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Pre-Cruise Question

Louisville, Ky
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Pre-Cruise Question

I am in the very early planning stages of a 2014 Alaskan cruise for my wife and 3 kids (ages 21, 13 and 10). We plan to fly into Fairbanks or Alaska (will be using airline miles, so flight cost isn't an issue) and then out of Vancouver. Thinking it will be a Princess Cruise, leaving from Whittier and heading south.

That being said, if I had 3-4 day time frame, what would be a suggested itiineray? I know that we want to see Denali. Any other recommendations...I don't want to spend our limited time driving on the highway, so I wonder if we should just concentrate on Denali? Thoughts?

Almost wondering if it's possible to fly into Fairbanks, get a one-way car rental and drive south to the Cruise port. Does this sound reasonable or would it be better to fly into Anchorage?

Thanks for your help!

Brian

Healy, Alaska
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1. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

You can, but it may cost an arm in the leg for the one way rental - usually does. But if you have a heathly budget, you can do it. But no need to fly into Fairbanks if you really want to just see Denali park. I would fly into Anchorage, pick up your rental car there (reserve this as soon as your other stuff is confirmed) and then drive to Denali for 3 days, and return car back to Anchorage. Then you could take train or shuttle to Whittier for cruise. That would probably be the simplest. But if you can add another day or two, that would be very cool. :)

New South Wales...
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2. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

With only 3-4 days - you really only have time for Denali if that is your priority. There are several ways to access it but the most convenient would be to fly into either ANC or Fairbanks and hire a car to drive to your Denali area accommodation. Another option is to do an Alaska Railroad trip. See here: alaskarailroad.com/Vacations/…Default.aspx for ideas. If you can extend to 5 days you will get Denali + something else.......

Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

My idea, if "money is no object"...

Fly into Fairbanks, rent a car and go to Denali. Spend a couple of days.

From Denali drive to Whittier. Give yourself at least an overnight in the Girdwood area as you can get some great, family AK experiences in that area (see this post/thread: tripadvisor.com/…47298453 ).

Get on your cruise ship.

Good luck,

Scott

Edited: 6:08 pm, February 22, 2013
Louisville, Ky
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4. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

Thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions. I didn't mean to give off the "money is no object vibe." I meant that only in relation to the flight prices (Anchorage vs Fairbanks) as I have a ton of miles that I can use for flight purposes.

After some more research, I think our tentative plan would be something like fly into Anchorage on Day 1. I figure we will just spend the night there assuming we will be tired after a day of travel from the Midwest (Louisville, KY). On day 2, we would drive to Denali, check into a hotel there and spend the day in the park. Day three would be Denali. Day 4 would be Denali in the morning and then a drive back to Anchorage, Girdwood or Whittier to spend the night before departing on day 5 for the cruise.

Does this sound reasonable?

USA
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5. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

What dates are you think of traveling?

On Day 2, it's a 5 hour drive up to Denali, plus stops: Denali view north & south, the veteran memorial, etc. So that would be a good day to do some entrance area stuff: visitors center, dog sled demo at the dog yard if you make it there in time, or perhaps do an entrance area hiking trail.

Then Day 3 have a reservation for a shuttle bus into the park, how far you can go will depend on your arrival date. Going to Eielson visitor center or Wonder Lake would be my recommendation.

How do you plan to get from Anchorage to Whittier? If you gave yourself another day or 2, you could take the train From Anchorage to Whittier & perhaps do a glacier day cruise out of Whittier, spending the night at the Inn at Whittier ;)

Lake Tahoe...
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6. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

If you are going to do a one-way rental from Fairbanks to Whittier you will have to use Avis. If you insist on renting a car I would rent one out of Anchorage and drive to Denali and back and save the dropoff charge (unless you choose Whittier - and must be Avis)

New South Wales...
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7. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

What time do you arrive in Anchorage? Unless it's quite late, you could at least hit the road and get to Wasilla or Talkeetna on Day 1. We travelled from Australia, arrived in Anchorage at 5am and hit the road. I think adrenaline kept us going for much of that first day........ Just the excitement and wonder of being in Alaska!

Anchorage, Alaska
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8. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

"I didn't mean to give off the "money is no object vibe." ...

Darn, I thought you were my long, lost rich father! :)

I think given the chance to use your flight miles to get to Fairbanks, I think you pick up a few "traveling hours" by starting your trip closer to Denali.

If your budget allows for the cost of renting a vehicle "one-way", I think you gain some valuable efficiencies by starting north and ending south without retracing your path.

9. Re: Pre-Cruise Question

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