We are doing a back to back Northbound/Southbound cruise and will be in Whittier from early morning till evening. Are there any excursions in Whittier worth taking? Has anyone travelled to Anchorage (by train, bus, car??) and spent the day there? I'm not sure if this can be fit into a day excursion. Any insights and advise would be greatly appreciated!
I have family in Anchorage. Not far from Whittier is Portage Glacier and Im sure they have an excursion to there. I also believe there may be whale watching excursions out of Whittier, now 100% sure though. You could always pull up the city of Whittier on the internet and see what you find. Also maybe consider renting a car, driving into Anchorage and going to the Alaska State Zoo. The drive from Whittier to Anchorage is gorgeous and you may catch site of some sheep on the rocks, beluga whales coming in and maybe a moose or a bear if you are lucky. Have fun!
There is a tour outfit in Whittier that does a 26 glacier tour on a high speed catamaran. We have done this and it is great. The boat is very comfortable and they supply a meal while onboard. They also have a gift shop and place to buy gifts and snacks if you wish. They also pull up and grab some glacial ice for those that would like it in their drink or just to look at. It was called 26 Glacier Tours when we took it and we found it looking up information on Whittier.
Greyson & PEB, thanks so much for the information. I've heard that 26 Glacier Tours are a good operator so I'll check out their website for more tour information. I was thinking of going into Anchorage but apparently there is a tunnel which is single lane(?) so traffic can get bottle necked and delayed.
I know there is a tunnel, its old railroad tunnel. I didnt know it was only one lane though. Wanted to check that out when we went up to Anchorage this past September, but ran out of time. Have a great trip, you will love it.
As far as the tunnel goes they allow traffic into Whittierat specific time intervals and let traffic go out at the opposite time intervals. I don't remember which direction goes at what times during the hour. Of course the train goes when it comes in. I can't remember if the time intervals are on the half hour or the quarter hour.
This is a good topic, I'm currently planning a late trip to Alaska and since Princess docks at Whittier, I'm a bit confused as to how people get out of this town from a North bound cruise. The train schedule appears to be one-way (Anchorage > Whittier)? Car rental from Whittier is like double of what you can pick up at Anchorage and fewer choices. So what is the better option here, going on a North or South bound cruise?
Could someone whom have been there give me some advice? Thanks in advance!
Any way you look at it the views from Whittier to Ankorage are very beautiful. You can book the train through the cruise line if you wish the train does go from Whittier to Ankorage. Many people take the land package and stay on the train to go to other stops with the cruise line. You can rent a car, as you say, but Whittier is an extremely small town and I would imagine most the cars they have available are because those cars have been brought in from Ankorage from people who are arriving to take a cruise. You can also use the transfers through the cruise line and take a bus to Ankorage.
To prove my point on how small Whittier is, all the people that live in Whittier live in one building that at one time was a military barraks. That is not a joke or lie that is the absolute truth. That is why your car rental is so high.
As far as whether a northbound or southbound cruise is better: southbound has the advantage of better flight schedules home, if you are not from the west coast. Many flights heading to the lower 48 leave Anchorage in the middle of the night (i.e. 1 or 2 AM), while schedules leaving Vancouver or Seattle are much more reasonable.
But northbound has the scenic advantage: the scenery starts out beautiful, and just gets better and better each day as you head north.