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tour companies with high customer ratings

Old Lyme, CT
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tour companies with high customer ratings

My wife & I are considering a 2-wk driving, flying, boating tour of some of Alaska's National Parks. We are looking for a tour company that will make all the bookings for a self-guided trip for two. From experience we have learned that we do not care for tours that involve being with the same group of people for the tour's duration. We have found a tour company called Alaska Tours.com headquartered in Anchorage. They offer a tour called Alaska's National Parks Tour (tour 1550CTA) that seems to meet our needs. It visits Kenai Fiords, Wrangell-St.Elias, Gates of the Arctic, Denali, and Katmai. Granted it is a "sampler" tour but, hopefully, will provide an idea of what parks we might like to explore in depth in the future.

We'd appreciate any experience with this tour company &/or this specific tour as well as other good tour companies providing similar tours where Alaska NPs are the centerpiece. Thanks for any help.

New York
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1. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

I suggest you find out about each of these locations and make sure you want to go there and for how much time?? I find no benefit to these "packager tour operators". If you invest some time, it is also easy to do this yourself.

First, I suggest you get a rental car NOW. The prices do nothing but go up.

You don't state your timeframe? Can make a difference on Katmai- you want peak for bears, don't you? Kenai Fjords is a "boat tour" and going to Exit Glacier- look over Seward. Gates of the Arctic???? A BIG area- what are you looking for?? Be VERY INFORMED here, I would never just take a "package" tour add in here.

Wrangell, needs a couple days, and flying into Kennicott McCarthy, at least one way. Go out on land the other.

Denali Park needs at least 2 nights and the SHUTTLE bus to at least Eielson, again, you want to book this on your own, so as to get the bus time slot YOU want.

I have been to all these areas except Katmai.

Only my opinion, you will get a far superior experience, if you have the time, necessary to enjoy the areas you can in your time. Two weeks is not a lot of time in Alaska.

New York
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2. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

Another plus for considering going on your own, is the use of purchased coupon booklets, which can offer significant discounts on various tours, lodging, etc Toursaver and Northern Lights.

Manitoba, Canada
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3. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

Here's the link: alaskatours.com/driving/alaska_national_park…

Looks like they send you to Brooks Falls no matter what time of year you go--bear-viewing is best there in July and again in early September. What time of year were you going?

If these are the places you want to go, I'd suggest using the itinerary as a guideline and arranging the trip yourselves. You could do a pretty nice tour on your own for $10,000....certainly worth pricing it out to see what the difference is. How much research have you done?

Do you like hiking and/or kayaking? What are your interests?

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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4. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

>>You could do a pretty nice tour on your own for $10,000....certainly worth pricing it out to see what the difference is. How much research have you done?

Wow, I would say so! $10K for two people will go a long way, even in Alaska.

I would suggest you do your homework. Just a little legwork on your own with help from us and you can reduce that cost greatly.

South Florida...
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5. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

I am with John ~ $10,000.00 has to be an error. We did not skimp this last July and I would guess we averaged about $300.00/day and this is only because we spent $600.00/pp to fly to the Katmai. For $10,000.00 you could spend the summer and then some.

Manitoba, Canada
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6. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

"I am with John ~ $10,000.00 has to be an error."

??? That's what the link says. The prices (depending on time of year and type of hotel) for doubles range from $4789 to $5708 per person. And that doesn't include "any insurances for rental car, additional driver fees, gas", most meals, or non-included excursions the OP might want to do.

Edited: 02 December 2010, 20:24
Adirondack, New York
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7. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

Wow!! $10,000.00 for two weeks for two people and meals are not included anywhere?

First, this is not really a tour but a self- driving trip. It looks like this company is just a booking agent. If OP books all these places listed by himself he would be able to visit all parks at a half of a cost quoted or less. My husband and I travel to Alaska every summer and lately our trips became approximately 11-12 weeks long. If they would cost us $10,000 for 2 weeks then 11 week long trip in 2010 should cost us $55,000.00 (fifty five thousand!!!!) and that wouldn't include transportation to and from AK. Our 11 week long road trip cost us only a small fraction of $55,000 and we included helicopter hike with Exit Glacier Guides in Seward, bear tour, private charter from Nome to Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. We paid for lodging between $50.00 per night (a public use cabin near Fairbanks) and $225.00 per night for 10 nights in one area. We do lots of hiking which is free almost everywhere unless we have to pay for a parking. My husband's pass gets us for free to almost all national parks. Not on this last trip but during our annual trips we visited all parks OP mentioned including a day tour (round trip flight with Warbelow Air) to Anaktuvuk Pass inside the Gates of the Arctic National Park. For the first timers planning their first trip to AK maybe it seems overwhelming to make all arrangements independently but everything is so easily bookable especially with lots of help on this board. The Alaska forum here on TA has several residents of Alaska and few posters who visit Alaska often and are regular contributors. They all provide fabulous help. So, Jimbeau, it is your choice which way you decide to go. If you want to invest some time then posters here on this forum are always willing to come up with new exciting itinerary. If your time is limited and budget unlimited then you should use a booking agent. Whatever you decide to do enjoy your trip.

Edited: 02 December 2010, 20:44
Fairbanks, Alaska
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8. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

Give me the $10,000 and I will give you a great tour of Alaska and lodging! Don’t forget that you need to tip me too @ 14%.

haines, alaska
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9. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

I might be overly suspicious, but this is Jimbeau's first post and he hasn't responded back......either he was stunned by everyone's responses and is taking time to reconsider planning his own trip or maybe he was fishing for comments about a business he may have a personal stake in......

Otherwise Jimbeau I also encourage you to come back and post specific questions as you can see you have many folks out here who be glad to will help you out.......

Fairbanks, Alaska
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10. Re: tour companies with high customer ratings

Maybe a mombear scared him away.