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Thread: tell me about your alaskan travel experience please.

  1. #1
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    tell me about your alaskan travel experience please.

    my husband and i are retired, and we aren't getting any younger. in fact the husband is getting ready to turn 70 next month. and we have never been to alaska. we have an older motor home in very good condition and very well maintained. and i am exploring our choices right now. just saw that there were some good deals on crusies from seattle to alaska. but i hear, more wild life can be seen in june and the large ferries get closer to land. do i understand it correctly, that you can dis embark, and get back on. does that mean you can stay on land several days?
    what has been your experience? we have never cruised. did you spend more for the outside cabin? were you glad you did. thanks ever so much. have any of you driven your motor home to alaska?

  2. #2
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    My DH & I did the Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska and we loved it. They stop in several ports and you can leave the ship but only for a period of time...they tell you how long. They offer various things to do while there...helicoptor trips to glaziers...train ride up a Mt. logger shows where they carve things with saws. You can go whale watching...lots of choices, but they all cost extra. You can just walk around on your own too. The ship was nice, good food, gambling, theater for entertainment, etc. If you want to see wild life then...this probably won't be the best choice. We saw eagles and whales, but that was about it.

  3. #3
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I loved cruising, for me we were hardly in the cabin, so I can't see spending extra money for a place to sleep. I ahven't been to alaska, but when I did cruise they usually spent a day in each port, some port you got to stay longer depending on what time the ship left
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    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    I didn't think I would like the Alaskan cruise, but went because "the gang" was going. I loved it. You travel by night and stay for several hours in port each day. The cruise line has extra activities, some do cost a lot extra. Each port has things to do as well. When you get off the boat there are tour buses and carriages. We saw lots of animals, but you are seeing them from a large boat, so not up close. I would worry about taking an older RV up the Al/Can highway. Lots of area to cover where there might not be any way to get it fixed.
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  5. #5
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    We enjoyed our cruise to Alaska in May 2000. The weather was gorgeous & we traveled with Holland America from Vancouver, B.C.. We took some day tours, my DH chose a helicopter tour of a glacier, I chose a catamaran tour where we were fortunate to get close enough to land to see bear and moose, and lots of eagles. We did the White Pass & Yukon Route train ride in Skagway, it was really interesting. We have also driven twice to Alaska and you will find alot of other motor homes of all sizes & shapes in your travels.
    Last edited by thimblebug6000; 04-29-2013 at 07:13 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Phyllis42's Avatar
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    We drove our motor home all around Alaska in 2000. It was the best trip I have ever had. Drive where you want, when you want. Pull over and park and eat lunch while viewing all the beautiful mountains. See the glaciers up close. Accidentally spent the night at a park and listened to the loons and watched the water fowls. Pulled over when a moose peeked her head out of the forest, then one baby, then another one. Wonderful pictures. Parked in the Kenai while DH fished ... I walked to town and saw another moose in the woods. Saw bear along the roads. Mountain goats were lying by the road and just looked at us. Driving up there thru Canada was awesome. Depends if you want to travel on your own time or do what the travel coordinators have planned. If you drive your self, make sure you buy the Alaskan Bible ... sorry I can't think of the correct name right now. It is a book written by a person who made the trip last year. Has routes, restaurants, construction, entertainment ... everything you need to know to drive Alaska. PM me if you wish. You can also fly to Alaska and rent a RV. If you drive yourself, some reservations need to be made up to a year ahead of time ... like the ferry to Kodiak Island. Homer is a great place to shop.
    Last edited by Phyllis42; 04-29-2013 at 01:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Member judy363905's Avatar
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    Alaska is beautiful...fresh air and a special deal to it somehow. We took a Holland American cruise 2011 out of Seattle and I think Sika was the farthest port we went to then back to Vancouver and too bus back to Seattle. Next month we are flying to Anchorage staying for 2 day then off to Seward to get on Holland and cruise to Vancouver and bus to Seattle before flying back to Phoenix. My youngest sister lives in Seattle so we will spend a few day day with and hubby in beautiful green Bainbridge Island.

    I think you would enjoy at trip to Alaska, I would say check it out.

    Judy in Phx, AZ

  8. #8
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I have done both an Alaskan cruise and a cruise tour (both Holland America). Loved both trips but really liked starting in Fairbanks, going to Denali and Anchorage before getting on the ship in Seward. Really enjoyed the trips. There are LOTS of quilt shops that you can accidently bump into if you scope them out in advance. There are some very nice fabrics that are Alaska specific -- I have some wonderful fabric memories (the fabric shops sent the fabric home for me in the priority boxes so when we picked up the held mail I had a wonderful time getting re-aquainted with the memories).

