POST - DISCOVER DENALI
See big, bold and genuine Alaska by following its scenic highways and famed Alaska Railway into rustic towns, through majestic Denali National Park, to an Iditarod dog kennel, and up breathtaking, snow-mantled mountains.
After disembarking from the cruise ship, you will meet your tour director and begin driving to Girdwood. The road passes through some of America's most spectacular scenery and holds three scenic designations: USDA Forest Service Scenic Byway, Alaska Scenic Byway, and All-American Road.
Upon arriving at the Alyeska Prince Resort and checking in, you will take a ride to the top of Mt. Alyeska on the aerial tramway for a spectacular view of the surrounding area with its seven glaciers. The rest of the day and evening are to enjoy as you please.
After breakfast at the hotel, begin your 4-hour scenic tour from Girdwood to Talkeetna via the George Parks Highway, which winds through the kind of scenery that defines the Alaskan interior: tundra, soaring mountain peaks, glaciers, forests, wild rivers, and vast expanses primarily inhabited by animals such as moose, grizzlies, foxes and birds.
Upon reaching Talkeetna, whose downtown is a National Historic Site, you will have time to explore before boarding an Alaska Railroad train. As you travel the 4.5 hours to Denali, seating is upstairs in the Dome where you will enjoy views from all sides of the railcar and lunch is included downstairs in the dining room. Once you reach Denali, you will be transferred to the Grande Denali Lodge, which perches on the edge of a bluff less than a mile from the entrance to Denali National Park.
Following dinner and an enlightening private lecture on Denali, you will overnight at the lodge.
The day starts with an early breakfast at the lodge. Then, you're off on a 5-hour Denali Natural History Tour led by a driver/naturalist, which takes you to Mile 19 of the Park Road (private cars can't go past Mile 14). It begins at the Wilderness Access Center, where you'll see the award-winning film "Across Time and Tundra," which tells of the creation of Mt. McKinley National Park in 1924. Next, you'll climb Government Hill-look off to your left and you'll see an expansive view that includes part of the Yanert Valley.
After Mile 3, you begin to enter the wilderness. This is taiga forest-and although no wildlife viewings are ever guaranteed- this is prime moose habitat, and moose may be seen anywhere on this stretch of road. Watch for a flash of sun glinting off antlers, or moose nibbling fresh willow leaves along the road.
You might also see foxes on this section of road and watch for caribou above treeline. The Great one-Mt. McKinley-often comes into view at about Mile 9, if weather is cooperating.
At Mile 12, you'll visit Savage Cabin, the original cook's cabin in the Park's first tourist camp, and still a ranger patrol cabin used by the Park Service. At Mile 17, you'll see a presentation by an Athabascan Alaskan Native interpreter, sharing the story of Alaskan Natives in Denali, and how they survived thousands of years in this harsh wilderness.
Upon returning to the lodge, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure, before overnighting at the lodge.
After breakfast at the lodge, you will drive from Denali on the Parks Highway, which (weather permitting) affords magnificent views of Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. In time, you will visit an Iditarod Sled Dog Kennel and learn about this truly Alaskan competition.
Traveling from Anchorage to Nome on the Bering Sea coast, each Iditarod team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover 1,150 miles of Alaska's most rugged terrain in 10 to 17 days. Add temperatures well below zero, scouring winds, and long hours of darkness, and it is no wonder that the Iditarod is called the last Great Race on Earth.
Continuing on from the kennel, you will drive to Anchorage and check-in at the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage. The rest of the day and evening are yours to enjoy as you please.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Anchorage airport for your flight home.
The hotel check-out time is 11a.m. Late check-out may be arranged and paid directly to the hotel on a space availability basis. For guests with late flights, luggage storage will be available at the hotel.
Land Program Step by Step:
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The times indicated are approximate, given here for general reference purposes and subject to change.
8:15am Welcome meeting onboard the ship with tour director
9:00am Depart Seward for Alyeska
12:00pm Arrive at Hotel Alyeska
Included tram ride Mt. Alyeska
Open afternoon and evening at leisure. Dinner on own
Overnight at the Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood
6:00am Buffet breakfast at resort
7:00am Depart resort for Talkeetna
11:00am Deluxe Dome Rail from Talkeetna to Denali (lunch on train)
4:00pm Arrive at the Grande Denali Lodge, steps from Denali National Park
5:30pm Reception with private lecture, followed by dinner (on own, not included)
Overnight at the Grande Denali Lodge
5:00am Buffet breakfast at lodge
7:00am Depart for Denali Natural History Tour
12:00pm Return from Denali Natural History Tour
Lunch on own
PM Open for optional activities. Dinner on own.
