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caribill

Details of the tour part of a Princess Alaska cruisetour

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Just looked at the Princess web site in mid-April and there it was. Great offer for this on several dates for that summer on various ships.

 

 

Thank you so much!:D

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Wonderful review. Thank you do much for all the info. We have been trying to plan our tour and never really understood the differences.

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I have read your review a few times, getting great information.

 

We have decided to do the 12 night Connoisseur tour starting in Anchorage with 2 nights in Denali and 2 nights at Mt. McKinley, August 18, 2014 on the Crown.

 

We have decided to go a day early pre tour. We arrived at 2:11pm Anchorage. I was able reserve a room at the Captain Cook hotel that Princess uses for the stay in Anchorage. I have not purchased the transfer since we are arriving a day early.

 

You mentioned that a Princess representative met you at the airport with your Welcome package. What happens to the people that arrive early? Or is better to take the transfer and Princess will meet us at the airport the day early?

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We have a Nenana River Scenic Wilderness Run excursion booked 1:45-5pm when staying at the Denali Lodge. I booked yesterday and today shows not available for any time.

 

On the same night Princess has the Music of Denali from 5:30-7:30pm included in our land tour.

 

How did you get from the Lodge to the show?

 

Do you think we will make the show?

 

Did all the Connoisseur people stay together?

 

I am wondering if Princess would change us to the later dinner?

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We have a Nenana River Scenic Wilderness Run excursion booked 1:45-5pm when staying at the Denali Lodge. I booked yesterday and today shows not available for any time.

 

On the same night Princess has the Music of Denali from 5:30-7:30pm included in our land tour.

 

How did you get from the Lodge to the show? It is no more than a five minute walk from your room to the show. The show is in a restaurant at the lodge.

 

Do you think we will make the show? If you are back around 5 PM, there should be no problem. No need to dress up for the dinner and show.

 

Did all the Connoisseur people stay together? At this lodge we were all in the same building.

 

I am wondering if Princess would change us to the later dinner? I have no idea. I do not thinbk you could get a good answer to this question until you meet your guide for the tour.

 

see above in red

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I have read your review a few times, getting great information.

 

We have decided to do the 12 night Connoisseur tour starting in Anchorage with 2 nights in Denali and 2 nights at Mt. McKinley, August 18, 2014 on the Crown.

 

We have decided to go a day early pre tour. We arrived at 2:11pm Anchorage. I was able reserve a room at the Captain Cook hotel that Princess uses for the stay in Anchorage. I have not purchased the transfer since we are arriving a day early.

 

You mentioned that a Princess representative met you at the airport with your Welcome package. What happens to the people that arrive early? Or is better to take the transfer and Princess will meet us at the airport the day early?

 

If you did not reserve your extra night at the hotel through Princess, I suggest checking with a Princess rep at the hotel once you get there or the next morning which is the day you would normally arrive. They should be able to give you the package then.

 

If you did reserve your extra night through Princess, then they may have the packet at the airport when you arrive even if you did not book the xfer.

 

In our case (at Fairbanks), we had not booked the air or the xfer through Princess, but they did have our packet at the airport. We did not arrive a day early.

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Thank you for your help.

 

We have purchased air through Princess.

 

I booked on my own Captain Cook hotel at a total of $268, Princess wants $186x2.

 

I will inquire at the hotel the day we arrive and also the next day when the land tour starts.

 

I have also booked an excursion for Anchorage on the land tour start day so a Princess representative should be at the hotel for that, I hope.

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Appreciate the time you took doing this review. It answered a lot of questions. My wife was wondering what people wore on these tours. Now she can look at the pictures and see.

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Appreciate the time you took doing this review. It answered a lot of questions.

 

You are welcome.

 

I wrote it because these were the kind of questions we had before we took the trip.

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I have read your review a few times, getting great information.

 

We have decided to do the 12 night Connoisseur tour starting in Anchorage with 2 nights in Denali and 2 nights at Mt. McKinley, August 18, 2014 on the Crown.

 

We have decided to go a day early pre tour. We arrived at 2:11pm Anchorage. I was able reserve a room at the Captain Cook hotel that Princess uses for the stay in Anchorage. I have not purchased the transfer since we are arriving a day early.

 

You mentioned that a Princess representative met you at the airport with your Welcome package. What happens to the people that arrive early? Or is better to take the transfer and Princess will meet us at the airport the day early?

 

My TA contacted Princess and she was advised the Welcome package, will be at the hotel on the land tour day.

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your review is so good, we are doing the same cruisetour may 2014 and I am sure I will have nothing to worry about as I now know how it works....travelling from australia, we are flying in a day earlier, will need that day to get over the long flight

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your review is so good, we are doing the same cruisetour may 2014 and I am sure I will have nothing to worry about as I now know how it works....travelling from australia, we are flying in a day earlier, will need that day to get over the long flight

 

In May, this "same" cruisetour, is a poor choice, if you are booking land first then cruise.

