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I'm confused: some folks take a bus, some take a train?

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Just like the song about going to Kansas City : :D

 

"Well I might take a train

I might take a plane, but if I have to walk

I'm going just the same

I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come ..."

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Just like the song about going to Kansas City : :D

 

 

 

"Well I might take a train

 

I might take a plane, but if I have to walk

 

I'm going just the same

 

I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come ..."

 

 

 

❤️

 

 

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I didn't realize there were so many options. Is this new with HAL?

 

 

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There are six train excursions on the White Pass Railroad. I have not compared the current choices to those choices from my other choices in Skagway but they seem to be the same.

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I didn't realize there were so many options. Is this new with HAL?

 

 

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I was just as surprised as you are. With limited hotel facilities, I think it is a way to fill Denali every day. There were folks heading for the Nieuw Amsterdam in Skagway, as well as folks from the Noordam who spent the previous day touring Anchorage, on my excursion yesterday

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I'm confused: some folks take a bus, some take a train?

 

 

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With the White Pass excursion you either take the bus up into the Yukon and take the train back to Skagway or vice versa.

We took the train from the Yukon back to Skagway. You have to take your passport on this excursion because you cross a few hundred feet into Canada to do the bus/train switchover.

Then when you approach Skagway US customs board the train and do a walk through. Everyone has to hold their passport up to their face as they walk through.

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There are six train excursions on the White Pass Railroad. I have not compared the current choices to those choices from my other choices in Skagway but they seem to be the same.

Thanks for the information. We did the tour in 2011 and there was one choice then. I'll look for choices when the tours are posted for our cruise.

Enjoy your land portion🚢🚞🚌

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Boy, it's confusing when there are 2 separate discussions going on about trains and buses! The Skagway one and the Denali one. As for Denali, I haven't been on any of the land tours, but I believe if you look at the HAL web site the itinerary description will show if you use a bus or train on your particular route. I also think I have seen the option show up on Shorex (oops, EXC! ) somewhere online that you can change your bus to a train to/from Seward'Denali; it may depend on space availability.

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I can remember when we got to Seward via ship, some people took the train to Anchorage and some took the bus.

Then there others taking a different train and heading for Denali. Same thing for the buses.

Quite a few choices.

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Boy, it's confusing when there are 2 separate discussions going on about trains and buses! The Skagway one and the Denali one. As for Denali, I haven't been on any of the land tours, but I believe if you look at the HAL web site the itinerary description will show if you use a bus or train on your particular route. I also think I have seen the option show up on Shorex (oops, EXC! ) somewhere online that you can change your bus to a train to/from Seward'Denali; it may depend on space availability.

Thank you. I had forgotten about the website descriptions of the land itineraries, showing a bus or train logo.

 

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Boy, it's confusing when there are 2 separate discussions going on about trains and buses! The Skagway one and the Denali one. As for Denali, I haven't been on any of the land tours, but I believe if you look at the HAL web site the itinerary description will show if you use a bus or train on your particular route. I also think I have seen the option show up on Shorex (oops, EXC! ) somewhere online that you can change your bus to a train to/from Seward'Denali; it may depend on space availability.

 

The HAL Land Journey rep said no "upgrades" from bus to train are possible. Tour groups are kept together throughout the entire land portion.

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My first full day in Denali started with overcastskies and light rain. It ended the same.

 

I ordered my box lunch, part of my Meal Plan, thenight before and picked it up at the small café' in the Main Lobby just beforemy Tundra Wilderness Tour. In addition, I received the snack box that comes with the tour. The lobby was packed with departing passengersand those awaiting their excursions while my tour bus was loading. From speaking to other guests, I learned that my excursion began leavingat 5:30 AM, each half hour, with full school buses. FWIW there were individual seats and not thebench-like seats we were told by HAL.

