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Whittier to Anchorage... what to do with time?


firststeps

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We will be arriving in Whttier very early on Aug. 17. Our flight home from Anchorage leaves just past midnight. From reading the boards I know to book the train to Anchorage (not through the cruise line) but what should we do with all the extra time? Is there much to do in Whittier? Should we head in to Anchorage and do things there? All suggestions appreciated! Terri

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One option is to take a Prince William Sound cruise for the day, and then go to Anchorage. The 6-hour Wilderness Explorer Glacier Cruise from Prince William Sound Cruises is from 11:00 - 5:00; the 26 Glaciers cruse from Phillips Cruises is from 1:00-5:30. These trips get you "up close and personal" with a couple glaciers, unlike anything you'll see from your cruise ship, and are probably the biggest highlight attraction in the area. (Other than taking one of these trips, there's really nothing to do in Whittier, which isn't even really a town.)

 

There's a 6:45 train from Whittier which gets to Anchorage at 9:15. There are also bus/van options, or you could rent a car for the day.

 

The car may be the most expensive option, if there are just two of you, because of the high one-way surcharge from Avis, the only rental car option in Whittier. But a car allows you to take a short detour a Portage Glacier -- well, lake -- stop as you wish along the scenic drive along Turnagain Arm up to Anchorage, and stop wherever you want for dinner in Girdwood or when you get to Anchorage, and then drive yourself to the airport in time for your flight.

 

Of course, if you decide not to do the day cruise, you could train/bus/car to Anchorage and spend time at the museum or shopping. This is obviously a personal choice; to me, Anchorage itself isn't so captivating that I'd give up a day of sightseeing to spend in the city, and it would feel like a letdown after leaving the cruise -- and it's a long day to fill before your midnight flight.

 

-- Eric

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This is all very helpful information, Eric. Thanks so much. I don't think the car is really viable but from the sound of it we are better off not going directly to Anchorage so we will probably do one of the cruises. Not sure which to do the train or the bus/van. Maybe others will chime in on this one. Terri

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We're spending a few days in Alaska after our cruise, but we're doing a Prince William Sound cruise after we get off the ship and before we take the Alaska RR into Anchorage. The Alaska RR has a special this summer if you turn 50 in 2009 you travel for free. So it worked out we only had to pay for DH's ticket as I turn 50 this year.

 

We purchased a Northern Lights coupon book which gave us 2 for 1 on our PWS cruise so we saved a bit of money going that way.

 

All things to consider ....

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we took the quickest shuttle to the airport we could get and rented a car there for the day--we drove out to the Portage Glacier and the Alaska Wildlife Ctr---then went to the Girdwood area and rode the tram up the mountain--finally had a nice dinner in Anchorage and dropped the car off 2 hours before our flight---didn't have to worry about the luggage as we had it with us and no "drop off charges"

 

Paul in TX

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There certainly is plenty to see and do with a car rental. The above post was all backtracking, but worked for them. But you could definately do some futher driving and activies if you wish to. Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine, Glacier trekking, Talkeetna flightseeing etc etc etc, along with plenty of Anchorage activities. http://www.anchorage.net

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