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caribill

Details of the tour part of a Princess Alaska cruisetour

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fantastic review, which contains information that will be of tremendous assistance when we do the same trip beginning august 23rd.

 

The scenery on the trip to Whittier was better on the Anchorage to Whittier part than on the part to Anchorage.

Airplanes at a house near Anchorage

G24980808180812AirplanesatahousenearAnchorageDSC01003.jpg

Mud flats (like quicksand) near Anchorage

G23980808080812MudflatslikequicksandnearAnchorageDSC01001.jpg

Between Anchorage and Whittier

G25980808380812BetweenAnchorageandWhittierDSC01005.jpg

Kenai Mountains

G36980809480812KenaiMountainsDSC01018.jpg

 

 

We reached the car/bus/train tunnel in time for the 6:30 slot for trains to Whittier. We reached the dock area about 6:45 PM. Additional Princess representatives came onto the train to pass out the cruise cards

Since we had checked-in on the train and now had our cruise cards, all we needed to do was go through the port security and then onto the Island Princess to start the 7-day voyage to Vancouver.

Island Princess docked in Whittier

G39980810580812IslandPrincessdockedinWhittierDSC01030.jpg

Covered walkway from train to cruise terminal to the ship

G41980811780812WhittierAKDSC01042.jpg

Additional pictures from the tour may be found at http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=0354b2ce1f2da993&sid=8Acs2rVy0csnmA

Once in the album, select the “full screen” option for the best view.

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While Princess does handle the luggage pretty well you are a little more involved then it seems.

 

We picked up all our luggage at the airport and put it on the shuttle for Fairbanks lodge. We kept in the room with us while we were in Fairbanks.

When we left Fairbanks we put the "Join me on the ship" tags for that set of luggage and they left at the same time we left for Denali.

 

The luggage that you send forward to the next hotel Denali/Mckinley in our case has to be out early in the morning. If you haven't brushed/showered you better keep your toiletries/makeup/hair stuff with you since you wont see it during the travel part of the day. This sort of makes the carry with with you bags bigger. In our case even bigger because we had CPAPs as well.

 

That said everything was there an waiting when arrived in our lodge rooms and the ship.

 

Before I left I had the impression that Princess took the luggage directly from the Airport and sent it to the ship which is not true at least in my case.

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caribill, Thank you very much for posting this well written, interesting, and detailed report and beautiful photos. DH and I will be going on a Princess Alaska cruise tour in May. The wealth of information you included will be very helpful.

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caribill, Thank you very much for posting this well written, interesting, and detailed report and beautiful photos. DH and I will be going on a Princess Alaska cruise tour in May. The wealth of information you included will be very helpful.

 

You are welcome.

 

Have a great tour and a great cruise.

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Thank you so much for your review and pictures. We are doing a cruise tour next summer. You mentioned briefly that you did the evening wildlife tour in Skagway. Can you describe that a bit more? From the website description it is hard to tell how much time is out and about walking and how much is on the bus, etc.

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Thank you so much for your review and pictures. We are doing a cruise tour next summer. You mentioned briefly that you did the evening wildlife tour in Skagway. Can you describe that a bit more? From the website description it is hard to tell how much time is out and about walking and how much is on the bus, etc.

 

You can see photos from the cruise part of the trip at http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=326788bb2e173585&sid=8Acs2rVy0csnug

 

Looking at them in full screen mode is best. This excursion starts on page 28.

 

We first took ferry to a Haines (about an hour) seeing spectacular scenery along the way and some bald eagles while pulling into Haines. I do not remember how much time was on the bus and how much was walking about, but I did not feel there was insufficient time outside the bus. The bus would stop often enough when there was something worth seeing from the bus, such as for some of the bear photos.

 

By the way, before this excursion we had time for a free walking tour of Skagway provided by park rangers.

 

1 hour Ranger-led walking tours of the Skagway Historic District

WHEN: Early May - Late September

TIMES: Daily 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM and 3 PM

WHERE: Free tickets available at the Visitor Center (housed in the historic 1901 White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad Depot), 2nd Avenue and Broadway. Walks are limited to 30 participants. Tours are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Friday: 7:30 AM - 7 PM Weekends: 8 AM- 6 PM

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Was directed to this thread and so glad I was! We are taking this exact tour except for on the Coral in a June. THANK you so much for the info provided! We are scheduled for the Denali Dinner Tour and that is the only thing we are not looking forward to. Had our TA try to exchange it for the covered wagon dinner ( which I think someone on this thread said they did) however Princess did not want to refund the exact amount of the Dinner Theatre yet wanted full price for the covered wagon. We were willing to pay the extra $20./pp difference but not when Princess wanted to double the fee.