 

We saw no animals in the first hour of the driveinto the park. The next six hours werewill filled with grizzly sows with cubs, wolves dining on a fallen caribou,moose, birds, caribou, and three raven chicks in a nest under a bridge. The drive was 42 miles into the park,according to our driver, and proceeded on very narrow roads without guardrailing up to altitudes nearly 4000 feet altitude. Roads were very wet and the curves sharpenough to reduce the bus speed to nearly a crawl. Although the bus stopped when wildlife was spotted, nobody waspermitted to leave the bus. If you werelucky to be on the side of bus where wildlife was spotted, you got goodpictures. If you were not on the viewingside, you missed out. So much wildlife was spotted on both sides of the bus that everyone was happy.

 

There were six stops for restroom breaks. Restrooms could be described as porta pottieswith log walls. The stops included amen's express bathroom, too.

 

The purchased box lunches were a big flop with adry, mostly bread, turkey & cheddar sandwiches, a cookie, water, and smallbag of chips for $15. The free snack boxhad various types of chips, cookies, sausage sticks, and crackers. As we neared the end of our excursion, thebus driver had the passengers sort through the lunch box remnants and dividethe everything for recycling. Various cloth bags, boxes, and plastic bags werepassed through the bus to collect the recyclable items.

 

After 17.5 hours on a bus , it was a good feelingnot having to ride another one.

 

The Denali experience included a dinner show atthe Denali Saloon. The show players werealso our waiters. Brisket, salad, salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, succotash,biscuits, apple cobbler with ice cream, and water/tea were served family styleat long tables. I was seated at the headof a table with Noordam passengers who had just arrived from spending a day inAnchorage. The actors were collegestudents depicting the founding of the national park and climbing Denali in the show. The show was informative, funny, and included audience interaction. As the saloonemptied, the audience filled buckets with gratuities to help the actors withtheir student loans. The dinner-show lasted two hours and the food was very good.

 

When I checked the weather for Healy, Alaska (10miles from my chalet), I was glad that the weather for Tuesday would be brightsunshine. I noticed that sunset wasmidnight and sunrise 3:00 AM.

 

More soon.

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Roger, did you get to choose between the train or bus to Denali?

 

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There was no choice of bus or train. After talking with other guests, I have surmised that everyone does both the train or the bus on some leg of their land portions. Some even add planes between cities.

 

In another post, I discovered that the guests here also include those from the Nieuw Amsterdam boarding/departing Skagway.

 

The HAL portion of Denali holds 450 guests per night according to the shuttle bus driver and the Princess portion holds 650 guests. Cycling everyone for one to three days through Denali must be an enormous task for HAL/Princess.

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The second day in Denali began with clear, blue skies andended the same.

 

After the breakfast buffet, part of my Meal Plan, I waitedat Main Lodge for my flightseeing visit to Denali, formerly known as Mt McKinley. Two other guests boarded the Denali Air shuttlebus to Healy, Alaska, to meet the aircraft.

 

Four other passengers joined us at the small log cabinheadquarters of Denali Air. The Healyairport had six aircraft parked by their owners on the premises. All passengers were advised to visit therestroom (three porta potties behind the log cabin) because there were norestroom facilities until we returned to Denali Air. We were fitted with glacier walking overshoes,offered sunglasses, and our weights recorded to allow proper weight/balancingof the aircraft. After receivingboarding instructions, I took my assigned window seat before receiving anothersafety briefing. The copilot told us the plane was recentlyupgraded with a new engine and interior furnishings.

 

The takeoff was smooth and we were quickly headed over thepark to the Denali peak at 140 knots air speed. The pilot circled the major peaks, including Denali, and flew through manyof the mountain passes. What a historylesson, as we learned so much about the park, climbing Denali, and the wildlifeliving in the park. We flew over thebase camp tent city and learned the hike to the top of the mountain isperformed while wearing skis, making the trip down quite fast. The pilot searched the five authorizedlanding spots on the several glaciers among the peaks but each spot had justenough cloud cover to not make a safe landing/takeoff. When the pilot told us of his decision not tomake a glacier landing, he also told us that we would be getting a partialrefund of our excursion payment.

