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Mr. Click

Alaska question

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We did Alaska on the Millennium two years ago and loved it. Now you are planning a big family trip in 2020. I really don't like the itinerary out of Seattle so that is a non-starter. The other trips offer the option of going one way between Seward and Vancouver or a round trip from Vancouver. This season and next it looks like they are using the Eclipse rather than the Infinity for the RT cruse. My own gut feeling is to do a northbound from Vancouver and then do some days in Denali at the end but if others cannot manage the extra time off, is the RT on the Eclipse a good alternative, assuming it is still offered in 2020. Oh, the group would be me, Mrs. Click our son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren who will be 3 and almost 6 by then.

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We are doing something similar this year. We are doing the Southbound on the Millenium but flying in a week early to explore Fairbanks, Denali, etc. Some family members are joining us for Denali, etc but some others who aren't into all the hiking and activity are doing something separate, then we will all meet on the ship in Seward. I personally wanted to do the active stuff first so I could relax on the ship. Also, might ship a few things home that we don't need for the cruise before we embark in Seward.

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I always recommend for anyone to spend time inland when they come to Alaska. If the whole family can't make it then have the ones who can come early or stay late. You really don't want to miss one of the best trips in the state while your here. Denali Park is amazing and Talkeetna is so much fun.

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CruiseStitch, my question is will we really be missing a lot of we opt for the Vancouver RT?

 

StillLooking, we have done Denali and yes, Talkeetna is very cool. We did it on our own post cruise two years ago so we know what it is all about my big concern is if my daughter-in-law can't get enough time off for the whole trip is it worth just doing the RT or should I still do the one way?

 

LisaH101, that is a good idea. My only concern there is we do the Hubbard Glacier early in the trip and other stuff after that is almost anti-climatic to me.

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We did our first Alaska cruise this past June on Millennium. We did the northbound followed by DIY land on Kenai. We didn't have that much time post cruise...the idea of spending the majority of time traveling in order to get to Denali...and then the idea of more travel time on a sight seeing tour in Denali (the buses) was not appealing. We felt like we needed more time to really enjoy Denali.

 

From the standpoint of the Mom...I question the post cruise plans to Denali with those young kids. I'm not saying don't...I'm just cautioning that you plan well so that you don't end up with cranky kids...which turns vacation time into Mom's extra work time because my kids are in an unfamiliar environment and have been for a long time and there's no routine and they are sick of being cooped up in a vehicle and sleeping in beds that aren't their own...can I just get home now?...time for Mom.

 

I haven't done the Eclipse cruise...but looking at the itinerary...I think that it would be a nice cruise to take. Adding Sitka is a nice touch as the one ways don't usually offer that one for most of the season. Tracy Arm Fjord makes the list of top places to see in Alaska...and while it may not be as spectacular as Hubbard, everything is a crap shoot with weather and conditions...so who knows?

 

My thoughts are that the Tracy Arm Fjord could be as great of an exclamation point at the end of the cruise especially if you could do that smaller boat excursion? IDK the details except that I've read about people being able to get onto a smaller boat directly from the cruise ship and then they somehow meet up with the cruise ship. The smaller ship is able to get much closer to the glaciers in the Fjord and the opportunity to see wildlife is greater.

 

If that isn't available...if the kids could handle it...there is an excursion from Juneau that goes to Tracy Arm Fjord on a smaller boat...and some of those pictures and stories have been amazing.

 

I think traveling with younger children can be challenging. I don't want to put on your DIL my own feelings...but sharing my perspective...as awesome as Denali is...if there isn't the time to make that part of the trip...especially toward the end...a trip planned to not necessarily cater to the kids...but definitely keep their tolerances in mind (perhaps they would be fine!)...if time is short...I think that ANY time to Alaska is still worth it.

 

If you can't do the land trip at this time...the long Eclipse RT cruise may be the spark that encourages your DS and DIL to go back when they do have time and when their kids are just a bit older...and maybe when their kids' would have a better chance of remembering the trip.

 

As to the possibility of the southbound cruise...and the idea of meeting up after doing on land touring first...as a first time Alaska cruiser...I really appreciated how the scenery got more and more spectacular as we cruised north. I agree with your thoughts about Hubbard and then post Hubbard being a bit of a let down. I would feel that way.

