Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
welshrich

Help to plan a trip for 2021

Recommended Posts

Hello, We've had our cruises cancelled so looking to book an Alaska trip in 2021 with Royal Caribbean, We are ideally looking to fly in from the UK and do either a train trip on the Rocky Mountaineer or a pre cruise tour taking in Denali, then a cruise with maybe a few days at the end to explore before flying home, I had thought of booking the Greyhound tour of Denali beforehand, the cruising from Seward to Vancouver, spending a couple of days there and then taking the train to Seattle.

 

Can anyone advise on this, I'd like to know the best month to go and what people think is a good port to depart from as RCI have 4 ships sailing the region next year, all advice and suggestions gratefully received.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have sailed every month-   you need to determine what touring you want and what you want to see-  first.   There are seasonal attractions.    Was your canceled cruises Alaska?   If so,  what had you booked?     

 

RCI only has one ship option for the one way you are referring to.,  with Denali.    Is this just an option?   

 

IF you are open to any of the routes or ships,   then I suggest you determine,   what you want to see and do in port,  and make sure you have the time with that particular itinerary.     

 

Finally-   there is no "best" in Alaska in my experience.    Each and every cruise will offer you a unique adventure.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thankyou for this, it was a Panama Canal and a Transatlantic cruise cancelled so i have a bit of FCC, I think we are favouring going in July next year, I have read and viewed reviews and it all looks nice but with limited vacation time (we need to fly from the UK) we want to fit as much into about 21-25 days as possible.  With the tour to Denali, would you say it's better to book it all with the cruise line or can it be booked with an independent company?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which itinerary you select should be influenced by what you're planning before and after the cruise as well as what you want to see and where you want to go during the cruise. 

 

We've done two Alaskan cruises roundtrip from Seattle so far.  Those trips gave us the opportunity to visit Seattle for a few days as well as hop on an Amtrak train after the second cruise and head to Levenworth, Washington in the Cascade mountains for a few days before heading back to Seattle and then home (LOVED Leavenworth... google it!).  Going round-trip from Seattle meant a lower cost round-trip airfare for us as well, which helped pay for excursions and our side trips.  We took the long 8-hour White Pass train excursion from Skagway, up to Bennett Lake and all the way to Carcross in Yukon during our last trip (worth every penny!!!) and it further fueled our desire to see more of Alaska's land-based beauty.  https://wpyr.com/excursions/product/bennett-scenic-journey/

 

For next year (2021) we have different priorities, and keeping the cost down is not as much of an issue.  We feel like we've "done Seattle" and we wanted to combine an Alaskan land tour as well, and we especially wanted to see Denali.  Being train lovers, we opted for the Celebrity cruisetour itinerary that had the most (3) train legs.  We thought about going with DYI for the land tour, but decided for this first land tour that we'd let someone else deal with getting us where we need to be when and getting our luggage to all the right locations at the right time.  We chose to do the land tour first since it will be more active/hectic, and then follow up with the more relaxing part of the trip... the cruise.   Having the land tour first made it a southbound cruise, which is also a plus for us since we're considering taking Amtrak south into California after the cruise.

 

As far as when to go?  The balance is mostly rainfall vs. temperature (and, of course, your schedule).  For the areas of Alaska that you're likely to visit on a cruise or cruisetour, the weeks with higher temperatures are also likely to have more precipitation.  Here's one site that shows the data for Fairbanks, for example:  https://weatherspark.com/y/273/Average-Weather-in-Fairbanks-Alaska-United-States-Year-Round.  You'll have less rain at the beginning of the season in May and somewhat less at the end of the season, but you're also going to have lower temps.  Where you are, especially how close you are to a glacier, can affect the temps immensely as well.   In the same one week cruise, we were wearing short sleeves walking around downtown Skagway, while we were about frozen just a few days earlier (or later, I forget which) while wearing multiple layers of heavy winter clothing (including winter hats, scarves and gloves) on an excursion boat up near a glacier.  You need to consider the types of activities you want to enjoy before/after and on excursions at port stops, and think about how the temperatures and precipitation would affect your experience.  Honestly, the timing for our cruisetour next year primarily revolves around the fact that I am retiring the week before we leave.  😉

 

Sorry, I cannot help with suggestions for the best Denali tours as we have not been there yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been so long since my first visit to Alaska, a great deal has changed. I have booked a land/cruise tour for August/September 2021.
 

