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puppymama1

Help planning 2020 Alaska cruise/tour

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On 7/1/2019 at 9:41 AM, masterdrago said:

You'll get the best advise ever on these forums, I think you know. We did our 1st Alaska May 16th. We said it would most likely be our only trip to Alaska. We're in our upper 60s. That concept is now out the window. I'm still working on our Radiance May 24, 2019 trip report but some of it is already here. I would highly recommend doing the pre/post cruise as a DIY. Our rent car Anchorage to Anchorage 8 days was $216.

 

I would increase our 2 days in Denali to more and slide it into June to get a longer transit bus tour (deeper into the park). I would add more time in the Kenai Peninsula. One of my bucket list items was to see a good Bore Tide. We wasted a lot of time on that since the wind was blowing so hard (gusting to 35) that it got delayed more than an hour and turned into a wimpy little surge. Also if in beginning of June, longer Fjord tours possible. I recommend an air flight around Denali and if possible with Glacier landing. Out of Talkeetna or Healy. We might jump ship (RCI) to better be able to get Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm excursions. It might be worth the $600 extra ($350 drop fee) to rent in Fairbanks and return to Ted Stephens airport, Anchorage. Might save a lot of time over Anchorage to Anchorage.

Masterdrago, why would you increase your 2 days in Denali to more?  I am trying to decide how many days to spend in the Denali area... I was thinking we would drive up from Anchorage, spend that night there..Then take the 8 hour bus tour into Denali, spend that night there, and then leave the next day to go back to Anchorage and spend the night there the day before we leave for the cruise.. Is there something else we should be doing in the Denali area that we should add another day?  I know I need to make reservations now for next June, so I'm trying to figure this all out quickly and be sure to do it right!  Thanks!

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6 hours ago, puppymama1 said:

Masterdrago, why would you increase your 2 days in Denali to more?  I am trying to decide how many days to spend in the Denali area... I was thinking we would drive up from Anchorage, spend that night there..Then take the 8 hour bus tour into Denali, spend that night there, and then leave the next day to go back to Anchorage and spend the night there the day before we leave for the cruise.. Is there something else we should be doing in the Denali area that we should add another day?  I know I need to make reservations now for next June, so I'm trying to figure this all out quickly and be sure to do it right!  Thanks!

There is so much to be done in that area. Fortunately, we had 2 days in Talkeetna also. In a way you are correct since the daylight hours are so numerous. We ran 14+ hour days - breakfast, driving, looking, bus tour, jeep tour, etc. Would like to have had more time to just car explore and take photos. Healy. Fairbanks. One of the two days we had in "Denali" was driving there from Talkeetna, then the ATV tour. Full day used. It just really depends on how much time one has to allocate to one area. I just wish we had more. If only one full day, I say take as long a bus tour as possible, then a jeep or ATV tour, depending on the length of the bus tour. We lucked out and had a great driver on the Transit ride to only Toklat River. Go deeper if possible. We were there in May.

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On 7/5/2019 at 4:34 PM, Coral said:

Look at Coral Princess. Also, a much smaller ship - Pacific Princess will be in Alaska next summer and people love that ship.f

 

Oddly - I have spoken to 2 people in the past 2 weeks who stayed at McKinley Lodge and absolutely loved it. They loved staying there - they liked the trails, the tree house, the fire pit, what Princess offered at the hotel. By no means am I saying skip Denali but I was surprised at how much they liked that hotel for what it offered.

 

We were just on a two-week Princess Connoisseur Escorted Cruise tour in June, including a week on the Coral Princess, a fantastic ship for Alaska, and two nights each at the McKinley Lodge, the Denali Lodge and the Fairbanks Lodge. We loved every minute of our Land Tour and I'm astounded at the comment that it was boring! 

 

I also can't say enough good things about the McKinley Lodge. It was beautiful!  It probably helped that Denali was in full clear magnificent view for the whole two days we were there, and it's hard to take your eyes off that beautiful mountain! That Lodge affords a most spectacular view of the mountain. It's not even visible from the Denali Lodge at all and only visible on the tour in to the park at a couple specific spots through a v in the mountains, nothing like the view you can get from down at the McKinley Lodge. Of course that all hinges on being there on a day when the mountain is out. 😍

 

We actually took a flight with K2 around Denali and saw it up close and personal before we ever even checked into the McKinley lodge, and we were still enamored of the view the whole two days we stayed there. 

 

Our room was great, the restaurants were good, we had a great time there!

 

It's a good thing we didn't take people's advice on these boards and decide against this trip, because it was the trip of a lifetime! I'm working on my trip report now and posting as I go, so if anyone is considering a cruise tour, I'll share a lot of great information with you!

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puppymama1, I know how it is when trying a new cruise line. The Serenade was our first RC ship and we loved her. She is still one of our favorites. We were hesitant when first trying Princess but we really love Princess now. Our very favorite ship is the Coral Princess which is very similar to the Serenade. We just did the Northbound cruise with Glacier Bay and College Fjords on the Coral and we have previously sailed the southbound on her. You can't go wrong with either itinerary. Here is a link to my trip report on our May 15 sailing. 

 

 

Read as many trip reports you can and decide what you want to do. A must do for one person is not always a must do for someone else. Read about the experience to see if it is something you will enjoy. We have never done the 8 hour bus ride into Denali because sitting on an uncomfortable bus seat would be torture for us.  

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On 7/8/2019 at 12:36 PM, Eileen G said:

puppymama1, I know how it is when trying a new cruise line. The Serenade was our first RC ship and we loved her. She is still one of our favorites. We were hesitant when first trying Princess but we really love Princess now. Our very favorite ship is the Coral Princess which is very similar to the Serenade. We just did the Northbound cruise with Glacier Bay and College Fjords on the Coral and we have previously sailed the southbound on her. You can't go wrong with either itinerary. Here is a link to my trip report on our May 15 sailing. 

 

 

Read as many trip reports you can and decide what you want to do. A must do for one person is not always a must do for someone else. Read about the experience to see if it is something you will enjoy. We have never done the 8 hour bus ride into Denali because sitting on an uncomfortable bus seat would be torture for us.  

Eileen G - thanks for making me feel better!  We booked the Coral Princess for June 10... and are very much looking forward to this trip!  Can you tell me how far in advance you were able to reserve your Avis rental car for Juneau?  I have tried to do it now, but the website says the location is closed, because it is only showing it open from 4/28/19-10/2/19.  I assume they will reopen next year in April, but I don't want to wait until then to make the reservation and then not have any cars available... Did you make your reservation online or would they be able to do it now if I call them?  Thanks for your help!

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5 minutes ago, puppymama1 said:

Eileen G - thanks for making me feel better!  We booked the Coral Princess for June 10... and are very much looking forward to this trip!  Can you tell me how far in advance you were able to reserve your Avis rental car for Juneau?  I have tried to do it now, but the website says the location is closed, because it is only showing it open from 4/28/19-10/2/19.  I assume they will reopen next year in April, but I don't want to wait until then to make the reservation and then not have any cars available... Did you make your reservation online or would they be able to do it now if I call them?  Thanks for your help!

 

 

I'm so glad you booked the Coral. I looked up our reservations and we booked our Juneau rental car through the Avis website in late February. 

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Recommend you take a cruise that includes both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier National Park.

 

Looking at next year June through August, there are only 5 ships that go to both sites on 7-night cruises between Vancouver and Anchorage area:

 

Northbound: Vancouver to Seward

Norwegian Jewel

 

Southbound: Whittier to Vancouver

Coral Princess

Grand Princess

Pacific Princess

Royal Princess

 

 

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