 

Without landing and extra time remaining on our flight time,we made a few more passes around the 20,000+ feet mountain and then followedthe same park road where I had been the day before back to the Healy airport.

 

Back at the airport, all of the passengers unfolded our legsfrom the cramped seating and finally had a chance to stretch our legs on thetarmac. We were given a briefing, usinga relief map, showing us exactly where we had flown over the past two hours andthen each of the passengers given a check for $50. Everyone had the chance to capture someamazing photographs and videos above nearly all of the mountain peaks. The trip from Healy back to the McKinleyLodge took 15 minutes and we were met by six tour buses unloading into the lobby.

 

The day was capped with an incredible steak dinner, from myMeal Plan, at the Canyon Steak House on the premises.

 

It needs to be noted that I experienced a constant breezeand some very strong winds every time I walked outside my room which is normal here amongst the high peaks. With temperatures ranging from 39 to 59degrees, a warm jacket was always needed.

 

As the day began, it ended in blue skies and sunshine.

 

Luggage needs to be outside our rooms at 7:30 AM withdeparture for the train ride to Anchorage at 8:45 AM.

 

More tomorrow.

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Roger, your posts are really informative and also a lot of fun. Thank you so much.

 

What are you doing in Denali for the rest of your land itinerary?

 

See my latest post. I could have taken another excursion since they run way into the daylighted evenings but my brain/body just could not deal with any more school-bus time.

 

As I have vowed, I am trying to post information for those who will follow in my footsteps on the Noordam and here to Denali. There is so much about the Denali portion that had little information on CC I can now at least be more helpful with questions posed.

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If I may ask, what package did you choose? (What did you not choose?)

 

Bus not train

Meal plan (All 3 meals?)

HAL excursions only?

 

All of these questions are why I chose the 14-night cruise instead...:rolleyes:

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While I am on cruises, I go out of my way to meet the crew as well as other passengers to gather information that may be helpful.

 

Since I am staying at the Captain Cook hotel in Anchorage, I downloaded their menu and the prices are a bit expensive. The "plan" lets me choose one appetizer, one entrée, and one dessert from the menu which could total nearly $100.

 

I will include an evaluation of the meal voucher plan as it unfolds.

 

I used Yelp when looking for places to eat in Anchorage, I found a bar/pub called Humpy's which is a quick walk from the Westmark (exiting out the backdoor) They had a fabulous Halibut Burger and a larger.

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Thank you so much for doing this Roger😄.

I have friends who will be doing a land Yukon & Denali & then cruise starting in Anchorage and joining NA in Skagway.

 

They are wondering about luggage. I realize their itinerary is different, but you are in several of the same places. Did you get a size limit (dimensions and pounds) for your "meet me at the end", "meet me tonight" and "carry on and stow under the bus or train seat" items? If so, what was it?

 

And turning a bit off subject, on NA, what are the outlets like and how many for a non- suite balcony? Are there USBs?

 

Thanks

TC

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TiogaCruiser, your itinerary is fundamentally different from Roger's. I think the limiting factor for your cruise is luggage allowance on a flight between Fairbanks and Dawson City. That's a chartered 737 and I think has very special baggage requirements. Roger probably can't answer directly but may be able to find our from his tour guide. You should also keep an eye on this thread:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2510617

 

Roy

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If I may ask, what package did you choose? (What did you not choose?)

 

Bus not train

Meal plan (All 3 meals?)

HAL excursions only?

 

All of these questions are why I chose the 14-night cruise instead...:rolleyes:

 

I did not choose the train only the three day Denali. I think every one gets a taste of both bus and train. FWIW the train pace seems half as fast as the bus and it stops a few times to let other trains share the track as well as let off passengers in Talkeetna.

 

All three meals per day but I think they forgot a voucher for one lunch since I was in a plane during the meal time and a box lunch was not possible in the plane.

