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junglecat

Looking at Alaska can anyone help?

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Hello all!

 

DH and I are looking at Alaska in either 2021 or even 2022.  We have cruised several times but always Caribbean so I know nothing.  I'm welcome to any and all (nice and kind) suggestions.  We will be flying from Indiana so I'm not even sure where the best place to port from.  Land tours a must or not?  Places to port, hotel, transportation (not through cruise line), sights to see, and departing flights.  

 

 

 

 

Thank you all!

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There is tons of info down the board, discussing everything about cruising Alaska. Perhaps the most frequently debated items are Glacier Bay, or not, and one way (Vancouver-Alaska and vice versa) or round trip out of Vancouver or Seattle. Followed by "which cruise line is best" and trying to define exactly what 'best" means to each one of us. Plus every port is covered in comprehensive detail, so you can decide what interests you in each port.

 

If you look on the West Coast Departures board, here:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/315-west-coast-departures/

 

you will see all the info on hotels, transport, sights, flying in, and everything else related.

 

Personally, our choice would be Holland America's 14 day Alaska cruise. Great exposure to so much of Alaska.

 

I am not dodging your questions...rather showing you where you can get a ton of info. Otherwise we would be writing huge volumes of info, that is already here. 

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Other questions to ask yourself: If a land tour is desired, are you comfortable doing the driving yourself? Prefer the land first (most frequently advised) or cruise first? How many days do you have to spend at Denali? What about spending time exploring the Kenai Peninsula?

 

How much time do you have for the visit to Alaska?

 

We did a DIY land tour and then a cruise from Whittier to Vancouver. Wanted to return via HAL's 14-day RT but when I finally had time, a couple places I really wanted to visit were dropped in favor of others. Found a 7 day RT trip from Seattle to substitute.

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The previous two posters are offering excellent advice and I agree with all that they posted.

 

The 14 day HAL Alaskan itinerary is a winner to allow a larger than usual number of Alaskan ports than a 7 day cruise would do.  It has the disadvantage of not allowing one to get further into the interior of Alaska, i.e. Denali, than a 7 day cruise would permit on Gulf of Alaska itinerary (i.e. Whittier/Seward to/from Vancouver).  

 

Shore excursions:  my favorites are a Misty Fjords Flightseeing trip that includes your plane landing on a lake in the Park and allowing you to get out of the plane and stand on its floats for awhile.  From Juneau:  Taku Lodge Salmon Bake that involves a flightseeing tour over several glaciers en route to/from the Lodge.  

 

There are so many possible options to research.  The State of Alaska has an excellent tour guide available and there is a private company that markets tour company offerings, sends out informative e-mails often including videos.  (I don't think I am permitted to mention the site.  Google is your friend.)   If you are a AAA or CAA member, their Alaska Tourbooks are helpful as well.

 

Happy Planning!!

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We haven't sailed yet but are planning to sail June 2021 out of Seward.  It seems the first step is to determine which route you want to take.  The one way sailings allow for pre or post land time in Alaska and more port time in Alaska.

However, airfare to from Alaska seems more costly than flying round trip from Seattle.  I have looked at kayak and that seems to be the case.  So, once you have determined which sailing you are going to take, you can make plans.

For our plans, we will be arriving in Alaska 3 nights early and spending time by the Kenai Fjords National Park.  We will fly into Anchorage and take the Alaska railroad to Seward.  In Seward, we will be taking a boat tour into Kenai National Park and taking a shuttle to the Exit Glacier before boarding our ship. Check out this video.   

 

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junglecat:  It is unclear to me as to how much research you have done about our state, but my first recommendation is to read the trip reports (organized by year) posted at the top of this Alaska forum index page.  A great amount of information and very quick to skim.  Reading those reports will help you prioritize what is of interest to you.

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I suggest reading multiple and varied trip reports.   You need to greatly narrow down your choices.   Look closely at EACH Alaska port on the inside passage,   There are only 6.   Each is very different and absolutely worthwhile.   Very different from each other.   Key is to determine- your interest for port activities.   Rank your preferences.     My opinion only-  adding mainland,  is a minimum of 7 days.    This is a very common mistake uninformed  visitors make.   Do NOT rely on google maps.  🙂    TIME is your best friend in Alaska.   Nothing worse than being on a trying to catch up marathon road trip.      With the one way cruises-  many also completely bypass Seward and Whittier.   Again, my opinion,  these are both gems for activities.     Many will turn their noses up at the very high car rental costs from these ports-   BUT,  the "cost" pays off multiple time in opportunity and best use of  your time.    Budget fully as well for act ivies,   that is half your trip.   

 

When you've made some choices,  then look for the details.  You're jumping ahead before you have the basics.  

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