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Yukon / Denali / Cruise tour through HAL questions


tundra1
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Hello,

I am looking at booking a 10-day cruise tour to Alaska, starting in Anchorage, going to Denali, then to Fairbanks, then to Dawson, then to Whitepass/Skagway, and finally on the ship, ending in Vancouver.  (Y6L)  

 

Is there enough time allowed for exploring on our own?  We love to go hiking... and want to explore some of the trails around Denali as well as in Dawson.  I am worried all our time will be spent on planned activities and transportation, not allowing us a couple of hours each day for other explorations.

 

Thank you!  Any feedback would be appreciated!

 

 

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We were on a 14-day 3 nights in Denali land-sea Yukon trip in 2017, and most of the trip didn't  have much free time.

Day 1: Arrive Anchorage

Day 2: train to Denali, arrived about 4.30 pm.

Day 3: Tundra Wilderness tour, all day.

Day 4: Denali, on your own. 

Day 5: bus to Faitbanks, lunch, gold dredge 8. Maybe a couple of hours free in Fairbanks.

Day 6: charter fllight to Dawson, afternon free.

Day 7: Dawson riverboat trip, rest of day free.

Day 8: bus to Whitehorse, arrive about b 5pm

Day 9: bus to to U.S. border, train to Skagway, afternoon on your own. 

Day 10: Skagway on your own. 

Day 11: board ship late morning

Day 12: Glacier Bay

Day 13: Ketchikan, on your own

Day 14: Inside Passage

Day 15: Arrive Vancouver

Hope this helps, enjoy your trip.

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1 hour ago, tundra1 said:

Hello,

I am looking at booking a 10-day cruise tour to Alaska, starting in Anchorage, going to Denali, then to Fairbanks, then to Dawson, then to Whitepass/Skagway, and finally on the ship, ending in Vancouver.  (Y6L)  

 

Is there enough time allowed for exploring on our own?  We love to go hiking... and want to explore some of the trails around Denali as well as in Dawson.  I am worried all our time will be spent on planned activities and transportation, not allowing us a couple of hours each day for other explorations.

 

Thank you!  Any feedback would be appreciated!

 

 

If you have two nights in Denali and Dawson cIty you will have enough time for some hiking especially if you travel during mid-summer when the days are longest around summer solstice.  Your cruise will be shortened.  Good to do the land first and you’ll

get the great views from the White Pass railway as you enter Skagway to see your ship in port waiting for you!  How does this itinerary get you from Dawson City to Skagway and also include the White Pass railway?  

 

Edited by oaktreerb
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I just checked the itinerary and it looks like you fly to Whitehorse and then that same day take a bus to board the train which is a lengthly bus ride unless they have extended the railway to Whitehorse (which I’m pretty sure they haven’t).  The longer itinerary has an overnight in Whitehorse and then the bus to the train.  Whitehorse is the weak link in that itinerary.  Dawson City is wonderful as is Denali.  The Yukon itineraries are great and this is the shortest that HAL offers if your time is limited.  

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Thank you! 

We do not stay overnight in Whitehorse.  (Thanks for the correction.)  We arrive in Anchorage and then leave the next day via rail to Denali, where we spend two nights.  We then bus to Fairbanks for one night where I hope to see the Northern Lights, and then fly to Dawson for two nights.  We fly to Whitehorse (but do not spend the night), and then take the train from Whitehorse to Skagway and get on the ship that same day.  Supposedly we have a couple of hours in Skagway if we don't choose to board the ship right away.  I would rather explore Skagway a bit before boarding.  They just don't give us a lot of detail about timing, and since none of these Yukon excursions are offered this year, there is not much information I can find.

 

I am thinking of arriving a day early in Anchorage to do some hiking or book an excursion of some type there, since the flight from Chicago will take most of a whole day.  We may also spend a day on the back end in Vancouver or Seattle, so we will have some time to explore that area.

 

I have plenty of time to work out those details...  unfortunately, I am limited to only two weeks off from work.  This tour leaves on a Wednesday and ends on a Saturday, but it does also have a stop in Ketchikan, which would be another opportunity for us to do some exploring.

 

Thanks again for any recommendations you have!

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I thought it was an interesting experience to join the ship in Skagway.. Some longer land itineraries also have an overnight in Skagway which was also a unique experience.. The 4 day cruises still go to Glacier Bay and Ketchikan.  

 

We’ve enjoyed these Yukon itineraries before HAL added the flights.. Now you get from Fairbanks to Dawson City to Whitehorse without the long bus rides in between  but you also miss the vastness of the land area and places like Eagle and Chicken and the Top of the World highway on the way to Dawson City.  We also tried the longer itinerary with the 7 day cruise and I really missed that WPYR trip down into Skagway to meet the ship!

7 hours ago, 1025cruise said:

Rather than booking the cruise tour, why not DIY it yourself in Alaska, then join the cruise from Seward/Whitter? Versus joining in Skagway?

 

Edited by oaktreerb
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We are doing something similar next summer, only kind of in reverse.  We board the Volendam in Vancouver, then sail to Skagway.  We will disembark there and take the train to the top, and get on a bus to Whitehorse.

