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Old 12-12-2017, 11:31 AM   #1
bbro
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Alaska

I got an itinerary for a trip to Alaska for 10 days to see the cost and what it could possibly include. SO MUCH TO DO! I am quite excited, but it's so expensive that I can't justify booking it until 2019. It gives me next year to pay off all my trips from this year.

There's some white water rafting in there - Um, no. It's about halfway through the trip, so I am thinking of just skipping it and just taking a rest day. There's also a hotel booked for like 10 hours on the last night/day. I think a better choice would be to go straight to the airport since it seems most of them leave early in the AM (like 1:30).

Over half the price of the National Geographic trip I was going to go on, but seems like more to do.

I am still debating on Main cabin vs First class. I don't know that First class will be worth it except for not having to worry about food. But, I can always buy food, right? I've never flown first class. I am thinking that it might be better to put that money to premium seats on the train rides so I can be in the best viewing areas. I'm probably just going to sleep on the plane.

Still think it's a good trip. Something to look forward to!!

Anyone ever been? Tips? Ideas? Etc? I know it's a while away, but I'm excited NOW!
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:31 PM   #2
xoxoxoBruce
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Do you have a link to that tour? I've been to Alaska several times but never on an organized tour, and I'm curious what/where they cover.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:33 PM   #3
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Do you have a link to that tour? I've been to Alaska several times but never on an organized tour, and I'm curious what/where they cover.
Which? The one I am going on or the NatGeo one? I don't have a link for mine, but I could type out all the destinations for you.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:40 PM   #4
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The one you're going on.
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:28 PM   #5
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Days 1-5

Day 1
Quality Suites Hotel Anchorage Downtown 1 night

Day 2
Wilderness Express Anchorage - Talkeetna depart 8:15 AM from Anchorage Depot
Wilderness Express offers first-class service aboard deluxe doubledeck dome rail cars. Features include reserved upper-level seating, an outdoor viewing deck, and a fully hosted experience narrated by an informative tour guide. Espresso, cocktails and other beverages are available for purchase on the upper level and full meal fine dining service is available in the lower level dining room. On a clear day you will start to get a glimpse of Mt. Denali within half an hour of departing Anchorage. Three hours into the trip marks one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Denali. You will arrive in Talkeetna at approximately 11:05.

K2 Denali Experience Flight 2:30 PM depart 2:30 PM from K2 - Talkeetna Airport
This 60-minute flight takes you within six miles of Mt. Denali's summit. Minutes after leaving Talkeetna, you enter a world of rugged high mountain peaks and glacier-filled valleys. Listen while your pilot describes the natural wonders of Denali National Park. See the Sheldon Amphitheater, beautiful Ruth Glacier, and the world's deepest gorge. Crossing the broad valley between Mt. Denali and Talkeetna, look for wildlife including moose and bear. Your flight in a four to ten passenger bush plane is narrated through the headsets provided. Please note that K2 also offers this same flight tour with a glacier landing.

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge - Guest Lodge 1 night

Day 3
Wilderness Express Talkeetna - Fairbanks depart 11:20 AM from Talkeetna Depot
Wilderness Express offers first-class service aboard deluxe double-deck dome rail cars. Features include reserved upper-level seating, an outdoor viewing deck, and a fully hosted experience narrated by an informative tour guide. Espresso, cocktails and other beverages are available for purchase on the upper level and full meal fine dining service is available in the lower level dining room. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife and magnificent views of Mt. McKinley. North of Talkeetna you will cross the startling 918-foot Hurricane Gulch trestle, towering 296 feet above the creek below. Before arriving at Denali Park you will pass through Broad Pass, the highest point on the Alaska Railroad at 2,363 feet. Immediately upon departing Denali you will enter the scenic Nenana River Canyon, a popular spot for whitewater rafting. Before reaching Fairbanks, the train crosses the Tanana River on one of the world's longest single-span bridges. It was here, at the west end of the 702-foot bridge, that President Harding drove the final spike completing the railroad in 1923. You will arrive in Fairbanks at approximately 8:00pm.

Fairbanks River's Edge Resort 2 nights

Day 4
Riverboat Discovery Cruise Fairbanks (AM) depart 9:00 AM from Riverboat Discovery dock
Board the authentic sternwheeler Discovery III for a fully narrated 3 hour cruise along the Chena and Tanana rivers. See a bush pilot's demonstration, watch a fish wheel in operation and see the "Wedding of the Rivers" - where the Chena and Tanana rivers converge. Alaskan Native guides take you ashore at a replica of an Athabascan Indian village where you'll discover traditional Native lifestyles, enjoy the work of an Athabascan beadwork artist and meet Susan Butcher's famous Iditarod sled dog team.

