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Old 07-03-2010, 06:38 PM   #1
heatherleigh
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Alaska Trip Report

I wasn't sure where to post, but I wanted to share our experience from our Alaskan vacation we just returned from. This looks like the only place it will "fit".

Me, and my three oldest kids ages 4, 6, & 8, went to AK for two weeks. We flew to ANC on 6/14 on a non-stop. This is the longest flight my kids have ever been on. We took Alaska, and it was a great flight. The kids slept most of the way, and we got into ANC at 2A, where it was still dusky out. My mom picked us up from the airport, where we went home w/ her and slept several hours.

That afternoon, we took the Seward Bus Line down to Seward. The drive probably would have been beautiful, but it was difficult to enjoy in the bus. I am not a picky person, but this was the filthiest bus I have ever been in. The door wouldn't close all the way, so we froze the whole 3+ hours down. There was chewing gum stuck to the window sills and a terrible smell in the bus. There weren't any tourist-type of people in the bus, and quite a few questionable looking characters. We didn't let that dampen our spirits though, because we were so excited. If I would have put more thought or research into the trip, we could have gone w/ the Kenai Fjords bus, which would have been much nicer.

We arrived in Seward, and checked into the Holiday Inn Express on the bay. I made reservations to eat at Ray's for later that evening. The hotel was clean and nice. They had complimentary hot drinks in the lobby (hot cocoa, hot tea, and coffee). Their WiFi worked great, but the plug in for it was located on the opposite side of our laptop, so it was awkward. We ordered a roll-away bed for my youngest to sleep in and the staff was great. We went to Ray's and had the most delicious meal ever! My youngest got a cheeseburger with fries from the kids menu. Of course we all got crab legs, since that's what they're known for. They were so yummy. My 6-yr old had the nerve to say, "I like the crab legs at red Lobster better". They served some delicious bread w/ the meal and we ordered seafood chowder. We were seated at a window that overlooked the bay. We got an ice cream sundae with hot fudge for dessert and shared since we were so stuffed.

After our meal, we took a walk out on the harbor and looked at all the boats that were docked there. We found out where our tour boat was located for the following day w/ Kenai Fjords. The weather was overcast, and damp so we dressed in lots of layers. I stopped at the Helly Hansen store next door to the restaurant, and purchased a fleece for myself to wear since I knew I wouldn't be warm enough. I couldn't find any long underwear in my size though. We met up with my cousin and her family who live in Seward, and they joined us on our walk on the harbor, before we went back to the room and went to bed. All in all, the first day turned out great.
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AK Trip Report 6/10: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2501164

Last edited by heatherleigh; 07-03-2010 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:45 PM   #2
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June 16 Kenai Fjords Fox Island Tour

We woke up later this morning (but just early enough to enjoy the continental breakfast downstairs), and showered & got ready for our boat tour. We were scheduled to leave early in the afternoon w/ Kenai Fjords tours, on a 4 hour cruise to Fox Island.

We walked to the KF office, which was very close and located on the same side of the street half an hour before we were scheduled to depart. We checked in, and opted to pay an additional $8 to have fresh king crab legs along with our included meal at Fox Island. At this point, we were still not tired of the wonderful seafood.

We got in line outside of the boat, which I cannot remember the name of- it did start with the letter "a". It was "Akaleetok or something. We boarded, and chose a table on the first level with a window. The boat was well taken care of, and clean. They offered snacks and drinks for purchase, and had complimentary coffee. It was a full boat, but it did not feel too cramped or crowded. The staff came around with little booklets for all the kids to fill out to become "Junior Rangers", which I thought was a nice idea that included them. I was a little apprehensive about the tour being so long, but it was perfect. The weather was still overcast and chilly, but it was warm and cozy inside the boat.

We were so fortunate to be able to see all the wildlife we did. We saw bald eagles, sea lions, orca whales (which was the coolest thing ever!), a humpback whale, dall sheep, sea otters, and horned & tufted puffins. My oldest son went outside on the rail with my mom to view many of the animals. It was windy and cold out there, so my 6-year old stayed inside the whole time. I brought my 4-year old out to see the orcas, and am so glad we did. It was cold, but seeing the whales makes you forget how uncomfortable you are. I can't even describe what an amazing experience it is to see them up close in the wild.

The waves weren't too bad, but there were a couple times I felt a tiny bit uneasy. There was a GPS screen inside the boat that we were able to look at to monitor where we were on an electronic map. My oldest son thought that was neat.

We arrived at Fox Island right when we were starting to get hungry for lunch. We all went to the bathrooms, then headed into the dining area to eat. My mom and I went to the food line and got plates and brought the food back for the kids. We had: prime rib, king crab legs, wild salmon, rice pilaf, dinner rolls, corn on the cob, and a green salad. It was all very delicious. Unfortunately, the kids didn't eat much, but my mom & I sure did.

The staff from KF did a small ceremony for the kids who completed their workbooks on the boat. My kids didn't finish, so they weren't able to participate. They announced that we could bring the workbooks to the office at any time, and they could get their badges and certificates then, which was nice. We told the kids we would do it the following day before leaving Seward. The staff also gave us a brief history on Fox Island during lunch, which was interesting.

We then went to the gift shop and purchased a few souvenirs. My 6-year old got a stuffed whale, my oldest got a stuffed bald eagle, a Fox Island baseball hat, and an AK keychain with his name on it. I can't remember what my daughter got, but I'm almost positive she got something.

