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I've been to Alaska twice. I spent the first week on Juneau and did touristy things and the second on Petersberg at a Fishiing Camp. It felt like I was in an Outdoor Video as the eagles were flying, the black- tailed Sitka deer were swimming and we caught halibut that were over 200 pounds and had to be stunned with pistols before being pulled into the boat. I assure you I am not an outdoor girl. Alaska was an entirely different experience from my usual boredom with fishing on Long Island Sound.

The second time I was part of a Princess Package. I flew to Anchorage with my 80 year-old mother, took the train from Fairbanks to Denali and then on to Anchorage. We then took a bus to Seward for the cruise to Vancouver. In both cases I got to take a helicopter ride to the Juneau Glaciers. The second time I even got to go on a dog sled ride. Each time was thrilling.

I did not enjoy the train or the cruise except for when I could get off. The entire Princess Operation was efficient, but I felt confined, STUFFED with food, annoyed by the over attentitiveness of the dining room staff and abundance of "old"people--my age or older. This may have happened because we went in May when families would not be traveling. There were pleasant aspects, the shows,movies, gambling,aerobic classes and many wonderful people; but if this is your first cruise, I suggest that you invest in a short cruise before you sign up for this one.

Edith
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Edith writes:

The entire Princess Operation was efficient, but I felt confined, STUFFED with food, annoyed by the over attentitiveness of the dining room staff and abundance of "old"people--my age or older. This may have happened because we went in May when families would not be traveling.

I took a week's cruise to Bermuda five years ago on a Celebrity ship. It was the only vacation in my entire lifetime when I was absolutely forced to relax. There was no telephone, no pager, no TV, and no internet. I could eat, sleep and socialize, so I did all three. Mrs. Pixy did the drinking as that's a vice I gave up 20 years ago. All in all, it was the most enjoyable vacation I ever had.

So much so, in fact, that we have recently been discussing doing the Alaska cruise some day. I've been there many times for work in all times of the year, from Kodiak in the summer, to Denali in the spring, to Palmer in the fall, and to Kotzebue in the dead of winter. The latter was neat. I have a picture that shows me standing beside a gas pump that was buried in the snow so only its top down to the dial was visible. In the picture, the pump comes up to my knees. It's all a beautiful land I would like Mrs. Pixy to see.

But then I'd like to take a cruise down (or up) the Mississippi, too. So many choices and so little ...

Pixy
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Well, the best way I've ever found to see the Inside Passage was and still is by Alaska State Ferryboat. http://www.akferry.com/pages/winter.html Then click on schedules and prices. For me, I've made the trip several times in the last decade and I love every minute of it. You can get off the boat whenever they stop and either pick up the next boat coming thru or get back on the one you arrived on. It's slick, efficient and cheap. I emphasize the word cheap only because it is. You won't get fat, sluggish or lazy on these boats, no no!
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You got my vote on that one! The AK ferry system is extremely reliable.
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I enthusiastically second the Alaska State Ferryboat.
I was a bunch younger and went deck class (sleeping bag on the deck). I'd probably do it again --not sure my spouse would). Cabins are available.
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Did it in '74 with my wife, two dogs and a VW bus. Real hippies.. Alaska Ferry is great, but DO get the cabin. Don't know about now, but they had great french fries on the ferry. Most people lived on them, as they were the cheapest thing to eat (50 cents for huge pile). We toured Anchrage, Fairbanks, visited friends who had homesteaded on the Tozitna river (bush plane access only, it's north of Yokon river). Came back 6 months later and worked on the pipeline for a year and a half.
I DO love Alaska.
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We am interested in taking the Alaska State Ferry this summer. Can anyone tell me what the food is like on the ferry? What about reservations? Do you need to reserve far in advance. We are planning on driving from Haines or Skagway to Whitehorse. Is the road paved or gravel. Is it kept in good condition? What is the best route?

Hondaholic
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http://www.akferry.com/pages/schedule.html

I wouldn't take a chance without reservations. Food is pretty good. You won't get fat like on the Princess Cruises, but you won't get thin either. Alaska highways are paved, however the Yukon portions (in places) are not.
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I'd recommend reading a copy of The Milepost, the most comprehensive book on the Alaska Highway system. It covers everything and answers most all your questions and things you never even thought about asking.
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To wycowboy2 and yr2012

Thanks very much for the information on the Alaska State Ferries and about The Milepost book.


Hondaholic

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