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caribill

Details of the tour part of a Princess Alaska cruisetour

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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?

 

 

The Princess check-in staff boarded our train as indicated in the review.

 

As they came through the car, we gave them our boarding passes and passports and, if I remember correctly, the usual health questionnaire which they had handed out. A little while later they gave back our passports and also gave us the cruise cards.

 

But, the path to the ship still involves going through security, so you walk from the train into the terminal and wait in the security line. How long it is and how long it takes depends on how many people have just arrived. As I remember it, it was less than 15 minutes for us.

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This is a very informative thread. I am just looking into booking an Alaskan cruise tour for June 2016. Lots to think about, so many options.

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This is a very informative thread. I am just looking into booking an Alaskan cruise tour for June 2016. Lots to think about, so many options.

Maybe we will see you on board as we are booked for June.

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I'm actually looking at the end of May. The tour I was most interested includes a 9 hr bus ride on one of the days. That's just too long so I'm reviewing options again. I'm looking at a 13 day trip, touring first for 6 days.

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I have to disagree with the lady who found Talkeetna a waste of time etc. it's a fair distance from the lodge but Princess had a shuttle that left hourly or so and it was $10 R/T. There are lots of shops and restaurants which were nothing special but the walk down to the river was interesting. We lucked out because there was a local craft fair going on off one of the side streets. Many vendors all with hand crafted goods, lots of nice people and conversation if you were interested in talking to them. I met a guy who used to live in my area and had made plenty of money there, got tired of the rats and rat race and moved to AK about 15 yrs ago. He really wanted to hear about certain things in our area since he had moved north and opened up the beer cooler and we had a nice chat while waiting for the return shuttle. He owned a shop in the strip area where the shuttle stops.

 

Personally I loved the lodge at Denali and liked the fact there were food choices right across the street. I'm not enough of a foodie that the conneseur thing appeals to me. We basically got something for breakfast then snacked on trail mix mid day and early dinner. Yes food is higher in AK but if you eat what you really NEED and not forage as tho already aboard ship it's very do-able economically. I bought some AK beer and had several left and just took aboard the bus to the McKinley lodge. Put it on ice in the room and took one out on the deck later. Time for a refill? Walked to the room.

 

Seeing wildlife in Denali NP is tied directly to how far you go into the park and not going too early in the season. We were there in mid August and it was great.

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I have to disagree with the lady who found Talkeetna a waste of time etc. it's a fair distance from the lodge but Princess had a shuttle that left hourly or so and it was $10 R/T. There are lots of shops and restaurants which were nothing special but the walk down to the river was interesting.

 

On the last morning there, we just left the lodge early on a shuttle and walked around Talkeetna for a while and then got on another shuttle which went to the train.

 

This did not involve having to spend the extra travel time back and forth involved if we had done it during our stay at the lodge.

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Hello, looks I will be booking for June 2016 and am trying to decide between the Off the beaten path that includes the Copper river area with a catamaran trip to the ship or the land tour, off the beaten path that includes the Kenai peninsula. Both of these include time in Denali (2 nights at Princess Denali Lodge and 1 night at the Mt. Mckinley lodge). I know Denali is the main attraction but I want to get in as much as I can so was wondering if any of you have been to the Copper River Princess Lodge or the one in Kenai and how did you like the experience? Would you go to those places again? They both involve all day bus trip, one has a 7 hour bus trip and 1 has a 9 hr bus trip so I'm wondering if it is worth it? There is an option of spending more days in Denali and not going to these more remote locations.

Thank you in advance for any info/advice you can provide.

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Hello, looks I will be booking for June 2016 and am trying to decide between the Off the beaten path that includes the Copper river area with a catamaran trip to the ship or the land tour, off the beaten path that includes the Kenai peninsula. Both of these include time in Denali (2 nights at Princess Denali Lodge and 1 night at the Mt. Mckinley lodge). I know Denali is the main attraction but I want to get in as much as I can so was wondering if any of you have been to the Copper River Princess Lodge or the one in Kenai and how did you like the experience? Would you go to those places again? They both involve all day bus trip, one has a 7 hour bus trip and 1 has a 9 hr bus trip so I'm wondering if it is worth it? There is an option of spending more days in Denali and not going to these more remote locations.

Thank you in advance for any info/advice you can provide.

On trips like this I find it helpful to stay focused on what it is I really want to see and do I have time to do it well. We eventually chose tour HB5 out of Anchorage (June 5, 2016) as our focus for this trip will be on Denali and the Mt. Mckinley area. We are adding in time pre-tour in Anchorage to either do a day trip to Seward or further explore Anchorage.

Edited by Alaskanb

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Caribill thanks for the fantastic review and information, we are planning the same tour July 2016. Does anyone know if the lodges are renovated? Would greatly appreciate any updated information from anyone taking the tour in 2015. We're on the Island, who knows what it will look like after dry dock.

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Thank you for the information. We did a cruise tour a few years ago and loved it. Going again next summer. As we are just in the "finding information" stage, where do I go to find pricing for the tour portion of the trip?

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Thanks to the OP for the review. We have been to Alaska 3X and are taking our first cruise tour in June - your review helps us know what to plan.

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Thank you for the information. We did a cruise tour a few years ago and loved it. Going again next summer. As we are just in the "finding information" stage, where do I go to find pricing for the tour portion of the trip?

 

 

It's a bundle. On the Princess site under the Plan A Cruise list just choose Search Land and Sea Vacations. Those are the packaged cruisetours.

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We started with two large pieces. One contained what was only needed for the ship and when we checked out of the first lodge, we did not see it again until on the ship.

 

The other went from lodge to lodge on the tour and needed a new luggage tag for each transfer to the next lodge. Of course the final luggage tag was what we had printed out at home to send it to the ship from the last land lodge.

