The conventional wisdom is to take your land tour first, so that you can relax on the cruise. But we recommend saving your land tour for last. Why?
Taking a land tour first, and cruising south, is the more popular option—but it’s also more expensive. Cruise north and then take your land tour; you can save hundreds of dollars.
It’s More Memorable
We think you’re going to find your land tour to be the highlight of your trip. Save it for last. After having a real close-up Alaskan adventure, away from the crowds, you won’t want to get on a ship with thousands of other travelers.
TIP: There’s one exception. If you’re coming before mid-June, take your cruise first. In the early season, it’s colder and the roads are wetter, so delaying the land tour means it will be warmer and drier—and it won’t change your cruise experience.
A Caveat If You Plan To Visit Prudhoe Bay
A colleague who drove bus tours from Prudhoe Bay (in the Arctic) south down the Haul Road to Fairbanks and Anchorage told us some guests who took their cruise first had a tough time adjusting to the colder weather and more spartan services as they traveled further North. On the other hand, the guests who freshly arrived in Alaska and headed immediately north were so excited to be in Alaska, saw the whole affair as pure adventure.