Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
MudderBear

Alaska Cruise Tour Connoisseur Escorted

Recommended Posts

Hello all.  Is this type of cruise worth it?  I'm already booked on a different Princess Cruise Tour (3 nights Denali w/Tundra) cost is about $7200 (Princess Plus)

 

The Connoiseur tour is 2 Nights at McKinley and Two Nights at Denali (so one extra night) and it also has the Tundra Wilderness Tour.  However,it also has 5 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners and 2 Lunches. (times two for two people so 10 breakfasts, 8 dinners and 4 lunches).

 

The Connoisseur Tour will come to $8300. So roughly $1100 more with one extra night and the food.

 

Which do you think would be a better value?

 

thanks!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a connoisseur tour booked for June 2021, we chose it mainly for the known cost value.  I have been told that the Tundra Wilderness tour is the one you want to take as the other tour doesn't go as far into the park.

 

The lodges are isolated to somewhat isolated with limited to no dining options outside of the lodge.  If you know what lodge you are going to, check out the menu from the restaurant in the lodge for the prices, then make your decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I know very little about those lodges and restaurants, but I do know this, the last time I was inland in Alaska the meals were generally 3x the price for a similar meal back home.  So either way (prepay with the new Connoiseur tour adding one extra night, or pay as you go with the original Princess tour) expect to PAY$$$.  So for the meal aspect: for the two of you a full breakfast might run $50, lunch about the same and dinner $150.  So if you tend to eat full meals, those costs could be $950.  If you tend to eat lighter, then you might get by paying as you go and get by with $750.  Overall, for $1100 you seem to get a good deal depending on what you eat.

Edited by cruising deacon
more to add

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, MudderBear said:

The Connoiseur tour is 2 Nights at McKinley and Two Nights at Denali (so one extra night) and it also has the Tundra Wilderness Tour.  However,it also has 5 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners and 2 Lunches. (times two for two people so 10 breakfasts, 8 dinners and 4 lunches).

first off - we have only been on a 7 day cruise to Alaska, and that was back in 2007  - our first 'big cruise' on the Diamond

 

we want to go back, and if so, we will definitely be doing a Connoiseur (sp?) tour - the only question would be 6 day

as "our" minimum , or extend to 8 or even 10 days ( my wife's choice ), as we like everything up front and mostly

planned - just show up 

 

if that's in your time frame and budget , of course

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I know is the food the Connoisseur pax got was top notch; I’d go for it! You won’t have to think about finding food and can literally order whatever you want at the Princess restaurants. I saw so many people having King Crab Legs. I believe they limit you to 1 app, 1 entree, and 1 dessert, but there are no monetary restrictions for each category. Food is expensive here (AK), so you’d save some money by DIYing your meals, but maybe not as much as you’d think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely not worth it, IMO 

We did not do the Connoisseur tour, and paid way way less for our food and drinks, and ate and drank all we wanted. We ate locally in McKinley and Denali - took the shuttle into Talkeetna and ate there, and Denali lodge has loads if restaurants and shoos right across the street. 

We only ate a few meals at the lodges, and they were standard hotel good, nothing remarkable really. But the local eats were fantastic.  

We didn't spend anywhere near the estimates above, BTW. Prices were similar to mid-range chain restaurants in any big city. 

We did dinner for 4 with drinks, apps and two desserts, and it came to around $200, including generous gratuity.  Some dinners were less, none came out to more.

Breakfasts we ate at the lodges, as we were on the go early, mainly hot chocolate and a breakfast sandwich or bagel and cream cheese, $10 or so for the two of us . If you are a full sit down breakfast, you'd be looking at higher cost, but we preferred something lighter that we could take on the bus. 

The only place we had to eat at the lodge for all emails was Copper River, as the "limo" to the local restaurant was out of commission. And we were glad we hadn't been eating at the lodges all along as we then had the variety to enjoy, rather than same old same old after 5 days.  

It was good, but standard food (same stuff at all the lodges).. the lodge meals were among our most expensive.  

You can see the menus right at the lodge website.  You can then decide for yourselves..  

 

Obviously, if you're going to eat three full meals a day, three courses at lunch and dinner each time, and don't mind being tied to the lodges for all your meals rather than exploring local - then the Connoisseur tour with meals would likely make sense.   It most definitely didn't for us, at all, and we were super glad we didn't - we enjoyed some amazing local foods and drinks, at a lot less.  

 

Enjoy, whichever you choose.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can see our Connoisseur tour report to see what we liked about the land part of the tour. As it was 8  years ago, the menu prices are also that old, but they certainly have not gone down since then.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/1656270-details-of-the-tour-part-of-a-princess-alaska-cruisetour/

 

Sorry for the fuzzy photos. That is Photobucket's doing.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Just for the fact that the connoisseur tour has 2 nights at McKinley Princess in the middle of nowhere (1 hour each way from Talkeetna) I would say no this tour is not worth it.

 

Edited by frugaltravel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, MudderBear said:

Hello all.  Is this type of cruise worth it?  I'm already booked on a different Princess Cruise Tour (3 nights Denali w/Tundra) cost is about $7200 (Princess Plus)

 

The Connoiseur tour is 2 Nights at McKinley and Two Nights at Denali (so one extra night) and it also has the Tundra Wilderness Tour.  However,it also has 5 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners and 2 Lunches. (times two for two people so 10 breakfasts, 8 dinners and 4 lunches).

