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Which cruise tour to take


dianfarmer

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I want to see Deanli either before or after my cruise. Do you suggest doing the land portion before or after the cruise? How many nites in Denali do you recommend? Is it worth it to go as far up as Fairbanks? Any suggestions would be appreciated

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I haven't done a cruisetour, but have researched them extensively. I have also spent 2 weeks on land, 2 weeks at sea, and am going back to Alaska in a few weeks.

 

To answer your questions:

 

> I recommend flying into Alaska and doing the land portion of the tour first. It gets the longest flight out of the way, along with the schlepping from place to place, packing and unpacking part of the trip. Then you can relax jut a bit - while still being very active - on your cruise.

 

At the end of the day, it really doesn't make too much difference. Some prefer to cruise north first, as it "builds suspense" and gradually lets Alaska unfold.

 

> I can't comment on Fairbanks, as I've never been. Some people whose opinions I respect have good things to say about the city, but cities are just not priorities for me. Think about arranging your trip around Denali and the Kenai Peninsula (Seward). this will allow you to pack the biggest punch to your trip and hit the highlights in the shortest amount of time.

 

> You need at least 2 nights in Denali. If Denali is important to you, and I should be, you really want to plan carefully with Denali as the centerpiece of your trip. Many cruisetours do not do Denali justice; they shortcut the time there and try to place you on tours where you will not see the park at all (Natural History Tour). A great way is to book a shuttle bus trip into the park. You will be on the same road, on almost the same buses and save lots of $. Also, be sure to consider when you are going to Denali. Access will vary in the shoulder seasons (May & Sept). http://www.reservedenali.com

 

As far as Talkeetna goes, it's a nice little town, but I think your time can be much better spent elsewhere.

 

Bottom line, really research the cruisetour and be sure you are getting what you think you're getting. In many cases, doing an independent tour is cheaper and more flexible. There are many knowledgeable people on the AK Board that can help you.

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I want to see Deanli either before or after my cruise. Do you suggest doing the land portion before or after the cruise? How many nites in Denali do you recommend? Is it worth it to go as far up as Fairbanks? Any suggestions would be appreciated

We did the cruise tour from Princess that starts with Fairbanks in 2005. We liked Fairbanks but now that we've been there, we don't think we need to go back again for quite awhile. This trip we are skipping it. For a first timer though, I would include Fairbanks and not miss the Discovery Riverboat excursion and the gold mine to pan for your own gold. Even seeing the pipeline was cool.

 

We like Denali and I'd say at least 2 nights are necessary there.

 

I would ONLY do the land portion first and then the SB ending in Vancouver. The land portion can be grueling as far as the packing/unpacking at each stop and a lot of travel by train or bus. Once on the ship it is much easier to unpack completely (FINALLY) and relax.

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I posted this elsewhere, but you guys might be able to give me a better answer! My parents are doing a Princess Alaska cruisetour (can't remember the number) in a month, and looking over the info packet has been a bit overwhelming (they've never cruised before).

 

I think where we're really confused is about the tour part of the trip---they received a large book of excursions for the lodge stops, but there doesn't seem to be any time built into their days for them. IE, they arrive at a lodge after 5-7 hours of traveling at 6pm, then they have to be up and out for a bus tour (NOT an excursion, part of the "cruisetour") by 9 or 10 the next day. When are they supposed to take advantage of these 1-4 hour booklet trips? At 7 or 8pm, after a full day of traveling? At 6am in the morning, having gotten up at 4am to get ready? We're kinda confused as to why we have a whole book of trips that don't seem to "fit" the schedule they sent us.

 

Can anyone explain this a little better? I'm so confused.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure their cruisetour package booked them into the Natural History Tour. I keep hearing on here that it's no good--what can they do now about it??

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For anyone who wants to "see Denali" a cruisetour isn't really the choice. :) Independent on a shuttle bus is the only way to get into the park. with any cruisetour choice however, only look at those with 2 nights there, and consider Princess, who, in the past did give refunds for the NHT or TWT and book yourself on the shuttle. Be advised you are going via the most costly way to tour Alaska, seeing the least.

 

With Fairbanks, my ONLY recommendation is to arrive/stay at least another extra day, you see very little if you only rely on the cruisetour. A car rental is necessary and there most certainly is plenty to see and do there.

 

With any cruisetour selection, go for as long as you can afford. Avoid all shorter cruisetours, way too much of time is in transit and very little is at destinations.

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