JCOAKML
Contributor Level: Captain

Questions about Whittier cruise port

1.  Does Princess cruises off shuttle service to and from Whittier?

 

2.  If you stayed over night before or after the cruise, where did you stay?  Can you get a hotel in Whittier?

 

3.  What are some things to do in Anchorage or Whittier before or after a cruise?

 

The cruise is in May.  I’ll do it on on the Golden, Star, or Coral Princess.  

 

I’m doing research in other places too but would also like input from here.  I tend to do a lot of research for places new to me, so that’s why I’m asking now.

Tags: Alaska Whittier (Anchorage) Whittier

10 Answers

JCOAKML
Contributor Level: Captain

Oh I forgot I posted about Whittier already.  It was below the “Infamous 15”.  

Bubba54
Contributor Level: Captain

I’m almost positive Princess offers a shuttle from the Airport to Whittier. We have used Anchorage Tours and Transfers. They do offer half day tours that take you to the wildlife conservation center, which is pretty cool. It is close to the turnoff to Whittier. 

 Downtown Anchorage is like any other major city. When we drive into Anchorage I like Humpy’s for their halibut fish & chips.

 There is one hotel in Whittier I believe, but I would stay in Anchorage. To get to Whittier you have to go through a tunnel that is about a 2 1/2 miles long. You enter and exit on the half hour as the tunnel is only wide enough for one lane. Once in Whittier you can see the entire town in 20 minutes. There are fishing charters and a company that offers Glacier tours via boat. We have not done these. 

 Only Avis has a car rental facility in Whittier. If you plan on renting a car one way from Anchorage to Whittier be ready they charge last year was $20 (if memory is correct). They charge to get into Whittier but not to leave. If you go this route, you will be able to drop you bags return the car. The walk from Avis to the ship is 10 minutes if you stop to look around. 

The drive to Whittier from Anchorage is up Turn again bay and is a beautiful drive. Along the way you will pass a gas station in Girdwood, fill up here and then top off in Whittier(gas really expensive) but you will only need a gallon tops. Make sure you take the the receipt from the fill up, they ask most of the time.

 The Wildlife Conservation Park is worth seeing.  Sorry I ran on long. Hopefully Kennicott will chime in, I’m a new Alaskan.

 

JCOAKML
Contributor Level: Captain

Cool!  Thanks for the info.

Bubba54
Contributor Level: Captain

Most welcome!

SimonCommunity
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

The 26 Glaciers Cruise is a great way to spend a few hours in Whittier before you board your ship. Highly recommend. It puts you much closer to glaciers than your cruise ship will.

To get to Whittier from Anchorage, book the Alaska Railroad. It's much more scenic than the bus trip.

JCOAKML
Contributor Level: Captain

 

Thanks for the recommendation!  Sounds great.

 

We did the Princess Cruisetour that ended in Whittier last May. They have shuttles for everything. If you have a day or two before the cruise fly into Fairbanks and take a Princess shuttle bus (3 hours) to Denali. Stay at one of the Princess lodges there. You can do a half day tour of the Park there. The next day take the train from Denali to Whittier. It is a beautiful 8 hour train ride on a two level domed train through amazing scenery. We saw Mountain goats, glaciers, Moose and Bears from the train. The train stops right at the cruise port in Whittier. If you have to spend another night because of timing, the train stops in Anchorage too and you could stay there. Princess does offer shuttles from Anchorage. 

JCOAKML
Contributor Level: Captain

 

That sounds wonderful!  Thanks for sharing all that.  Hope I can do a train trip too.

 

Kennicott
Contributor Level: Captain

Welcome to Alaska----Anchorage basically has two ports the cruise lines use; Whittier is very close to Anchorage in the northwest corner of Prince William Sound  and Seward is further south at the head of Resurrection Bay, which connects directly to the North Pacific (Gulf of Alaska).  Actually, Anchorage does have its own port too but it is used mainly by freighters (Happens to be the largest port in the entire State though). Cruise Ships can and do use it but mainly as an intermediate port, rarely do they use it for embarkations and disembarkations.

 

Reason for that is Anchorage is located at the head of Cook Inlet which puts it pretty far north of the main Pacific Coast, meaning a lot of sailing time is entailed to get here which really cuts into the average week long cruise often marketed for Central Alaska originating or terminating in Vancouver or Seattle. 

 

Cruise Lines generally use one port or another, but not both. I know Princess uses Whittier and HAL Seward.

 

Whittier is a relatively small recreational fishing port with some limited commercial fishing working out of there. It is a really small community. Whittier was originally started as an Army base and supply port during the war and two long railroad tunnels were necessary to connect it with Anchorage and the two large military bases here. Today, the tunnels have been modified so they accommodate both railroad and vehicle traffic, however, traffic is only one way, meaning it is controlled so it flows only one direction at a time, vehicles might have to wait a bit sometimes before they get a chance. Not counting the tunnel wait, it only takes a hour or so to drive down there from Anchorage. Seward takes at least two.

 

In other words, there isn't a lot to do in Whittier, however tour boats work out of there in the summer and that area has some pretty fascinating scenery. If you can work it out, get there early and take the "26 Glacier Cruise", which coincides with the cruise line schedules I understand.   

JCOAKML
Contributor Level: Captain

Thank you everyone for the great inputs.  Much appreciated!

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