Here Comes The Sun – The Norwegian Sun!

norwegian-sunNew for 2013, Norwegian Cruise Line has deployed the Norwegian Sun, to what we believe is the best cruise itinerary that can be offered in Alaska – a 7-day Gulf of Alaska cruise. The Norwegian Sun’s northbound and southbound cruises do not travel to all of the same ports. The Northbound cruises from Vancouver travel to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Hubbard Glacier before arriving in Whittier. The southbound cruises from Whittier travel to Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Ketchikan before arriving in Vancouver, BC.

The primary difference is that the northbound Norwegian Sun cruise includes a visit to Glacier Bay National Park whereas the southbound cruises include Icy Strait Point. Icy Strait Point is located on Chichagof Island, about 1.5 miles away from the town of Hoonah. Icy Strait showcases the local native Tinglet culture in addition to the many of the typical shore excursions found in other Alaska ports such as saltwater fishing and whale watching excursions. It’s hard to imagine beating a trip into Glacier Bay National Park on a cruise ship, but Icy Strait Point has an excellent reputation so both cruise itineraries are bound to be well received by cruisers. (more…)

Best Transportation Options for Alaska Travel

How to travel through Alaska is a difficult decision.  Should you travel by rail, by bus or by rental car?  Taking a train allows you to travel in style. You can get up, walk around and have a meal in route.  On the motorcoach you travel faster for less money and the bus can stop for photos along the way.    We think that we have the perfect solution!  Alaska Tour & Travel recommends traveling one way by rail and the other by motorcoach.  This solution offers many benefits which include cost savings, time savings and getting to see the most diverse Alaskan scenery!

For example, if you would like to visit Denali for the wildlife, Talkeetna for views of Mt. Denali and Seward for glaciers we recommend the following itinerary.  Travel by rail from Anchorage to Denali, spend two nights and take a tour into Denali National Park.  Then travel by Park Connection Motorcoach to Talkeetna, spend one night and enjoy a flightseeing trip around Mt. Denali.  The next day travel once again by motorcoach from Talkeetna to Seward, spend two nights and travel on a day cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park to see glaciers and hopefully catch sight of a whale.  Then return to Anchorage by rail.  This loop allows you to experience the benefits of both modes of transportation and you get to enjoy the scenery on both the railway and the road routes. Our packages can be customized however you would like them so you are free to use only motorcoach service or only rail service if that is what you prefer.  (more…)

Alaska Railroad Answers

Some of the most common questions that we receive at Alaska Tour & Travel are about the Alaska Railroad.  It is amazing how many people believe that the Alaska Railroad runs through Canada all the way to the lower 48 States.

The history of the Alaska Railroad  involves many ownership changes. The Alaska Railroad was started in Seward in 1903 under the name of Alaska Central Railroad.  They completed 51 miles of track before going bankrupt in 1907.  In 1909, the Alaska Northern Railroad Company purchased the railroad and completed 21 more miles of track.  In 1914, the federal government purchased the line with the intent of creating a direct route between Seward and the town of Fairbanks in the interior of Alaska.  President Harding drove the final spike that completed the railroad in 1923.  In 1985, the State of Alaska purchased the railroad from the Federal Government.

The railroad is a valuable link between the interior of Alaska and the ice free ports of Seward and Whittier.  The railroad continues to operate both freight and passenger services.  The passenger service offers not only transportation from point A to point B but has the benefit of incredible Alaskan scenery along the way. Alaska Tour & Travel offers many rail vacation packages that feature travel on the Alaska Railroad. (more…)

U.S. Passport Day

Passport Day in the United States is April 9th and in recognition of that day we thought we’d take the time to answer a few questions we get regularly about what travel documents are needed to travel to Alaska. Alaska became the 49th state of the United States on January 3rd, 1959 however Alaska is separated from the rest of the contiguous United States by Canada. Check out our map if you want to see how Alaska borders Canada, not the Northwest United States! This international border creates a unique passport situation. All foreign travelers need a passport from their country to enter the United States. As a U.S. citizen, whether you need a passport for your Alaska vacation depends on how you are getting to and from Alaska. (more…)

Holiday Web Specials for Summer Travel to Alaska

Happy Holidays from Alaska Tour & Travel!

alaska-railroad-thompson-paWe currently have several web specials running through December that we want to make sure you know about before they expire. To take advantage of them you will want to confirm your travel and make a deposit on your reservation by December 31st.   For example, are you planning on taking an Alaska cruise and also planning on spending time traveling independently in Alaska before or after you cruise? If the answer is yes, you should consider booking your 2010 Alaska cruise using our new online cruise booking engine so you can receive a Park Connection Motorcoach Passport valued at $299 for free. The Park Connection Motorcoach is Alaska’s only scheduled motorcoach service that offers service between Seward, Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali daily.  The Park Connection also provides service into Whittier on days that cruise ships are in port.  In addition, the passport  provides a 50% discount on Alaska Railroad fares between Denali and Fairbanks. (more…)

The Park Connection Pass

denali-alaskaAlaska Tour & Travel is ready to help you plan next summer’s travel to Alaska. We’ve updated with all of Alaska’s best tours, hotel availability, and transportation options, including many Alaska Travel Deals. Among our new Alaska deals is the Park Connection Pass. The Park Connection Pass allows visitors to travel anywhere the Park Connection goes for 7 consecutive days. The Park Connection is a scheduled motorcoach service which travels daily between Seward, Girdwood, Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali State Park, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. Also included in the Pass is 50% off travel on the Alaska Railroad between Denali and Fairbanks. (more…)

Celebrate Savings During Alaska’s 50th Anniversary

I’ve been an Alaska resident for 43 years and in Alaska tourism since 1983 and I can’t ever recall having as many reasons to be excited about Alaska as what it has to offer visitors this summer. Alaska is celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Statehood this year.  Many communities and businesses are finding ways to recognize this event.  Alaska Tour & Travel is recognizing the Anniversary by giving away Sydney Laurence’s “Legacy of Alaska” print signed by all of Alaska’s living governors to one lucky photographer who sends in the winning photograph of their Alaska vacation to us.  It’s sure to be a fun way to share Alaska travel experiences and we’re looking forward to sharing all the submissions with you on our photo website.  In addition, the Park Connection Motorcoach is giving free rides if your turning 50 years old this year; Everyone else can save $10 off per person on the Park Connection all season long by choosing our Denali Express and Seward Express departures. (more…)

Alaska Travel Packages By Car

There isn’t a more independent way of experiencing Alaska at your own pace then to create a custom travel itinerary which includes a rental car as your means of transportation for your Alaska vacation. All of Alaska Tour & Travel’s packages can be customized to provide visitors the option of traveling via rental car instead of the Park Connection Motorcoach or the Alaska Railroad.  We sometimes call these packages  Self-drives, and have found they are a popular means of touring Alaska.  Our Self-drive’s include all the hotels, tours, car rental and any other necessities that you’ll find in our other packages.

One of the advantages of Self-Drive packages is that you can visit some off-the beaten-path Alaskan communities which are not otherwise included in travel packages.  Communities such as Homer, Cooper Landing, Valdez, as well as some great parks such as Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kachemak Bay State Park, and even Chugach State Park will be readily accessible to explore at your own pace with a Self-drive package.  (more…)

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