 

For my first visit to Denali, I chose all HAL excursions. I asked the pilots of my plane flight to Denali and I was told only four flights of seven passengers per day. So book as early as you can if want to see ALL of the mountains plus the BIG one up close.

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The last day in Denali National Park began at 39 degrees and bright sunshine.

 

Although luggage was supposed to be placed outside your door by 7:30 AM, mine was taken as soon as I put it outside at 6:30 AM.

 

One last breakfast at the Karsten's House buffet and again I had to ask for butter and jelly because it was not available on the buffet line. The jelly is made on the premises and is quite good,

 

I arrived at the Main Lobby at 8:20 AM many minutes ahead of the required 8:45 AM. I was on one of the many buses parked outside and on my way to the train depot by 8:25 AM. At 8:33 AM my ID had been checked and I was boarding the train. The train had only three passenger cars attached to the engine.As I entered the upper seating deck through the narrow spiral staircase, the aroma of baking pastries filled the air.

 

All seats were assigned as reflected on the lodge welcome packets all passengers received on Sunday. Those wanting to eat breakfast were noted and taken to the lower dining car in groups of four. Reports from those returning after breakfast were laudatory for both the quantity and quality of the food.

 

A husband and wife team managed the orientation and beverage service in our car. Of course the sales pitch for souvenir items started as soon as the last passenger was seated in our car. At 10:30, a waiter came around to take lunch reservations and soon after groups of four were escorted downstairs to the dining car. The lunch portions were large and very tasty. The two berry pies consumed at my table drew raves.

 

Full beverage and snack services were available in the seating car and many took advantage of the large serving of nachos. My row mate seemed determined to consume as many Bloody Marys as possible since his parents, seated across the aisle, were paying for his cruise.

 

A beaver and several moose were spotted from the train but the ride was quite boring in spite of the staff;s attempt to keep everyone awake. The ride departed at 9:15 AM and arrived at 5:45 AM. As we boarded the buses at the train depot for the short ride to the hotels, we were given our welcome packets with luggage tags, room keys, and itineraries for the next day.

 

When I opened my hotel room and expecting to see my luggage from the Noordam and Denali, I saw an unmade bed and someone else's belongings strewn about the room. I quickly closed the door and was fortunate that the occupants were not present. The hotel had changed my room and not changed the information in the HAL welcome packet. Entering my new room, my luggage from the Noordam and Denali were present.

 

After one hour of repacking, my 75 pound suitcase from Denali is now distributed among four bags that meet the airline requirements.

 

I was disappointed that my Meal Plan voucher was not accepted at the penthouse restaurant as I had my heart set on a $89 Filet Mignon. Another onsite restaurant was chosen and seared halibut was my choice.

 

Luggage will be picked up from just inside each room and my airport shuttle departs at 7:15 AM. HAL made my Alaska Airlines reservations which included transport to the airport.

 

The day ended at 55 degrees and bright sunshine.

 

To be continued.

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Thanks again.

 

How will you notify us that your photos, menus etc. are posted to (I assume) the rodger jett (sorry if misspelled) website?

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Thanks again.

 

How will you notify us that your photos, menus etc. are posted to (I assume) the rodger jett (sorry if misspelled) website?

I will post on this thread. Menus this weekend but pics must be converted from RAW format ahich will take some time and new pzges .must be created.

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I recommend anyone boarding today stop and buy some cough medicine to carry onboard. Something with cough and sore throat is sweeping through. Lots of staff coughing along with lots of passengers. The captain said the medical center had been busy and to wash hands frequently.

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My day in Anchorage began at 5:00 AM as luggage needed to be placed just inside the hotel room door at 6:00 AM. Another day of bright sunshine.

 

Without a breakfast voucher for the HAL Meal Plan, I stopped by the Coffee Shop for a breakfast burrito.

 

A huge tour bus pulled up to the curb and my luggage was brought out to the curb by the HAL Rep. Only three of us on the bus seemed like overkill to me. The Anchorage airport is covered with hundreds of private planes. When I asked the driver, I was told that many takeoff from the nearby lake.