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We are scheduled for the Denali Dinner Tour and that is the only thing we are not looking forward to. Had our TA try to exchange it for the covered wagon dinner ( which I think someone on this thread said they did) however Princess did not want to refund the exact amount of the Dinner Theatre yet wanted full price for the covered wagon. We were willing to pay the extra $20./pp difference but not when Princess wanted to double the fee.

 

When you get to the lodge check if the on-site personnel would be willing to make the switch for you.

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When you get to the lodge check if the on-site personnel would be willing to make the switch for you.

 

We sure will. Again, thanks so much fir this wonderful thread. We are so excited for June

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Caribill what a wonderful and informative review you have written.

This question is concerning the time at Princess Denali Lodge.

 

You have mentioned that the night before you bought sandwiches at a Subway for the Denali tour (post 7). Was there a mini refrigerator in your room to keep them cold? If not how did you keep them?

Thanks for the good job!

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I just re-read your excellent connoisseur land tour description and picked up a few new things there.We are doing the same in May but in reverse (cruise first). My query is about packing at end of cruise portion.

 

I was planning on packing most of the summer clothes, evening and formal wear, excess shoes into one of our 2 large suitcases. All the gear for the land tour would go in the other large suitcase. We also have 2 small carry-ons that will go with us on the land tour.

Is it correct that we will not see one suitcase (hopefully the "summer" one) until the end of the land tour in Fairbanks?

 

Is this a good idea or should we just take both large suitcases and both carry-ons?

 

Thanks in advance, caribill.

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You have mentioned that the night before you bought sandwiches at a Subway for the Denali tour (post 7). Was there a mini refrigerator in your room to keep them cold? If not how did you keep them?

 

No mini-fridge.

 

We put ice in the ice bucket and the baq of sandwiches above the ice and a towel to cover it all to help keep it cold.

 

The Subway shop is across the street from the lodge.

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I was planning on packing most of the summer clothes, evening and formal wear, excess shoes into one of our 2 large suitcases. All the gear for the land tour would go in the other large suitcase. We also have 2 small carry-ons that will go with us on the land tour.

Is it correct that we will not see one suitcase (hopefully the "summer" one) until the end of the land tour in Fairbanks?

 

Is this a good idea or should we just take both large suitcases and both carry-ons?

 

 

That is basically what we did (in reverse). What we did not need on the tour was on a big suitcase that we did not see after the first night until we were on the ship. In your case, you would not see it until Fairbanks.

 

Since there are two of you, you could have both large suitcases come along with you, but we found it easy just to have a single suitcase to worry about unpacking/packing each lodge.

 

I forget if I mentioned it in the report, but the Fairbanks lodge had a scale in the lobby that people used to weigh their luggage before going to the airport there.

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Thank you for this incredibly informative thread. We are doing this in 2016. We are total Alaskan virgins. I'm glad this thread has stayed alive so long!

Edited by Kmkub

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I've kept this thread bookmarked and subscribed in the hope that we could someday do a cruisetour to Alaska. It's looking like we will finally be able to do it next year (2016). Now we just have to wait until the cruisetours for 2016 are available for booking. Hopefully it will happen soon. :)

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We really enjoyed your post, it has helped us decide to add the land portion to our cruise.

We are going on the same 13 day cruise tour as you but in reverse In September 2015. The connoisseur tour is an additional $830 each on top of the regular 13 day cruise tour price for us. We're trying to figure out if it's worth it. It seems like a lot of money for meals, our TA paid for the tundra tour which we really wanted to do. It seems to be the only difference or am I missing something?

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We really enjoyed your post, it has helped us decide to add the land portion to our cruise.

We are going on the same 13 day cruise tour as you but in reverse In September 2015. The connoisseur tour is an additional $830 each on top of the regular 13 day cruise tour price for us. We're trying to figure out if it's worth it. It seems like a lot of money for meals, our TA paid for the tundra tour which we really wanted to do. It seems to be the only difference or am I missing something?

 

As you can see from the food costs shown in the report, eating in Alaska can be pricey, up to $100/day per person. It was nice to get a menu and order what we wanted and pay no attention to the prices (other than saying "glad we are not paying that much for this meal"). In post #1 I mention that what I ate for dinner would have cost $62.50 plus a tip but was included in the cost of the Connoisseur tour.

