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Old 07-15-2007, 10:13 PM
 
3,971 posts, read 11,433,493 times
Reputation: 1576

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Well,the Alaska Marine Highway is still a better bargain, with the same scenery, plus you can take your car on board.

I am not a cruise expert, if prices have come down, well, that is good news.
But if your desire is to see Alaska, why not give yourself the freedom to explore on YOUR terms?

I know the cruise industry brings in great revenue to the State, I'm just trying to caution vacationers that it isn't the only option.
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:40 PM
 
20,417 posts, read 26,539,344 times
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Actually, after you pay for a (cramped) cabin and meals, let alone taking your car on, the ferry often isn't a better bargain at all. I'm catching the last cruise ship south to Ketchikan before I fly out for the winter.

A cruise isn't for everyone but you can't see the whole state on the first trip; it isn't a bad way for a first time visitor. I wouldn't recommend one to a person in their 20's but it works for others. My old dad is coming up on the ferry with his RV and since he drives like Mr. Magoo I'd rather he took a cruise.

SE has some of the best fishing in the state, and the person did ask about fishing...you could consider booking some time at a sports fishing lodge.

this was interesting to read about some non-cruise options:

Posts from the Alaska Without The Cruise Ship Category at Gadling
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Encampment, Wyoming
37 posts, read 140,050 times
Reputation: 35
Default first visit to Alaska

Our first visit to Alaska we had help with from a really great travel agency in Anchorage. We were there 9 days and spent 7 of them doing a "tourist" type thing. The rest of the time we just enjoyed the place. Driving from Seward to Talkeetna was amazing. The landscape changes constantly. The locals are wonderfully friendly and helpful. It was a fantastic place. The agency was a big help because I didn't have to make a bunch of reservations, confirmations and all, she did that and sent me vouchers which I used for hotels, and at the various businesses that we had chosen to visit.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:25 PM
 
Location: southern Oregon
11 posts, read 54,925 times
Reputation: 14
Where's the last picture taken?
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Alaska
69 posts, read 283,414 times
Reputation: 49
Default Valdez Harbor >Last picture<

Why thats my stomping grounds!

Valdez is filling up with tourists fast and the silvers are not even running yet. The weather and halibut fishing have been great this year. Pink salmon are peaking and Valdez Fisheries tried to get the state to double the catch limit to 12 a day with 24 in possession. Fish and Game said no which is too bad. This is almost a record run. So the more people fishing for them the better.
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Juneau, AK
2,628 posts, read 6,023,385 times
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Anyone know how expensive CruiseWest ships are? I've never taken any sort of cruise but looking at the little CW ships compared to the giant Holland America ones, I definitely know which one I'd rather take!
I think two weeks would be sufficient for a trip to any specific region of Alaska.
As for transportation, despite what everyone has said about AMHS, it's still my preference. Yes, it's a little rough, the rooms are small, and it's a bit expensive. But ladies and gentlemen, it's the ALASKA EXPERIENCE! If someone wants to spend a week getting pampered and eating gourmet steaks, than fine. But that's not really Alaska. Plus, state ferries go more places than cruise ships, like Pelican, Hoonah, Angoon, etc.
In the summer, and this is lots of fun, you can bring a tent and camp out on the solarium of many of the larger ferries. Walk on fares are reasonable, and you can bring bikes. There are lots of cheap campgrounds all over the place in state parks and in the Tongass Nat'l Forest... are you getting my drift?
As far as AMHS cancelling Bellingham bound ships, I highly doubt it. I just traveled to Sika on the Fairweather and there were no notices on the AMHS website or at the ticket place on Glacier Highway...
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Old 07-20-2007, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Alaska
1,437 posts, read 4,231,764 times
Reputation: 929
The ferry is fun, I'll give it that. And sleeping on the solarium (the deck) is the way to go. The cabins are small and run between 400 and 500 bucks a day.
On the solarium (free sleeping space) you will be mixed in with 20 to 30 other folks, and if it is a multi-day trip it's one fun party.
You can also bring your own food. Cup o'Noodles is popular, and hot water is free in the cafeteria.
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Juneau, AK
2,628 posts, read 6,023,385 times
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It's also nice that you can get off and wander around at any stop, even if you're not staying there. So if you decide not to have a stopover in, say, Ketchikan, you can still walk off and spend like an hour downtown.

I checked in with CruiseWest's website, and oh my god. I hate cruise ships... and I want to go on one! There was one that is 25 days long and you start in Vancouver and end up in Russia, above the arctic circle!! Granted, it started at $20,000 each, but... oh, to be rich!
The best one I saw, called The Best of Both Worlds (broken link) had the following itinerary...
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruiseWest
Day 1 - ARRIVE IN FAIRBANKS
Day 2 - FAIRBANKS SIGHTSEEING, TO DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE
Day 3 - DENALI NATIONAL PARK EXPLORATION
Day 4 - DENALI NATIONAL PARK TO ANCHORAGE VIA RAIL AND MOTORCOACH
Day 5 - FLY ANCHORAGE TO JUNEAU
Day 6 - SAIL FROM JUNEAU
Day 7 - SKAGWAY AND HAINES
Day 8 - GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE
Day 9 - ICY STRAIT - CAPTAIN'S CHOICE CRUISING
Day 10 - JUNEAU (<-the best)
It starts at about $4,000 per person, which includes everything (food, bus transportation, hotel rooms, etc) but your airfare to Fairbanks and airfare from Juneau. Not bad at all, says I!

Last edited by Xa'at; 07-20-2007 at 06:54 PM..
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:33 AM
 
Location: NC, USA
7,088 posts, read 12,696,306 times
Reputation: 3975
Default I suspect Tressa had the right idea

When Betsy (my wife) and I visited for a couple of weeks, we landed in Anchorage, rented a car, drove down to Seward, checked out Kenai Fjords on a "most of the day" boat ride, was beautiful! Beautiful is an overused adjective that actually is an understatement. The Sealife center is well worth the visit, watching Puffins fly underwater was a treat. Girdwood was nice, stayed in the stained glass house for a couple of nights, the B&B's we visited were consistently excellent and the people were locals, knew the area, the best places to eat, what to see, et al. Good friendly people who seemed to enjoy sharing their Alaska with us.
Talkeetna was .....well.....Talkeetna. Moose dropping outside the front door of our cabin on the first morning in town, it took me almost ten seconds to understand that the pile of apparent pecans outside the door were not as they appeared. I heartily recommend the flight around Denali ... we used Doug Geeting Aviation, there are others, his service, at least that day was top notch. Again ... "Spectacular" is not really the word, but...English has it's limitations. "He" is a force unto himself. Carlo Heights was wonderful, Kelly Williams is intelligent, playful, humorous, and knows about dogs. Denali Park, and the abbreviated tour (the real tours started the next week) was .....well, one simply runs out of superlatives. I am somewhat widely traveled... one of the few bonuses of a throughly ill-spent youth. I've been in rain forests on four continents, Alaska is a sub-arctic rain forest and as such is well worth the time, cost, and pre-trip research we put into it.
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:01 AM
 
3 posts, read 25,937 times
Reputation: 13
You should really check out Homer - it has a little of everything - fishing, hiking, small town atmosphere, easy access to flightseeing trips, boat charters, hunting/fishing guides - I grew up there and have been trying to get back for the past couple of years If you want to see some great photos, check out the gallery at eastlandcreek.com
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