 

Having TSA Pre Check made me the only one in line after dropping off my luggage at Alaska Airlines. After not paying for luggage with Southwest for so many years, it was a new experience coughing up $50 for my two pieces of luggage.

 

Arriving in Albuquerque and meeting 83 degrees at 11:45 PM was quite a change from the 42 degrees in Anchorage just a few hours earlier.

 

Yesterday, I completed my HAL Cruise Survey and questioned the electrical adapter issues I experienced, poor waitstaff at the Karstens House in Denali, no Express laundry service, and my luggage issues. Appropriate kudos for the Denali Canyon Steak House, Denali Air, my HAL Room Steward, Edwin, Glenn at the Front Desk, and the Lido Manager, Rifke.

 

I lost my spare pair of glasses in Denali as well as one pound of weight in spite of eating lots of great food and desserts for 12 days. After experiencing the HAL Denali Meal Plan, I cannot recommend it. The box lunch in Denali was not very good, lunch on Day 2 was not included, breakfast in Anchorage was not included, and only some of the restaurants in the Captain Cook not accepted the Meal Plan vouchers.

 

In summary, I enjoyed the HAL experience and interaction with crew members I have known on previous cruises, interaction with my fellow passengers in the Lido Market, great excursions, good food (no Room Service this cruise), good weather, small Mariner Reception with all present getting a photo with the Captain, swift MDR service, Land Journey HAL staff efficiency, flying above the clouds in Denali, watching wolves enjoying lunch, bears with cubs, moose, Ketchikan Crab Feast, speedy embarkation, and the HAL hospitality.

 

Next cruise on the Veendam, Dec 2018.

 

I have completed updating my website with new Lido Market, MDR, Late Snack, Canaletto, Pinnacle Grill Dinner, PG and MDR Breakfast Menu, Room Service Breakfast Cards, and Bar Menus. In addition, new beverage packages, When & Where dailies, and Shops liquor prices are posted:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/

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Hi Roger,

 

I'm looking at your website, but don't see anything from 2017. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong spot

 

Thanks

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Hi Roger,

 

 

 

I'm looking at your website, but don't see anything from 2017. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong spot

 

 

 

Thanks

 

 

 

I just saw the Noordam 2017 dailies but the subject seems to be labeled with the wrong year.

 

 

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Thanks for the summary! :) I have a couple of questions.

 

How did the HAL meal plan that you purchased compare in price to just buying your own meals at the land restaurants?

 

And when you say "no Express laundry", does that mean they are not offering the extra-cost Express laundry service now? We've always been satisfied with the stated commitment of 48 hour turn around, so probably wouldn't pay the extra for Express. But I'm surprised if they stopped offering Express. Can you clarify please?

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Hi Roger,

 

I'm looking at your website, but don't see anything from 2017. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong spot

 

Thanks

 

I had the same problem when he asked me to check the links. I had to do a super refresh of my browser. Hold down the Shift key while also pressing once on the Refresh button on your web browser. That cleansd the cache and shows the new pages.

Joanie

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Thanks for the summary! :) I have a couple of questions.

 

How did the HAL meal plan that you purchased compare in price to just buying your own meals at the land restaurants?

 

And when you say "no Express laundry", does that mean they are not offering the extra-cost Express laundry service now? We've always been satisfied with the stated commitment of 48 hour turn around, so probably wouldn't pay the extra for Express. But I'm surprised if they stopped offering Express. Can you clarify please?

 

There were many Meal Plans but mine was offered for $349. The bus stopped for a free buffet lunch on the way from Seward to Denali. The breakfast buffet at the McKinley Lodge Karsten's House was $15.99 - 19.99. Box lunches available a few feet from the Lodge Main Lobby (ordered the night before needed) were $20 and were much less tasty than the free, provided box lunch (crackers, sausage sticks, cookies, nuts, and chips). Meals, including dessert, entree, and beverage at the Canyon Steak House ranged from $25 - 75. Although I tasted my dessert, I did not eat all of it and could have done without it. Meals at the Karsten House were cheaper. So three breakfasts, three dinners, and two lunches (one on the train) did not come close to $349. There is shuttle service, about every 10 minutes, up the steep hill from the chalets to the Main Lobby. More restaurants are just across the street from there.

