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chuckles60

10 Days Denali Explorer

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I'm booked on Royal Princess 10 day Denali Explorer crusietour starting in Denali and ending in Vancouver ...anyone ever do this...what did you find the best to do..was the train ride to the ship worth 9 hours..how about the riverboat to the other hotel

 

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You might want to provide more details as to exactly which cruisetour you're on as Princess uses the "Denali Explorer" name on many of them. All SB Princess cruise tours start in Anchorage or Fairbanks - none actually start in Denali (it would be much more difficult to get to Denali on your own). Your cruise tour should have code letters as part of the name such as "Tour AB3".

 

As for the train trip, not really sure what you're asking as that is your transportation from Denali to the ship - you don't have a choice assuming you want to be on the ship. While some of the included excursions can be dropped, the transportation between the lodges is not optional (and if there was a choice, the only other alternative is a bus for about the same length of time).

 

I have no idea what you mean about the "riverboat to the other hotel". Most cruise tours that include Fairbanks have a cruise on a riverboat there but it is not transportation to another hotel - just a scenic cruise on the river that starts and ends at the same place.

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sorry i was confused ...my tour name is DB3.

as far a riverboat i now understand its just a boat ride...

we start in Fairbanks...can you recommend anything to do while in Denali...also can you rent a car and drive to the port 

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so 3 days in Fairbanks/Denali , then the 7 day cruise ?

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Posted (edited)

You have two nights in Denali which is very good. Your tour includes the Natural History Tour which many think is worthless for seeing the park. Most people would strongly suggest you upgrade to the Tundra Wildlife Tour which goes deeper into the park (about 50 miles) and will get you to where much of the wildlife will be seen. Or if you're really adventurous, the Kantishna Experience which takes you the full 92 miles to the end of the road (but that's a 13+ hour tour). You have a chance of seeing the mountain from the latter two tours - you do not from the Natural History Tour.

 

You want to rent a car rather than using the train for which you're paying a significant amount in the cruise tour fare? Why even book the cruise tour if you want to do things on your own? Nothing is stopping you from booking just the cruise and doing interior Alaska on your own (unless you're past final payment).

 

The train trip is very scenic and much of it is far from the road meaning you see very different scenery than you'd see driving. And the train is very comfortable. Neither Denali or Whittier are big cities. There may not even be car rentals of any sort available in Denali (as you cannot drive into the park in your own car, there is little you can do with a car there). The train part of the tours is considered so desirable that you normally pay a premium for tours that include the train as opposed to bus transportation. Wanting to skip the train is almost like asking if you can go on a cruise but get from port to port on your own rather than on the ship.

Edited by lstone19
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As others have said take the train and switch to the Tundra tour but make the switch as soon as you can.  There is limited seating on the  bus. Great ways to enjoy the sites and feel of Alaska.

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Do NOT book the trail ride via horseback from D & S.  Their in attention to setting the saddles properly nearly killed me, left me in Anchorage hospital fro a week with 6 broken ribs and a perforated lung. The waiver that you must sign absolves them from all liability and Princess is absolutely no help since it is an excursion.  This should be removed from available options until the operation gets cleaned up. the wranglers had weeks to formulate their stories so they looked innocent

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I agree with others.  Take the train and enjoy yourself.

 

What kind of things are you looking to do -- easy tours, moderate tours, or severe tours –  backing packing, air flight, white water rafting, etc. There is so much to choice from.  In Skagway, the White Pass & Yukon Railroad would be one I would consider which I believe it an unforgettable journey to White Pass summit (have your passport ready because Canada Customs will check when you enter Canada).   The train leaves not far from the pier.  If you have 2 days in Denali I would recommend the Tundra Wilderness tour into the heart of the DenaliNational Park.  No cars are allowed passed the Savage River Check Station (mile marker 15).  The US Park Service uses concessioners (Aramark Joint Ventures) which offer several types of bus services into the park -- free buses, narrated buses and non-narrated transit buses.  Again, no cars are allowed past mile marker 15. It should be noted the park road extends 92 miles from the park entrance to its terminus in the old mining community of Kantishna, this mostly-gravel road traverses boreal forests and sub-arctic tundra. Crossing rolling mountainsides and sheer cliffs, the road meanders through scenic vistas and prime wildlife viewing areas.  We have been to Denali twice and plan a third next July.  In the past, we travelled to the EielsonVisitorCenter (mile marker 66) an always seen wildlife.

John

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The riverboat excursion in Fairbanks was a surprise as we both enjoyed it. Much nicer than we had imagined. Do upgrade to the Tundra Wilderness Tour. We've done it twice. The last time (this May) we actually sat in the front seat (not the one behind the driver) and had more leg room plus were the only ones to see the Lynx as it ran across the road in front of us. We did stop and the driver got shots for the video screens of the Lynx hiding in the bushes and staring at the bus but we actually saw it as it popped up and dashed across in front of the bus. We were amazed at how much better the viewing was from that seat. There is good pizza at the Denali lodge and there is a good place across the street to sit and have some great beers. 🍺

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