Overnight at the Grande Denali Lodge
6:00am Buffet breakfast at lodge
8:00am Depart Denali Park
12:00pm Arrive Happy Trails Kennels for enlightening presentation
Box lunch includes sandwich, pasta salad, cookie, bottle of water
2:00pm Depart for Anchorage
3:30pm Arrive Anchorage for brief city tour
5:00pm Arrive at Sheraton Hotel Anchorage. Dinner on own
Overnight at the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage or similar
AM Breakfast at hotel
11:00am Check out of the hotel
AM/PM Transfer to airport two hours prior to your flight. Luggage storage is available for guests with late flights.
EXTRA NIGHTS: Should you book any extra nights through the cruise line, you will be transferred to the airport per your departure flight details. Please note that check out time is 11:00am. Any meals other than breakfast as well as any activities are on your own after the program officially ends on the morning of Day 5.
Weather is very unpredictable. Average temperature is 55 F to 65 F. Summer temperatures can get into the 70's F.
What to Bring:
Expect a wide variety of weather and be prepared to dress in layers. All attire is casual and comfortable shoes are a must.
The electric current in the United States is 110 volts. You may need a converter if you have 220-volt devices.
All luggage service is provided. Current luggage allowance for flights to Anchorage is 50 pounds. All fees are the responsibility of the guest. Be sure all cases are sturdy and properly tagged with personal identification both inside and out.
Documents and Visa Requirements:
Passport is required for ship embarkation
Sheraton Anchorage, Grande Denali Lodge and Alyeska Prince Resort or similar.
Different hotels will only be used in unforeseen situations. If similar hotels are required, they will be of equal ratings and standards.
Ted Stevens International Airport, Anchorage, for all departing flights
Program Includes for guests:
One night at the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage or similar
Two nights at Grande Denali Lodge or similar
One night at the Alyeska Resort, Girdwood or similar
One lunch and one snack box
One reception and lecture on Denali
Alaska Deluxe Dome Rail tour
Tours and sightseeing as per program
Full breakfast daily
Bear claw wooden salad tongs in Denali and Survival Pack for each tour room
Luggage handling and all associated gratuities
Airport transfers as applicable
Please Note: Guests booking their own flights (independent of the cruise line) are responsible for ensuring that the cruise line has the most current and updated departure information so your transfer can be arranged. Should you book any additional nights independently of the cruise line, a departure transfer is not provided.
Program Excludes for guests:
Gratuities for tour director and motor coach driver, personal expenses, and any meals not listed above.
HOTELS & LODGES
The best available hotels and lodges in Alaska are used throughout the land program. They are comfortable and rustic. Guests accustomed to the level of services at an international five-star hotel will find that the same services are not available in Alaska. Due to peak season in Alaska from May through September, it may be difficult to change rooms during the hotel stay as all hotels have very high occupancy. Hotels are subject to change.
While you are in the Denali area at the beginning of the tour program, your guide will present additional touring programs for sale. These tour options vary from week to week and therefore can't be pre-purchased. However, your guide will do everything possible to help you secure space.
As your baggage will travel on many different modes of transportation, please choose sturdy cases that have been properly tagged with personal identifications, both inside and out. It is important to keep all valuables and documents on your person. As amenities such as elevators and baggage handling are limited at some locations, we suggest you only carry one bag per person while on the land tour. Your tour director will arrange to ship the rest of your luggage to your cruise ship.
Guests can make arrangements for their luggage to be transported from their home to the ship, and back home from any port at the end of their cruise by contacting Luggage Free at 800-361-6871or www.luggagefree.com.
CLOTHING AND CLIMATE
With a broad variety of weather possibilities, we encourage you to bring clothes that are suited to layering. Daytime attire in Alaska is strictly casual. Comfortable, supportive walking shoes are a must. The following items should be included: water-repellant coat or jacket, collapsible umbrella, rain hat, lightweight windbreaker, and sweaters. It could be warmer inland with summer temperatures in Denali reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Travel in Alaska is generally at lower elevations. The maximum altitude is 2,800 feet in Denali National Park.
Weather conditions are unpredictable. While the cruise line and its appointed ground operators will do everything possible to assist with alternative arrangements, we cannot be held responsible for any costs incurred if a land program, tour or private arrangement made through the cruise line is disrupted due to adverse weather.
The published itinerary is based on component suppliers expected to be operating for the land program. Changes to the availability of flights, flight and tour schedules or other itinerary components out of the cruise line's control may require an adjustment to the final itinerary. The local ground operator will handle meal vouchers, train tickets, or tour tickets included in the program. The cruise line reserves the right to substitute hotels, if necessary.
NOTE: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather-appropriate clothing such as caps, sunglasses, and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended.