Travel Alaska Consumer Tour Reviews
This was a trip like no other. We enjoyed the new years day with spectacular views of the Yukon, very scenic flight, arrived at Bettles Lodge where we were greeted by an outstanding staff. Feasted on Alaskan crab and prime rib (tried moose for the first time.) Enjoyed dog mushing, the northern lights and brought the new year in at a warm bonfire while watching the Bettles Lodge fireworks display on new years eve. Meeting many locals, chatting with guests from South Africa and Japan in such a cozy environment was one of the many highlights from our trip. We cannot wait to book our summer vacation at Bettles Lodge through Travel Alaska again.
Wow!!! I really don't want to say too many good things about Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, because if it catches on it will change everything. This place is an excellent place to see bears. It is a very small fly out lodge located in Lake Clark National Park. We stayed there for 5 nights and 4 days. The service here was exceptional, the guides are very knowledgeable and helpful, and the food is very good. The bears are very co-operative and seem to be unafraid of people. You can actually get very close to them. The lodge is small, some units have a private bath. It is clean and the views are exceptional. What more can I say.. Probably a lot, but you will have to see it yourself. Thanks to Sharon of Travel Alaska for recommending this place to us.
A trip to view bears close-up was part of our tour program and for a long time on the "bucket list" of my husband and I, and we can certainly cross that off of our list now that we have been to Katmai National Park and Brooks Lodge! This is a remote "destination", to get the best experience with the bears. If you are OK with the extra travel time to get there, and if you are OK with roughing it a bit, you will have a blast! If you are expecting to be pampered with gourmet cuisine and premium lodgings, then this trip is not for you (too bad, because you will be missing out on the remarkable bear experience!) We flew into Anchorage the night before, so that we could catch the plane to King Salmon in the a.m., which then got us the float plane to Brooks Lodge in time for lunch. About 5 minutes after our initial bear orientation, we encountered our first bear, who was being chased thru the camp by another bear! Wild! We spent the next 2 days almost constantly outside (the weather was unseasonably mild and sunny), taking hundreds of photos of bears doing the things that they do. It was absolutely amazing!
Meals were very good, given the remoteness of the location. As a matter of fact, probably the best cake that I have ever eaten was prepared by their staff for the birthday of one of the guests! Lodging is very basic - bunk beds for everyone! But you are not coming all the way out here to fuss over the accomodations...relax, and go with the flow! Everything was clean safe, and perfectly adequate. The rangers were extremely accomodating, and we were definitely glad to take advantage of their expertise while respectfully viewing the bears. This trip is definitely one of the highlights of our travels, and should be recommended to anyone considering visiting Alaska! Thanks to the tour operator staff for helping us organizing the whole trip. We certainly recommend you to our friends.
At first I was skeptical about putting out the $$ to book a trip through Travel Alaska here, but I finally caved in and am I glad I did. When you start adding up all you do and get for the money, it's a bargain, and that doesn't even factor in the memories of a lifetime. Trip includes: wildlife cruise en route to the property; canoe ride on lagoon after arrival; deluxe accomodation in the wilderness; unbelievable meals AND drinks and snack constantly available. By staying 2 nights, we were able to take a 6 hour kayak trip through icebergs to Aialik glacier on our full day at the resort. Because a family of guests filled up this trip, a second trip was scheduled for us and guide, Brian, gave us a private kayaking lesson and guided us to the Glacier. Kayaking on the ocean to a live, growing, calving glacier is an experience that words cannot describe -- but that wasn't all....after clean up, we enjoyed a dinner of prime rib and salmon. And it wasn't over yet, the next morning we still had time after breakfast for a canoe ride/hike to the foot of Pederson Glacier with David as our guide. The blue color of the glacier was beautiful to behold. Visitors get to chose your guided activities the night before. All these activity and I still had time to sit and sketch the view of Pederson Glacier from the resort. Thanks to all of the staff for making wonderful memories of Kenai Fjords for us.