 

We also had a small carry on for the trains and busses.

 

Hi there, hope you are still checking this site....could you tell me what the size was on your carryon you brought with you? Did you each bring one or did you do just one carryon for the both and then the suitcase that met you at the lodges? Also what did you do with the carryon during your tours or were you able to leave it in your lodge room before going on the tours?

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Hi there, hope you are still checking this site....could you tell me what the size was on your carryon you brought with you? Did you each bring one or did you do just one carryon for the both and then the suitcase that met you at the lodges? Also what did you do with the carryon during your tours or were you able to leave it in your lodge room before going on the tours?

 

You can see in the picture of the inside of the train car how limited the under seat storage is on the train. There is no other place in the train car to store the carryon.

 

We each had a carryon essentially the size of a normal backpack. Sometimes I had to have it under my legs on the train.

 

No problem on the bus. If if can't fit under the seat, it can go in the storage area under the passenger compartment.

 

For tours while at a lodge, it was always possible to keep the carryons in the room while on a tour.

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You can see in the picture of the inside of the train car how limited the under seat storage is on the train. There is no other place in the train car to store the carryon.

 

We each had a carryon essentially the size of a normal backpack. Sometimes I had to have it under my legs on the train.

 

No problem on the bus. If if can't fit under the seat, it can go in the storage area under the passenger compartment.

 

For tours while at a lodge, it was always possible to keep the carryons in the room while on a tour.

 

Great thanks. Did you ever have an instance where you needed to keep your carryon with you while on a tour? trying to decide what bag to bring. I have one that rolls and is small looking but holds quite a bit..thinking of using that as our carryon but wasn't sure if you did have to end up toting your carryon around with you during any tours then I would have to change my thoughts. Your thread is very helpful and just may have pushed DH and I to do the Connoisseur tour vs doing the denali explorer like we had initially planned on doing...thank you for your hard work.

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Did you ever have an instance where you needed to keep your carryon with you while on a tour?

 

Not on a tour, but on the day we went from the Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge to the ship via train, the day involved a bus ride into Talkeetna and then the train to Whittier.

 

We chose to take an earlier bus into Talkeetna and spend some time going around the town on our own and then take a bus to the train station. Since we were leaving the lodge for good, we had to have our carryons with us for this.

 

(Note: For those who left the lodge later and went directly to the train station, the bus brought them directly to the train station which was a little outside the town of Talkeetna. Our earlier bus (no charge since it was the day to leave) went to the town and we had to meet in town for a separate bus which went to the train station. The train station which was in town and where we had arrived two days earlier was not the station used for the train to the ship.)

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Great thank you that answers my question. I took a similar bag to Alaska in 2010 where we rode the train down to Whittier from Anchorage and the bag fit most the way under the seat with just a little sticking out so I just sat with my feet on either side or a little out and it worked well. I just didn't want to haul around a mini roller bag on tours and if we decide to take the trip on our own into town like you did that wouldn't be long or much and it would be doable for the one time. Now just deciding when to go...July or Aug is our biggest thing. Our first time we did just the cruise and were the 2nd to last cruise leaving Whittier, stayed in Vancouver for 2 days and took another ship coming back down leaving Alaska in mid to late September. Weather was awesome, warm..but no wild life due to the sun and warmth. :( We really hope to see some wildlife this time around, like bears, moose etc.

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Hi Alaskanb

Yes we have been to Alaska, just the Voyage of the glaciers 7 day cruise back in 2000. We combined it with a Canadian Rockies Tour which was awesome. We saw so much more wild life in Canada than Alaska. This time we want to see Denali and as much as we can so we will be taking the Off the Beaten Path, Tour KB6. It's a lot of bus time but we like the idea of the catamaran to the ship. WE assume the scenery from the bus rides will be worth looking at too.

 

We will be boarding the Star Princess on June 11 2016 and wondered if that is the cruise some of you are taking?

 

Andrea

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Hi Alaskanb

Yes we have been to Alaska, just the Voyage of the glaciers 7 day cruise back in 2000. We combined it with a Canadian Rockies Tour which was awesome. We saw so much more wild life in Canada than Alaska. This time we want to see Denali and as much as we can so we will be taking the Off the Beaten Path, Tour KB6. It's a lot of bus time but we like the idea of the catamaran to the ship. WE assume the scenery from the bus rides will be worth looking at too.

 

We will be boarding the Star Princess on June 11 2016 and wondered if that is the cruise some of you are taking?

 

Andrea

Yes --we will also be on the Star on June 11, 2016 :) Our previous Alaska cruise was in 2012 with additional time in Alaska and Canada but not in Denali.

We wanted to take the train --my Dad was a steam engine driver in the UK and DH's in Ohio so the HB5 tour meets our needs. We also are thinking about a Kenai cruise pre-tour.

I've started a roll call for the June 11 cruise as I imagine lots of different tours will converge on it.

Edited by Alaskanb

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Sounds good. I'll join the roll call once I'm actually booked, should be next week.

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Thankyou for the Gold TR Caribill. Booked on the Off the Beaten Track for late May '16 then the Island Princess 1 June. Your report is brilliant.

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Thankyou for the Gold TR Caribill. Booked on the Off the Beaten Track for late May '16 then the Island Princess 1 June. Your report is brilliant.

 

Thanks.

 

Enjoy your cruisetour.

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I have enjoyed your review of your cruise/cruisetour very much. Thank you for taking the time to do this. You know we will be cruising again in Sept., 2016 but this will be our first cruise tour with Princess. We did fly up and rent a motor home for two weeks. So, in all, this will be our sixth trip to AK. Just can't get enough. But, your comments and photos were very much appreciated here.

 

Barbara

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