 

1 night Whitehorse, then bus to Dawson with a stop for lunch in Minto.

 

2 nights in Dawson, no included tours.

 

Fly to Fairbanks, spend 2 nights there with included Gold Dredge Tour

 

Bus to Denali.  2 nights with Tundra Wilderness Tour

 

Train to Anchorage, 2 nights there, no tours.

 

Train to Whittier, where we will board the Niew Amsterdam to do a full 7 day southbound back to Vancouver.

 

We've never done a cruisetour before, we always do land portions on our own, so it will be interesting to see if we enjoy this.  We don't generally like to have to work with a prescheduled situation, but this itinerary seemed unique and we wanted to give it a try.  I have also not found much information on this sort of tour as of yet. 

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On 9/5/2021 at 2:48 PM, kwb101 said:

We were on a 14-day 3 nights in Denali land-sea Yukon trip in 2017, and most of the trip didn't  have much free time.

Day 1: Arrive Anchorage

Day 2: train to Denali, arrived about 4.30 pm.

Day 3: Tundra Wilderness tour, all day.

Day 4: Denali, on your own. 

Day 5: bus to Faitbanks, lunch, gold dredge 8. Maybe a couple of hours free in Fairbanks.

Day 6: charter fllight to Dawson, afternon free.

Day 7: Dawson riverboat trip, rest of day free.

Day 8: bus to Whitehorse, arrive about b 5pm

Day 9: bus to to U.S. border, train to Skagway, afternoon on your own. 

Day 10: Skagway on your own. 

Day 11: board ship late morning

Day 12: Glacier Bay

Day 13: Ketchikan, on your own

Day 14: Inside Passage

Day 15: Arrive Vancouver

Hope this helps, enjoy your trip.

How did you like the riverboat trip in Dawson?  Our particular itinerary does not include a tour in Dawson, but there are tours available for purchase.  Still haven't decided what we will do there. 

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Did this in reverse a few years ago.   Vancouver, 3 day cruise to Skagway, then the  land portion.  I would say you will have free time in Denali but not as much as you might expect because there is a 5 hour tour of Denali, I believe that is included on the tour.  The restaurants in Denali are pretty expensive, the rooms are really nice.  More free time in Dawson, we loved it there.  Fairbanks we walked to a great museum.

 

I was not expecting much of this holiday, have been to Alaska numerous times.  This was also our first organized tour.  However, this was a really great vacation.

 

We had many great times and I would love to do it again.  Very well organized.  Don’t overpack as we had to deal with our luggage a bit.  I called this the puffy vest holiday as we wore them every day, not cold but cool.  It was wonderful to leave your luggage at the door of the room and it was moved to the bus for you every morning.

 

We went late June 2017.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, molly2kit said:

Did this in reverse a few years ago.   Vancouver, 3 day cruise to Skagway, then the  land portion.  I would say you will have free time in Denali but not as much as you might expect because there is a 5 hour tour of Denali, I believe that is included on the tour.  The restaurants in Denali are pretty expensive, the rooms are really nice.  More free time in Dawson, we loved it there.  Fairbanks we walked to a great museum.

 

I was not expecting much of this holiday, have been to Alaska numerous times.  This was also our first organized tour.  However, this was a really great vacation.

 

We had many great times and I would love to do it again.  Very well organized.  Don’t overpack as we had to deal with our luggage a bit.  I called this the puffy vest holiday as we wore them every day, not cold but cool.  It was wonderful to leave your luggage at the door of the room and it was moved to the bus for you every morning.

 

We went late June 2017.  

 

 

 

 

We did the same cruisetour in 2019 and would do it again.  It was good to have everything all arranged.  Nothing to worry about is a good thing.

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We did this tour when it was still done by bus between the stops. The year we did it was in September and we were the last HAL tour to do all by bus. We were told that due to the risk of wildfires and potential bus breakdowns, that they were changing it the following year. As it was September, we so enjoyed the changing colors in the tundra and some of the unique places we were able to visit such as Chicken, AK. Also, the border crossing from the Yukon into AK is very interesting due to its isolation.

 

Loved it!!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/5/2021 at 5:56 PM, oaktreerb said:

If you have two nights in Denali and Dawson cIty you will have enough time for some hiking especially if you travel during mid-summer when the days are longest around summer solstice.  Your cruise will be shortened.  Good to do the land first and you’ll

get the great views from the White Pass railway as you enter Skagway to see your ship in port waiting for you!  How does this itinerary get you from Dawson City to Skagway and also include the White Pass railway?  

 

We fly from Dawson City to Whitehorse and then bus to Carcross to board the train to Skagway.  The cruise ship also has a stop in Ketchikan, so I am thinking about doing a bike/hike excursion there.

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On 9/6/2021 at 9:18 AM, 1025cruise said:

Rather than booking the cruise tour, why not DIY it yourself in Alaska, then join the cruise from Seward/Whitter? Versus joining in Skagway?

This is a compromise with the hubby.  He wants land, and I want the sea!  LOL!

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