Jump to content
,

Princess Alaska Cruisetour - Arrival/Departure Times at Lodges?


CruzerDeb
 Share

Recommended Posts

We're scheduled on our first-ever cruisetour next June.  I find the itinerary a little confusing when it comes to the land portion of our tour. No times are given for departures and arrivals to the hotels. For example, it states that we will depart the ship in Whittier and travel by motorcoach to Denali (we'll be informed on this ship what time this will happen). Arrive in Denali and have the "evening at leisure". Next morning in Denali is "morning at leisure" before we depart by motorcoach to McKinley, where we will have "evening at leisure" followed by "morning at leisure" before departing for Anchorage. It would be helpful to know times. IDK why Princess doesn't put times on these stops like they do for the port stops on the cruise. 

 

Can anyone provide some first-hand insight as to what the times might be?  Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, CruzerDeb said:

IDK why Princess doesn't put times on these stops like they do for the port stops on the cruise.

I, too, like having precision with the details of an itinerary, even if it is only a planned schedule that might get disrupted on any particular travel date. Having those details allows for me to plan, both for activity enroute as well as activity surrounding the intended travel.

 

There's a few reasons for Princess (and most other tour operators) to not provide the details. First among the reasons is to avoid complaints from passengers as to the tour operator not adhering to the schedule (or in some cases, for adhering too rigidly to the schedule in light of actual circumstances on the travel day). This can be especially true if travel times are variable on account of road conditions (such as rush hour traffic in larger cities or construction work being completed), or if there are stops enroute where third-party suppliers may not be consistently timely with their services (e.g., provision of a meal). Sometimes the particular services or enroute stops vary from day-to-day, and the variance is simply too complicated to be able to plan or to disclose for each particular day's departures. If the tour operator has to round-up the passengers for re-boarding the coach the time to do so can vary from day-to-day. If any persons being transported require the use of the motorcoach lift, then additional time will be necessary for lift use. In the case of smaller vehicles without lavatories, rest stops can also add to the uncertainty (and again, the lift would have to be made available at each rest stop). Where there is a large movement, and multiple motorcoaches are utilized, the several coaches may be spread out temporally rather than traveling in a convoy. If coaches depart every 15 minutes over the course of an hour or two, or are dispatched as filled, then in the absence of seating space being specifically assigned (which is exceptionally rare, at least in the United States and Canada), there is no need to specify a single departure time. Finally, it may be that the tour operator or the motorcoach operator simply does not have its act together. It may not have employees sufficiently well-disciplined to report to work timely, or it may have service planners not well skilled in bus scheduling. In short, there are many variables that deter tour operators from being precise with the disclosure of scheduled times.

 

As to insights, the following might be helpful for making predictions. The timetable for the tunnel out of Whittier is that it is open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., every hour, on the hour, for a 15-minute window. To prepare for the tunnel, motorcoach operators generally plan to depart Whittier 15 minutes earlier than a tunnel opening, or at 45 minutes past the hour. The trains scheduled for cruise line passengers are scheduled to depart Whittier at 7:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m., and/or 9:15 a.m. Alaska Cruise Transportation schedules its motorcoach departures from Whittier at 8:45 a.m. Park Connection schedules its motorcoach departures from Whittier at 9:45 a.m. Accordingly, I would anticipate that the Princess motorcoach to Denali (or more accurately, the motorcoach operated by Royal Hyway Tours, the motor carrier corporate subsidiary of Carnival Corporation used for tours arranged by Princess) would be scheduled to depart Whittier at 8:45 a.m., but possibly one hour earlier or one hour later. Assuming an 8:45 a.m. departure, you would likely arrive in Anchorage at 11:00 a.m., and at the Princess Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge (located just outside of the national park) at 5:15 p.m. These times are based on the scheduled leisurely travel times of Park Connection. Faster traveling could get you into the lodge as early as 2:30 p.m. The tour description does not state if any stops are made enroute, either for sightseeing or for lunch, so these arrival times might be pushed back to the extent of any stops made. The following afternoon, the transfer to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, located outside Talkeetna, is about two hours in duration. I would anticipate a late afternoon travel, perhaps leaving at 3:00 p.m. and arriving at 5:00 p.m. The following day the transfer to Anchorage is by railroad. The McKinley Explorer train departs McKinley station (in Talkeetna at Woodpecker Avenue) at 1:55 p.m. It is a one hour transfer from the lodge to the railroad station, so I would anticipated a scheduled motorcoach departure from the lodge at 12:30 p.m. The train then is scheduled to arrive at the Alaska Railroad station in downtown Anchorage at 4:40 p.m.

