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doone

Alaska - Land and Sea or just Sea????

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Posted (edited)

I am planning a trip to Alaska, it was going to be land and then cruise, but looking at the pricing, I am finding it hard to justify the land and cruise and am honestly leaning towards just the cruise, perhaps heading upto Anchorage a day or two ahead and doing a bit of sightseeing on our own. 

 

For those of you who have done the land and cruise, what did you like and would you book a trip like that again.  

 

thanks, I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

Edited by doone

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, doone said:

I am planning a trip to Alaska, it was going to be land and then cruise, but looking at the pricing, I am finding it hard to justify the land and cruise and am honestly leaning towards just the cruise, perhaps heading upto Anchorage a day or two ahead and doing a bit of sightseeing on our own. 

 

For those of you who have done the land and cruise, what did you like and would you book a trip like that again.  

 

thanks, I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

Our first trip to Alaska was a cruise.  Then we booked the land/cruise.  While a cruise to Alaska is really nice, you don't get anywhere near the full appreciation of what Alaska is.  You're pretty much married to only seeing what's close to the shore line.  While on the land tour, you're inland.

 

Yes, I'd do it again.  Only thing I didn't really care for was the cost of eating out on the land portion.  Other than that, we liked it so much, we did a 2 month RV trip through the Yukon and Alaska last year because the whole place is so amazing.

 

One thing, if at all possible, do the longest land tour that you can, you get to see so much more.

Edited by Shmoo here

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Posted (edited)

We did a Double Denali specifically to see the mountain, but we very much enjoyed the train and bus trips from Fairbanks to Seward with someone else doing the driving!  Early snow (in Sept) prevented us from going very far into the park or seeing the top of the mountain, so I would like to try again if I had the chance.

Edited by catl331

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We did a 14 day land and cruise (7 + 7) and really enjoyed it, but it wass a bit tiring and rushed (land portion).  If I had to do it over again, I would fly into Anchorage, rent a car and do the land (including time in Denali) myself.  Might try to do the train roundtrip to Denali due to the great views along the way.

 

Another option - one we are doing this year, is a 14 day cruise only trip.  We get to see alot of the towns most people never get to see (Homer, Kodiak, Icy Point Straight) as well as Hubbard Glacier and Tracey Arm.  Roundtrip Seattle,

 

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I agree with Shmoo here.  We got SO much more out of the land tour than just the cruise.  We did the triple Denali and would do it again in a heartbeat.  Yes, it's tiring, but honestly the bus and train rides were not boring, so (for us) the time went fast.  So much beautiful scenery and wildlife, who could be bored?  Definitely do the land part and then cruise so you don't go home tired.  🙂  

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Thanks Shmoo and everyone else, that's exactly what I needed to know.................................

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Yes, do the land first.  Rest up on the ship afterwards, plus the flight home will be alot shorter!

 

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56 minutes ago, DaveOKC said:

Yes, do the land first.  Rest up on the ship afterwards, plus the flight home will be alot shorter!

 

Thanks

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To me the Land Tours are too much bus/train, too crowded, too long.  Quite a slog.  I like the back-to-back 14 day cruises.  I guess everyone should do the land once at least, though.

Enjoy whatever you choose!

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We had cruised a number of times before we decided to do a land-only trip. We wanted the freedom of choosing how we got there and when and where to stay, and it turned out perfectly. So don't rule out doing a land tour independently of the cruise.

 

Those 14-day cruises are perfect, BTW!

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We did the triple Denali 5 years ago. Cruise first, no meal package. We absolutely loved every minute of it. I would change the cruise to last if I were to do it again. Glad we didn’t get the meal package...too much money and too much food based on what we saw and what others in our group told us. Sometimes we just wanted a bowl of soup. There were plenty of places to walk to for meals. Yes, they were more expensive than at home but we figured we saved about half the cost of the food package. 

 

By doing what we did we missed Glacier Bay. So this year we took a 7 day cruise from a Vancouver to Seward so we could see it. Loved it. 

 

So, I say yes, do land and sea...cruise last...

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Another vote for independent touring.  We wanted the land tour but couldn't it afford it, so we did a DIY land tour before our cruise.  We flew into Fairbanks and rented a car for the day, and drove around to all the sights on our own schedule.  No crowds, no waiting, and enjoyed the Museum of the North at our own leisure.  The next morning we took the train to Denali; this is very relaxing but also quite interesting as we also had a narrator who pointed out various things we saw along the way (one-way car rentals were prohibitively expensive but one leg of our train fare was off-season).  

 

We spent a few nights at the Denali Salmon Bake, which is relatively inexpensive lodging attached to a great little restaurant, with a free shuttle to/from the park and train station. We stayed in a cabin/tent with a foot of foam insulation and restroom a few buildings away.  It's right across from the Princess Lodge.  The first afternoon we enjoyed a hike in the mountains, and then walked to the nearby Subway to order box lunches for our bus tour the next day. The lunches were ready for pickup by 7 a.m.for our day tour up in the mountains (had booked the bus tickets online in advance).  We did see the top of Denali above the clouds, and bears washing in the stream, and got in a great hike that day.  The last day after another hike we took the train to Anchorage and stayed in a hotel one night, doing laundry before the cruise.  The hotel was near the Saturday market and we did some other Anchorage sightseeing before catching our ride to the ship.  

 

Because of our commitments at home, we couldn't be gone more than 12 days, so this was a great way to get a lot in.  This meant flying into Fairbanks, then out of Vancouver, but those "open-jaw" flights are not as expensive as they used to be.

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1 hour ago, Naismith said:

and restroom a few buildings away.

