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Thread: Alaska

  1. #1

    Default Alaska

    Anyone been to Alaska? Thinking of making a trip next year - 7D cruise for Alaska and 14D for Canadian Rockies. It will most probably be tour group as my mum and aunt is coming along, not going to do all the planning myself for them - Too much work for me!

    Anyone been on those cruises and such stuff???

    Kindly give some tips.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Alaska

    No one? Or is the current forum hardware issue that is causing people not to be coming to this forum for a while?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Alaska

    wow.. envious....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Alaska

    First of all.. you will need to choose the period to go... bearing in mind that all of the Alaskan Cruise operates from late April till Sept.
    The Rockies is best at its Autumn season where you are able to view the foliage.. it is spectacular.

    You can start planning your trip end of this year when they release the schedule of the cruises... then get your ticket... plan a little.. whether to do the rockies first or cruise first...

    What do you want to know?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Alaska

    The 7day cruise would be Vancouver to Anchorage or vice-versa. Tourist season is quite short, most places shutdown for winter in Sept/Oct. Haven't been to the Rockies.

    The view is spectacular when plying the Inner Passage; just grab your cam and a cuppa and idle away the time watching the hills go by. Accommodations is quite comfortable, but that depends on the cruise line. Casino opens when the ship is at sea. There's also variety shows, Alaska documentary screenings etc..

    Food is aplenty onboard like any cruise and there's a Captain's Dinner where you dress-up; I think there was a 24hr pizza/burger bar on ours.

    At port (Sitka, Skagway, Juneau etc) you'll have a long list of day-trips to enjoy. We went mostly for short treks, kayaking to glaciers and whale-watching trips. Only problem are the huge mosquitoes, nasty biters those things. Whale-watching trips are usually money-back guaranteed coz the cetaceans are everywhere. We spotted orcas, humpbacks, greys, porpoises and even a fin whale (largest whale after the blue). There are also tons of bald-eagles and sea-otters. I think the bears are out foraging in June/July if you're into bear watching. Also, we had a naturalist onboard who gave us a running narration about the wildlife. I remember whenever she said there was a whale out there, almost all the passangers would rush port/starboard to try to catch a glimpse.

    The rest of my tour group (being uncles and aunties) decided to eat their way through Alaska, and they did just that, going for day trips that had seafood as main attraction.
    There are tea-time eat-all-you-can buffets in Anchorage serving up really big crabs.
    Also, you can walk to a stream at the northern tip of the city and watch the salmon fighting their way up river. Or even Segway around town.

    Alaska is definitely a place to go. It ain't cheap if you go for every day-trip averaging USD60-100/pax, but hey, you're already there so splurge abit and enjoy..!

    Cheers!
    Ally
    Canon 30D 100-400mm L IS|Tamron 17-35mm/f2.8-4,28-75mm/f2.8|Cosina Voigtlander Bessa-R 35mm/f2.5C

  6. #6

    Default Re: Alaska

    Look through my thread on Alaska

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621280

    Also, some of my comments here applies:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=640906

    Comments I gave to a friend who wanted to go there:

    "I went to Fairbanks mainly to try to catch the aurora at Chena Hot Springs (2 hours drive from Fairbanks). Over there, you should also visit the North Pole (Santa's gift shop is there) and the Fairbanks University museum.

    Next, I went to Seward, but there's nothing much there, except for a marine wildlife aquarium. There's nice scenery while driving along Seward Highway though.

    If you're interested in mainly wildlife and abit of landscapes, I really suggest going to Denali National Park (in between Anchorage and Fairbanks) in peak autumn. That's when you'll see a splendor of colors, and lots of wildlife. That's a place I would want to go should I decide to go to Alaska again in the future.