 

The Connoisseur Tour will come to $8300. So roughly $1100 more with one extra night and the food.

 

Which do you think would be a better value?

 

thanks!

 

 

We did an 8 day Connoisseur Tour last year and it was terrific. The food was excellent and a good range of choices,  anything off the menus regardless of price. The fact that everything is arranged is a big plus.

My only advice is do it before the cruise as the land tours are fairly tiring and you can then relax a bit on the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, frugaltravel said:

Just for the fact that the connoisseur tour has 2 nights at McKinley Princess in the middle of nowhere (1 hour each way from Talkeetna) I would say no this tour is not worth it.

 

 

On any land tour in Alaska, I suggest that two nights are needed at each lodge as that gives one full day there to properly enjoy the area.

 

If you only spend only one night at a lodge, at best you arrive in the afternoon and then have to leave the next morning, leaving little time to do anything in that area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, frugaltravel said:

Just for the fact that the connoisseur tour has 2 nights at McKinley Princess in the middle of nowhere (1 hour each way from Talkeetna) I would say no this tour is not worth it.

 

Very good point.  I've thought about that too.  I'd rather spend the 3 nights in Denali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, caribill said:

 

On any land tour in Alaska, I suggest that two nights are needed at each lodge as that gives one full day there to properly enjoy the area.

 

If you only spend only one night at a lodge, at best you arrive in the afternoon and then have to leave the next morning, leaving little time to do anything in that area.

Normally I agree with you. But who in their right mind would stay somewhere that is 2 hours round trip from the closest town? Most Princess guests who stay here have no idea that it is nowhere near anything and that it exists solely as a moneymaker for Princess.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, frugaltravel said:

Normally I agree with you. But who in their right mind would stay somewhere that is 2 hours round trip from the closest town? Most Princess guests who stay here have no idea that it is nowhere near anything and that it exists solely as a moneymaker for Princess.

 

I, for one, can do without "a town" for 2 glorious days just hanging out and enjoying life

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, voljeep said:

I, for one, can do without "a town" for 2 glorious days just hanging out and enjoying life

I can too but it wouldn't be at McKinley Princess lodge 😀. To each their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, frugaltravel said:

Normally I agree with you. But who in their right mind would stay somewhere that is 2 hours round trip from the closest town? Most Princess guests who stay here have no idea that it is nowhere near anything and that it exists solely as a moneymaker for Princess.

 

a) When we did it, on the full day we took a river raftting trip that ended up in the town. So when we were finished in town, we just had the one hour ride back.

b) On the last morning when we had to catch a train leaving from the town, instead of taking the bus from the lodge to the train station, we did the one hour trip to town and spent time there before a short bus ride to the train station

c) Before we left the lodge on the morning of b, we had fantastic views of Mt Denali. Totally worth the stay there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't choose the Conn. one, you can call your travel agent and have them upgrade you to the Tundra Wilderness Tour for a charge. It was well worth it to go farther into the park. Whatever you choose - enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I actually do have the Tundra Wilderness in my itinerary.  🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, voljeep said:

I, for one, can do without "a town" for 2 glorious days just hanging out and enjoying life

Agree! we did a 5 day Connoisseur Tour last August (1 night Anchorage, 2 nights McKinley, 2 nights Denali, then direct train to Whittier). Being in the "middle of nowhere" wasn't an issue for us. We arrived around lunch time, there were presentations on in the afternoon (rescued bird presentation, base camp manager talk & photos), walked to the tree house and listened to a talk and sampling of Birch syrups. Next day we had booked an excursion on the Hurricane Turn train, so caught an earlier shuttle into Talkeetna to look around. This excursion was great! Small group and well worth the cost! Rode the train, saw Denali in all its splendour(stopped the train and allowed the passengers to go to baggage compartment, where they opened the doors so we could take our photos). Off the train at Curry, short walk and talk about the history of the area then a snack and on board a boat to travel along the river. Next day on the way to next hotel Denali was visible again! We did the Tundra Wilderness tour - don't do the History tour. You can upgrade to the longer tour to Kantisha.

We liked the conn. tour as after nearly 4 weeks of travelling on our own it was time to have everything done for us! Appeared that the conn. rooms are closer to the main section of the hotels, luggage is taken and picked up from the room(yes sometimes the bags had to be outside earlier), coach dropped us off and picked up near our rooms. We could choose any meals from menus and were happy.

We always try to book 2 nights, just as someone else mentioned - you may not arrive till the afternoon and have to leave the next morning - not much time to look around or just chill!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Whether it's "worth it" or not is really an individual thing. We've done it twice. A 13 day with Fairbanks, Denali and McKinley and a 15 day with Fairbanks, Denali, Copper River, and Kenai. It was not inexpensive but we were quite pleased to have chosen the Connoisseur tours. Both times we did the land portion first.

Edited by Thrak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, going to Alaska to spend ANY more time in a town than I am forced to is a terrible waste. Alaska is 'God's Own' country, he was seriously ON that day. Less humans and human things, more God's Own! 

 

I like to eat good food, but when in Alaska, food is a very secondary consideration. This above all else, look! I have met several people who claimed that, when they were in Alaska, they saw very little wildlife. Look! It is there. And go out at night in a field with a full view of the night sky too. Awesome. 

 

Cannot wait to get back. 

 

PS, you will get great food on the ship, so worry less. And I agree that these multi-day tours can be tiring, and far better to relax on the cruise afterwards.

 

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...