This is where you lost me. 🤣  Glad it worked so well for you though!

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We did the d3c tour in June.  The cruise was great (first) and so was the land portion.  Denali was one of the highlights of the trip!  It did get tiring though.  We had a cancelled flight from Fairbanks to Chicago to end our trip, got home 33 hours later than expected, and had 2 nights with not much sleep, so that kind of put a damper on the trip!  

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We flew into Anchorage and rented a car. Arrived fairly late at night, so stayed in a motel near the airport. The next day we drove to Fairbanks - stopping at Alaska Native Heritage Center,  Eklutna, Talkeetna, Alaskan Veterans Memorial and several overlooks along the way. (It was quite a bit after dark when we arrived in Fairbanks.) Stayed 2 nights in Fairbanks - did the Riverboat Discovery (met several who would be on our cruise that were taking the land/cruise) and drove to North Pole and the pipeline exhibit. Then back to Denali for 2 nights - took the long tour into the park and did laundry. The next day we toured the Anchorage Museum before turning in the car and boarding the bus to Whittier. This was for a Princess cruise, but you could do the same for any cruise line. Quite a bit less expensive than adding the ship's land option and, except for the riverboat and Denali tour, we could spend as much or little time as we wished at any spot.

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Posted (edited)

Hi doone,

 

As noted above, if you leave out the land portion you are missing quite a lot.

 

I urge you to do the land visit.

 

Ira

Edited by I_r_a

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Posted (edited)

We really wanted to see Denali so we did the land extension after our cruise w HA this past May, but hindsight is 20/20.  We won't do that again and instead plan our own land portion.  It was too expensive for what we got...and way too many bus/train rides that were really, really, loooooooong.  And to us, super boring.  The hotel in Denali was fine, but in Anchorage?  Oy  Awful.  LOL  We got a good laugh out of it.  We had a great trip but we know what we will do differently next time.  

Edited by CutieKakes

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Doone:

 

No matter what you decide, you will love Alaska.

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We did the triple Denali - 3 day inside passage - land portion and then 7 day cruise back.  The land portion was way more spectacular than the cruise.  Would do it again in a heartbeat!

 

 

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we flew to fairbanks and rented a car for a week. then we slowly drove down to anchorage, stopping where we decided we wanted to. no crowds and a nice relaxed drive down with stops for sightseeing and hiking. we did plan our stops in advance and made overnight reservations. course that takes a lot more planning than a group tour but it is worth it. there are a lot of guide books and online info to help you out.

then we cruised down to vancouver from anchorage.

as a finale, we spent a week on vancouver island after we docked. a great 3 week trip!

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21 hours ago, Himself said:

Doone:

 

No matter what you decide, you will love Alaska.

For sure

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It doesn't have to be an either cruise or cruise/land package. As other posters have written you can do a drive on your own to add to your cruise, take a round trip to add ports or as wasn't discussed you could plan your own landtour and take day cruises to see marine life and glaciers.  It really depends on where you want to go in Alaska, what your interests and priorities are, budget etc.

 

 I just got back a few days ago from an Inner Passage cruise on the Noordam which we followed with a 10 independent driving land vacation. I loved the cruise, my first and am already thinking of the next one.  The cruise was incredibly relaxing and I really appreciated the length of times we had in port-which gave us great flexibility on what we wanted to do. Personally I think if I had only cruised I would have felt like I missed out on "seeing" Alaska. The cruise is a wonderful experience in and of itself and takes you to places you would otherwise have to fly to or take a state ferry.  Adding a land portion gives you a more expanded experience.  We opted to make our own itinerary as we don't like to be rushed and like being able to pick exactly what we want to do. Driving is very easy in Alaska-the least crowded roads I've ever driven. 

 

For ideas about Alaska travel-the Tripadvisor travel forum for Alaska is very helpful. Similiar to this site you can ask questions and read Trip Reports. I found this invaluable in planning my trip. We had a great time.

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On 8/9/2019 at 10:48 PM, Cruising-along said:

This is where you lost me. 🤣  Glad it worked so well for you though!

Oh, yeah--I can see that:)  Can you tell we also camp?  So with a comfy bed, a shared restroom did not seem like a big deal.

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On 7/29/2019 at 12:17 PM, doone said:

I am planning a trip to Alaska, it was going to be land and then cruise, but looking at the pricing, I am finding it hard to justify the land and cruise and am honestly leaning towards just the cruise, perhaps heading upto Anchorage a day or two ahead and doing a bit of sightseeing on our own. 

 

For those of you who have done the land and cruise, what did you like and would you book a trip like that again.  

 

thanks, I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

If you're a night owl just to the sea part.  Years ago mum and I who are both night owls did the sea/land cruise.  OMG, we almost died and were exhausted when we got home.  Up at 5am - breakfast at 6am - bags outside hotel room at 7am - on the bus/train at 8am.  You get the picture.  I've never booked nor will I a land tour again.

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I am having trouble too figuring out what to do.  We did a 15 day land/sea tour that went up to Dawson.  Beforehand we rented a car in Anchorage and spent 4 days in Homer.  It was our 4th trip, but 3 times was for work and based in Anchorage so we toured within 200 mile radius several times. On the our land and sea tour only 4 days was cruising.  On land food was very expensive. Sometimes, depending on excursions, we were first eating dinner at 10 pm.  The only reason I would do a land sea is to go to the Yukon and Dawson City.  So much fun there.  I am looking at Holland’s 14 day sea only that goes to some new ports like Valdez and Haines.  Since we like exploring on our own, we could rent a car in some ports. Unfortunately, It is round trip from Vancouver which will not allow us extra time on our own in Alaska.  

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