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Old 12-25-2009, 10:08 PM   #31
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It was quite a number of years ago but we did a land and sea, with the sea portion on Princess.
I would not recomend doing just a cruise. You should get into the interior, if possible, it is quite amazing.
We did a southbound Pricess cruise, which was quite nice. When booking it, I always considered the defacto Alaska cruise company with the best iteneraries and services.

For the land portion, we flew into Ankorage and rented a RV. It was very easy to drive and alot of fun to do on our own. Alaska is really set up for RVs, so even if you aren't an RV person it is something to consider. I'd do a RV again before hotels if/when we go again.
That said it was nice to get on a cruise and be spoiled. The biggest treat was to have shades that blocked out the midnight sun.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:53 PM   #32
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We did a 7-night sea vacation on Princess to Alaska.. it was AMAZING! I am from Alaska but had never been to the parts we traveled to. I would love to do the land/sea next time. We had such a wonderful experience on Princess - I would highly recommend them.
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:09 AM   #33
Andrew DEREK UK
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Originally Posted by jnsma View Post
It was quite a number of years ago but we did a land and sea, with the sea portion on Princess.
I would not recomend doing just a cruise. You should get into the interior, if possible, it is quite amazing.
We did a southbound Pricess cruise, which was quite nice. When booking it, I always considered the defacto Alaska cruise company with the best iteneraries and services.

For the land portion, we flew into Ankorage and rented a RV. It was very easy to drive and alot of fun to do on our own. Alaska is really set up for RVs, so even if you aren't an RV person it is something to consider. I'd do a RV again before hotels if/when we go again.
That said it was nice to get on a cruise and be spoiled. The biggest treat was to have shades that blocked out the midnight sun.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
Jeff.
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Originally Posted by Derby View Post
We did a 7-night sea vacation on Princess to Alaska.. it was AMAZING! I am from Alaska but had never been to the parts we traveled to. I would love to do the land/sea next time. We had such a wonderful experience on Princess - I would highly recommend them.
Thank you for your further info..
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:51 AM   #34
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DH and I sailed the Diamond Princess in 2004 in Alaska. It was awesome. We absolutely loved the anytime dining for such a port intensive cruise. Our excursions were some of the best we have take, organized all on our own.

You may want to spend some time over at Cruise Critic on the Princess board and the Alaska port of call board. There is a wealth of information over there. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:18 AM   #35
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You may want to spend some time over at Cruise Critic on the Princess board and the Alaska port of call board. There is a wealth of information over there. Good luck with your decision.
Derek UK, there *is* a ton of information over there. But just be aware there are people on that board, particularly in the Alaska Port of Call area, who will tell you that your plans are stupid and worthless if they don't match up with THEIR idea of what an Alaska vacation should be. This is from personal experience. I had to stop reading & posting over there because it got so aggravating. You'd ask a question, and they woudn't answer it, they'd just tell you what you should do instead, because it was "better" & cheaper than what you had planned. If you're looking for the cheapest way to do Alaska, it may be your place. But if you're looking for the best experience, not so much.

The DIS is WAY more helpful. I *loved* the trips I took, even though some of the folks over on Cruise Critic thought they were rubbish.

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Old 12-26-2009, 11:14 AM   #36
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Derek UK, there *is* a ton of information over there. But just be aware there are people on that board, particularly in the Alaska Port of Call area, who will tell you that your plans are stupid and worthless if they don't match up with THEIR idea of what an Alaska vacation should be. This is from personal experience. I had to stop reading & posting over there because it got so aggravating. You'd ask a question, and they woudn't answer it, they'd just tell you what you should do instead, because it was "better" & cheaper than what you had planned. If you're looking for the cheapest way to do Alaska, it may be your place. But if you're looking for the best experience, not so much.

The DIS is WAY more helpful. I *loved* the trips I took, even though some of the folks over on Cruise Critic thought they were rubbish.

Sayhello
One of the reasons I post here, but you do get that on any board.

I try my best to be natural and honest in my posts , but others will disagree with my views, thats life!!
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:53 AM   #37
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Derek UK, there *is* a ton of information over there. But just be aware there are people on that board, particularly in the Alaska Port of Call area, who will tell you that your plans are stupid and worthless if they don't match up with THEIR idea of what an Alaska vacation should be. This is from personal experience. I had to stop reading & posting over there because it got so aggravating. You'd ask a question, and they woudn't answer it, they'd just tell you what you should do instead, because it was "better" & cheaper than what you had planned. If you're looking for the cheapest way to do Alaska, it may be your place. But if you're looking for the best experience, not so much.

The DIS is WAY more helpful. I *loved* the trips I took, even though some of the folks over on Cruise Critic thought they were rubbish.

