Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Enough time for car rental switch and PWS cruise?


Recommended Posts

Hi Folks - Yep, it's me again beating a dead horse...


Is this possible (time wise)

-disembark Diamond princess in Whittier

-rent one-way car in Whittier at 8am

-take 9am tunnel opening to downtown Anchorage (am assuming I can't make the 8am opening)

-exchange one-way car for round-trip car (about 10:30ish)

-drive back to Whittier for 12:30 tunnel opening

-take 4 hr PWS cruise at 1:30




While I would rather do the 6 hr PWS cruise, this option has the potential to save us about $800 on a car rental (thanks to some help from some CCers!).




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry....if maybe I missed the entire begining of this conversation.....but can't you just take the train to Anchorage after the 6hr PWS tour and pick up your round trip rental car after the cruise? I don't think the train leaves Whittier until 645pm....so you'd have ALL day to spend in the area.


Seems like you'd save money on your rentals....take your cruise....avoid all the racing around....I know you'd be in Anchorage at the end of the day vice Whittier.......but if you've already done what I've heard is the main "tour" for Whittier I'm assuming your not planning on spending the rest of your vacation there....so you either pick up a car at the airport that evening....or call it a day...stay the night in Anchorage and rent a round trip rental car from a downtown location first thing in the morning and head out in any direction you want.


Again.....maybe I missed something else in a prior post.........

just a suggestion.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might make it fine as you proposed, but if anything goes at all wrong, you're really up a creek. What if there's any delay disembarking? What if there's line of disembarking passengers waiting to pick up their cars at the little Avis office in Whittier? What if you hit any traffic or construction delays driving to or from Anchorage? What if the Avis office in Anchorage doesn't have your second rental car ready or they're slow checking you in and out? Should anything slow you down, you'll miss your PWS cruise -- and it's not even the longer one you'd prefer to take. (And you've got no time for lunch!)


I'm a fan of fully-packed days, and I press to squeeze in everything I possibly can, but this sounds pressure-filled even to me. ;) I'm sure the residents and veteran travelers in this area will chime in and tell you if your plan is indeed do-able.


You can't change your hotel reservation for that first night so you can stay in Anchorage that night before swapping cars and heading to Seward in the morning? Even if you have to pay a small cancellation or change fee at the Seward hotel, it makes for a much less hectic itinerary and allows you to take the longer PWS cruise and enjoy your trips up and back the Turnagain Arm.


-- Eric

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to drive from Whittier to Anchorage to pick people up from the airport occasionally. It is about one hour from the time the tunnel opens in Whittier to the airport with good road conditions and no delays. I would actually allow 1 1/2 hours. You should be ok going to Anchorage, but if you are driving back to Whittier on a Saturday or Sunday, expect a lot of traffic. The one thing that will kill this plan pretty quick is construction. You should be able to check the DOT website or some other source closer to your travel date and see if they are doing any major construction. There was a project last year that resulted in 45 minute delays each way.


You don't say how many people in your party, but assuming two people. You should try to get off by about 7am with luggage to avoid the crowds. Walk over to the Inn, which is next to the dock, and have one person sit in the restaurant drinking coffee while the other goes to pick up the rental car. Talk nice to the desk clerk at the Inn and see if they'll hold your luggage for a few hours. Offer to pay. Be outside the Harbor store to rent car by 7:45. Rent the car for the day. Driver goes back to the Inn, picks up other person, drives to airport in Anchorage. Other person hops out, rents the second car, and both cars return to Whittier. Turn in car and get on day cruise.


I don't think there is anyone at the PWS office by 8am to hold luggage, thus the Inn. You can try calling them to ask. If all else fails, throw it in the trunk and take it with you.


The other option would be to rent the car in the morning, take the 6 hour cruise, drive to Anchorage to pick up car, and head to Seward, dropping the first rental off in Whittier on the way down (It's about 10 miles from the highway to Whittier). It should be fairly quick, as you go thru the tunnel on the half hour, return the car (15 minutes) and go back thru the tunnel on the hour. It takes around 5-10 minutes to get thru the tunnel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, this is a poor plan that would have to work perfectly, and as noted, may not. With spending 3 nights in Seward, do you really have to be in the marathon rush to get there??? It's a 3 hour drive from Anchorage, so you certainly can get there in plenty of time for your activities???


Being that Avis opens at 8am, you are not going to get out until the 9am tunnel. Another factor, will be, even though the airport is easy to get to, you need to allow extra time as a first timer, parking, where the car rentals are etc etc etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IAnother factor, will be, even though the airport is easy to get to, you need to allow extra time as a first timer, parking, where the car rentals are etc etc etc.


I don't know about Avis or the current state of construction at the airport, but Budget Queen reminds me that when I rented through Hertz last May, it was a little bit of a hike from where you pick up/return the cars to the Hertz rental counter.


The other option would be to rent the car in the morning, take the 6 hour cruise, drive to Anchorage to pick up car, and head to Seward, dropping the first rental off in Whittier on the way down


I think there's a possible timing problem with this -- Avis in Whittier closing at 8 pm. If you take the 11 am boat trip and it lasts 6 hours, are you back in slightly under 6 hours in order to get to your car and make it through the 5 pm tunnel? If not you're not getting out of Whittier until 6 pm, which is too late to get to Anchorage and back in 2 hours. If we assume you can make it at the tail end of the 5:00 opening, you've only got 2.5 hours now to drive to Anchorage, pick up the second car, drive back to Whitter in time for the 7:30 tunnel opening. This concern is moot if Avis in Whittier allows you to drop the car there after the office closes (although I'm always wary of doing that because they can hit you for minor damage like a scrape or ding to the windshield and you can't disprove it because you're not there); otherwise, the timing is possible but less-than-optimal.


-- Eric

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance - Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise News
      • 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...