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MEAL VOUCHERS-for our ALaskan land/sea adventure


Europeantraveler1
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Hello Cruisers!

My husband and I will be taking the Land & Sea, Alaskan, "Triple Denali Journey" adventure next fall (with the cruise portion first). We are very excited!!!

My question is about the optional "meal voucher" that is offered for the 'land' portion of this trip. We will disembark in Anchorage (overnight at the Westmark Anchorage Hotel) and then take a train to Denali (staying three nights at the hotel there) and our last stop in Fairbanks (at the Westmark in Fairbanks).

Has anyone gone on this particular cruise? Did you purchase the meal vouchers? If so, was it worth the money? I've looked at the menus and it seems like the 4-breakfasts; 1-lunch; and 5 Dinners (for the two of us) would cost more separately than the money we'd spend on the meal vouchers.

ANY response about this aspect of our vacation would be greatly appreciated!

THANK YOU!!!

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We very much enjoyed the Y1 cruise/land tour in August2014, hunch included the Yukon. We did not use the meal voucher package, but we're not unhappy about the cost of meals. We did use a variety of dining venues, so had a variety of choices. Enjoy this vacation. It is awesome

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If the individual cost of the meals, for the two of you, is greater than the cost of the meal plan through HAL, then I would go for the meal plan. The thing is that the meal plan basically forces you to eat at that hotel and it is typically a buffet breakfast (not sure about lunch or dinner). So, if you'd rather eat elsewhere, or are light eaters, you might want to DIY. (Having said that, I'm not sure how many restaurant choices there are in Denali. My experience was on a longer cruise tour that went into the Yukon.) However, if you want HAL to take care of you and don't mind the hotel meals/buffets, then it is much easier to purchase the meal plan.

 

Also know that food costs are MUCH higher in Alaska than they are at home. Based on what you've indicated in your post, I would probably take the meal plan because it is less expensive than individual meals, and I'm fairly sure you'd end up eating almost every meal at the one hotel anyway. Hopefully others who have been there more recently than I have can correct that if I'm wrong.

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Food is a schocker! We found out tho that it was cheaper to eat at the Bar in the Westmark in Fairbanks. We were on a Sept. cruise and shops and restaurants were closing down. Instead of Westmark in Denali we found a Bistro in the Princess hotel that had cheaper sandwich meals. If they still have the Jamboree (or whatever) song and dance and food in Denali, I didn't get much food as I was at the end of the table and even when seconds came down, nothing much left at my end. The help said, oh well. They were closing down also. This was awhile ago tho.

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Take the price of the meal plan and divide it by the number and type of meals that you will get. Do you like a big breakfast? Do you always get desserts? If so it may be worthwhile.

 

There are plenty of places to eat in Denali including across the highway from the resort and nearby Princess lodge. The McKinley Chalets is also good and where you would be eating all of your voucher meals in Denali. Your choices in Fairbanks are much more limited and you will probably just purchase your meal at the hotel anyway.

 

We have done these itineraries many times and I have never had the meal plan. Last year we did the Yukon and had wonderful meals at places recommended on Trip Advisor. People who get the meal plan seem to like it but it is expensive and restricts your dining choices.

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I don't think you will save much by using the meal plan, IT'S MORE FOR THE CONVENIENCE of eating right at your hotel. Not having to search or wait in-line to be seated and served.

 

We did an 11 day cruisetour to the Yukon and the meal plan was $349 pp. We thought that high, so we didn't purchase it. Not many lunch breaks along the way, so by the time we reached the hotel, we were starving and ready to eat. The wait staff was always surprised that we were cash customers, and didn't have the vouchers.

 

We spent approximately $300 pp for breakfasts and dinners, and generally ate at the hotel. We walked about a 6 block radius in Fairbanks, only to find restaurants closed, or wait times of an hour, ended up at a Subway and paid $23 CDN pp for a sandwich and soup.

 

You are really the only one that can decide if the vouchers would work better for you. Personally I would purchase them if I were to go again. What little savings we saw was really offset by the convenience of the vouchers.

 

Have a great trip!

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Last June, my husband and I did the Y3C Yukon + Double Denali with overnights in Whitehorse (1 night), Dawson City (2 nights), Fairbanks (1 night), Denali (2 nights), and Anchorage (1 night) The meal plan available to us was $499 each for 7 dinners, 1 lunch (on the McKinley Explorer train between Denali and Anchorage) and 6 breakfasts. We went back and forth as to whether to take the meal plan or not. We ultimately decided not to. We are satisfied with the choice we made and would make it again.