Sayhello
I post quite a bit on Cruise Critic, and there is definitely a STRONG bias on the Alaska board against doing the land tour through the cruise line. The individual cruise line boards are much more supportive of doing the land trip via "cruisetour." However, it isn't any more difficult to plan a land trip in Alaska than it is to plan one elsewhere in the lower 48. Alaskans speak English, use US currency, and drive on the right side of the road. For whatever reason, some people think they can't see the interior of Alaska unless they're on a cruise line's bus or rail car.

The problem with Princess cruisetours is that most include the Natural History Tour at Denali (the Tundra Wilderness Tour or independent shuttle bus is much better), and many include several days at the McKinley Princess Lodge in the middle of nowhere.

To get ideas for a land trip, take a look at John Hall's Alaska: www.kissalaska.com. That small company has some very interesting land tours combined with cruises. Even though I did two land trips independently with a rental car, I got some great itinerary ideas from John Hall's site.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:30 PM   #38
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I've cruised Alaska 3 times. Once each with RCL, Celebrity, and Princess. The Princess was a BtB Vancouver to Wittier and back.

One was a sea and land trip that ended with us at Fairbanks. If I had to do it again, I'd prob. rent a car in Anchorage and spend about 10 days in the state myself going up to Fairbanks and back down. The train was OK but I don't think we saw a single animal the entire ride. The lodges we stayed at were all awesome.

The Talkeetna Lodge was awesome. And the split Alaskan crab legs at the restaurant...

If I were to book a cruise for just the cruise as a once in a lifetime experience I think the most amazing glacier is by far Hubbards. Not all lines go there and not all ships in all lines make it either. But none of the others were close in size.

There is a whale watching tour in Juneau that I've done 3 times. Each time I've seen dozens of humpbacks. The first time we took the tour a pod of Orcas were swimming around and under our tour boat after they had stopped hunting a porpoise in the area.
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:07 PM   #39
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We are currently booked on one of DCL's Alaska cruises, but my DH is having second thoughts (he thinks he might be Disney'd out by then ).

I know he would like to see Alaska, so I'm also considering booking with another line once their 2011 itineraries are released.

As Andrew has stated, us UK visitors can often get a cruise, decent stateroom and flights all for the same price that the DCL cruise will be costing us.
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:49 PM   #40
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I've cruised Alaska 3 times. Once each with RCL, Celebrity, and Princess. The Princess was a BtB Vancouver to Wittier and back.

One was a sea and land trip that ended with us at Fairbanks. If I had to do it again, I'd prob. rent a car in Anchorage and spend about 10 days in the state myself going up to Fairbanks and back down. The train was OK but I don't think we saw a single animal the entire ride. The lodges we stayed at were all awesome.

The Talkeetna Lodge was awesome. And the split Alaskan crab legs at the restaurant...

If I were to book a cruise for just the cruise as a once in a lifetime experience I think the most amazing glacier is by far Hubbards. Not all lines go there and not all ships in all lines make it either. But none of the others were close in size.

There is a whale watching tour in Juneau that I've done 3 times. Each time I've seen dozens of humpbacks. The first time we took the tour a pod of Orcas were swimming around and under our tour boat after they had stopped hunting a porpoise in the area.
Thank you...now whale watching spikes the imagination.

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We are currently booked on one of DCL's Alaska cruises, but my DH is having second thoughts (he thinks he might be Disney'd out by then ).

I know he would like to see Alaska, so I'm also considering booking with another line once their 2011 itineraries are released.

As Andrew has stated, us UK visitors can often get a cruise, decent stateroom and flights all for the same price that the DCL cruise will be costing us.
This is the thing, Princess is all inclusive of flights and looks very tempting and does it all, yes DCL has been good but for Alaska; Princess seem to have the experience and the set up, and so many options that DCL cannot offer.

I wouldn't want to cruise and find I missed an important bit and this thread highlights thoose, like Glacier bay.

PS

See DCL have a 30 min show on Sky??? Selling Med Cruises and also 14 night WDW/DCL Combos, on the Magic today?? Not sure if repeated but good prices, booking through Virgin cruises and thoose included flights.
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:54 PM   #41
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Ok my time to ask, and yes know I have committed a sin already with the thread not being DCL.

For the cruise experts out there, on Alaska, and how have sailed with Princess as well.

I have been disappointed with DCL's Wonder itinerary to Alaska, and with my Med 7/30/2011 being changed started to look at the alternatives.

One alternative I am researching is Alaska with Princess, they say they are regularly voted best cruise line to Alaska and have permits for Glacier Bay. I have sailed with Princess many times and found there ships,service, and crew very good.

Now they have *too many* options and I want to cut that down to what is the best.