Then, we all headed back out to get in line to board. Some of the passengers actually stayed behind to camp the night in some cabins on Fox Island, so it wasn't quite as full on the boat. I can tell F.I. would be beautiful and picturesque if the weather wasn't so overcast. It was STILL beautiful despite that. Some of the tourists were skipping stones out on Resurrection Bay, before boarding.

When we got back on the boat, there was a rather large man with two others trying to sit at our table. We had left behind blankets and the workbooks, indicating that was our table, which he chose to disregard. My mom told him we were sitting there, and he asked how many was in her party and if he could sit there too. I had not yet reached the table w/ my younger two, so she told him it was a full table. We watched him attempt to "steal" two other tables that were occupied (people had left stuff behind like backpacks), before he finally was able to find a place. At least he wasn't rude and did not argue, but he was pretty desperate and pushy.
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WDW 1990, DL 2000, DL PPH Jan/Feb. 2006, DL Paradise Pier Hotel Oct. 2007, DL Paradise Pier Hotel Oct. 2010
DLH March 2012
AK Trip Report 6/10: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2501164
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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That sounds like a lot of fun, I miss Alaska this time of year. I lived there for awhile... ::sigh::

Thanks for sharing!!
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:24 AM   #4
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AHHH You're a tourist up here Just kidding. Seward is beautiful. We are headed to Valdez tomorrow morning
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:14 AM   #5
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We're thinking of Alaska for our next big wedding anniversary, coming up in a couple of years. I'll be interested in reading the rest of your report.
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:27 AM   #6
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I lived in Anchorage for 5 1/2 years, I really want to go back. Reading this makes me homesick for Alaska!!
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleVW View Post
I lived in Anchorage for 5 1/2 years, I really want to go back. Reading this makes me homesick for Alaska!!
I know!! Me too. It's too bad my ex still lives there, .
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Taking 2011 off. I'm sure I'm going to start shaking from WDW withdrawal any minute now!
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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Day 2 Seward

After the tour, we walked back to the hotel room to relax. I may have given one of the kids a bath. We decided to take a taxi downtown for dinner. I read great reviews on a place called, "Nelli's Roadhouse", and wanted to check it out.

I looked up a taxi co. and called the first one listed. I kept getting a recording, "we are busy right now, just give us a call back". I was surprised a co. would have something like this, but Seward is a small town. We asked someone at the fuel station to call a place for us, which he did. The taxi was there within 10 minutes, and we were off. Just an FYI: be careful when selecting a taxi co. in Seward. We got lucky, and never got the company who uses a meter (who will charge 5 times more than the rest). All taxi rides should cost $5 even, no matter how large your party is. My cousin, who is local, along w/ our taxi driver warned us about another company who charges outrageous rates to tourists. The driver said they will size you up and determine whether or not you are a tourist, then charge accordingly. PJ's Taxi service was the best one according to my cousin and us. The taxi did not smell like cigarette smoke (unlike one we rode in) and the woman who drove it kept it very clean. She was super friendly too.

We unloaded downtown, and walked to Nellie's which was closed. We couldn't figure out why, so we moved on to Apollo's Restaurant. It's a Greek-themed place with decent food. I probably would not go back there again, just because there are so many outstanding places in town that are better. My mom ordered spaghetti, and I got a gyros plate.

We then took a taxi back to our hotel and brought the kids down to the swimming pool. The pool was scheduled to close 5 minutes after we got there, but the hotel staff was kind enough to look the other way. Therefore, we wound up having the entire pool and hot tub to ourselves for the rest of the night. Pool closes at 10P, but our hours were already adjusting to a later schedule due to the constant daylight. My mom had to take the kids to swim because I forgot my bathing suit.After swimming, we headed back up to the room to turn in for our last night in Seward.
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AK Trip Report 6/10: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2501164
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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I'm enjoying your report. DH is dying to go to Alaska. We were seriously just talking about it this morning!

I look forward to more!
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:02 PM   #10
heatherleigh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natenapril View Post
AHHH You're a tourist up here Just kidding. Seward is beautiful. We are headed to Valdez tomorrow morning
I know! I actually grew up in BET, but left when I was 17 years old, and have never had a chance to see the "beautiful" tourist parts of the state. My family still lives up there, but we don't make it up very often. It is too expensive with my large family and when we do make it, it always seems to be for an unexpected funeral. This was only our second "fun" trip that had nothing to do with a death when we originally planned it. However, my aunt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a little over a month ago, so we wound up spending a lot of time with her during the trip. The timing couldn't have been better. Of course when we planned the trip last year, we had no idea she would be sick.

Mrs. Char, when did you live up there? My mom moved to ANC a few mos back, and she is loving it so far.

Bicker, if you want anymore details regarding pricing or anything, just ask. I keep forgetting to include that. I highly recommend Seward. It is a damp, overcast town but still wonderful. The people are so friendly and it doesn't seem crowded or flooded with too many tourists. My mom said that's because they've raised their prices so much this year.. I enjoyed this portion of our trip so much, that I would like to do it again the next time and stay 3 days with all four kids!

Miche, when did you live in AK? It really is beautiful.

Lauri, my in-laws have always wanted to travel up there too. I would love to show it to them sometime in the future. Maybe one day when my mom buys her house, they can go up and stay with her at least.
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WDW 1990, DL 2000, DL PPH Jan/Feb. 2006, DL Paradise Pier Hotel Oct. 2007, DL Paradise Pier Hotel Oct. 2010
DLH March 2012
AK Trip Report 6/10: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2501164
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