    I'm not too sure about tours, I flew to Alaska by plane, backpacked there, and rented a car to explore on my own.. I never liked tours anyway, it's too restrictive

    However, do go for a flightseeing tour if you can afford it. I didn't go for one the other time due to time/money constraints, but I'm pretty sure it'll be worth it Either 'Rusty's flightseeing tour' or 'Alpine air' (more expensive, flies from Girdwood, but they fly by helicopter instead of plane)

    Alaska can't be completed in one trip... there's lots to do and explore... Plan out what you want to see, don't cram too much into your itinerary."

    Cost and expenses for my trip:

    "For me, I was ok with driving in the winter, cause I drive slow... just don't speed in the snow. Also, if anything happens while driving, you might not have phone reception if it's out of the city areas... just be extra careful. You can request for a GPS to be loaned to you, but that's gonna cost around USD10/day.

    Car rental costs me about $80 for a compact car that's winterized (including under 25 age fees), fuel is about USD 3+ per gallon (3.75 litres), the cheapest hostels will cost about USD 30 in spring/autumn, USD 15 in winter, not too sure about summer. (should be about 50-60)

    Cheapest food around is of course, subway (USD 5 for a foot long sub, add USD 3 for a meal)"

    For cruises:
    Last cruise for the year is in September, they don't operate in winter. Go for the whole day tour, cause you'll see a lot more. (About 10 hours if I remember correctly) Expect to see whales, otters, puffins, glaciers, other sealife, and the occasional land based wildlife. Carry a long tele with you, cause the bigger cruise ships won't get very close to wildlife. If you opt for the smaller boats, you'll get closer, but it'll cost slightly more

    In Alaska, daylight in summer lasts for about 20-22 hours, and just 3-4 hours in the winter... so plan your time properly!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Alaska

    Ally, which cruise liner did you go for?

    Anyone knows when is the peak period?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Alaska

    Lolrence, finally managed to view the links you gave (been getting server busy messages lately). You stayed at fairbanks eh? While that is great, I am traveling with my mother and most probably aunt, and they are more interested in the cruise...

    Found some links for the cruise review. Interesting reading too.

    But I guess I still have some time on hand since it's next year.. and found out that peak season for Alaska is June to August - which means, it's either April-May or Sept is the time period for me to go then... Not sure how that works out for Rockies, as Sept is going to be very cold and not much places will be open in Alaska, so while I would love to go Rockies in Autumn, it might work out well for me.

    Research, research and research.. Good thing I have time on hand... Going to be busy next few weeks, so have to put this aside for a while. Oh, to view Aurora Borealis, I presume 2012 would be a better year compared to 2011? Maybe 2012 should make a trip to Norway/Finland specifically for it!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Anyone been to Alaska? Thinking of making a trip next year - 7D cruise for Alaska and 14D for Canadian Rockies. It will most probably be tour group as my mum and aunt is coming along, not going to do all the planning myself for them - Too much work for me!

    Anyone been on those cruises and such stuff???

    Kindly give some tips.
    Hi
    The comments that Lolrence posted was actually for me
    I'll be going to Alaska on a 7D cruise as well but we'll be going Southbound from Whittier to Vancouver, and going to the Rockies. Time frame will be from June to July. Haven't decided where to go after Rockies though, a lot of research an planning to do.

    I'll be going with my family and parents' friends, total 6 in all. We'll arrive a few days before the cruise, so we'll be renting a car and going around. Luckily, all of use prefer backpacking style compared to joining tours so I was able to psycho them to go to some places I wanted to visit

    After reaching Anchorage on the first day, we'll drive to Denali National Park, and later down to Seward for a cruise to the Kenai Fjords National Park and after that to Whittier for our cruise. I read that most people recommend a whale watching cruise at Juneau, and also take the White Pass railway at Skagway.

    After reaching Vancouver, we'll be going to at least Lake Louis and Lake Moraine. Personally, I'm really looking forward to Lake Moraine as it's like a paradise to me, almost photogenic all year round, but I'm sure other lakes will look really great too.