My stepson and I booked a Denali National Park self drive tour stayed at the Denali North Face Lodge in early July, hoping to get a good experience of the wildlife and scenery of Denali National Park. Our experience was absolutely amazing: beginning with the entire trip planning and continuing with the shuttle guide who drove us into the park - very knowledgeable, entertaining, and open to questions and dialogue, we saw amazing wildlife in their own environment. Staff at the lodge were very courteous and attentive to our all needs, food was excellent, as were the accommodation - most surprising given the remoteness of the lodge at the back of the park. The guides were extremely knowledgeable in all areas - wildlife, history, biology, etc. We had a thoroughly enjoyable experience and would recommend it to anyone who interested in the Alaska wilderness.
We booked the train ride with the tour operator from Anchorage to Denali National Park at the end of our Kenai Peninsula family self drive trip and I must say, this train ride was probably the best thing we did on our entire trip! I loved everything we did (rafting/hiking/tours/etc), but this ride was so fun/relaxing/beautiful! I had never been on a train before, but from what I hear this one is top notch! My friends have taken trains on other vacations and say that they are stuck in a small seat with one small, round window (if they're lucky). On the Alaska Railroad we had large picture windows all around, were allowed to move about freely from the snack car/dining car/our seats/and to the observation deck. From the observation deck you could see over the trees to the mountains/lakes/rivers/etc! Seriously, this train ride was highlight of our Alaska trip (and we were in the cheapest seats available!). The stewardesses even pointed out wildlife/major sights to see when we passed them! I highly recommend this ride if you are anywhere in Alaska. ! Stella T. & Family, Orlando, Florida USA
Based on the tour operators recommendation, we booked the 26 Glacier Cruise after returning from a wonderful rail tour to Denali National Park. You can't get close to a tidewater glacier unless you venture out of Anchorage. The coach trip was the first of many surprises. $45 per person for a 100-mile ride is a bargain, especially when it includes entertainment. I don't know if Lester was a typical driver, but he told interesting anecdotes that made the ride seem short. Stories about avalanches, Beluga whales, why the army built the Anderson Tunnel. He stopped at a few scenic points, and trained binoculars on white dots of sheep high in the mountains. Gary was a fascinating guide. The 4 1/2 hour glacier tour of Prince William Sound flew by like two hours. You're assigned seating at a table/booth on one of the boat's two decks. The Klondike has walls of windows all around. Depending on your seat, you could comfortably sit and enjoy spectacular scenery without ever getting up. They served a simple but sufficient hot lunch and provided free self-service coffee and tea. There's also an onboard food and drink bar, including cocktails, souvenirs, camera film.
Over the speakers, they talked about the glaciers and wildlife while scouting the waters for seals and orca. The glaciers are huge and blue and ancient and breathtaking. While watching Surprise Glacier, a chunk the size of a two-story building broke away and crashed into the sea. In retrospect, this spectacular experience alone was worth the time and expense to travel to Alaska. Many thanks to the Travel Alaska Staff for making our entire trip very special.