Day 5
Alaska Railroad Fairbanks to Denali depart 8:15 AM from Fairbanks Depot
Sit back and enjoy the comfortable seating and large picture windows. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife and magnificent views of Mt. Denali. After departing Fairbanks the train crosses the Tanana River on one of the world’s longest single-span bridges. It was here, at the west end of the 702-foot bridge, that President Harding drove the final spike completing the railroad in 1923. Just before arriving Denali Park you will enter the scenic Nenana River Canyon, a popular spot for whitewater rafting. The train features a café with "grab and go" menu items and on board hosts. There is also a dome viewing car which passengers may enjoy on a shared, rotating basis. Please note that you are booked in the “standard” class of service (also known as "Adventure Class") for this rail segment. The Alaska Railroad operates one train daily in each direction between Anchorage and Fairbanks stopping along the way in Talkeetna and Denali Park. On this train there are three levels of service; Standard (also known as "Adventure Class"), Private Dome, and GoldStar Dome. Many people prefer the standard class for its single level stability, generous seating and the ability to easily walk between different cars on the train. The Private Dome service is a good value for those looking for full-time Dome seating for improved viewing from the train. The GoldStar Dome is the top-of-the-line rail service featuring the newest rail cars, the largest picture windows and the finest dining options with all-inclusive meals. You can change which type of railcar you are traveling in, subject to availability, by calling our reservations office at least 45 days prior to departure.

This I am probably not doing
Denali Raft Canyon Whitewater 3:00 PM depart 2:50 PM from Denali Bluffs Hotel
This trip features an 11-mile run on the Nenana River with class III and class IV rapids. Plan for a three-hour total trip, with approximately two hours on the river. All equipment and outerwear is provided.

Denali Bluffs Hotel 2 nights
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:29 PM   #6
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Day 6-10
Day 6
Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour AM AM departure from Denali Bluffs Hotel
Your fully narrated tour into Denali National Park is led by a naturalist driver/guide. Traveling approximately 62 miles into the Park to the Stoney Hill Overlook, the tour ranges between eight and nine hours and includes ample photo opportunities and rest stops. A light box lunch or “box snack” and hot beverages are provided. The box snack generally includes items such as reindeer sausage, cheese, roll, chips, carrots, trail mix, and a small bottle of water.

Denali Cabin Nite Dinner Theater 5:00pm depart 4:15 PM from Denali Bluffs Hotel
Enjoy a night of fun, frivolity and food. Get a taste of old-time Alaska at the Alaska Cabin Night, a popular Denali Park dinner theater performed in an authentic, log-paneled roadhouse. Join heroine Fannie Quigley and an unforgettable cast of characters in this true-to-life Gold Rush tale of adventure in early 1900s Alaska. It's a great mix of colorful storytelling, spirited music and humor, brought to life by talented performers. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal served family-style including Alaskan salmon, barbecue ribs, fork mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, old-fashioned baked beans, drop biscuits and blueberry cobbler. The show is approximately two hours including dinner.

This is a sucky day. All day bus ride. Yea - Fit in lunch and a museum in 1.75 hours :|
Day 7
Park Conx Bus Denali to Seward depart 7:15 AM from Denali Bluffs Hotel
As time is allowed, photo and rest stops will be made along your 365-mile trip. You will arrive into Anchorage at the Anchorage Museum at approximately 1:30PM. Please note length of stops and arrivals may vary based on traffic and road delays. At the museum you can have lunch on your own at the café located in the museum or at one of the restaurants located within walking distance from the museum. Complimentary passes into the Museum are included. Please be ready to re-board the motorcoach at 2:45PM. As you head south you will travel along Turnagain Arm on the Seward Highway, designated as a National Scenic Byway. You will arrive in Seward at approximately 5:45PM.

Seward Windsong Lodge 2 nights

Day 8
MMT Kenai Fjords NP Cruise 11:30 AM depart 11:30 AM from Harbor 360 Hotel
You’ll depart the Seward Small Boat Harbor for Kenai Fjords National Park on a fast and smooth catamaran. This six-hour cruise travels throughout the Kenai Fjords National Park and the Chiswell Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The trip is narrated by a National Park Ranger, who is highly adept at spotting wildlife, pointing out the many spectacular sights, and fielding any questions you may have. Wildlife is abundant throughout the National Park, and the tidewater glaciers are massive. The cruise includes a visit to Holgate Glacier where guests often witness calving - a process by which glaciers shed giant blocks and slabs of ancient ice - from a close distance. This cruise also offers a great opportunity for whale watching in Alaska. With photo opportunities galore, your cruise will be unforgettable. Included with your cruise is a free full-color guide to Kenai Fjords National Park. While cruising, the crew will prepare a salmon and prime rib buffet which is included in your fare.

