DEBARKATION Because we made arrangements to stay in Anchorage an extra day, we were one of the last off the ship (about 10, 10:30 a.m.). We had made arrangements to rent a car through Avis in Whittier - the only car rental company in town. I thought it would be a good deal, as the dropoff fee was less than the Carnival transfer. However, the experience was MISERABLE. DO NOT RENT FROM THEM. My husband waited in line for at least an hour - not because there were tons of people but because the company 1) does not have a computer 2) does not have competent or trained employees (the man working behind the counter actually had is tween daughter cleaning out cars with a dustbuster and his five year old son running the credit cards!). It is shocking the Avis attaches their name to them, and we are filing an official complaint with their headquarters. Getting out of Whittier was tricky as well as the tunnel is only one way, so if you miss the window, you have to wait 45 minutes before it will open again.
This one is from TripAdvisor - I would check returning both to downtown and to the airport. By picking up downtown you avoid the airport surcharges, no matter where you return the car to. Two summers ago I rented from Avis downtown and returned to the airport for no additional charge. It totally depends on current prices and conditions, which change constantly.
ANCHORAGE We were pretty exhausted by the time we got to Anchorage, so we didn't do too much. We drove around, visited a local brewery (Midnight Sun - definitely recommend, very small but the beer is good). We had lunch at Snow City Cafe, which was fantastic, and dinner at ORSO - an italian place which was sooo good.
We did the post cruise tour to Denali National Park on the domed rail cars. That portion of the tour was handled by Carnival's sister company, Holland-America. It was incredibly well organized and an enjoyable experience, although I would recommend upgrading the Denali Park tour from the four hour to the eight hour journey into the park. We did see a bit of wild life, but those who upgraded their tour saw incredible things.
would definitely recommend Starboard side. Almost always, the best scenery and wildlife was on Starboard side - and although you can go to either if you are on one of the decks, it is great when you are in your cabin and can look out and see everything. Naturally we’re on the port side.
***And the one thing I wish people had told us*** 1. Every room has a lack of outlets to charge phones, cameras, etc. BRING A POWER STRIP, standard electricity, to plug in your stuff. ************8
This one is for Jan…Thanks to taking Dramamine (yes, even in the waters around Alaska, you need it!), we had no problems and sleep came easily and early.
Damn, it sounds like eating out will eat up our flight miles savings…We will be in Anchorage staying at the Clarion Suites for 1 night - Simon and Seafort's overlooks the Inlet, so it's a pretty view out, but it's also a bit pricey. I believe the cheaper things on the menu are around $25 and others around the $35 mark. They do have an early-bird special on Mon-Fri before 6pm, but the choices are more limited. Glacier Brewhouse has a range of prices from the same $35 range to a really delicious $12 pizza. It's a smallish pizza- maybe enough for two light eaters if they also had a salad or just right for one hungry person, but it's one of my favorite things there. The Snow Goose is the cheapest for sure and the view of Mount Susitna while eating on the deck upstairs is outstanding. I like the Wasabi halibut sandwich and the caribou burger best, but they have several good things on the menu. Pretty much everything on the menu is $10-15 and they (like Glacier Brewhouse) have some great local beers on tap. It's not fancy food- a bit above bar food, but probably not as good as the other two. It just depends on what you're in the mood for. Glacier is probably the closest, but it's still about 6-7 blocks away. Snow Goose is on 3rd, one block north from Glacier. Simon and Seafort's is about 10 blocks from your hotel. You might just want to grab a cab- it'd cost around $10 and you could always walk back once you've seen where you're going/how far it is yourself.
This one’s for Ed and Eries…just a comment from someone on TripAdvisor…There is no way I would arrive into Anchorage the same day that the cruise departs. Too many potentials for missing the boat, and the next place to pick it up would be 2-3 days later. And as was said, it is 2-4 hours from Anchorage to your departure dock. I would also suggest booking a transfer through the cruiseline. That way they are responsible to get you to the ship and gives you one less thing to worry about. Check on what time the train leaves the airport to Whittier.
If you do drive to Denali NP, there are much cheaper accommodations 15 min. north or south of the park at Healy and Carlo Creek. The entrance-area hotels have a "captive" audience of people who travel by bus or train, and charge around $300 per night. Here is a list for Healy: denalichamber.com/plugins/…yellowpages.php If you need help with that, just post over in the Denali NP forum for Coalminer, who lives there. Give a price range and what you're looking for (B&B, hotel, cabin).
We arrived in Anchorage, spent one night, rented a car and drove to Denali as John suggests, stopping several times along the way (Talkeetna, etc) to gawk! We stayed at the McKinley Creekside Cabins (mckinleycabins.com) for less than what our hotel in Anchorage cost. These cabins are a few miles south of the park. I'm sure others will have ideas for lodging which is more reasonable than the Glitter Gulch hotels, if you decide to rent a car.
Looking at TripAdvisor folks who recommended hotels in Anchorage…these are some that I saw…haven’t had time to check them out.
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