Beth & Roger, New Orleans USA
On our self drive tour our top priority in Talkeetna was flightseeing over Mt. McKinley (Denali) and we booked the Grand Denali tour with a Glacier Landing through the tour operator. It was cloudy (as usual) so we were thinking that our trip might be a bummer, but boy were we wrong! We had the time of our lives! My hat's off to those pilots, they really know their stuff! The pilot did a great job of stay below the clouds so that we could see the sharp cliffs and massive glaciers. Many times we were so close that the proximity warning would enunciate "500" warning us that we were within 500 feet of the terrain. But I never felt scared. My 17-year old daughter was petrified to board the plane, but soon she began to enjoy herself and now she'll tell you that flightseeing was one of her favorite activities in Alaska. Our glacier landing was as smooth as silk. What an awesome feeling to stand in such a majestic place! After we took-off again, the pilot found a hole in the clouds and after a steep assent we popped out above the clouds for a perfectly clear view of Denali's summit. WOW! If you have any chance to take this trip - DO IT! Best regards, Reinhard S. Thun, Switzerland
Now that we have arrived home after our rather extensive tour of Canada and Alaska I’d just like to say how much we enjoyed the Alaskan part of our trip. It went like clockwork and the recommended sightseeing tours around Denali National Park were great. Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay was also a highlight. Our accommodation was very good and transfers etc all went to plan so that everything was effortless and great fun. Thank you for planning it for us. We have told everyone we have spoken to that this is the way to go rather than taking a cruise and we are planning to come back in a couple of years and go further north, probably with a car so that we can explore a bit further in some places. I will be writing a review for Trip Advisor and will give you a good recommendation which is well deserved. Regards, Robert - Melbourne, Australia
After the most wonderful vacation trip of our life we want to thank you very much for all your perfect planning of our trip. Everything was organized perfectly from you, from checking in at the ProspectorLodge until leaving on the Alaska ferry. We had an unforgettable wonderful experience thanks to all the brilliant planning you had arranged for us. The highlight of the trip was our 4-day stay in Glacier Bay National Park. Now we have to bring some order into our more than 1500 photos and to show these to our friends. We certainly will recommend your services to all our friends who will plan to travel to this most wonderful part of the world. You have done a great job for us and we want to thank you very very much for your contribution of our trip. Sincerely Wolfgang and Gisela – Germany
We have just returned from our Glacier Bay tour and thought I would let you know how we got on. We had a very enjoyable trip and thought the scenery was just spectacular. We were also blessed with reasonable weather- some overnight rain in Juneau but otherwise dry and clear whilst we were staying there. Our trip around Glacier Bay was blessed with blue skies and sunshine which obviously added to the beauty of the trip. Rain marred our journey back from Skagway to Bellingham but I guess 3 days out of the fortnight was pretty good going. All our ferry journeys were excellent and we were impressed by the quality of food served. Even our small cabin was very comfortable and we slept well much to our amazement. There was an excellent Ranger on board for our long ferry ride back to Bellingham and he certainly enhanced the trip. Our only downside was the slightly too long stays in both Juneau and Skagway but we appreciate that this was to fit in with ferry schedules. We thought a day in Haines might have been possible and would have made an extra place to visit. So all in all a great adventure and a very beautiful state.
I chose Chena for several reasons: as a resort it would provide multiple activities (including a snow-coach trip to a prime viewing area for northern lights) and a shuttle service from Fairbanks. The 100 year-old resort offered both old-fashioned-y-type (no phone) rooms (called Signature rooms) and a modern hotel. Our Signature room faced a people-only boulevard/activity building/open area, so when an aurora began around 10pm, the sound of the rush of people filtered through the windows, and drew our attention to the most amazing display of aurora we had ever seen. I chose Fairbanks because, being in the center of the state, it was more likely to have clear night skies, a must for aurora viewing. We were not disappointed; we saw aurora all three nights (I'm told this was unusual). But, clear skies mean COLD temperatures. Be prepared; outside temperatures at 2:00am were -20°F°, and daytime highs were +5° (if you want to view aurora, you stay up, and nap in the day). The resort does provide warm boots and parkas for its guests, but you also need warm clothes. It is a popular place; my first choice for a reservation through Travel Alaska (March in the dark of the moon) was already booked four months ahead. The resort provides good, but non-intrusive night lighting, so its guests can easily view aurora without light pollution. The rooms were warm; the housekeeping service was somewhat slow, but very adequate; the high humidity in the rooms may have been the reason for the mildew in the shower area. The restaurant had good service and fresh salad vegetables from its own greenhouse. All staff were open and friendly; the staff at the activity desk were very knowledgeable about all the possible details of the offerings.