    Our first cruise was in May and we had awesome weather -- but cruises on either side of us had awful weather. The cruise tour was in June -- and we had some good weather and some not so good. (I took a down jacket and was glad I did.)
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    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    If you do choice to take the Cruise , I strongly recommend the combination Cruise/Rail. Denali is spectacular.

  10. #10
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    thank you ladies. i was hoping some one would talk about the ferry trips from seattle to alaska, or coming back. saw it on a thread ages ago, but when i rechecked the thread. i just couldn't find it. yes, ordered the mile marker book on the alaska trip. it's coming from amazon.com.

  11. #11
    Cyn
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    My husband and I went on the last inside cruise in Sept from Vancouver up the coast and then ended with a land tour into Denali. It was awesome. We saw all the wild life even the dall goats! The ship got up close and personal to glaciers, waterfalls and the killer whales were running! We saw sled dogs, mosse, bears and cubs , eagles and all sorts of things. We have traveled all over since he retired from the marine corps and this was my favorite trip.

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    Cyn
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    We went up the coast and our room was on the land side with a balconey. We were not cold at all and it rained twice in 2 weeks. Our travel agent said it was a waste to go up and down the coast and I think she was right.

  13. #13
    Senior Member jeank's Avatar
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    I never thought I would like Alaska because I am a warm weather person. The family wanted to go, so I did, we had 12 adults. It was WONDERFUL. Not just being with family, but the scenery and animals. I highly recommend Holland America's cruise and land packages.

    We left from Vancouver CA, left the ship 7 days later near Ancorage, took a bus to Denali, then a train with a glass top to Fairbanks. Flew home from there.

    I bought fabric and patterns from a couple of shops in the towns. Be sure to check out Barbara LaValley's fabric and artwork. She does those Alaskan women with a quilting theme. I framed some of her notecards.
    Jean in MI

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    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I just read a book about what you want to do. It is a documentary about a couples trip in their Rv. It is called Taming Mighty Alaska by Wilber C. Anderson. Full of useful info and places to go and not go to.

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    Senior Member flikkem's Avatar
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    This company provided us a free video of their Alaskan trip. We took it and were very very happy.
    A number of people I spoke with who had taken this cruise regretted that they did not add the rail trip from Anchorage to Denali which was an optional part of this package. We took it and liked it. I particularly wanted to include Anchorage because I lived there many years ago and wanted to visit again. We were able to do that on this tour. You will not be able to get the fantastic glacier views by land that you can get by sea. We had a window in our cabin (you stay warm that way). This is one cruise that it's worth the extra money. Even in August it will be quite cool outside your cabin on a cruise ship. The cruise we took stopped at three Alaskan ports. We took optional land excursions at each one. The whale watching was our favorite. No experience with motor homes.
    Mary Jane Flikke

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    I lived in Southeast Alaska for 30 years. I have driven an RV from Florida to Alaska 4 times since we retired in 1998. If wildlife is your interest, by all means, drive the Alcan Highway. The ferries are time consuming and expensive. You can schedule to get off at any port you so desire, then get on the next ferry that comes into the port. Be aware that you must be at the terminals a minumum of 2 hours prior to boarding time.

    If you decide to drive the Alcan Highway I strongly suggest you buy the book "The Alaskan Milepost", it will provide you with all sorts of information mile by mile. Places to eat, sites, services, etc. Definitely worth the cost of the book.

    If you go by ferry or cruise, May and June are usually the best times to go for nicer weather. Southeast gets lots of rain, so be prepared with warmer clothing, rain coats and umbrellas.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mythreesuns's Avatar
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    My parents have been to Alaska 3 times and soon to be 4th... the first was a cruise, all others were RV. They did a group RV tour... they loved that the best. This company sets everything up in advance. They have a leader couple in a RV and a follower. If you break down, they personally help you repair it or call for help if they can not fix it. They stay with you until help has arrived. They have family cook outs where they supply the meat and drinks, and everyone else brings a dish to pass. They have down days when you can go tour by your self, or stay back at camp and just relax, they take you to shows, plane rides, boat tours and etc.. The funny part of it all.... my mother always hated camper life and she did this for a month...
    Faye

  18. #18
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    Husband & I have been to Alaska twice. Cruised with Holland America the first time from VanCouver through the inside passage. Everyone should do it one in their life. Stunning, stunning scenery. We saw whales, ottors, sea lions. The second week was a scheduled land tour, via bus, train and even paddlewheel boat. Everything was arranged and you just had to show up. Second time we cruised with Princess, and a similar inside route. From there, we rented a motorhome and camped for a week. Everything is provided for you within the motorhome (linens, etc.). Not a bad option and would save a lot of headaches and wear-and-tear on your personal camper. Cruising really isn't that expensive per person, when you figure out what you spend for motels and meals in a day. The single biggest expense for us both times when we went was roundtrip airfare from central NY to Vancouver.