 

Since the pricing I show was a couple of years ago, it is likely that the food prices are higher now.

 

The other big difference is the Princess Group Leader who is with you for almost everything that is included. He/she really makes things flow smoothly and can help with any problems along the way.

Edited by caribill

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Did this tour as a DYI in May, 2013 and have to add my own observations. Our enjoyment was impacted by the fact it was snowing the first 2 days we were in Alaska. The weather for the cruise itself was much better.

 

We started in Anchorage and gave ourselves an extra day for this. Take the trolley tour, it is excellent. Next was McKinley Lodge. One day here was plenty. There is nothing to do.

 

The Mountain View restaurant at Princess McKinley lodge had the worst food in the whole trip. Talkeetna is a bunch of run down log cabins selling cheap souvenirs made in China. If you look you hard you might find something made in Alaska. The only redeeming feature of Talkeetna is the diner which has pretty good food. Otherwise, don't bother with it.

 

Next was 2 days at Denali Princess Lodge where we arrived by train. The lodging here was nothing special although the actual restaurants were better.

 

Music of Denali Theater/Dinner is a waste of time and money. Both the food and the show were mediocre at best. We did do the TWT tour and saw very little wildlife. Might have had to do with the fact we were there in May. The park is vast and actually has a very small amount of animals due to the fact there is very little food to support large herds.

 

We did see Mt. McKinley on 2 different days with a great view of both peaks. It was a coach ride to Whittier w/a lunch stop in Anchorage. Glacier Brewing Company is best for meals.

 

Arriving in Whittier, I was so glad to get on the ship and then felt my vacation had really begun.

 

Skagway is a great town and has the best selection of made in Alaska stuff. We did the Red Onion breakfast and bus tour to the Yukon here and it was well worth it.

 

Book the Deadliest Catch tour either on your own or through Princess in Ketchikan. I think it's called the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen tour. Best "shore excursion" I have ever had. Might be cheaper to book on your own.

 

This is just a synopsis of my much longer review on this site. While it was great to see it, Alaska is best seen on the cruise ship IMHO.

 

Sue

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We really enjoyed your post, it has helped us decide to add the land portion to our cruise.

We are going on the same 13 day cruise tour as you but in reverse In September 2015. The connoisseur tour is an additional $830 each on top of the regular 13 day cruise tour price for us. We're trying to figure out if it's worth it. It seems like a lot of money for meals, our TA paid for the tundra tour which we really wanted to do. It seems to be the only difference or am I missing something?

 

Well you convinced us we went with the connoisseur tour, we got a really great price less than $700 for both of us! We're very excited. Thank you for your help.

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Bumping this up.

Going on a Connoisseur tour late May 2015.

Very helpful information and photos.

Thanks!

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I've kept this thread bookmarked and subscribed in the hope that we could someday do a cruisetour to Alaska. It's looking like we will finally be able to do it next year (2016). Now we just have to wait until the cruisetours for 2016 are available for booking. Hopefully it will happen soon. :)

 

Like Thrak, we too hope to someday do the cruisetour of Alaska! We are busy with our upcoming cruise to Hawaii, Samoa & Tahiti this coming fall, but this has peaked our attention and believe that after 2 Inside Passage cruises, it time to look into a more in-depth cruisetour! Thank you so much for the postings and pictures as this was really great!

 

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So glad to see this review has such long legs! Great information!! Thanks!

 

I wanted to follow up on the comments about "checking in" and getting your cruise cards on the train en route to Whittier. Can you go into more detail about that? From what you said may I assume we just walk off the train and onto the ship without going through any other check in procedures?

 

I really liked the suggestion of buying sandwiches from Subway. To keep things cold and fresh without a fridge in a hotel room I always bring Ziploc bags so food won't get soggy as the ice melts but will still stay cold enough to retard spoilage.

 

Thanks in advance

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Like Thrak, we too hope to someday do the cruisetour of Alaska! We are busy with our upcoming cruise to Hawaii, Samoa & Tahiti this coming fall, but this has peaked our attention and believe that after 2 Inside Passage cruises, it time to look into a more in-depth cruisetour! Thank you so much for the postings and pictures as this was really great!

 

 

We are booked for the June 23rd, 2016 13-day Alaska Connoisseur Cruisetour! :D:D:D

 

We fly to Fairbanks, do the 6 days on land, then sail 7 days to Vancouver. We will likely spend the night in Vancouver and then take the train home. It's a looooooooooong train trip but that's okay. We've done it before.

Edited by Thrak

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