 

For Denali Park, you want to be there in June, and certainly not before a cruise if the entire trip is in May. Take your time, and understand all that is involved at Denali. http://www.nps.gov/dena

 

Even end of May, is only going to get you to mile 53. June 1 and later, the TWT has the option of getting to mile 63, major bear activity. My min. distance in is Eielson, via shuttle bus, which with Princess is easy to do, IF you are willing to make some effort on your own. A lot of people are not. Especially with any cruise tour, that has the worthless Natural History tour- which the majority of Princess cruise tours do. Be fully informed that you are NOT getting into the park.

 

Make the best plans for you touring priorities and interests.

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we picked may because of the price, yes I do realise that we may not get as far into the park, our tour does the tundra wildness tour, coming from australia we are excited to see snow, we cannot afford the prices in June July. my big problem is what to pack as coming from the tropics are winters are 20c

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Example of a view from the train on the way to Talkeetna

D21880601680612AviewfromthePrincesstraincarDSC07041.jpg

A view from the rear platform on the Princess car

D22980603180612TracksbehindthetrainDSC00657.jpg

The train station in Talkeetna is an hour by bus from the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. We arrived there about 6:00 PM.

While on the bus after reaching the lodge we were given the packets for the Lodge. As at the other lodges, the packet contained room keys for the lodge, a list of pre-booked optional tours, departure information, luggage tag information and vouchers for included meals. It also had a map of the lodge grounds and buildings. No luggage tag was needed for the next stop as that would be the ship and the luggage tags from the Princess web site are used for that transfer.

The Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge has a main building with the reception desk, tour desk, coffee bar, regular bar, gift shop and the Mountain View Restaurant. There are 22 buildings on the grounds with rooms for guests.

Front view, Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge main building

E02980610080612FrontviewMPLmainlodgeDSC00736.jpg

One of the buildings with guest rooms at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

E99A980709080712Building12atMPLDSC00839.jpg

Some features of the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge:

o WIFI was available at no charge in the main lodge building which also had five computers for guest use there. WIFI is not available in the guest rooms.

o There are no outside shops or restaurants within walking distance of the lodge grounds.

o There are two main restaurants on the lodge grounds, the Mountain View Restaurant in the main building and the 20320 Alaska Grill in its own building.

o There is a scheduled shuttle to Talkeetna for a $10 round trip charge, but is free if it is part of an excursion or when you are departing for the next stop on the tour.

o There are several films about Alaska shown in the main building for $8/person. There are also free lectures by a naturalist who also leads an on-site walking tour three times a day.

o The front desk will take a list of people who want to be called if Mt. McKinley should appear in view.

After dropping off most of the group near the buildings with their rooms, we were the only ones left on the bus as it made its way back to the main lodge building. Once there, we discovered that there is an Upgrade Fairy for cruisetours as we had been assigned one of two suites that were in the main building (the only guest rooms in that building).

The suite consisted of two main rooms, one the bedroom which also had a couch, dresser, desk and TV, and the other which had a couch, dresser, dining table, TV and a wet bar area (no beverages provided). There was a bathroom for each of the two main rooms, but only one of them had a Jacuzzi. The view out the windows of the second room would be of Mt. McKinley if it were to become visible. We had no idea why we were assigned a suite. The people in the other suite, not part of our group, also had no idea why they were assigned a suite.

Although WIFI is not supposed to be available in rooms as mentioned above, our suite was close enough to the lobby area with WIFI that we did have WIFI access in the rooms.

Bedroom area of Ridgeline Suite

E06980607080612Suite3303-4MtMcKinleyPrincessLodgeDSC00706.jpg

Living room and dining area of Ridgeline Suite

E05980606580612Suite3303-4MtMcKinleyPrincessLodgeDSC00701.jpg

Wow, just found and really enjoying reading your tour blog. Very similar to our cruise tour a few years ago. We, too, were lucky to have the McKinley Lodge Upgrade Fairy, as we were the only ones to stay in the main lodge! It was a great surprise! And just like you, we woke to look out our lodge window to see the same sunny gorgeous view of Denali! We adored our Alaska cruise tour. Want to take another and see Kenai and other areas one of these days. Thanks again!

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Caribill,

 

We are booked on the 5 day Connoisseur tour August 18 from Anchorage and cruise August 23 on the Crown Princess. - 1 night Anchorage, 2 nights Denali, 2 nights Mt McKinley. We have cruised 2x roundtrip from Vancouver before but never the land tour.

 

We will be in Anchorage 1 1/2 days pre cruise. I have reserved a room for 2 nights at the Captain Hook Hotel which Princess uses on my own.

 

My husband now walks and climbs stairs slowly. I was thinking of renting a scooter for him.

 

Since you have done this tour before, maybe you can help me.