 

Hopefully the above is useful. Much is speculative, informed by my extensive background in having been engaged professionally in bus scheduling for over 40 years, but at least you can consider the bases upon which I have speculated and judge accordingly.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, GTJ said:

I, too, like having precision with the details of an itinerary, even if it is only a planned schedule that might get disrupted on any particular travel date. Having those details allows for me to plan, both for activity enroute as well as activity surrounding the intended travel.

 

There's a few reasons for Princess (and most other tour operators) to not provide the details. First among the reasons is to avoid complaints from passengers as to the tour operator not adhering to the schedule (or in some cases, for adhering too rigidly to the schedule in light of actual circumstances on the travel day). This can be especially true if travel times are variable on account of road conditions (such as rush hour traffic in larger cities or construction work being completed), or if there are stops enroute where third-party suppliers may not be consistently timely with their services (e.g., provision of a meal). Sometimes the particular services or enroute stops vary from day-to-day, and the variance is simply too complicated to be able to plan or to disclose for each particular day's departures. If the tour operator has to round-up the passengers for re-boarding the coach the time to do so can vary from day-to-day. If any persons being transported require the use of the motorcoach lift, then additional time will be necessary for lift use. In the case of smaller vehicles without lavatories, rest stops can also add to the uncertainty (and again, the lift would have to be made available at each rest stop). Where there is a large movement, and multiple motorcoaches are utilized, the several coaches may be spread out temporally rather than traveling in a convoy. If coaches depart every 15 minutes over the course of an hour or two, or are dispatched as filled, then in the absence of seating space being specifically assigned (which is exceptionally rare, at least in the United States and Canada), there is no need to specify a single departure time. Finally, it may be that the tour operator or the motorcoach operator simply does not have its act together. It may not have employees sufficiently well-disciplined to report to work timely, or it may have service planners not well skilled in bus scheduling. In short, there are many variables that deter tour operators from being precise with the disclosure of scheduled times.

 

As to insights, the following might be helpful for making predictions. The timetable for the tunnel out of Whittier is that it is open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., every hour, on the hour, for a 15-minute window. To prepare for the tunnel, motorcoach operators generally plan to depart Whittier 15 minutes earlier than a tunnel opening, or at 45 minutes past the hour. The trains scheduled for cruise line passengers are scheduled to depart Whittier at 7:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m., and/or 9:15 a.m. Alaska Cruise Transportation schedules its motorcoach departures from Whittier at 8:45 a.m. Park Connection schedules its motorcoach departures from Whittier at 9:45 a.m. Accordingly, I would anticipate that the Princess motorcoach to Denali (or more accurately, the motorcoach operated by Royal Hyway Tours, the motor carrier corporate subsidiary of Carnival Corporation used for tours arranged by Princess) would be scheduled to depart Whittier at 8:45 a.m., but possibly one hour earlier or one hour later. Assuming an 8:45 a.m. departure, you would likely arrive in Anchorage at 11:00 a.m., and at the Princess Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge (located just outside of the national park) at 5:15 p.m. These times are based on the scheduled leisurely travel times of Park Connection. Faster traveling could get you into the lodge as early as 2:30 p.m. The tour description does not state if any stops are made enroute, either for sightseeing or for lunch, so these arrival times might be pushed back to the extent of any stops made. The following afternoon, the transfer to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, located outside Talkeetna, is about two hours in duration. I would anticipate a late afternoon travel, perhaps leaving at 3:00 p.m. and arriving at 5:00 p.m. The following day the transfer to Anchorage is by railroad. The McKinley Explorer train departs McKinley station (in Talkeetna at Woodpecker Avenue) at 1:55 p.m. It is a one hour transfer from the lodge to the railroad station, so I would anticipated a scheduled motorcoach departure from the lodge at 12:30 p.m. The train then is scheduled to arrive at the Alaska Railroad station in downtown Anchorage at 4:40 p.m.