 

We figured we could eat at the hotel restaurants as cash customers when we wanted to or needed to for convenience but would not be tied to eating only in the hotel dining rooms. We did end up eating all our breakfasts and 4 of the 7 dinners at the hotel restaurants, primarily for convenience, since on most days one departs early for excursions or transportation to the next stop and one frequently arrives later in the day. This was much more eating in the hotels than we anticipated. The hotel food was quite good and our dinner at the Westmark in Fairbanks was one of our best tasting meals. (As agabbymama points out in her post, there are not many, if any, good options in Fairbanks convenient to the hotel)

 

Based on my notes from our trip, we did save money. We paid just about $300 each for the 7 dinners, 1 lunch, and 6 breakfasts that would have been part of the meal plan. (We don’t normally eat desserts though we do like a glass of wine/beer with dinner and often for breakfast are satisfied with cereal and coffee, though we did partake of the breakfast buffets several times.) Food in Alaska is, as several have pointed out, more expensive compared to most other places in the U.S.; our experience is no guarantee that someone else would also save money.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed the 3 dinners we did eat on our own (Giorgio's Cuccina in Whitehorse, Klondike Kate’s in Dawson City, and Orso’s in Anchorage) and consider them among our favorite experiences because of the opportunities to talk with people beyond those on the tours. At Klondike Kate’s we were at a table next to a couple who offered us the remainder of their pitcher of beer noting that my husband was drinking the same. In the conversation which ensued, we learned he was a member of the Canadian Mounted Police stationed in Dawson City and that his wife had driven equipment on gold mines in her younger days. This was a chance encounter that we fell into – no guarantees it would happen again, but it was fun.

 

One other thing to consider in considering the cost of the meal plan is whether any of the excursions you might take would include a dinner or breakfast. I believe there are several Denali excursions offered that do so. That might impact your calculations since I don’t think you get any sort of credit for unused meals on the meal plan.

 

It appeared to me on our trip that those who took the meal plan were happy with their choice and those who didn’t were happy with theirs. If you feel you would save money on the meal plan, but want some flexibility, you can always take the meal plan, but be open to some evening eating somewhere else and not use one of your vouchers. Whatever you do, you will probably have a great trip. Alaska is just incredible!!

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We are booked on HAL's D1L cruise tour (three days in Danali) starting in Fairbanks. I cannot find any information about meal vouchers, or the menus. Can you or someone tell me where to find this information?

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Take the price of the meal plan and divide it by the number and type of meals that you will get. Do you like a big breakfast? Do you always get desserts? If so it may be worthwhile.

 

There are plenty of places to eat in Denali including across the highway from the resort and nearby Princess lodge. The McKinley Chalets is also good and where you would be eating all of your voucher meals in Denali. Your choices in Fairbanks are much more limited and you will probably just purchase your meal at the hotel anyway.

 

We have done these itineraries many times and I have never had the meal plan. Last year we did the Yukon and had wonderful meals at places recommended on Trip Advisor. People who get the meal plan seem to like it but it is expensive and restricts your dining choices.

 

 

Totally agree! We decided not to go with the meal plan and were very happy with our decision. We are not big breakfast eaters so we just picked up some fruit, muffins, or yogurt before heading out for the day. There were usually several choices for lunch.

 

We did eat at the hotels a few times. It was great sitting on the hotel patio in Dawson City (it was 85*F) and the meal at the Skagway Westmark was delicious and beautifully presented. However, one on the highlights was our dinner in Dawson at the Drunken Goat. The meal, which we enjoyed with others from the tour was outstanding. It is Greek cuisine prepared by a chef from Madagascar. He even took time to come out and chat with us.

 

We figured we saved about half by not taking the plan but what we really liked was the freedom to choose.

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We are booked on HAL's D1L cruise tour (three days in Danali) starting in Fairbanks. I cannot find any information about meal vouchers, or the menus. Can you or someone tell me where to find this information?

 

Wherever you chose your tour (brochure or on-line). At the bottom of the description of the tour is where the meal plan info (if offered) will be.

 

Not all cruisetours (especially short ones) offer the meal vouchers.

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  • 2 months later...
I don't think you will save much by using the meal plan, IT'S MORE FOR THE CONVENIENCE of eating right at your hotel. Not having to search or wait in-line to be seated and served.

 

 

!

 

With the vouchers, do you go to the front of the waiting line, or have a pre-made reservation that I couldn't make ahead of time not on the package?

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With the vouchers, do you go to the front of the waiting line, or have a pre-made reservation that I couldn't make ahead of time not on the package?

 

No, it's just a voucher. But you may have a section of the restaurant set aside for patrons of the same cruise line.

