It takes about 2 hours to get from your ship to Anchorage (depending on which way the tunnel is open!) Do NOT plan on staying in Whittier! I don't think there's even a hotel there, let alone a nice one. Good luck in trying to decide what to do in 3 days - and have a great trip!
Thanks for your prompt reply. Do you think we could rent a car in Whittier to drive to Anchorage? What did you mean by trying to decide what to do in 3 days?
Hi blasuv. After you get through the Tunnel, it’s about an hour’s drive to Anchorage. As cjnky said, it depends on luck and timing how much longer it takes since the Tunnel is open only 15 minutes per hour in each direction. Of course, the drive could take much longer if you make stops for some of the many activities and photo ops available along that stretch of highway:
There are places to stay in Whittier, but it is very tiny (population 170) and really not much to do there unless you are interested in taking an afternoon glacier cruise. Even if you did that, you’d probably want to take the 6:30 pm train to Anchorage anyway.
If you rent a car in Whittier and return it in Anchorage, last time I checked the drop-off fee was $125 extra, so keep that in mind when making your plans. Compare it with what your cruiseline offers for transport: that could be the cheapest and quickest way to get to Anchorage, and you can rent your car there. If there are several in your party, though, renting the car could be the better deal. And sometimes convenience is worth paying extra.
Maybe suggest a price range, so people can suggest accommodations. Are you interested only in hotels, or would you consider B&B’s? What amenities are important to you?
Do you already have activities planned for your 3 days, or would you like some suggestions?
"What did you mean by trying to decide what to do in 3 days?"
It was a chore for me to decide what I HAD to leave out in our 2 weeks post-cruise, so I feel for you trying to decide on 3 days!! That pretty much limits you to either the gorgeous Turnagain Arm and Seward, or Denali.
There's so much to do in Alaska. Only a very small part of it is what you see by cruise ship.
Easy glacier ice trekking at Matanuska glacier. flight-seeing from Talkeetna of Mt Mckinley. Shuttle bus rides into Denali National Park for great wildlife viewing and hiking. Bear viewing from Homer. scenic drive at Palmer down Hatcher's Pass road to independence mine. Not to mention kayaking and the beautiful drive down to Valdez, that we missed out on doing. ran out of time for that one and we had almost 3 weeks to spend in Alaska.
With three days after the cruise (is that three nights or two nights?), I would concentrate on either the Kenai Peninsula or Denali. You can get to Denali the same day you arrive from the cruise ship. Then the next day take an all day shuttle bus to Wonder Lake. The third day you can return to Anchorage. If you have another night, spend the night north of Anchorage exploring Hatcher Pass, Independence Mine and that area.
If you spent the time on the Kenai Peninsula you have to decide if you want a fairly expensive one-way car rental in Whittier with Avis to drive to Seward, spend time there (Kenai Fjords NP day cruise of 6 hours or more, Sealife Center, Exit Glacier) then head to Anchorage. Or if you get to Anchorage on your own, rent a car there and drive back to Seward. You lose a bit of time that way but it is a bit cheaper since you would rent a car in Anchorage and return it to Anchorage.
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