As others have said, determine your priorities. Wildlife & nature are mine.

 

So far we have decided to fly into Anchorage a couple days before the land tour starts and visit Kenai Fjords National Park by boat from Seward one day, and do the 26 Glacier tour out of Whittier the second day. We have a travel agent working on the best way to do this logistically.

 

Then we head back to Anchorage and connect with the ship’s tour to Denali - personally I would not want you to visit Alaska and not visit here.  Our tour includes two full days in Denali. Not enough, but we will make the most of it. The first day our tour takes us on a Tundra Wilderness Tour - about 63 miles into the park. Our second day is a free day. We are looking at a flightseeing tour that takes around Denali - the mountain. Some even include glacier landings. Though pricey, people who have done them rave about them.

 

We could also take Kantishna Air Taxi to (or from) Kantishna lodge, which is the “end of the road” in the park. The description of the flight makes it sound as if you get to fly around the famous North face of Denali, but it is a shorter flight time wise. The tour we are considering has us traveling by bus in the opposite direction. One way includes some time at the lodge to enjoy the surroundings or activities - whatever one chooses. Though this sounds great, we are not sure if we want to do two long bus rides back to back. But this is Denali! We decided not to stay at Kantishna lodge - it is very expensive. But I bet it is amazing.

 

Then our tour takes us back to Whittier to catch our ship.  Our itinerary includes Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and finally Vancouver.

 

If your cruise does not take you to Glacier Bay, look for a private company who tours by plane or boat. I would not visit Alaska without visiting GB, but that is my personal opinion. It is a magical place.
 

Skagway has some amazing options. The White Pass train mentioned earlier is amazing. But we really want to visit the Chilkat bald eagle Preserve, in hopes that the eagles are busy fishing for salmon. We will be doing a float raft trip - not a white water raft tour. We will take the ferry from Skagway to Haines and then head out by bus to the Preserve & board our rafts.

 

Juneau - is undecided as of now. The last time I was there, I took a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier and walked around on the glacier.  So I do not plan on doing that again. We are looking at a whale watch tour, preferably with a small number of people, but we have time to figure this out.

 

In Ketchikan we want to either take a plane or boat to Misty Fjords National Park. I have just started looking at trip advisor to see if I can find info that would help us make our decision.

 

The Cruise ends in Vancouver. We will do a trolley tour our first day, and then take a ferry/bus tour to Victoria and Butchart Gardens.

 

Then we head to Seattle by the Amtrak train to spend a couple days with famity before flying back to Florida. 
 

 We won’t start booking excursions until the end of this year, and will only book, if they are 100% refundable, but we want to be ready, since there are so many amazing options.

 

Hope you share your decisions with us. And I would also benefit from any thoughts you want to share after your trip!

 

Most of all - hope you have an amazing trip!

 

Ann
 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 6:57 AM, welshrich said:

Hello, We've had our cruises cancelled so looking to book an Alaska trip in 2021 with Royal Caribbean, We are ideally looking to fly in from the UK and do either a train trip on the Rocky Mountaineer or a pre cruise tour taking in Denali, then a cruise with maybe a few days at the end to explore before flying home, I had thought of booking the Greyhound tour of Denali beforehand, the cruising from Seward to Vancouver, spending a couple of days there and then taking the train to Seattle.

 

Can anyone advise on this, I'd like to know the best month to go and what people think is a good port to depart from as RCI have 4 ships sailing the region next year, all advice and suggestions gratefully received.

