reindeer hot dog and then caught the shuttle from the hospitality centre to the airport. The shuttles left for the airport every hour I believe. Picked up our bags, checked in and went through security.

 

I only thought I was booking a transfer to the airport but we actually had a great time.

 

We both want to go back and spend more time in Anchorage and have a driving holiday for 5 or 6 days and then cruise back to Vancouver.

 

We paid $54 each for the transfer.

 

 

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Also the tunnel is 2.5 miles long. It used to be a train tunnel only but now there is a train tunnel and the one lane vehicle tunnel.

 

The bus actually straddles the train tracks. They have 20min of trafic from one direction, 20min from the other direction and 20min to blow the exhaust out of the tunnel.

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I highly recommend taking the train! It's more scenic, comfy, and relaxing. Some of the independent shuttle companies are OK; some are icky looking. I recommend sticking with Princess to play it safe. If you have a late flight, Princess will drop you off downtown at the Egan Center, which is within walking distance of shopping and dining. They then run airport shuttles on the hour until 6 PM.

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