    Haven't completed doing our research yet, but maybe you can contact me again after July when I have more first hand info!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Lolrence, finally managed to view the links you gave (been getting server busy messages lately). You stayed at fairbanks eh? While that is great, I am traveling with my mother and most probably aunt, and they are more interested in the cruise...

    Found some links for the cruise review. Interesting reading too.

    But I guess I still have some time on hand since it's next year.. and found out that peak season for Alaska is June to August - which means, it's either April-May or Sept is the time period for me to go then... Not sure how that works out for Rockies, as Sept is going to be very cold and not much places will be open in Alaska, so while I would love to go Rockies in Autumn, it might work out well for me.

    Research, research and research.. Good thing I have time on hand... Going to be busy next few weeks, so have to put this aside for a while. Oh, to view Aurora Borealis, I presume 2012 would be a better year compared to 2011? Maybe 2012 should make a trip to Norway/Finland specifically for it!
    There'll be lots of blood suckers around in the summer if you're planning to go to the national parks, and peak autumn is around mid October if you're trying to catch the colors (should apply to the rockies too)... so you might wanna plan your schedule around that time. Peak autumn lasts for about 2 weeks, so you'll really need to know the exact dates... I would say that the peak season for colors in Alaska is in October... but plan accordingly

  11. #11

    Default Re: Alaska

    Warning! Be careful when taking pictures of polar bears.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Alaska

    Well, if Oct, then there won't be any cruise... Not sure if the rest will agree with it... So, when is the green coming into Alaska? Maybe I could catch the first sights...

    Well, more things to think and plan...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by rnb65p View Post
    Warning! Be careful when taking pictures of polar bears.
    He won't see polar bears unless he goes to the far north of Alaska or to Churchill...

  14. #14

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Well, if Oct, then there won't be any cruise... Not sure if the rest will agree with it... So, when is the green coming into Alaska? Maybe I could catch the first sights...

    Well, more things to think and plan...
    Lights are best in march/april... and you won't see it unless conditions are good and you're further up north... Fairbanks is where most people go to, any further up, you'll get less and less sunlight.... in late winter, you'll probably get about 2-3 hrs of light in Fairbanks. Anchorage isn't a good place to view the lights, due to the thick winter fog... august/sept is a good time to view the lights too, again, provided conditions are right.. YMMV

  15. #15

    Default Re: Alaska

    I think for Alaska, we are more influenced by the travel documentary where we see views of the sea life there, like sea otter, the variety of birds, whales, etc. The other would be the glaciers - If we can get up close to them as close as possible would be great! Finally there was this section where they had rides in those dog sleds...

    will03, no need to be envious, you have gone to places I am envious about... You can always arrange it for your next family trip if you want to. Oh wait, the usual timing has no cruise, but u still can go via Air/Land...

    gnohz, which cruise liner are you taking? So you are the only one doing the research? That's something I want to avoid - taking on the responsibility to plan the entire itinerary. If I do F&E, I would prefer someone to help with the planning, so that's why I usually do it with one who does share in the planning (I travel and a lot of work on my plate so need pple to pull their weight in for planning - you can't really do that with my mom/aunt). The only time where I did all the planning myself was my NZ trip, then again I was alone for that trip. I look forward to your "report" after July!

    Lolrence, I think the green I am referring to is the first spring bloom. While I do remember about the lights, but I think with the cruise might not work well, since the nights are spent on the ship. Furthermore, next year is supposedly still not as active as it is supposed to be in 2012, so I thot maybe I would head to Finland/Norway in 2012 to specifically catch those lights instead. Wonder if we can see the lights in Iceland as well??

    Anyone will be specifically heading to places to catch the lights in 2012???

