Upon our arrival into the Anchorage airport, we were promptly met by a Princess Cruises representative and transferred to the Captain Cook hotel. We met our Princess escort and received our itinerary for the next 3 days.
On day 2, transferring to our next hotel, the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge (for perfect viewing of Mt. McKinley), was via the Princess Direct to Denali railcar toTalkeetna where we had lunch, and had time for shopping. From Talkeetna, we had the option to take a motor coach to the Lodge or to take the Three Rivers Tour that ended at the Lodge. We chose the Three Rivers Tour, a relaxing 3 hour trip giving us another chance to see wildlife.
On Day 3, we boarded a motor coach for our trip to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. After lunch, we spent the afternoon seeing the sights and looking for wildlife on the Natural History Tour. This 5 hour tour took us only a few miles into the park. To venture further requires 8 hours and you will be exposed to more of the park and wildlife sightings.
Our stay at each hotel was too brief to really enjoy the amenities the hotels had to offer. I would recommend at least 2 nights in one or both of the hotels.
We departed the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge for the rail depot. We arrived in Whittier 9 hours. Prior to our arrival, a Princess representative visited with each passenger and processed their documents for boarding. Upon arrival at the pier in Whittier, all that was required to board was to pass through security and we were on our way to our cabin onboard the Coral Princess.
The next 7 days were spent exploring College Fiord, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. The weather was clear and dry most days, making for some spectacular glacier viewing. The southbound sailing afforded us the opportunity to visit areas not seen on round-trip Seattle departures.
Although Seattle departures are more convenient, I recommend considering either the southbound sailing, from Whittier to Vancouver, BC, as we did, or a northbound sailing – beginning in Vancouver, BC and ending in Whittier. Land excursions can be added either before or after the one-way sailings. Adding a few more days to really see Alaska will enhance your experience. To do less is missing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The tour we took included the Princess escort, baggage handling, ground transportation and transfers, and breakfast and dinner each day for the land portion. Onboard the Coral Princess, all meals and entertainment are included.