Look at www.alaskatravel.com for ideas and information on Alaska and Denali.  www.graylinealaska.com offers tours also.  We did a rail and bus tour to Denali including Kantishna with Grayline that included the Park Connection bus, the Alaska Railroad dome rail cars and lodging at the McKinley Chalets as well as Kantishna Backcountry Lodge.  It was extremely well organized, Grayline has a big presence in Alaska.  Grayline Alaska tours is part of the HAL/Princess tour group and offers individual itineraries.   Be sure if you choose Denali that you have two to three nights to make the trip worthwhile.  If you cruise RCI to or from Seward you can coordinate with any preplanned tour itinerary (it doesn’t have to be a group experience).  You could start with Rocky Mountaineer, cruise, then go to Denali or vice versa.  It all takes time.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, oaktreerb said:

Look at www.alaskatravel.com for ideas and information on Alaska and Denali.  www.graylinealaska.com offers tours also.  We did a rail and bus tour to Denali including Kantishna with Grayline that included the Park Connection bus, the Alaska Railroad dome rail cars and lodging at the McKinley Chalets as well as Kantishna Backcountry Lodge.  It was extremely well organized, Grayline has a big presence in Alaska.  Grayline Alaska tours is part of the HAL/Princess tour group and offers individual itineraries.   Be sure if you choose Denali that you have two to three nights to make the trip worthwhile.  If you cruise RCI to or from Seward you can coordinate with any preplanned tour itinerary (it doesn’t have to be a group experience).  You could start with Rocky Mountaineer, cruise, then go to Denali or vice versa.  It all takes time.  

 

Thankyou for this, I looked at the Grayline tours, will look again as they were not out for 2021 when I originally looked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 6:57 AM, welshrich said:

Hello, We've had our cruises cancelled so looking to book an Alaska trip in 2021 with Royal Caribbean, We are ideally looking to fly in from the UK and do either a train trip on the Rocky Mountaineer or a pre cruise tour taking in Denali, then a cruise with maybe a few days at the end to explore before flying home, I had thought of booking the Greyhound tour of Denali beforehand, the cruising from Seward to Vancouver, spending a couple of days there and then taking the train to Seattle.

 

Can anyone advise on this, I'd like to know the best month to go and what people think is a good port to depart from as RCI have 4 ships sailing the region next year, all advice and suggestions gratefully received.

 

The best time to cruise Alaska predominantly depends on your interests. If your concern is weather, it generally varies by year, as I completed 2 seasons  from Vancouver then 30 yrs on the BC Coast. Between Vancouver and Seward/Whittier, I preferred the S'bd option, as it provided the Inside Passage south of Port Hardy in daylight and this is one of the best areas of the cruise.

 

If an Alaska cruise is a once in a lifetime holiday, my suggestion is a pre-excursion in Seward - either a ship's tour or private. Unfortunately, I didn't sail RCI, only P&O/Princess, so don't know about their excursions.

 

In Vancouver, rather than the very expensive Rocky Mountaineer, you can hire a car/small motorhome (caravan) and drive across to Calgary, where they have flights to UK. This option provides you the option of determining the schedule and scope of what you want to see. Rather than driving you can also investigate VIA Rail. Although some drivers are apprehensive of driving in the Rockies, I find it easy driving, even towing a 41' caravan.

 

The benefit of driving is you set the schedule. Enjoy the option you select.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/21/2020 at 5:50 AM, welshrich said:

Thankyou for this, it was a Panama Canal and a Transatlantic cruise cancelled so i have a bit of FCC, I think we are favouring going in July next year, I have read and viewed reviews and it all looks nice but with limited vacation time (we need to fly from the UK) we want to fit as much into about 21-25 days as possible.  With the tour to Denali, would you say it's better to book it all with the cruise line or can it be booked with an independent company?

With  21 days to invest-  absolutely -  it would be a huge mistake to go with a  "tour"  of mainland-  which includes Denali.   I would suggest you look further at independent,  and invest perhaps 3 overnights at Denali.    Having a car rental,  offers you 10 times the options compared to any land tours.    With Denali,  my minimum in is Eielson.   Via shuttle bus,  not tour bus.  🙂      Read up on the details of the park.    www.nps.gov/dena      Some--  planners,  just add Denali to their priority list,  and not know,  what the touring there actually is,  or the time investment that is necessary.   Otherwise,  I'd suggest skipping it.   🙂     It is not for everyone.     

 

With perhaps 2 weeks for mainland touring-=  your options are huge.   Arctic Ocean?   Valdez?  Homer?  Katmai?,  Kennicott?   Whittier?  Seward?     etc etc etc.      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...