  16. #16

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post

    gnohz, which cruise liner are you taking? So you are the only one doing the research? That's something I want to avoid - taking on the responsibility to plan the entire itinerary. If I do F&E, I would prefer someone to help with the planning, so that's why I usually do it with one who does share in the planning (I travel and a lot of work on my plate so need pple to pull their weight in for planning - you can't really do that with my mom/aunt). The only time where I did all the planning myself was my NZ trip, then again I was alone for that trip. I look forward to your "report" after July!
    My brother and I are doing the planning. He's doing all the details like renting the car, accommodation etc and I'm helping him in looking for places to visit.

    Oh I realised no need to wait till July for the "report". I'll do a short write up on our itinerary and let you know again. It should give you a rough idea of how we're going about our trip

    Last time when I travelled around Japan while I was there for a year, I did all the planning by myself. Big headache true, but I preferred travelling by myself, cos I had a bigger headache when I was bringing other friends around The biggest problem was that they did not help in planning at all!! So I was like the free labour tour guide

  17. #17

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    I think for Alaska, we are more influenced by the travel documentary where we see views of the sea life there, like sea otter, the variety of birds, whales, etc. The other would be the glaciers - If we can get up close to them as close as possible would be great! Finally there was this section where they had rides in those dog sleds...

    will03, no need to be envious, you have gone to places I am envious about... You can always arrange it for your next family trip if you want to. Oh wait, the usual timing has no cruise, but u still can go via Air/Land...

    gnohz, which cruise liner are you taking? So you are the only one doing the research? That's something I want to avoid - taking on the responsibility to plan the entire itinerary. If I do F&E, I would prefer someone to help with the planning, so that's why I usually do it with one who does share in the planning (I travel and a lot of work on my plate so need pple to pull their weight in for planning - you can't really do that with my mom/aunt). The only time where I did all the planning myself was my NZ trip, then again I was alone for that trip. I look forward to your "report" after July!

    Lolrence, I think the green I am referring to is the first spring bloom. While I do remember about the lights, but I think with the cruise might not work well, since the nights are spent on the ship. Furthermore, next year is supposedly still not as active as it is supposed to be in 2012, so I thot maybe I would head to Finland/Norway in 2012 to specifically catch those lights instead. Wonder if we can see the lights in Iceland as well??

    Anyone will be specifically heading to places to catch the lights in 2012???
    Norway would be the best place, since it's the furthest up north of all the choices, and the band of lights are the strongest there. Iceland would be a good alternative, and with their economy situation now, will be a good time to go.. From what I've seen, those places don't seem to get as much fog in the sky, and will be a better alternative. YMMV

    Personally, I'm the type who likes to plan my trip and choose places I want to go... cause I backpack alone most of the time, and I do know what specific things I want to see/experience.. So maybe you can list down what you're actually hoping to see or do, so that we can advice further..

  18. #18

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by gnohz View Post
    My brother and I are doing the planning. He's doing all the details like renting the car, accommodation etc and I'm helping him in looking for places to visit.

    Oh I realised no need to wait till July for the "report". I'll do a short write up on our itinerary and let you know again. It should give you a rough idea of how we're going about our trip

    Last time when I travelled around Japan while I was there for a year, I did all the planning by myself. Big headache true, but I preferred travelling by myself, cos I had a bigger headache when I was bringing other friends around The biggest problem was that they did not help in planning at all!! So I was like the free labour tour guide
    Next time, I'll look for you as my guide too

  19. #19

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Lolrence View Post
    Next time, I'll look for you as my guide too
    Haha sure no problem!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post

    gnohz, which cruise liner are you taking? So you are the only one doing the research? That's something I want to avoid - taking on the responsibility to plan the entire itinerary. If I do F&E, I would prefer someone to help with the planning, so that's why I usually do it with one who does share in the planning (I travel and a lot of work on my plate so need pple to pull their weight in for planning - you can't really do that with my mom/aunt). The only time where I did all the planning myself was my NZ trip, then again I was alone for that trip. I look forward to your "report" after July!
    Realised I missed out on your other question.
    I'll be taking Diamond Princess

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