Day 9
IdidaRide Sled Dog Real Alaska 6 Hour Tour depart 11:05 AM from Seward rail depot
Begin your day with a visit to Seavey's Iditarod Racing Kennel, where you will enjoy VIP status on the 1 1/2 Hour Wilderness Sled Dog Ride and Tour. Then enjoy local seafood or one of many excellent entrees at the Resurrection Roadhouse, a beautiful restaurant nestled in the shadow of awe inspiring mountains. Next, watch for moose, bear, mountain goats and spawning salmon as you travel to beautiful Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, where a short walk on a nature trail will take you right to the face of the glacier! Your guides will point out native flora, help you spot wildlife, and explain the rapid melting of the glacier. Top your day off by touring historic downtown Seward, one of the oldest communities in Alaska, where you will see first hand the effects of the 1964 earthquake. Stand in awe of Mount Marathon, home of the second oldest foot race in the United States, then visit the famous "Mile 0" of the Iditarod trail, and learn why Seward was the "Gateway to Alaska". At the end of the day, your driver will return you to your hotel, cruise ship, or the Railroad depot. This tour is fully guided by local Alaskans, and price includes all transportation, fees, tickets, and meals. Guide gratuities are not included. Tour runs from 11:05am-5:15pm daily.

Alaska Railroad Seward to Anchorage depart 6:00 PM from Seward Depot
Sit back and enjoy the comfortable seating and large picture windows. The route between Seward and Anchorage is considered by many to be the most scenic in the state. After departing Seward you will ascend into the Kenai Mountains and pass Kenai Lake. The turquoise blue color of this 16-mile long lake is a result of sunlight striking suspended glacial silt in the water. Continuing on through some of Alaska’s most pristine wilderness areas, you will see Grandview Pass, Bartlett Glacier and spectacular Spencer Glacier. Next you will descend and travel along the Turnagain Arm, a body of water featuring the world’s second highest tides at over 30 feet. Beluga whales can often be seen following salmon on the incoming tide, and Dall sheep frequent rocky mountain sides. As you approach Anchorage you will pass through the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. This area, also commonly known as Potter’s Marsh, is a good place to spot migratory birds, water fowl and moose. The train features a café with "grab and go" menu items and on board hosts. You will arrive in Anchorage at approximately 10:15pm. Same choices as the Day 5 Train ride for classes

I might skip this and go from the train above to the airport.
Quality Suites Hotel Anchorage Downtown 1 night
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:09 PM   #7
xoxoxoBruce
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Sounds like a very good view of Alaska. I like the way it hits Denali a couple times in case the clouds don't cooperate. They can be thick and low on some days, which obscures the peaks. I'd skip the rafting too.

The only thing that sounds strange is the train accommodations on days 5 and 9 but that's minor. the Alaska railroad is pretty nice. A friend of my uncles was an engineer for them and had tales galore.

The only things they miss that I would recommend are Valdez, the north slope, and The University of Alaska at Fairbanks, but we're talking about a huge increase it travel/time.
The UofA Fairbanks has a great museum and they test seeds for all the majors seed companies because of the 24 hours of daylight. The flowers are fantastic.

All told it sounds like a great trip.
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Old 12-13-2017, 09:04 AM   #8
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Sounds like a very good view of Alaska. I like the way it hits Denali a couple times in case the clouds don't cooperate. They can be thick and low on some days, which obscures the peaks. I'd skip the rafting too.

The only thing that sounds strange is the train accommodations on days 5 and 9 but that's minor. the Alaska railroad is pretty nice. A friend of my uncles was an engineer for them and had tales galore.

The only things they miss that I would recommend are Valdez, the north slope, and The University of Alaska at Fairbanks, but we're talking about a huge increase it travel/time.
The UofA Fairbanks has a great museum and they test seeds for all the majors seed companies because of the 24 hours of daylight. The flowers are fantastic.

All told it sounds like a great trip.

I've never been on a train! I'm ok with the travels. I'd rather do that than a damn bus. There's no way to avoid it, though, if I am not driving. I'm sure I'd save more money if I rented a car. I just have no interest in getting lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Also, I'm lazy.

Another thing to note is that this trip is scheduled for early September. I wanted a chance to see the northern lights, but I think I'll be too early for that Maybe I'll leave that for my Iceland trip in 2020.

I think 10 days will be plenty, so I'll have to save those other places for another trip Maybe a summer Alaska trip!!

Thanks for the input! I'm happy to know it looks like a goodun!!
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:31 AM   #9
xoxoxoBruce
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I've seen some spectacular northern lights in the middle of September up there. You're really at the mercy of happenings in outer space, so it's unpredictable.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:37 AM   #10
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I've seen northern lights in the summer up in Maine, so it can happen.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:48 AM   #11
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Well, I can always hope, but not count on it

Hey Bruce - How much did you spend on food when you were up there? I swear, my father thinks it's going to be something like 50 bucks per meal or more.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:42 AM   #12
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"IDidaRide."

Sounds like an awesome trip! Can you give us an idea of the cost?
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:05 PM   #13
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"IDidaRide."

Sounds like an awesome trip! Can you give us an idea of the cost?
As quoted, $4,130.53
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:47 PM   #14
xoxoxoBruce
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Food? Can't help there because I was camping mostly or eating with friends. Food is higher, like everything, but not that much. I'd guess in a nice restaurant maybe 15% higher.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:33 PM   #15
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Is bbro vacationing up north?

I dunno, Alaska
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