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Old 02-15-2013, 10:00 AM   #1
shazza
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The 90-60-30 Alaska Pre-Trip Report

I've been starting up one trip report just after finishing another, so it seems fitting to get going on my Alaska Pre-Trip Report.

The story behind the title to this thread:

"90" is the number of days until we leave for what we hope will be an incredible visit to Alaska.

"60" is how old I'll be just after we arrive in Alaska. This trip is my birthday present - originally booked by my DH (Lou), but now the planning is up to me.

"30" is approximately how many days we'll be spending in Alaska ...



The majority of our time will be spent onboard a small ship cruising through the Inner Passages. We will be sailing with Un-Cruise Adventures (Innerseas Discoveries & American Safaris). We are booked on the Ultra Adventure - 21 nights. This itinerary is actually 3 x 1 week cruises.

Week No. 1: Juneau to Ketchikan: Inner Reaches Eastern Coves

Week No. 2: Ketchikan to Juneau: Inner Reaches Western Coves

Week No. 3: Juneau to Sitka: Northern Passages & Glacier Bay

Week No. 4; Land Package: Fairbanks to Denali by Train, 2 Nights in Kantishna/Denali, Train to Anchorage



We'll be on the Wilderness Discoverer for the first two weeks, then switching to the Wilderness Explorer. Both ships hold 76 passengers and these are billed as "Adventure Cruises" - meaning accommodations and meals should be fine, but it's not a luxury liner.

A photo from the Un-Cruise website of the Wilderness Discoverer:




I'll fill in more details on our plans in the upcoming weeks. But a brief explanation of why I'm starting this PTR early. 1st, of course, is to get ideas from other PassPorters about plans for Alaska. 2nd is a selfish one; I've committed to getting in better shape for this trip. After reading the inspirational stories of our Disney Runners here, I've started the "Couch to 5K" training program.

I won't be doing any 5K runs in Alaska (and maybe never), but I do want to be able to feel comfortable hiking. My fitness level has deteriorated over the years; it's easy to blame it on a bad knee; but the fact is, I've just been lazy. I push myself when on a trip (like to Disney World), and notice I actually feel better when I get home than I do after a week of being a couch potato. So, it's time to do something about it.

By putting my commitment to the C25K program here in writing, I hope it will add that extra incentive. I'll give regular updates on my progress, but will spare you the details (that is, this won't be a diary of a runner...) In fact, I may be doing more walking than running - but at least I will be off the couch! Have shoes, ready to go:

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Old 02-15-2013, 10:15 AM   #2
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Oh wow, it sounds like an absolutely trip - I hadn't realised you were going to be gone so long, how neat!
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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This sounds like a dream vacation. Being on one of the smaller ships and able to get in close to the shore should be incredible. Congratulations on your fitness program! Looking forward to hearing more details of the trip.
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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Great start Sharon! What an amazing trip that is going to be. Very jealous! Can't wait to hear the details!
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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What a fabulous plan!! 30 days????? WOW!!!! Can't wait to read all about it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:19 PM   #6
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Wow! I knew you were planning on cruising in Alaska, but I didn't realize the trip would be 30 days long!! Sounds like a dream of a birthday.

Good luck with your couch to 5K program!!
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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Sounds like it's going to be an amazing trip! Good luck with the couch-to-5K!
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:34 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone! We are very excited about the trip.

Real Life Update: Our 7am flight from Phoenix to Florida was cancelled today. After we were all on board (got up at 4am to make the flight), they announced the flight was cancelled due to maintenance issues. The pilot announced " You'll need to get off the plane and check with the gate agent to see what the plan is ... If there is a plan." There was no plan. They passed out tickets with the 800 number on it for people to change their reservations.

We are now booked to leave at noon, going to Jacksonville, Florida - a 4.5 hr drive from our house. But, that's where Natasha is, so we will rent a car and drive home tomorrow, saving our friends the drive. It could be worse - we could have been stuck on the Carnival Cruise like those poor souls on the Triumph.

The most recent photo of Natasha - sent by "Aunt Kathy." She appears to be enjoying her visit.





This debacle confirms our choice to fly to Juneau 2 days before our cruise departs...


Departure Travel Plans:

May 16th, Thursday: Depart Bangor, Maine at 8:30am; Arrive Juneau, Alaska at 9:30pm

Travel time will be about 16 hrs from Maine to Juneau, taking into account the time zone changes. We will have two nights in Juneau at the Goldbelt Hotel, with one full day for sightseeing.

No definite plans for Juneau - see the Mendenhall Glacier, ride the Mt. Roberts Tramway, walk around town - all subject to weather and jetlag. Also hoping to score a good dinner, preferably Alaskan Halibut.



May 18th, Saturday: Board the Wilderness Discoverer on Saturday afternoon.

We are booked in an Explorer cabin, which is on the top deck and has a bit more room than the middle and lower deck cabins. From the photos on the website, it appears to be basic, but spacious. No private veranda, but both the large window open, as well as the door that goes directly out onto the top deck for better viewing.






The first week's cruising plan looks like this (more details to come later):





Coming Up Next: How we came to select this Adventure
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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Oh wow, the plans so far look great!
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:44 PM   #10
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Oh wow, the plans so far look great!
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #11
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Great plans!!!
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:20 PM   #12
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WOW!! Looks like a great start. Sorry to hear about your delay in Phoenix. Hope your flight to JAX goes well.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:45 PM   #13
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Looking like a fun trip! Sorry for the delay!
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:36 PM   #14
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Sorry about the flight cancelation-- you'll be exhausted when you get home, but you and Natasha will be home!

Definitely a good idea to schedule your flight well in advance of the cruise departure. Bangor is easier to get out of than Owls Head (which is where I always flew from when I lived in Camden) because it has less fog, but flying is always risky for delays. The cabin looks very spacious and light. I love the look of your itinerary for the first week. The hook you take going through the fjords and Rudyerd Bay behind Ketchikan is where I sailed on an excursion and it was absolutely beautiful. Definitely something you couldn't do on a larger cruise ship.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:43 PM   #15
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Thanks for checking in, Folks.

Laurie - I hope the smaller ship works to our advantage. There don't seem to be many flight options out of Owl's Head. Bangor is definitely closer than Portland.



We arrived in Dallas at 3:30pm - now waiting for our 6:30pm flight to JAX. The good news is, there's no where we have to be at a certain time. And, the airport has free wi-fi. I'm entertaining myself reading Frommer's Alaska.
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