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Alaska - advice on planning a honeymoon

Alaska - advice on planning a honeymoon

Old Aug 3, 14, 12:18 pm
  #1  
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Alaska - advice on planning a honeymoon

Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are getting married next July, and we're considering Alaska as the destination for our honeymoon.

We'd normally travel to the US in September as we find we can get cheap flights from the UK/Europe at that time of year, but I'm aware that we'll need to travel earlier to make Alaska a practical option.

We've been looking at cruises, but frankly are a little horrified by the awfulness of some of the massive boats. Does anyone have any recommendations for smaller boats? We only really need somewhere to eat, a bar, and a decent spot for sitting on the deck and taking it all in - nightly shows and posh dinners really aren't our cup of tea at all.

I think we want a one-way cruise so that we can add on some time in Alaska to explore further afield than the cruise ports, so is there any advantage to cruising north versus south?

In terms of travelling within Alaska, we'd love to go to Denali, but also to explore the Kenai peninsular. I've read that one-way car rental charges between Fairbanks and Anchorage can be pretty high, so is there a sensible loop that we could do in a week that would mean we'd avoid this? I think we'd like to get the train from Anchorage to Seward as we both love trains.

We're keen on seeing some wildlife, doing a boat trip or two, some short hikes, and eating and drinking (if there's a craft beer brewery or two that you can recommend please do!).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We've got the Canadian Rockies on the list too, and possibly Hong Kong and Singapore, so we're still quite open to suggestions, but Alaska is definitely winning so far.
saint_em is offline  
Old Aug 3, 14, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by saint_em View Post
Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are getting married next July, and we're considering Alaska as the destination for our honeymoon.

We'd normally travel to the US in September as we find we can get cheap flights from the UK/Europe at that time of year, but I'm aware that we'll need to travel earlier to make Alaska a practical option.

We've been looking at cruises, but frankly are a little horrified by the awfulness of some of the massive boats. Does anyone have any recommendations for smaller boats? We only really need somewhere to eat, a bar, and a decent spot for sitting on the deck and taking it all in - nightly shows and posh dinners really aren't our cup of tea at all.

I think we want a one-way cruise so that we can add on some time in Alaska to explore further afield than the cruise ports, so is there any advantage to cruising north versus south?

In terms of travelling within Alaska, we'd love to go to Denali, but also to explore the Kenai peninsular. I've read that one-way car rental charges between Fairbanks and Anchorage can be pretty high, so is there a sensible loop that we could do in a week that would mean we'd avoid this? I think we'd like to get the train from Anchorage to Seward as we both love trains.

We're keen on seeing some wildlife, doing a boat trip or two, some short hikes, and eating and drinking (if there's a craft beer brewery or two that you can recommend please do!).
First, congratulations.

There are one or two “small ship” cruise lines that operate between Vancouver and Seward, Silversea and Regent (maybe others) but these are ultra-premium lines that cost double or triple the other “mainstream” lines, such as Princess, HAL, Norwegian, Celebrity etc.)

All the one way cruises follow similar routes, calling typically at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, with some calling at Sitka and others Hoonah. Some will visit Glacier Bay, others Hubbard Glacier. Most will end (or originate) in Seward, with Princess using Whittier.

Even on the big ships you can have some privacy – get a cabin with a balcony and watch the view from there; order room service if you don’t want to go to the dining room or buffet. All the ships have numerous bars, lounges and pubs, and plenty of places to hide out. Cruises are great for honeymoons – unpack once, sleep and eat when you want, the scenery comes to you…

In port, the presence of 3 or 4 2000+ passenger ships (and 1000+ crew) can quite overpower the small towns (e.g. Skagway, population 700 or so.) Staying clear of the crowds becomes quite a job, if that’s what you want to do. Still, it’s possible.

Now, there are a couple of alternatives. For example, as train lovers you’d probably enjoy the train from Seattle to Bellingham – runs along Puget Sound for much of the 2-hour trip. At Bellingham you walk maybe 200 yards from the train station to the Alaska State Ferry terminal, where on Friday evenings you can board a ferry – comfortable if Spartan cabins, decent bar, okay food, naturalist on board, but no midnight buffets or dancing babes-with-feathers. Over the weekend you’ll pass through the Inside Passage – glorious scenery, whales, mountains – and on Monday you’ll arrive in Alaska’s funky and fun capital, Juneau. Spend a day or two in Juneau – whale watching, visit Mendenhall Glacier, whatever – then fly on one of several daily flights to Anchorage.

Pick up a car and do your “land” portion – visit Denali (needs 3 days from Anchorage) and maybe “loop” back to Anchorage or the Kenai Peninsula from Valdez (via a state ferry to Whittier.) Do a one-day glacier cruise to College Fjord from Whittier, or visit Kenai Fjords National Park out of Seward.

Or maybe take a couple of days, lose the car, and fly from Anchorage up to Kotzebue in the Alaska arctic to see the midnight sun, dip a toe in the Arctic Ocean, learn about Inupiat culture. Or fly to Nome, the historic gold rush town on the Bering Sea, rent a car and drive out into the tundra of the Seward Peninsula – bear, muskoxen, caribou… Be one of the (maybe) 1% of visitors to Alaska who actually get into bush or native villages. Hotel costs are comparable to Anchorage, the flight is surprisingly affordable, and the experience is near-unique.

So many choices. Much depends on budget and preferences. But you have ample time to plan; there’s obviously nothing else on your plates .

Again, congratulations.

PS - Lots of breweries.

PPS -
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We've got the Canadian Rockies on the list too, and possibly Hong Kong and Singapore, so we're still quite open to suggestions, but Alaska is definitely winning so far.
Why not get a Global Explorer RTW ticket which allows the use of Alaska Airlines, for something like THIS. Surprisingly affordable for economy class departing the UK. I had to stay true to my Flyertalk forum, after all.
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Old Aug 4, 14, 12:18 pm
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I am the husband to be - thank you for your suggestions! Now, how to make sure it's not *my* toe that goes in the Arctic Ocean...
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Old Aug 4, 14, 1:50 pm
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Originally Posted by BigVince76 View Post
I am the husband to be - thank you for your suggestions! Now, how to make sure it's not *my* toe that goes in the Arctic Ocean...
LOL. A friend got married standing on the sea ice in Kotzebue during the winter. The guests were bemused.

Looking at your previous posts (the awesome, as in barking JNB run) I really do think you should investigate the RTW options, but start someplace besides the UK (e.g. a 3-continent business class ticket originating in CAI is £3450++) and would let you fly a route like this including a "second" honeymoon within Europe later within a year.

Count up the tier points from that, while you're at it. (First class on domestic US flights, J on everything else.)
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Old Aug 6, 14, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Alaska State Ferry terminal, where on Friday evenings you can board a ferry – comfortable if Spartan cabins, decent bar, okay food, naturalist on board, but no midnight buffets or dancing babes-with-feathers. Over the weekend you’ll pass through the Inside Passage – glorious scenery, whales, mountains – and on Monday you’ll arrive in Alaska’s funky and fun capital, Juneau. Spend a day or two in Juneau – whale watching, visit Mendenhall Glacier, whatever – then fly on one of several daily flights to Anchorage.
Just an update on this- the state cut funding for this program and there are no longer naturalists on the State Ferries. That said, when I was on the Columbia a couple of weeks ago, one of the ship's staff (for lack of the correct term) used his breaks to come down and talk to the passengers.

Either way, the ferry sounds like something perfect for both of you to include as part of your trip. I'm sure you'd enjoy it!
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