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kimberlydrzymala

DYI Land portion or take the cruise ship land portion

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Hello,

 

We have signed up for a 4 day land tour with Celebrity prior to our 7 day cruise in Aug 2021. The cost for the land portion is about 1,000.00 per day and does not include food. I am wondering if we should just do this on our own. Has anyone had any experience with doing this with the cruise company? The only advantage I see is having a tour guide as part of the package. I would love to hear some other opinions on the pros and cons of doing this with the land package offered by Celebrity. Thanks in advance!!

 

The offered itinerary is this

Day 1 Anchorage

Day 2 Anchorage -> Denali

Day 3 Denali -> Talkeetna

Day 4 Talkeetna -> Seward

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The big drawback to short cruisetours is that you spend most of your time in transit, with little time to enjoy each location.

For example this particular cruisetour doesn't have enough time at Denali for you to get into the park to enjoy the wildlife and scenery. It only includes the Natural History Tour which only goes to Mile 30. (there are almost 100 miles of park road to enjoy! )

It would be simple enough and much cheaper to book the land portion on your own.  I always suggest a rental car. It gives you total control of your itinerary and schedule, plus you can make stops for wildlife or other points of interest along the way.  If you don't want to drive you can travel by train (Alaska Railroad) or bus ( Park Connection Bus) or a combination of both.  

There are many past trip reports posted above.  Look thru them for Celebrity cruisetours and DIY trips.

 

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I agree with mapleleaves.  I have enjoyed  several Holland America land tours and also one with the Alaska Railroad/Park Connection..  The shorter land tours are pretty worthless as they are all travel.  If you choose a package tour you need two nights minimum in a location in order to have one full day.  If you don’t mind the driving a DIY is the best answer.

Edited by oaktreerb

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Hey there - have done 2 x DIY tours post cruise and LOVE it!!  Easy to arrange with a little bit of research and the freedom to do what you want, go where you want and stop where you want.  $1000 a day sounds hideously expensive - you won't spend anywhere near that on a DIY (if you chose not to).

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It's super easy to drive around Alaska.  There's very little traffic.  You will need to book a tour into Denali if you want to go further than 15 miles in (book the shuttle bus, the shuttle bus drivers stop for wildlife and views).  Heck, for the amount you're saving, you could splurge and do a flight over denali and still save several hundred dollars per person.  

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1 hour ago, gigito2 said:

Where do those of you who have done DIY land tours suggest I start my research? TIA!

 

Is your DIY land by car, RV, train, bus ?

 

To start your research :

- read thru the many trip reports posted near the top of this forum.  The first paragraph usually indicates if there was DIY land travel pre or post cruise

- borrow some Alaska travel books from your library to learn about the various locations and which sights and experiences will be the best fit for your priorities and interests

- the Alaska forum of tripadvisor is a better resource for land travel. 

-  this list of planning resources has the web sites for towns/ports, Parks, Forests, ,books,  transportation, etc https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2639556-2019-resources-for-planning-a-visit-to-alaska/

 

                                               

 

Edited by mapleleaves

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i only starting to research alaska but found this thread. do you miss anything by not staying, for example. at the princess lodge or is that merely a convenience which takes all decision making out of your hands? 

 

 

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I know that the services at the Princess Lodge are comprehensive and for folks that do not want to plan their own makes perfect sense. I think that the loss of complete freedom was what drove us to cancel our RCI land tour and book DIY. We stayed at the Grand Denali Lodge which was not far from the Princess Lodge. We had an incredible view of the distant scenery from a high point and the tours we took had shuttle services that would come and pick up at the lodge.

 

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7 minutes ago, masterdrago said:

We stayed at the Grand Denali Lodge which was not far from the Princess Lodge. We had an incredible view of the distant scenery from a high point and the tours we took had shuttle services that would come and pick up at the lodge.

 

We too stayed there - would do so again. Only negative - couldn't walk to anything. We had a rental car, so it really didn't impact us. There was a restaurant onsite, but we didn't dine there.

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is there anything inherently you miss by leaving from the lower 48 RT vs ending up or starting in canada? i know its subjective to what you want to see but ive seen comment such as glacier bay being almost mandatory to see. 

 

do the smaller ships leave from the lower 48 and  yet do the tight spaces the bigger ones cannot (specific examples of smaller ships appreciated). 

Edited by luckyinpa

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