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Looks like I'm going to Alaska!
Old 09-10-2007, 01:26 PM   #1
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Looks like I'm going to Alaska!

Hi,

My aunt and uncle are going to Alaska next summer, and asked if I wanted to go along. I have traveled with my aunt before, and we travel well together. We're going to do a cruise/land tour combination that sounds pretty good. She picked it out, but it sounds OK to me.

I'll likely add on a lot of the adventure-type excursions - sea kayaking, white water rafting, hiking/glacier climbing etc.

I know it's a long ways away (next July), but I'm excited. It's on Princess:

Explorer: Copper River - Tour 14N7-night Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise with 6-night Land Tour featuring 2-nights Copper River Princess Lodge, 2-nights Denali Princess Lodge, 1-night Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge and 1-night Anchorage.

Sail from Vancouver, B.C.Port
Arrival
Departure
1
Vancouver, British Columbia
12:00 AM
4:30 PM
2
At Sea
3
Ketchikan, Alaska
6:30 AM
2:00 PM
4
Juneau, Alaska
8:00 AM
9:00 PM
5
Skagway, Alaska
7:00 AM
8:30 PM
6
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska (Scenic Cruising)
6:00 AM
3:00 PM
7
College Fjord, Alaska (Scenic Cruising)
5:30 PM
8:30 PM
8
Anchorage (Whittier), Alaska
12:30 AM
DayDestination
8
Whittier/Copper River
Disembark the ship and board a catamaran right at the cruise ship dock. Enjoy a scenic crossing of Prince William Sound to Valdez. Continue by motorcoach to the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge for a 2-night retreat.
9
Copper River
Enjoy a full day of leisure. Choose from many optional excursion that let you explore America's largest National Park - Wrangell-St. Elias. Overnight in the wilderness.
10
Copper River/Denali
Motorcoach to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge along the scenic Denali Highway. Be on the lookout for wildlife. Overnight at the lodge.
11
Denali
Take a morning Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax or explore.
12
Denali/Mt. McKinley
Travel to Talkeetna by luxurious Princess railcars, then onto the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge by motorcoach. Enjoy your night at the lodge.
13
Mt. McKinley/Anchorage
Enjoy the morning at your leisure, then sightsee by motorcoach to Anchorage for the night.
14
Anchorage
Your tour ends this morning in Anchorage.

I LOVE having a big trip to look forward to!

Karen
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:34 PM   #2
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"Alaska! Where you can never be too fat or too drunk!"
- Homer Simpson

Sounds like a great trip. I'm no doubt several years (at least) from getting to go there, but I'd love to go.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:40 PM   #3
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We went in 2005. Glacier Bay was spectacular. Did the bike ride in Skagway, it was fun and took the helicopter in Juneau.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:47 PM   #4
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You can get a lot of information and have questions answered on cruisecritic.com. No question too small. You can also try and hook up with fellow travelers on the same trip using their rollcall section and you can check on your ship and cabin and amenities.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:47 PM   #5
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That's a great trip that you'll remember for a lifetime. Good that you're going on the one-way cruise, and not the loop that returns to Vancouver. that one doesn't see enough of the state.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:57 PM   #6
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Sounds like a good itinerary but brrrrrrr....
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Old 09-10-2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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Have a great time! Post pics when you get back!
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Old 09-10-2007, 04:20 PM   #8
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You should be excited, it's a great trip! Along the coast it is not cold at all in July, we were warm at times. Bring layers.

One highlight for me was the helicopter trip to the glacier. Just the beautiful scenery along the coast was great, fir trees, icebergs, glaciers, eagles, whales. The ship had a naturalist on board, she gave a talk & slide show each day, and pointed out things at various times during the day. Weird to see the sun up at 11:30PM.

Each of those towns has a pretty high ratio of tourist trap stuff. But you can find interesting things if you look past the obvious.


I'm considering going again, but this time 3 days at sea, and X days in-land to Denali.

Enjoy! - ERD50
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Old 09-10-2007, 04:20 PM   #9
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I've done the first half of this trip, including helicoptering up the Mendenhall Glacier at Juneau, the White Pass & Yukon Railway at Skagway, rafting at the ghost village and canoeing in Ketchikan. Glacier Bay is a highlight. Bring warm clothing! You will love it.
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Old 09-10-2007, 04:27 PM   #10
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I think planning for the trip, thinking about it, is half of the fun! So you have a nice long time to enjoy. It will be a great trip!
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:41 PM   #11
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Sounds like fun. My daughter and I cruised as far as the Hubbard glacier this spring - beautiful country. We didn't do any official cruise excursions but did a couple of really cheap but fun things in Juneau. We took the tram ride to the top of Mt. Roberts in Juneau and a rickity old school bus to the Mendenhall glacier. Lots of jewelry stores in the port cities...too many really. I would like to go back some day too and go to the Denali Park. Your trip sounds wonderful.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:09 PM   #12
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Just got back from salmon fishing in Ketchikan (Salmon Falls Resort).

A humpback whale was 6 ft in front of our boat. We literally had to stop the boat so we didn't hit it. Most unbelievable thing I've ever seen.

Eagles were everywhere. The fish were plentiful (we left with 122lbs of salmon). And the resort was beautiful and absolutely not a tourist trap.

