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Alaska newbie, help!


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My boys (DH and DS) finally convinced me to do Alaska cruise. I HATE cold, so have been resisting for years. 

I was originally looking for cruisetour (Princess cruises), but the are $$$ and dont really include much except for transportation and lodging?

How doable is it to disembark in Whittier and do a day trip via train and than go to Anchorage to fly out? I dont want to stay in a lodge, etc. Just a nice scenic day trip to glacier may be?

Or should I just plan to go from Whittier to Anchorage, stay there and do a day trip from Anchorage? Alaska railroad seems to have a ton day trips!

Any recommendations? Generally I am not planning to stay more than extra day or two in AK after cruise ends. 

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1 hour ago, nattie said:

How doable is it to disembark in Whittier and do a day trip via train and than go to Anchorage to fly out? I dont want to stay in a lodge, etc. Just a nice scenic day trip to glacier may be?

Or should I just plan to go from Whittier to Anchorage, stay there and do a day trip from Anchorage? Alaska railroad seems to have a ton day trips!

Any recommendations? Generally I am not planning to stay more than extra day or two in AK after cruise ends. 

A DIY land trip after your cruise is completely doable and is highly recommended. There's nothing offered on a "cruisetour" than can't be booked independently and often for much cheaper.

The Alaska Railroad has a lot of options. But (in my opinion) even better would be to rent a car. You can rent in Whittier from Avis but you'll pay a one-way drop off fee in Anchorage. Or you can get transport to Anchorage in the morning (train or bus) and rent your car there.

Glacier: a guided hike on the Matanuska Glacier is a great option. It's about a 2 hour scenic drive north of Anchorage.  https://micaguides.com/

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In Whittier, we did the 26 Glacier Cruise with Phillips Cruises on our last B2B. It was an excellent day - lots of glaciers and wildlife from a smaller boat, which gives a different perspective.

 

Other options are the train from Anchorage to Seward. You also have Glacier Cruise options in Seward. A trip down to Seward would require more than 1 day in Anchorage.

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If you're basically just arriving in southcentral Alaska and going straight to the airport (albeit with a stop along the way) why not just do a round trip cruise instead?  If you did a round trip from Vancouver (or Seattle, but the Vancouver route is better) you wouldn't have to fuss with land arrangements or the extra airfare, and if you have extra days, Vancouver is a terrific city, surrounded by spectacular country.  Have a couple of days of city time, or rent a car and head up to Whistler, or even down to Seattle or Mount Rainier.  

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Thank you all for responses!

I have not priced airfare for my dates yet, what I have seen looks comparable to mock booking I did for other potential dates. I am keeping roundtrip cruise in mind, BUT I really want the "train experience" in Alaska too. Besides, we have been to Vancouver numerous times when my DH used to collaborate with university there. I dont think Seattle route is that good either.

So based on above and some additional info I am thinking Vancouver to Whittier cruise, do a ship excursion of 26 Glaciers on disembark day which includes transfer to Anchorage. Stay extra full day in Anchorage and do a train day trip with Alaska railroad or car day trip. Fly out next day.

Wish me luck!

 

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7 minutes ago, nattie said:

So based on above and some additional info I am thinking Vancouver to Whittier cruise, do a ship excursion of 26 Glaciers on disembark day which includes transfer to Anchorage. Stay extra full day in Anchorage and do a train day trip with Alaska railroad or car day trip. Fly out next day.

 

The Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Train offers a lot of great options: https://www.alaskarailroad.com/ride-a-train/our-trains/glacier-discovery

 

We used it last year to do a Spencer Glacier trip: http://akstafford.blogspot.com/2017/08/spencer-glacier-via-alaska-railroad.html

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If you are into train trips and your ship stops in Skagway, do not miss a chance at the " other train" in Alaska.

the WP&YR is a real narrow gauge, historic railroad, and dare I say far more scenic than the Alaskan RR, save for that stretch into anchorage from where you depart the ship.

if you have train buffs in your party, it shouldn't be missed.

just do the one way from/to Fraser BC, not the round trip to the summit.

DD

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