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  • 8 months later...
Last June, my husband and I did the Y3C Yukon + Double Denali with overnights in Whitehorse (1 night), Dawson City (2 nights), Fairbanks (1 night), Denali (2 nights), and Anchorage (1 night) The meal plan available to us was $499 each for 7 dinners, 1 lunch (on the McKinley Explorer train between Denali and Anchorage) and 6 breakfasts. We went back and forth as to whether to take the meal plan or not. We ultimately decided not to. We are satisfied with the choice we made and would make it again.

 

We figured we could eat at the hotel restaurants as cash customers when we wanted to or needed to for convenience but would not be tied to eating only in the hotel dining rooms. We did end up eating all our breakfasts and 4 of the 7 dinners at the hotel restaurants, primarily for convenience, since on most days one departs early for excursions or transportation to the next stop and one frequently arrives later in the day. This was much more eating in the hotels than we anticipated. The hotel food was quite good and our dinner at the Westmark in Fairbanks was one of our best tasting meals. (As agabbymama points out in her post, there are not many, if any, good options in Fairbanks convenient to the hotel)

 

Based on my notes from our trip, we did save money. We paid just about $300 each for the 7 dinners, 1 lunch, and 6 breakfasts that would have been part of the meal plan. (We don’t normally eat desserts though we do like a glass of wine/beer with dinner and often for breakfast are satisfied with cereal and coffee, though we did partake of the breakfast buffets several times.) Food in Alaska is, as several have pointed out, more expensive compared to most other places in the U.S.; our experience is no guarantee that someone else would also save money.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed the 3 dinners we did eat on our own (Giorgio's Cuccina in Whitehorse, Klondike Kate’s in Dawson City, and Orso’s in Anchorage) and consider them among our favorite experiences because of the opportunities to talk with people beyond those on the tours. At Klondike Kate’s we were at a table next to a couple who offered us the remainder of their pitcher of beer noting that my husband was drinking the same. In the conversation which ensued, we learned he was a member of the Canadian Mounted Police stationed in Dawson City and that his wife had driven equipment on gold mines in her younger days. This was a chance encounter that we fell into – no guarantees it would happen again, but it was fun.

 

One other thing to consider in considering the cost of the meal plan is whether any of the excursions you might take would include a dinner or breakfast. I believe there are several Denali excursions offered that do so. That might impact your calculations since I don’t think you get any sort of credit for unused meals on the meal plan.

 

It appeared to me on our trip that those who took the meal plan were happy with their choice and those who didn’t were happy with theirs. If you feel you would save money on the meal plan, but want some flexibility, you can always take the meal plan, but be open to some evening eating somewhere else and not use one of your vouchers. Whatever you do, you will probably have a great trip. Alaska is just incredible!!

 

Thanks for all the excellent tips and detail. We have been reading all the threads on HAL meal plans and come to the conclusion the expense is too much for the Y2L Alaskan land/cruise tour.

We understand it is a personal choice, depending on convenience, but I like the diy experience.

We travel Aug. 2/17 to Anchorage for 10 nt. land Alaska/Yukon and then 5 cruise days.

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  • 2 years later...

Am doing the HAL 3 day Denali Land/Sea next year and booked the 2020 Summer Excursion Promo and it comes with Meal Vouchers (free promo).  Problem is, I can't find information anywhere about what/where/when about it?  Where should I look?

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We did the Y2L, double Denali, and chose not to get the meal plan.  We enjoyed finding places to eat, only ate at the hotel three times - once in Denali, which was good, once in Fairbanks when we got caught in a torrential downpour when we went out for a walk and didn't feel like going back out once we got dried off (not great meal), and one breakfast, I forget where, which was downright awful.  We found great places to eat on our own everywhere else, though, including the strip mall across from the Denali resort.  We'd do it that way again.  

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1 hour ago, MudderBear said:

Am doing the HAL 3 day Denali Land/Sea next year and booked the 2020 Summer Excursion Promo and it comes with Meal Vouchers (free promo).  Problem is, I can't find information anywhere about what/where/when about it?  Where should I look?

 

You can get info about Alaska Tour tips at this location. Click on "Alaska Tour Tips"

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/faq.html

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On 2/2/2016 at 7:30 PM, summerclouds said:

Orso’s in Anchorage

 

We also ate at Orso's across the street from the Westmark this summer ; really enjoyed it. Great service and food. We didn't find meal prices high in Alaska compared to where we live near Sacramento CA.

 

P.S. Just noticed that this thread started in 2016, but all the info I read about meal plans and alternatives matches the current season of 2019 as far as I can tell.

Edited by PSR
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