 

I photographed the menus and will have to sort through several thousand images before I can post it/or prices on this thread.

 

I must preface by saying that as a Four Star Mariner, I get unlimited free laundry. The laundry form used, includes prices, allows same day "Express Service" if turned in before 9:00 AM for an additional 50% surcharge. Since I am not charged, I assume that the laundry is not able to add the surcharge which means I am not eligible for Express Service.

 

It must be noted there were only six passengers, other than Neptune Suite passengers, and the impact on the ship's laundry would be minimal. My comment on my survey form MAY get a response but I am not holding my breath.

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CN, thank you so much for the information you have provided us.

 

With regard to your luggage when you disembarked the ship in Skagway, how was that handled? Did you put your bags out the night before like you would do at the end of a regular cruise? If so, did you pick them up again to go through Customs?

 

My sister travels with a CPAP machine, so I am trying to figure out how it gets picked up with the "Join Me Tonight" luggage if she is using it at night (hope this makes sense).Do we pick up all of our luggage after disembarking to go through Customs and then give it to HAL for delivery based on its tag? Or is it handled another way?

 

Thanks again! :)

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CN, thank you so much for the information you have provided us.

 

With regard to your luggage when you disembarked the ship in Skagway, how was that handled? Did you put your bags out the night before like you would do at the end of a regular cruise? If so, did you pick them up again to go through Customs?

 

My sister travels with a CPAP machine, so I am trying to figure out how it gets picked up with the "Join Me Tonight" luggage if she is using it at night (hope this makes sense).Do we pick up all of our luggage after disembarking to go through Customs and then give it to HAL for delivery based on its tag? Or is it handled another way?

 

Thanks again! :)

 

I'm sure Roger (Crew News) will answer with a more in depth answer for you (when he wakens in about 4-5 hours), but for now I can say that he did not disembark in Skagway. He disembarked in Seward. I think the process would be the same, if not quite similar for both ports.

Joanie

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CN, thank you so much for the information you have provided us.

 

With regard to your luggage when you disembarked the ship in Skagway, how was that handled? Did you put your bags out the night before like you would do at the end of a regular cruise? If so, did you pick them up again to go through Customs?

 

My sister travels with a CPAP machine, so I am trying to figure out how it gets picked up with the "Join Me Tonight" luggage if she is using it at night (hope this makes sense).Do we pick up all of our luggage after disembarking to go through Customs and then give it to HAL for delivery based on its tag? Or is it handled another way?

 

Thanks again! :)

 

There are 14 different itineraries heading for Denali (eventually) so I can only speak about what I learned at the "general" briefings we had in the Vista Show Room.

 

If you depart Vancouver heading for Alaska, you will process through US Customs in the Vancouver terminal. If you make stops only in Alaska, there is no US Customs to be cleared in Skagway. You will proceed directly to your bus that should be parked nearby.

 

All medical devices are NOT part of the "Join Me Tonight" program and will be considered carry-on items. There is extra storage on the buses for medical carry-ons and there were a few passengers that used roller bags that would not be permitted for other passengers.

 

All "Meet Me and Join Me" luggage is placed outside your stateroom door before midnight. Your one small carry-on bag is kept in your room so make sure there is room in that small bag will fit any toiletries/pajamas used overnight. In your case, you can have an additional bag that contains your CPAP (and maybe a few other things).

 

Everyone will meet in the Vista Show Room and will depart only when your tour bus is ready to board. You will drop off your CPAP-containing bag at the doorway to the bus and then board the bus with your small carry-on bag. Just remember to pick up your extra bag when you depart the bus. If you are riding the train, the same procedure is used.

 

Hope this helps.

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