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cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

New York City, New...
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cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

We are two couples 65+ who would like to cruise inside passage to Alaska. My limited, early research suggests fly to Seattle (from NY) take a scenic train ride to Vancover and begin our cruise from there during the summer June/July/Aug. The return trip can be by rail or we could rent a car taking in the sights and drive back to Vancover, I have no idea what the mileage is back to Vancover and then fly NY from there. We have 10-14 days to work with more if necessay. Would like to see the beautiful Canadian Rockies,. We love the outdoors. Is Lake Louise out of the way on this trip? Suggestions as to sights to see, national parks, hotels, restaurants, anything you think would make our trip a trip to remember. Our budget is open and want to take advantage of all the beauty in this part of Canada.

Lake Tahoe...
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1. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

First of all, you cannot take the train back, as the Alaska Railroad is entlirely intrastate. You may have difficulty renting a car in Alaska and dropping it off in Canada. As for distance you can get an estimate by making use of Google maps, and it is a long trip. Also, if Prncess, they offer shuttle service between the airport in Seattle and the ship in Vancouver (cheaper than flying SEA-YVR). Of course, and recommend it, taking the train would allow overnight in Vancouover. Neat place to visit.

There is train service from Prnce Rupert to Jasper (runs about three times a week). You could rent a car at Jasper. To get to Prince Rupert would be the Alaska ferry, but to get to the Panhandle (Inside Passage) you will need to fly, unless you can get a one-way rental to Haines.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

There is no train that runs between Alaska and Vancouver or anywhere in BC.

It may be difficult to find a one-way rental between Alaska and Vancouver, or it might come with a very high drop off fee. Off the top of my head I'd say it's about 2500 miles.

If your primary interest is the Rockies, I think your best bet is to fly back to Vancouver, rent a car and explore for a week. For further information on that trip you need to visit the Canada forums .. BC and Alberta.

Good luck.

Whitehorse
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3. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

The 2400 miles drive fron Anchorage to Vancouver is quite nice but there are no one-way rentals between thoses cities. From Vancouver, you can take a Via Rail train to the Rockies then maybe a 3 day bus tour of Jasper - Banff ...

Anchorage, Alaska
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4. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

There's no train from AK to BC. The one-way car rental would be difficult to get (if not very expensive). 10 -14 days is not nearly enough time for this trip (IMO).

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

You have a choice to make regarding which part(s) of Alaska you want to see. From Vancouver, you can take a very scenic 7-day ROUND TRIP cruise that travels the Inside Passage to/from Southeast Alaska (the "Alaska Panhandle") OR you can take a 7-day ONE WAY cruise that terminates either in Whittier or Seward, both in Southcentral Alaska.

From Whittier or Seward, you have road or rail access (via Anchorage) to Denali National Park, the Kenai Peninsula, and other tourist destinations in Southcentral or Interior Alaska. These are very scenic destinations, but they will require the investment of additional time and resources beyond the cruise. If you have 10-14 days, then combining a one-way cruise with some land-based touring in Alaska would consume all of your time, with nothing left for visits to the Canadian Rockies. At the end of the land tour portion of your trip, you'd pretty much have to fly straight back to the east coast. If you wanted to add the Rockies AFTER a land tour of Alaska, then you'd probably need to allocate something more like 21 days for the whole trip.

If you choose the round-trip cruise from Vancouver, then you could rent a car on your return and drive to Banff and/or Jasper National Parks, or you could take the train from Vancouver to Jasper, rent a car there, and visit the Rockies for a few days. You could either return the car to Jasper and take the train back to Vancouver, or make it a one-way car rental and drive from Banff to Calgary International Airport (around 90 min.) and fly home from there.

Note there are also round-trip cruises that begin and end in Seattle (but no one-way cruises due to federal maritime law.) In my view these are inferior to the Vancouver departures due to the route the Seattle boats take, outside Vancouver Island on open ocean. The Vancouver boats stay to the "inside" of the island, thus giving you more "Inside Passage" time.

Regarding flying to Seattle and taking the train up to Vancouver, this is an enjoyable option. However, another alternative for New Yorkers is to take the daily flight from JFK to Vancouver operated by Cathay Pacific Airlines, a Hong Kong-based airline judged one of the best in the world. Cathay's prices are usually very competitive and the service first-rate.

haines, alaska
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6. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

During your research, start with a good map, a real map........

fti
MN
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7. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

just to mention in case you were thinking about it. there are also no one way car rentals between Anchorage and Seattle either. the only time you might see that is very late in the tourist season when companies like Avis I want to move cars to the lower 48.

Greater Sydney...
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8. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

Great post ibgardyloo. I agree with the others, you do not have enough time for Alaska and the Rockies which should be given a minimum of 7 days IMO.

New South Wales...
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9. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

"Like" post #6

@ Frommy - sounds like the OP needs an APT Tour. Don't they have those ex. USA???

Edited: 7:02 am, March 13, 2013
Greater Sydney...
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10. Re: cruise to Alaska - train or drive back

They have very similar, tez, but APT is Australian Pacific Tours so I don't think marketed in the US.