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Alaska Cruise from Whittier

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First time Alaska out of Whittier. We arrive Anchorage 2 days early. Planning on taking the train ANC to Whittier the day of the cruise. What is the best side of the train to be on (ANC to Seward was the right side). Also what would you recommend for one day out of ANC? Our son & wife will be first time in AK.

 

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Don't remember which side of the train we were on (think right) but we were able to see; no problem. Just enjoyed the ride and was happy to do it. Have been to ANC several times. 1st time I did a 10-11 day road trip before heading to Whittier for the cruise and covered 2000 miles by car in that time. However, I had a day stretch waiting for my 2nd travel partner and was happy to explore the city ~ look for things there that interest you. I went to the Alaska Heritage Center and also walked some of the city. On my 2nd trip there, my cousin and I rented a car and spent a night down at the Alyeska resort and hiked and took the tram to the top.

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The inlet is on your right and land is on your left. The best views are on the inlet side. 

 

~Brian

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4 hours ago, Hydro pool lover said:

First time Alaska out of Whittier. We arrive Anchorage 2 days early. Planning on taking the train ANC to Whittier the day of the cruise. What is the best side of the train to be on (ANC to Seward was the right side). Also what would you recommend for one day out of ANC? Our son & wife will be first time in AK.

 

 

I know that you will see plenty of ice on your cruise but we had a spare day in Anchorage and did the Portage Glacier tour which also stopped at the Alyeska resort - lunch and cable car included. The cruise out on the lake was great and you get very close to the face of the glacier, as per below.. The driver also stopped at a few special places along the way. We did the cruise and an 8 day Princess land tour but this tour was up there with any of the highlights. 

IMG_1712.JPG

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2 hours ago, shukapaw said:

The inlet is on your right and land is on your left. The best views are on the inlet side. 

 

~Brian

 

Agree 100%

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Don't miss views of Denali (the mountain itself) while in the Anchorage area.

The museum in Anchorage is fantastic!

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The right side is definitely the best; you’ll have the water on your side til you cut inland. For a day in Anchorage, I’d recommend one of the following:

1) walk around downtown, take the free shuttle to the zoo, free shuttle to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, do the trolley tour, have a reindeer dog at Tia’s stand for lunch, and have awesome seafood at Simon and Seaforts or Glacier Brewhouse for dinner 

 

2) rent a car and drive to Palmer/Wasilla to visit the reindeer farm to feed and pet reindeer and feed moose, meet a musher and his sled dogs a short drive past Palmer/Wasilla, and see some beautiful mountain scenery enroute

 

Happy planning!

 

 

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There are several shuttles that depart from the Log Cabin Visitor Center on the corner of 4th Ave & F St.   The free shuttle that cruisequeen mentioned that goes to the Heritage Center also goes to the museum. Although the shuttle is free there is admission into each venue.  Check out the Alaska Culture Pass that gets you into both for a savings.

http://www.alaskaculturepass.org/

 

If you have a rental, a better option for most is driving up to Matanuska Glacier for a hike on the glacier with one of the guides such as NOVA or MICA.  It’s a special experience to hike on the glacier and a highlight of an Alaska trip for many. You’d pass by the reindeer farm along the way.

 

Although the right side of the train heading south is preferred, there are frequently Dall sheep along the cliffs near Windy Point that you will pass as you travel down Turnagain Arm.  Keep an eye out.

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Not exactly what you asked for, but you might like to consider another approach.  We flew in 3 days early, so had a day to explore Anchorage first. On our second day (your first) we took the train to Whittier and spent the night at The Inn at Whittier.  It is a quirky town with a fantastic history.  There are several tours there.  We enjoyed the 26 glacier tour very much.  You can take it the day you arrive on the train or the next day before boarding the ship.  The town is small with a lovely fishing boat harbor. The Inn is beautiful and as quirky as the town.  Great seafood at the restaurant.  We are so glad we took this unusual detour.        

 

 http://innatwhittier.com/

 

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On 8/1/2020 at 4:08 PM, Hydro pool lover said:

First time Alaska out of Whittier. We arrive Anchorage 2 days early. Planning on taking the train ANC to Whittier the day of the cruise. What is the best side of the train to be on (ANC to Seward was the right side). Also what would you recommend for one day out of ANC? Our son & wife will be first time in AK.

 

If you are hoping to get get photos through the train windows, good luck avoiding the rainbow in your photos.  Leave your seat and spend most of your journey on the connecting platforms between the train cars.  You can move from side to side to catch the ice, moose, eagles, and scenery without the hinderance of the thick train windows.