Options/views on these:-

-Connoisseur Voyage Cruise
This exciting 14-day cruise ventures deeper into Alaska to explore out-of-the-way places rarely featured on other itineraries. Visit Seward and Kodiak as well as popular Inside Passage ports of Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, and Ketchikan. Glacier-viewing in Glacier Bay National Park and Tracy Arm Fjord plus a stop in Victoria, B.C. complete this unique, 2-week Alaska cruise exploration round trip from Seattle.

or

-Inside Passage - 10 Days Round Trip San Francisco
This 10-day itinerary features ports of call in Victoria, B.C., Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan plus glacier-viewing in Glacier Bay National Park.
Like this as I would like to go to San Fran again. So can add 4 nights there.

or

7-night Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise with 5-night Land Tour featuring 1-night Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge, 1-night Denali Princess Lodge, 2-nights Fairbanks and 1-night Seattle.
The train and Denali national park look appealing but see fewer ports.

All these include flights for me and appear to be very competitive against DCL.



View from the experts who have cruisesed in that area before with these add ons.
I've done Alaska twice with Princess and will do it again wih them approximately every 5 years. That said, we also signed up for the Wonder to do Alaska in 2011 but we are looking at that as an "inbetween" trip just to tide us over until our next "real" Alaska trip in 2013.

I'd go with a SB out of Whittier and have land portion of the trip before. Princess does an excellent job with their land tours. So as long as possible but try to make sure you get at least 2 nights at Denali so you have time for the Wilderness tour into the park. It is a LONG bus ride but very worth it.

The first trip we did was 2 nights Fairbanks, 2 Denali, 1 McKinley and 1 Anchorage. The last one we did I added time in Anchorage so we did 2 nights Anchorage, 1 McKinley, 2 Denali. With the added time in Anchorage we had time to do Prince William Sound Glacier tour again. Definitely worth it.
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:58 PM   #42
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I've done Alaska twice with Princess and will do it again with them approximately every 5 years. That said, we also signed up for the Wonder to do Alaska in 2011 but we are looking at that as an "inbetween" trip just to tide us over until our next "real" Alaska trip in 2013.

I'd go with a SB out of Whittier and have land portion of the trip before. Princess does an excellent job with their land tours. So as long as possible but try to make sure you get at least 2 nights at Denali so you have time for the Wilderness tour into the park. It is a LONG bus ride but very worth it.

The first trip we did was 2 nights Fairbanks, 2 Denali, 1 McKinley and 1 Anchorage. The last one we did I added time in Anchorage so we did 2 nights Anchorage, 1 McKinley, 2 Denali. With the added time in Anchorage we had time to do Prince William Sound Glacier tour again. Definitely worth it.
This does sound a consensus, land first, Denali min two days, thanks for advice.
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Old 12-26-2009, 04:33 PM   #43
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This does sound a consensus, land first, Denali min two days, thanks for advice.
Land first isn't a "consensus"! We intentionally did two northbound cruises followed by 9 days on land. The "wow factor" is greater going north, and you get more hours of daylight going that direction.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:14 PM   #44
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My tips from experience

From my experience, I would recommend skipping both the tourist traps at Talkeetna and the Princess McKinley lodge.

Instead, stay somewhere in Denali National park, either camp or stay at the Kantisna Lodge. Denali is most often obscured in clouds so plan several days to get the best chance for a view.

I would also recommend an excursion to see the bears at Katmai NP. This is the only place that you will get a close view of wild bears. You may see bears in Denali, but will only appear as a small fuzzy spec on a mountain. At Katmai, a good lens can spot the salmon stuck in the bears teeth.

Note that Kantisa Lodge and Katmai NP are extremely remote. You need to be in reasonable health and not affraid of small planes or long bus rides. A medical emergency in these places would require an airlift.

I paid $1500.00 for three of us for the helicopter dog sled experience in Juneau. Worth every penny!


-Paul
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Old 12-27-2009, 04:00 AM   #45
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Land first isn't a "consensus"! We intentionally did two northbound cruises followed by 9 days on land. The "wow factor" is greater going north, and you get more hours of daylight going that direction.
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From my experience, I would recommend skipping both the tourist traps at Talkeetna and the Princess McKinley lodge.

Instead, stay somewhere in Denali National park, either camp or stay at the Kantisna Lodge. Denali is most often obscured in clouds so plan several days to get the best chance for a view.

I would also recommend an excursion to see the bears at Katmai NP. This is the only place that you will get a close view of wild bears. You may see bears in Denali, but will only appear as a small fuzzy spec on a mountain. At Katmai, a good lens can spot the salmon stuck in the bears teeth.

Note that Kantisa Lodge and Katmai NP are extremely remote. You need to be in reasonable health and not affraid of small planes or long bus rides. A medical emergency in these places would require an airlift.

I paid $1500.00 for three of us for the helicopter dog sled experience in Juneau. Worth every penny!


-Paul
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