 

Do you think, he would need to rent the scooter for the land tour. or just for the cruise. I have reserved the following land excursions through Princess -

 

Mt McKinley - Jetboat adventure (tour begin & end at Lodge)

Mt McKinley - Chultna river rafting (tour will begin & end at lodge)

Denali - Nenana River Scenic Wilderness run

Denali - Music of Denali (included)

Denali - Tundra Wilderness tour (included)

 

He was not going to take the scooter on any excursions.

 

Princess said that a scooter can go on the coach and train.

 

Is there a lot of walking on the land tour? Do you think he would need it for the land part?

 

He will need the scooter for the cruise as we have A747 (regular balcony cabin) which is at the very end of the hall so a lot of walking from the elevator. He does not want to take a handicap cabin away from someone that really needs it.There is a lot of walking on the ship. He might use the scooter at Ketchikan a we do not have an excursion planned.

 

What is your opinion?

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Very useful and helpful review.

Which cruise did you take after your tour? Voyage of the Glaciers Southbound or a different cruise?

I have to bring a medical device with me and don't know if my carryon bag plus the device will be allowed-its a CPAP machine in its own carryon. Can you comment on whether or not this would be possible?

Thanks so much for the wonderful photos of your trip.

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Very useful and helpful review.

Which cruise did you take after your tour? Voyage of the Glaciers Southbound or a different cruise? Yes, on Island Princess.

I have to bring a medical device with me and don't know if my carryon bag plus the device will be allowed-its a CPAP machine in its own carryon. Can you comment on whether or not this would be possible?

Thanks so much for the wonderful photos of your trip.

 

I do not know what size the CPAP carryon is, but if it fits under the seat on the train (picture of that in my review) you should be OK. Shouldn't be any problem on a bus between lodges either.

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Caribill,

 

 

My husband now walks and climbs stairs slowly. I was thinking of renting a scooter for him.

 

Since you have done this tour before, maybe you can help me.

 

Do you think, he would need to rent the scooter for the land tour. or just for the cruise. I have reserved the following land excursions through Princess -

 

Mt McKinley - Jetboat adventure (tour begin & end at Lodge)

Mt McKinley - Chultna river rafting (tour will begin & end at lodge)

Denali - Nenana River Scenic Wilderness run

Denali - Music of Denali (included)

Denali - Tundra Wilderness tour (included)

 

He was not going to take the scooter on any excursions.

 

Princess said that a scooter can go on the coach and train.

 

Is there a lot of walking on the land tour? Do you think he would need it for the land part?

 

 

At the lodges at Denali and Mt McKinley there can be a bit of a walk (up to two or three blocks equivalent) between the building your room is in and the on site restaurants. Some of this could be a reasonable slope uphill and downhill. However, as I remember it, there are onsite shuttles to take you back and forth, but the frequency can vary. You may want to contact the lodges directly to ask about the use of the shuttles.

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Caribill,

 

I noticed on one of your replies for Skagway you took the Evening Wildlife Expedition.

 

How did you like this tour? Did you see any animals (I know not guaranteed)? Would you recommend this tour?

 

I was thinking of that tour or the White Pass Bennett Lake Adventure tour that goes to Bennett Lake. We have take the railway tour before, this one goes further.

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Caribill,

 

I noticed on one of your replies for Skagway you took the Evening Wildlife Expedition.

 

How did you like this tour? Did you see any animals (I know not guaranteed)? Would you recommend this tour?

 

We really liked this tour even though it is one of the more costly ones.

 

Saw a number of bald eagles and grizzly bears. We did this in early August.

 

In the AM we did a free walking tour of Skagway that the National Park Service rangers give.

 

J44a880B01881112AbaldeagleinharboratHainesDSC07381_zpsc9601076.jpg

 

 

J48a980B11781112BaldeaglenearHainesDSC01601_zps1730c2f9.jpg

 

 

J80a880B04581112GrizzlybearnearChilkootRiverDSC07421_zpsb7e14011.jpg

 

 

J88a880B04881112GrizzlybearinChilkootRiverDSC07427_zpse598d7a9.jpg

 

 

J89980B16081112GrizzlybearinChilkootRiverDSC01646_zps361272d6.jpg

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Wow what an amazing review! I am an early planner and am thinking of doing a cruise tour in 2015. I was actually thinking of somehow combining a cruise tour with a cruise. So cruise in, cruise out with land in between. If that doesn't work out, could you explain why doing land first is the best option? Thanks for your insights

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So cruise in' date=' cruise out with land in between. If that doesn't work out, could you explain why doing land first is the best option? Thanks for your insights[/quote']

 

The cruise experience is much more relaxing (even with the ports) than the land tour, so many prefer to get the intensive touring done first and then recover on the cruise part.

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As others have said, thank you for the wealth of information! We are doing a similar tour this year (although not the connoisseur version) and your descriptions and pictures are very helpful in helping us know what to expect. Kudos to you!

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