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/gallery/enroute-to-anchorage/P6120672.jpg

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In the past,   Alaska Railroad seats were randomly assigned,   you didn't request then.    Best is to get out of your seat and a spot in the dome car or vestibule,   or pay for the Gold Star class.   

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I never jump on a ship in Whittier and always go out on a boat tour.    Far superior experience to anything you will see from your cruise ship.    Don't waste your Alaska touring opportunities,  this is an excellent option.  

 

I also suggest a one day car rental and see some of the Mat Su.    Anchorage is a "city".   🙂   

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13 hours ago, Budget Queen said:

I never jump on a ship in Whittier and always go out on a boat tour.    Far superior experience to anything you will see from your cruise ship.    Don't waste your Alaska touring opportunities,  this is an excellent option.  

 

I also suggest a one day car rental and see some of the Mat Su.    Anchorage is a "city".   🙂   

Yeah, we say that Alaska is just a short drive from Anchorage. 😉

 

You are really selling yourself short by allowing 2 days pre-cruise.  Budget Queen's suggestion of a Whittier boat tour is a good one. I've done the 26 Glacier Cruise a number of times and it never fails to delight! So much to see and do and you are traveling so far that 2 days seems woefully inadequate.

 

~Brian

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While in Anchorage for a full day, rent a car.  Someone above mentioned going to the Palmer/Wasilla area.  If you do that consider going out north of that area to the Independence Mine - maybe 30 minutes out of either town.  It's interesting with nice scenery.  Going or coming from Anchorage at Eagle River is the Eagle River Nature Center about 15 minutes off of the Glenn Highway - very spectacular photo opportunities there.  They  have some easy walking trails with wood viewing platforms once you get out to the river - occasionally you may see a moose walking around the shallow water. I've been to the Nature Center several times (winter & summer) and always enjoy myself.  Also, the Anchorage Museum is very, very nice - you could easily park there and do a walking tour of downtown.  Good luck!

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9 hours ago, SuperCrewBear said:

While in Anchorage for a full day, rent a car.  Someone above mentioned going to the Palmer/Wasilla area. 

 

Wasilla itself is not an attraction.  Just one long series of strip malls.

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4 minutes ago, quack2 said:

 

Wasilla itself is not an attraction.  Just one long series of strip malls.

Nobody said Wasilla was an attraction.  There are attractions in the general area though.

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2 hours ago, quack2 said:

 

Wasilla itself is not an attraction.  Just one long series of strip malls.

 

2 hours ago, SuperCrewBear said:

Nobody said Wasilla was an attraction.  There are attractions in the general area though.

The Iditarod Museum and the Alaska State Transportation Museum are there and are interesting.

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13 hours ago, pizzalady1 said:

 

The Iditarod Museum and the Alaska State Transportation Museum are there and are interesting.

 

The first and only Sonic Drive-In in the state of Alaska is at Wasilla too. It opened last year just ahead of the State Fair. 😉

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2 hours ago, SuperCrewBear said:

 

The first and only Sonic Drive-In in the state of Alaska is at Wasilla too. It opened last year just ahead of the State Fair. 😉

Except for their ice, not sure why I would eat there.

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8 hours ago, Coral said:

Except for their ice, not sure why I would eat there.

 

Why so snobbish? 🤨 Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Gee...

 

 

 

IMG_8080.JPG

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50 minutes ago, SuperCrewBear said:

 

Why so snobbish? 🤨 Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Gee...

 

 

 

IMG_8080.JPG

There are plenty of great restaurants to eat at in Alaska. Why eat at a chain restaurant? And I don't even eat at the Sonic near my house.

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13 hours ago, SuperCrewBear said:

 

Why so snobbish? 🤨 Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Gee...

 

 

 

IMG_8080.JPG


I think you have to know Alaska humor pretty well to get why this is funny...

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3 minutes ago, wolfie11 said:


I think you have to know Alaska humor pretty well to get why this is funny...

I am just not into fast food. Alaska humor or not.

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I'd always recommend as much time as possible before your cruise. But I realize some people can't do more. When I took back-to-back cruises last summer from Vancouver to Whittier and back, I was amazed at the number of people I met both ways who did not plan for any time in Alaska before or after their cruises.

 

I loved taking the 26 glaciers excursion on my turn-around day. It was the highlight of my cruise. 

Edited by geoherb

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