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As someone who also lives in Alaska just a few comments:

 

Of the Celebrity itinerary options (at least for me) the strongest is the one way between Seward and Vancouver.

 

We go to Denali on a frequent basis as it takes about two hours to drive from Fairbanks to the park entrance. Kids, just as adults, have different tolerances for travel, and we frequently see surprisingly young children on those shuttle buses, and doing well on them. Periodically folks just go as far in the park as Tolkat, but I see little ones on the trip into Eielson Visitor Center as well. And there are a number of child friendly activities at at the part entrance, including the dog sled demos (the NPS rangers patrol the park in the winter on dog sleds), the Murie Science Center and the park visitor's center. Really depends on the kid's interests and travel tolerances.

 

If the Click family ends up on the Eclipse RT out of Vancouver would adding a trip on the Rocky Mountain Mountaineer Railroad be of interest?

 

There also has been discussion this spring on the Alaska CC forum on traveling with young kids in Alaska. Hopefully a quick search will find them.

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As someone who also lives in Alaska just a few comments:

 

Of the Celebrity itinerary options (at least for me) the strongest is the one way between Seward and Vancouver.

 

We go to Denali on a frequent basis as it takes about two hours to drive from Fairbanks to the park entrance. Kids, just as adults, have different tolerances for travel, and we frequently see surprisingly young children on those shuttle buses, and doing well on them. Periodically folks just go as far in the park as Tolkat, but I see little ones on the trip into Eielson Visitor Center as well. And there are a number of child friendly activities at at the part entrance, including the dog sled demos (the NPS rangers patrol the park in the winter on dog sleds), the Murie Science Center and the park visitor's center. Really depends on the kid's interests and travel tolerances.

 

If the Click family ends up on the Eclipse RT out of Vancouver would adding a trip on the Rocky Mountain Mountaineer Railroad be of interest?

 

There also has been discussion this spring on the Alaska CC forum on traveling with young kids in Alaska. Hopefully a quick search will find them.

 

I agree I think Alaska is one of the few places besides WDW where children will be just as entertained and interested as adults. Rocky Mountaineer is a wonderful, if pricey, adventure....we took it from Vancouver to Banff and rode the Sno Cat on Athabasca Glacier, which is unforgettable. We also LOVE Vancouver so I would suggest the Click family spend a couple of days there since they've already done some interior Alaska. Vancouver is easy to get around and there are wonderful sights to see, like the Capilano Suspension Bridge through the canopy; Butchart Gardens, Grouse Mountain, Aquarium, Stanley Park and Granville Island Market.

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Lots of good suggestions and ideas. They are all appreciated. The good news is the kids are great travelers, so far. They just came back from a week in Turks and the flights were 13 hours with the change of planes and mom and dad said they handled it very well. They are both very curious and love animals and this why I am thinking that a full family trip to Alaska would be a great 50th anniversary present for us. The run from Seward to Anchorage, assuming we do it that way, will be with 907 Tours. They did our tour on the last trip and it was a great day stopping often to get out and see things and stretch. From Anchorage to Denali we will be on our own, assuming I can find a rental van for all 6 of us plus the luggage. We are planning at least a day in Vancouver, depending on whether it is a RT or one way and how the vacation time works out. I have 22 months to get this all sorted out and about 4 to 6 months before the itineraries open for booking so I have time to figure it out. Thanks again for all of the advice. It really helps. If it all works out it will be one way on the Millennium in CC and hopefully with adjoing cabins so the munchkins and pick where they want to sleep each night....

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I generally suggest a southbound itinerary for several reasons.

You do have to fly into Anchorage the day before if coming from mid or eastern US/Canada. Overnighting will provide a few hours on embarkation day to explore the city if you take a shuttle or car service to Seward.

You do get to experience Hubbard Glacier at the optimum time of day. Morning fog has burned off which can affect the northbound itinerary. (We've done it both ways and prefer the later entry.)

Once arriving in Vancouver there are so many things to do that will fill all of the age groups with awe. When the children are older they may appreciate the bus or train to Denali with its stunning views but at their ages I'd recommend Vancouver.

And, for the working mom Vancouver is over 1,300 miles from Anchorage and that much closer to home.

What wonderful choices you have. Enjoy!

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