I traveled in March 2013 to Chena Hot Springs Resort because I have always wanted to see the northern lights. I was not disappointed. The first day I arrived, I checked into the Moose Lodge, had a fabulous dinner at their 1918 log lodge (the ambiance was terrific!) and I highly recommend the Alaskan beer batter halibut. After dinner I enjoyed an hour long massage followed by a soak in their natural mineral hot springs pool that is outside. At 10:30 pm it happened! Their was a green fog in the sky and as I watched it became more and more defined until it started dancing and weaving across the blackened sky. It was breathtaking.The following day I slept in so I could go in the snow coach to the top of the mountain at 10 pm and watch them again. The skies were clear and everyone expected a show like the night before, but no, it was even better. I saw hints of purple, blue and red as well as the green this time. Whenever I got too chilly, I went inside their Mongolian looking yurt to warm up with some tea. I stayed until 2 am when it looked like the dance was over. Chena Hot Springs Resort fit my preconceived notion of what an Alaskan lodge would be like. It was away from everything else, noise, lights, and concrete. I saw moose and snowshoe hares and could listen to the snow crunch below my feet.I would rank this as one of my best vacations ever. BTW: thank you very much for organizing this trip for us!
Our family (2 adults, 2 kids ages 12 & 14) just returned from a trip to Alaska. Chena Hot Springs was a part of our itinerary for two nights and three days. The hot springs (in the sub zero temperatures) was a fun experience but we were a bit dissapointed with the resort. We were much, much happier with our next stop at Bettles Lodge, up beyond the Arctic Circle. Here we found everything we wanted from our winter Alaskan adventure - plus the lodge staff was delightful. Check them out!! You'll get a personal experience (without the tour busses) and memories to last forever.
I went here from Southern California in January. I had never been colder than -6F, and my wife had never been colder than 30F. We had a lot of fun here. It seemed to attract interesting people, because who else would go to the middle of nowhere Alaska in the winter? The hot springs lets you take jaw dropping pictures of you with frozen hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, and so on which are great for shocking people from Southern California. The ice museum, dog sled rides, and trip up the mountain to see the Aurora were all worth doing. At least in January though, the hot springs were more memorable than any of these though. Surprisingly enough, the place was filled up at the end of January. About half were Asian tourists and the other half mostly tourists from other states, with a few visitors from other parts of Alaska. Food was fairly reasonable for the fact they have you trapped. Sure, it is possible to waste way too much money if you buy off their dinner menu at the restaurant. They serve the lunch menu for dinner though and it was pretty typical for what I would pay at a similar restaurant back home. If you are feeling particularly cheap, you can go to their "cafe" which has everything down to Raman Noodles. The hot spring and for that matter most of the water up there smells like sulfur. I got used to this pretty quickly, but I imagine it could bug people. Thanks to Travel Alaska for organizing the wonderful tour for us.
We took the Aurora train from Anchorage to Fairbanks in late Feb 2011 and it was more than we hoped it would be. The flag stops was like going back in time to the glory days of the railroad when it was the way people traveled. The following Northern Lights viewing part of the trip at Bettles was AMAZING. We also booked a number of other nice Northern Lights evening viewing trips from Fairbanks which were great too. From the time I sent my first email requesting all information, until the time we finished up on the trip, the staff of Travel Alaska were most helpful! The people who work for the company seems to be very passionate about their work and the travel destination and this really shines through in their dealings with their customers.
March of 2011 marked three items off my Bucket List: The Iditarod, a ride in the snow on a sled pulled by Huskies and the Aurora Borealis. Yes, it was cold but the weather was beautiful, and it was well worth the money we spend. I realize that these are very personal desires and not for everyone. However, if you are interested just remember to take along appropriate clothing. Our guide, pilot and the staff from the tour company was extremely informative, personal and friendly. Alaska is beautiful in winter and we'll talk about this trip for the rest of our lives.
My partner and I spent three great days and nights at Bettles lodge. This has to be the best place to stay if you want to see the Aurora, the lodge accomodation is very comfortable and they have thought of everything. The scenery is breathtaking and the environment is very peaceful. We spent our days exploring using the complimentary snow shoes and x-country ski provided, as well as taking a short sled dog tour. The nights we spent relaxing waiting for the Aurora and we were not disappointed, it was amazing. The trip to Bettles was well worth the money, our dream came true and it was the experience of a lifetime. Thank you very much for everything.