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land tour only? skip cruise?


brandygirlo

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I know this is a strange question for a cruise board but ...

After reading so many of the comments regarding Denali, getting closer inside the fjords with private boat tours and knowing that we are not big into most of the things offered on cruise ships, would it make more sense for us to skip the cruise, rent a car and go exploring on our own? We love to go at a leisurely pace, hike, explore areas in depth. We do not take advantage of casinos, pool, spa, etc. nor do we like formal nights at dinner or all the excessive food.

 

What would we miss out on? I always thought the only way to see and experience Alaska was by way of a cruise ship. Thoughts? Advice?

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Particularly with prices the way they are right now, a cruise offers a very inexpensive way to get a brief look at a whole lot of Southeast Alaska. It's easy to get away from the crowds at the ports, and there are hundreds of excursions (or hiking trails) to get up close and personal with Alaska at the ports. Rent a car or RV to wander inland before/after that. If you haven't cruised before, you just might be surprised by your reaction to the experience - my wife and I both were after saying for many years that "we just aren't cruise people". :D

 

Murray

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One of the things I'm most looking forward to about the cruise after I've roamed interior AK for 11 days is being able to settle into one place, unpack, and not have to pack again for a week.

 

Last year was the first time I ever cruised and it was so great being somewhere else everyday yet sleeping in the same bed and not having to lug my suitcases around.

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It depends on what you want to see and experience in Alaska. I had been to Alaska 16 times before I took my first cruise. If you want to see the Southern part, a cruise is the best way. For me, nothing beats spending four or five days in Valdez and fishing, and kayaking and hiking, or the same in Homer with camping at Katmai. Luckily for me I have good friends in AK, so spending six weeks is my ideal way to see the areas I want to see. With the prices so much less this summer, I wish I had time to take another cruise because Glacier Bay is not something that you can see in any of the other places that I have visited in AK.

 

Janice

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I have taken several land only Alaska trips, they were excellent. :) And highly recommended in my opinion. Depends what YOU wish to see and do. With me doing a combo tour, I still make certain, I have at LEAST 10 days for interior travel, distances are vast and time is necessary. But, I also don't have many limitations, which some people do.

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Since we have done a couple of cruises already and we like moving from one place to the next, trying out different B & B's, restaurants, etc. if we decide to do a land tour only and skip the cruise, could you recommend the must sees? We are thinking flying in and out of Achorage, rent a car and go explore being very flexible as to where and for how long. Besides Denali and Mt. McKinley, suggestions? We would like to see wildlife, explore interesting towns, enjoy art, history, architecture, nature, being outdoors and easy hiking. We are both 60 so not into high adventure type activities.

 

One other question - I am very prone to seasickness and am concerned on the private boat tours to the glaciers. I know about the medications and wristbands but still susceptible - thoughts?

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Since we have done a couple of cruises already and we like moving from one place to the next, trying out different B & B's, restaurants, etc. if we decide to do a land tour only and skip the cruise, could you recommend the must sees? We are thinking flying in and out of Achorage, rent a car and go explore being very flexible as to where and for how long. Besides Denali and Mt. McKinley, suggestions? We would like to see wildlife, explore interesting towns, enjoy art, history, architecture, nature, being outdoors and easy hiking. We are both 60 so not into high adventure type activities.

 

One other question - I am very prone to seasickness and am concerned on the private boat tours to the glaciers. I know about the medications and wristbands but still susceptible - thoughts?

 

How much time do you have??? With 2 weeks, I would make two loops, Anchorage/Denali park, Fairbanks, Copper Center, Valdez. Ferry to Whittier. Then Kenai Peninsula, Seward, Homer and back to Anchorage. Wildlife hot spots are Denali Park, get the shuttle bus to at least Eielson, other area is a Kenai Fjords boat tour out of Seward. - very likely to have some rough sailing, motion sickness prevention is necessary.

 

You are going to be very limited with a motion sickness problem, I suggest you work at trying to find a solution. Boat tours out of Whittier are the calmest, BUT you are on water. Little wildlife. Boat tours are also excellent out of Valdez and Homer, with Homer more transit, unless into fishing.

 

With your "very flexable" reference, it is NOT a good idea for Alaska, unless you are in a RV. It isn't like the lower 48 where you pass endless "Motel's" and populated areas. You can go 50 miles with nothing, and B&B's all have to be booked ahead. Many are off main highways with no signs. Many with signs, you have to be looking for them.

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Let me chime in!!

 

Bear watching in the Katmai is a highlight for many. NOT Cheap, but a couple days of pure heaven and pure peace and quiet. Get to Homer and either take a day trip or a couple of days. They even have a B & B you can stay in for your time in Homer. http://www.hallobay.com/

 

I am very partial to the Homer area as we run a fish shipping business out of Homer every year and I get to spend a few weeks there. There is a lot to do.

 

And other areas that MAY interest you-off the beaten path areas. Prudhoe Bay/Kennecott/Valdez/Kodiak Island/ANWR/Gates of the Arctic.

 

IF you get to Homer, DO NOT miss the overnight halibut fishing trip. Saves on a nights motel. And IF you like halibut, you can have your fished processed at Coal Point and take it home with you on the plane. Even paying excess luggage fees is CHEAPER than paying for FedEx delivery. http://www.alaskacoastalmarine.com/overnight_fishing_trips.htm

 

We are in Alaska every year for our business. WE have also taken two cruises, both leaving from Seward. After one Alaska cruise, the second one was boring. Personally, I think there is more to do on land than there is in overcrowded ports on a cruise itinerary. Too touristy, IMHO. We are the same ages as you-we do the land thing EVERY year.

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