Land Tour Treat
With any new cruise, excursion, activity or even dessert item that we create, we want to make sure it lives up to the UnCruise Adventures standard. So we test it out. And with the dessert item, we just might test it more than once.
As we get ready to offer our new Denali National Park and Knik River land tour adventure this April, we sent out three members from our Seattle office to explore and report back. Director of Sales, Yolanda Brown; Sales Manager, Cathy Lamb; and Director of Land Operations, Debbie Reid joined the 8-night land tour starting in Fairbanks, Alaska. Yolanda shares her experience with us:
It started with a wine and cheese meet and greet with the roughly 20 other guests at the Rivers Edge Cottages in Fairbanks, Alaska.
After becoming acquainted with fellow travel mates, the tour escort outlined the upcoming activities before we settled down for the evening in our cozy cabins.
Referred to as the Golden Heart City because of an early 20th century gold rush, Fairbanks has countless sights to see. On Saturday, a 3-hour riverboat tour in the morning took us to many of those sights, highlighted by a visit to the home and kennels of a former four-time Iditarod winner (available on 8-night package).
In the afternoon, we toured the Museum of the North to discover Alaska’s biodiversity over time.
Sunday was a leisurely day as we had free time to visit local shops and stores before gathering for an afternoon walking tour of the city.
Things got rolling on Monday. After breakfast, we departed for the train depot for our trip to Denali National Park. The train ride featured gorgeous scenery we enjoyed in the full glass dome rail car. Leather reclining seats, a full dining car and guided narration throughout the journey made the ride a wonderful experience.
After arriving in Denali, we stopped at the visitor’s center and grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant before hopping on our motor coach to Kantishna for a 95 mile scenic ride into the heart of Denali National Park. The ride was fully narrated by a guide and we kept our eyes peeled for wildlife as we learned about the big five: moose, caribou, brown bear, fox and Dall sheep.
When we arrived in Kantishna, we felt like we were on a real adventure as we were far removed from it all, deep inside Denali National Park. The hotel was beautiful, and the cabins were rustic and very comfortable. After dinner in the main lodge, we signed up for the next day’s excursions.
Tuesday was a full day of activity. We had the option to choose between hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking or panning for gold. The day was topped off with an entertaining evening presentation by an Iditarod dog sled musher.
On Wednesday, we were back on the motor coach headed for the park entrance. For the extra adventurous among us, the option to purchase a flight seeing tour out of the park was offered. Back at the Denali rail depot, we boarded the deluxe dome rail car for another scenic ride, this time to Talkeetna where we had time to walk around town and stretch our legs before a private shuttle transfer to Knik River Lodge.
We arrived at the lodge around 5:15–just in time for dinner. The cabins were comfortable and located near the Knik River. Each cabin had a private deck looking out at the mountains. There are hiking trails in the area for us to enjoy and the cabin is a 12 minute helicopter ride to the glacier where mushers live with dogs. The option to purchase a glacier landing exploration tour or participate in dog mushing is also available.
Thursday started with a continental breakfast delivered right to our cabin before a day of exploration. We hiked a Chugach Mountain trail and took a shuttle to Hatcher Pass to visit the historic Independence mine. Glacier flightseeing and dog sledding are available for additional fees. In the evening, a special farewell dinner was followed by a presentation from local dog mushers.
On Friday morning, we traveled to Anchorage for a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center and learned about the five native cultures of Alaska. After lunch, we checked into our hotel and had the afternoon to explore Anchorage on our own. After breakfast on Saturday, we said goodbye to our new friends and flew home.
It was a great nine days of adventure! We are confident our guests will enjoy this scenic tour in Alaska as much as we did.