  19. #19
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I have been to Alaska twice, but never on a cruise. My friends cruise to Alaska at least 3 times each season and have loved doing this for about 4 years now, using every cruise line there is. I have flown into Anchorage and rented an RV and used it for 2 weeks driving all over the state. We have gone both times in September and never see any wildlife other than seals and salmon. It is an interesting state with water everywhere. I have camped in 49 states and the roads are pretty rough in some areas, like washboards, in Alaska. I hope you go and enjoy yourself, life is very short.

  20. #20
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    I lived in Anchorage, AK for 14 yrs. and its a beautiful state. I think any way you get there you'll love Alaska!!
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  21. #21
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    A fact that is not true is that you cannot see glaciers from the land. At portage you can get very close to the glacier and then in Seward you can walk right up to the Glacier at Exit Glacier. There is also a rescue park at Girdwood that you can get very up close and personal with some of the wild animals in Alaska.

    Quote Originally Posted by flikkem View Post
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    This company provided us a free video of their Alaskan trip. We took it and were very very happy.
    A number of people I spoke with who had taken this cruise regretted that they did not add the rail trip from Anchorage to Denali which was an optional part of this package. We took it and liked it. I particularly wanted to include Anchorage because I lived there many years ago and wanted to visit again. We were able to do that on this tour. You will not be able to get the fantastic glacier views by land that you can get by sea. We had a window in our cabin (you stay warm that way). This is one cruise that it's worth the extra money. Even in August it will be quite cool outside your cabin on a cruise ship. The cruise we took stopped at three Alaskan ports. We took optional land excursions at each one. The whale watching was our favorite. No experience with motor homes.

  22. #22
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    I went on the Alaskan cruise (Holland America) with my mother. We had a great time, going on the inland passage,seeing glaciers and stops in Sitka, Juneau (saw Mendenhall Glacier). Stopped at the quilt shop (http://www.abbysreflection.com/) in Sitka - it was very nice and had some Alaska specific patterns and fabric.

    Loved the Bird sanctuary, the Russian church, the wildlife, and the beautiful country. We went the last week of June. Enjoy your trip.

  23. #23
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I worked near Denali last summer. Inland I saw more wildlife near the end of July. If you decide on and cruise with land excursion to Denali... do the land first and boat second (you'll need the ship time to rest). Since I worked inland, I am all about doing the ship cruise and get in some halibut fishing.

    Hint ... there is a nice quilt shop across the street from Denali Princess lodge, one in Healy that is only 10 miles from the lodge. Also a really nice shop in Anchorage not far from the Westmark hotel and I am sure more around town. There are also some nice ones in Fairbanks but not as easily accessible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sewNso View Post
    thank you ladies. i was hoping some one would talk about the ferry trips from seattle to alaska, or coming back. saw it on a thread ages ago, but when i rechecked the thread. i just couldn't find it. yes, ordered the mile marker book on the alaska trip. it's coming from amazon.com.
    Check out RV.net the Canada and Alaska thread on the Forums. You will find lots of information from people who have traveled in Alaska all sorts of different ways. You will have to sign up, but the membership is free. There are 2 Alaska Bibles the Churches book and The Milepost 2013 edition. Don't worry about having an older RV, if it is well maintained and the tires are good you will be just fine.
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  25. #25
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    Our daughter lives just outside Anchorage in Eagle River. I found the people to be very pleasant and friendly. Everything is expensive ----gallon of milk is around $6 or so. Fruit is also expensive and nothing like we have in Michigan b/c it takes so long to get the produce up to Alaska.
    There are many things that you can do that won't cost a ton of money (walk up a glacier in August and throw snowballs is free, pull off the road and watch the whales or look for dall sheep, $20 for a fishing license and fish for salmon) but there are other things (paragliding) that are expensive. Because of the long days in summer, you can find markets with TONS of HUGE produce. If you stop in Anchorage, visit the downtown market (can't remember the official name).
    The best time that was recommended was in June and/or July----guess is gets rainy in August. This summer will be my third trip there since they will be receiving a new assignment. I wouldn't miss it....a chance of a lifetime and you can always be frugal if you need to be and splurge on the things that you really want.

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