Alaska is an awesome vacation!
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:16 PM   #13
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I'd like to suggest that you take the full day trip into Denali. Only going on the morning trip doesn't get you into the interesting part. Take the full day, 8 hr trip from the park service, not from your Cruise/Tour company. It's cheaper and you will have the benefit of a park service tour guide and you will get to see the interesting landscapes in Denail. Plus, you'll have more opportunity to spot Grizzlies. Believe me, those eight hours will go by fast because that is one gorgeous place!

I believe you can sign up for the bus trip ahead of time on the Park Service web site. Have a fabulous time!
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Alaskan weather and bugs
Old 09-10-2007, 09:05 PM   #14
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Alaskan weather and bugs

I've spent quite a bit of time camping in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. One thing you ought to be aware of is that the interior of Alaska (north of the Alaska Range) in late June and July can be quite warm - I've seen it above 90 F for days in a row (with endless sunshine, of course), and have a friend who went swimming in the Arctic Ocean in July when the air temperature was 95 F. On the other hand, you can have cold, driving rain. It's really quite chancy, so you should make sure you take clothing for all eventualities.

The coastal area (e.g., Anchorage) is much milder, and never gets that warm. In summer, it can be simply delightful.

In the cities, or on the ocean, or right on the coast with sea breezes, mosquitoes are not usually a problem. In other areas (the bush), they can be unbelievably dense in late June and July. Take a bottle of repellent with you!

Despite this, Alaska and parts of the Yukon remain some of my favorite places on earth. Tremendous scenery and wildlife!
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:31 PM   #15
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We went in 2000; it was astounding. Three suggestions

1. At Denali, take a helicopter ride up into the mountains to get a bird's eye view of Mt. McKinley. It is quite expensive, but you will never forget it.

2. In Skagway, take the narrow gauge railroad to the top of the pass and back. The view is spectacular.

3. Bring layers of clothes, including raingear.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:52 AM   #16
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Congratulations. I am also taking a similar trip, mostly the cruise part around that same time, but I'm taking the reverse, which is Anchorage to Vancouver. One question, in deference to our LYBM lifestyle, have you found a good, low cost way to make the airplane trip to the drop off and pick up sites from the lower 48. Specifically, I've found so far, that, because BC is international, and both pick up and drop off would be one-way tickets, it is very expensive, versus a simple round trip to either end, although, to add in the portion to get back to the round trip site, adds back more cost then the savings. I've looked at going to Seatle, and then bussing to/from Vancouver, which does lower the cost, except for the hassle factor of the bus and luggage, etc. Any other suggestions/thoughts on lowering that portion of the cost?
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:33 AM   #17
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I'll definitely be printing out this thread as I work on the details of the trip.

I will look into helicopters, full days in Denali (I'm all for that!) etc.

whitestick - maybe others can help you on the flights. I haven't even thought about that yet. I was thinking that I'd spend a few days in Vancouver at the beginning and an extra day or two in Anchorage at the end, but that's about as far as the thought process has gone so far.

Thanks again, and keep the ideas coming! I'm sure once the trip gets closer, I'll start asking more specific questions.

Karen
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:58 AM   #18
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whitestick - you made me curious about flights, so I did a little searching. My LBMM way? I'll probably use Delta FF miles. It'll cost 50,000 miles to go from Washington DC to Vancouver then Anchorage to DC. Which means I'll have to book the flights soon (to make sure I get them), which means this weekend I'll want to make a quick decision about how long I want to spend in both cities!
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:20 AM   #19
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OK, so I've been doing some reading online about the interior part of the trip, and I think I have a change in plans. I'm now thinking I'll do the cruise with my aunt and uncle, but then leave them and tour the interior part on my own.

I don't like the idea of being herded around on a bus (did it with my aunt in Italy, and it's not my favorite thing to do). Plus, I'd love to spend a few days in Denali and even maybe camp there.

So, now I'm thinking of a week going from the cruise to Seward/Kenai to Denali back to Anchorage.

Not sure of the logistics of having my camping stuff and cruise stuff all with me, but I'll worry about that much later! I'm a light packer (even though I know I need layers in Alaska) and was able to bring my tent sleeping back from DC to Utah last year without too much of a problem.

I'll have to call my aunt this weekend and see if she would be really upset if I did this. I doubt it though - she knows I'm an independent spirit!

Karen
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:33 AM   #20
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Uh, watch out for bears.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaudrey View Post
OK, so I've been doing some reading online about the interior part of the trip, and I think I have a change in plans. I'm now thinking I'll do the cruise with my aunt and uncle, but then leave them and tour the interior part on my own.

I don't like the idea of being herded around on a bus (did it with my aunt in Italy, and it's not my favorite thing to do). Plus, I'd love to spend a few days in Denali and even maybe camp there.

So, now I'm thinking of a week going from the cruise to Seward/Kenai to Denali back to Anchorage.

Not sure of the logistics of having my camping stuff and cruise stuff all with me, but I'll worry about that much later! I'm a light packer (even though I know I need layers in Alaska) and was able to bring my tent sleeping back from DC to Utah last year without too much of a problem.

I'll have to call my aunt this weekend and see if she would be really upset if I did this. I doubt it though - she knows I'm an independent spirit!

Karen
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