Apr 27, 10, 3:12 pm
This is my first trip to Alaska and I am traveling as a total of 3 adults (Im giving this to my parents as part of their Golden Anniversary gift). We are going on Celebrity Millenium for 7 days from Vancouver to Seward and dont know what to do from then on!!!
I am pretty comfortable with traveling and have been to many other places, but dont know anything about Alaska.
Could someone please let me know their thoughts on two options:
:-: 1) Please recommend any tour agency that you have used and liked so that I can go from the Seward Cruiseport to Denali (2 days) to Fairbanks to fly out. I would really appreciate any website or phone number as well.
:-: 2) Please let me know if any of you have made up your own tours... Transportation, Hotel, and Denali Tours. Once again, could you please provide phone numbers or websites where I can research this a little more.
I really appreciate all your input. As I mentioned, this is my first time and Im trying to take my parents as a Golden Anniversary present.
Also, is it easy to get from the Fairbanks hotels to the Fairbanks airport?
Alaska is a very easy place to plan your own independent touring.
Exactly which day of the week and which month are you arriving into Seward? And which day of the week and time of day is your flight from Fairbanks? Are the flights already fixed in stone?
If you have two nights to get from Seward to Denali to Fairbanks, I think you are going to be spending most of your time in transit. It is almost impossible to get from Seward to Denali in a day in the summer. Heck, I just drove from Denali to Anchorage two weeks ago then the next day to Seward and there was little or no traffic on the road. You have to figure 12 hours from Seward to Denali in the summer. Yes, figure that long, and Mapquest, Googlemaps, etc don't give accurate driving times in Alaska. Why so long? Slow RV's, road closures due to construction (no "alternate" routes, so you often sit for 30-60 minutes when they close the road for construction), accidents that close the road for hours (though the 12 hours doesn't take that into account), stops for meals and a mandatory stop in Anchorage or Wasilla for a little grocery shopping (nothing north of Wasilla except convenience stores).
And you really need an absolute minimum of one night in Denali if you are heading to Fairbanks. So that means:
Day 1 arrive Seward from your cruise, get to Talkeetna
Day 2 to Denali, maybe afternoon shuttle bus?
Day 3 to Fairbanks, red eye flight? - if so, you have more choices, including touring Denali this day and driving to FAI in time for your redeye flight.
If we knew your exact days and what you mean by two days (two days is one night!), as well as your departure time from Fairbanks (a redeye will open up lots more options), that would really help.
I would strongly suggest the shuttle bus in Denali to Eielson vs. the Tundra Wilderness Tour. It is 1/3 the cost and goes further, which is a key in Denali for wildlife viewing. Plus if Mt. McKinley is viewable, it will pay to go to Eielson, which is a visitor center 66 miles into the park. You must take all your own food on the shuttle and the only place inside the park to get water is at the Eielson visitor center. The Tundra Tour offers a skimpy snack-type meal, but everyone I have heard from says you need to supplement that as well.
You might consider a relatively expensive one-way car rental with Hertz (the only option in Seward), then drop off in Fairbanks. It might cost you $300 or more, but it would be the best use of your time if you only have such a short time.
It is easy to get from a Fairbanks hotel to the airport. Taxis are plentiful. Some hotels offer airport shuttles too.
If you have only two nights and an early flight on Day 3 from Fairbanks, I think you are making a huge mistake trying to get to Denali. I say that based on 15 trips to Alaska.
I suggest that you post this info on Trip Advisor's Alaska forum as well:
There is a woman there who is extremely helpful with detailed itinerary options, giving you places to stop along the way, etc. (Manitoba Maple).
May 4, 10, 7:29 pm
You'd be better off, given the limited timeframe, to stay around Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula (plenty to keep you occupied for a couple of days), and then fly home from Anchorage instead. Make your next trip Denali and Fairbanks/the Interior.
If it's Denali-or-bust, I might actually suggest flying from Anchorage to Fairbanks on AS, and then renting a car in FAI and driving from there to Denali. The park entrance is only about 120 miles from the airport, and there won't be as much "traffic" as there will be between Anchorage and the park.
An added advantage of flying is that if you sit on the left side going north, you'll have a fantastic view of Denali, weather permitting.