Posted January 14th, 2018, 05:02 PM
Ha! Well let me thank you first for the giggle. I assure you my bucket list is full of travel and nothing that will land me in jail! You make some very valid points about Vancouver. Secondly, thanks for the great advice. Just seeing Alaska is a check on our bucket list. Seeing more than what we experience on the trip is just icing on the cake for us. My parents are coming and they are 75 and 78. They are in good health, but you just never know when that could change. This is a trip they have always wanted to take. I’m just starting my research. Tell me what I really need to not miss after I get off the ship! I appreciate the advice so much.
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We did interior AK before we boarded our ship in Seward. Since you are doing the reverse, I'll give you what we did - in reverse of course!
In Seward - make sure you do a Kenai Fjords tour. We used Major Marine and the tour was spectacular. So much wildlife to see and we got close enough to a glacier that we could hear it calving. We weren't able to get that close on the cruise. If you have enough time, the Alaska Sea Life Center is a gem. Do a "Behind the Scenes" tour. We did the Sea Lion Encounter and got "sugar" from Sugar (who sadly has passed away). The whole thing was very interesting and they even have a camera that shows the sea lions at the sea lion rookery that you see on the Major Marine tour.
That's a full day in itself and I'm not sure you'd be able to make the evening train to Anchorage after all that. If are able, take the train back to Anchorage...stunning scenery. We paid extra and got the "first class" service with assigned seats in a dome car above a dining car. Loved seeing the scenery and eagles flying overhead while sipping a mimosa!
Rent a car in Anchorage and get up to the Denali area. We stayed there 3 nights. One day we went white water rafting on the Nenana and did a Midnight ATV ride. They bill the ride as "in" Denali National Park, but in reality you are in an area that is surrounded by DNP on 3 sides. It's a dusty ride and the mosquitoes are HORRID, but totally worth it. Oh and 100% DEET is your friend in Alaska - interior especially. Off wipes just don't work - the swarms (yep they swarm) of mosquitoes will just break right through any of that stuff.
Make sure you get in to Denali National Park. If you take the shuttle bus, it's the cheapest way to go. Get as far in as Eielson Visitor Center for a good shot at seeing the mountain as well as any wildlife. We went as far as Mirror Lake - lots of mosquitoes down there. Next time I go, I'd like to get off the shuttle at Eielson and walk some of the trails around there and then catch a different shuttle back. The drivers on the shuttle don't have to narrate as to what you are seeing, but if you ask nicely, they will probably do it - ours did. Word of caution - don't schedule a Midnight ATV ride the night before going into Denali National Park. Yep, my one "regret" on my vacation - we didn't get back until 2am and by the time we all took showers and got the DEET off and into bed, it was close to 3am and we had to be at the park by 6:30 (IIRC) to catch the 7am shuttle - made for a really loooooooooooong day.
After Denali, we made our way over to Glacier View, AK. We rented a cabin there and went and hiked on a glacier - well at least myself and oldest son did, my exDH and youngest son drove into Wasilla to the Iditarod HQ and took a dogsled ride. There weren't a lot of restaurants in the area, but it was very nice to just have a couple days of relaxation.
On our way up to Denali, we stopped in Talkeetna and walked around a bit while my oldest son had a flight lesson (had a groupon for it!). It's a cute town, but not a whole lot to do there - at least not for us.
We did spend a couple extra hours in Vancouver after our cruise. We took a HOHO tour and had lunch before heading to the train station to catch an Amtrak train to Seattle. I would have loved to hop off the trolley at a couple of stops, but my youngest was on crutches with a broken foot (thus the reason he couldn't go walking on the glacier), so it would have been really hard on him.
Hope this helps. I did a review back in 2013 about our trip. It was spectacular and I so can't wait to do it again. There is so much to see and do in Alaska and we just got a little taste of it.
Carnival Elation 2/16 (35th Class Reunion-bust)
Celebrity Millennium 06/13 (50th Birthday and first back to back two week vacation ever in Alaska)
Adventure of the Seas 04/10 (25th Anniversary and first one for the kids Southern Caribbean)
Celebrity Constellation 03/05 (20th Wedding Anniversary Cruise Southern Caribbean)
Crown Jewel 09/93 (get away from the boss part 2 Western Caribbean)
Crown Princess 11/91 (get away from the boss cruise Eastern Caribbean)