 

Hopefully the above is useful. Much is speculative, informed by my extensive background in having been engaged professionally in bus scheduling for over 40 years, but at least you can consider the bases upon which I have speculated and judge accordingly.

Thank you for this detailed response. There’s definitely a lot of planning involved in getting us all from Point A to Point B. I’m a girl with a spreadsheet who likes details; hard to travel with a loose plan. 😜

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, oaktreerb said:

A clue as to your free time.  On-line, Princess will offer to sell you excursions only during the hours of your free times.  

We’re 332 days out; no excursions available  yet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, CruzerDeb said:

There’s definitely a lot of planning involved in getting us all from Point A to Point B. I’m a girl with a spreadsheet who likes details; hard to travel with a loose plan.

I am the same way. Not only for my own satisfaction of being able to plan for myself, but also because I like understanding how things work . . . including how the carriers schedule their transportation. An example of my detailed planning: When my wife and I married 15 years, it was a destination wedding in the middle of southern Mexico, and a honeymoon extending into Central America. It involved planning for two cruises (one, 12-nights from United States to Mexico, and a second one, 3-nights returning), and a myriad of ferries, buses, and activities--including all arrangements for a formal Catholic ceremony at a 16th century church--that all had to be carefully orchestrated for six weeks of travel . . . the only planned "tours" were one-day one-way transportation from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque, in the heart of the state of Chiapas, visiting some sights enroute; and two-day one-way transportation from Palenque to Flores, crossing into remote parts of Guatemala. Neither my wife or I are qualified to operate motor vehicles, so no rental cars could be planned; and I don't fly, so no air travel could be involved. Included in the planning was scheduling the locations where laundry would be done (e.g., taking laundry ashore in Aruba, to a particular laundromat, to avoid the outrageous prices and procedures of Norwegian Cruise Line). A typical itinerary for me, that includes cruise line transportation, goes on for several pages. Not to say that things will not go awry . . . and for such cases I usually also have considered and scheduled a "Plan B" for such events.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, GTJ said:

I am the same way. Not only for my own satisfaction of being able to plan for myself, but also because I like understanding how things work . . . including how the carriers schedule their transportation. An example of my detailed planning: When my wife and I married 15 years, it was a destination wedding in the middle of southern Mexico, and a honeymoon extending into Central America. It involved planning for two cruises (one, 12-nights from United States to Mexico, and a second one, 3-nights returning), and a myriad of ferries, buses, and activities--including all arrangements for a formal Catholic ceremony at a 16th century church--that all had to be carefully orchestrated for six weeks of travel . . . the only planned "tours" were one-day one-way transportation from San Cristóbal de las Casas to Palenque, in the heart of the state of Chiapas, visiting some sights enroute; and two-day one-way transportation from Palenque to Flores, crossing into remote parts of Guatemala. Neither my wife or I are qualified to operate motor vehicles, so no rental cars could be planned; and I don't fly, so no air travel could be involved. Included in the planning was scheduling the locations where laundry would be done (e.g., taking laundry ashore in Aruba, to a particular laundromat, to avoid the outrageous prices and procedures of Norwegian Cruise Line). A typical itinerary for me, that includes cruise line transportation, goes on for several pages. Not to say that things will not go awry . . . and for such cases I usually also have considered and scheduled a "Plan B" for such events.

Wow! What an adventure! You win the planning crown. 👑 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe instead of a "cruisetour" where the details are out of your control, what about booking a rental car and putting together your own great trip. There's nothing on a cruisetour that you can't book independently, often for cheaper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, AKStafford said:

Maybe instead of a "cruisetour" where the details are out of your control, what about booking a rental car and putting together your own great trip. There's nothing on a cruisetour that you can't book independently, often for cheaper.

Already booked. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The online Travel Summary  for my cruise/tour reservation (which you can print out on their website) has an itinerary section where they describe travel details.  While they do not provide a specific lodge arrival time, they do state approximate travel times on trains or buses so I can guesstimate an approximate lodge time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: Experience more Co-op Holidays
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...