Whale Watching Cruise

Q: How far is Prince William Sound from Anchorage hotels? Will we be able to do a whale watching tour there?

A: To do one of the Prince William Sound day cruises the closest town to Anchorage you could do that out of would be Whittier, which is about 60 miles south of Anchorage. There are several wildlife and glacier cruises you can choose from. If you wanted to do a day cruise you could rent a car and drive, take the train, or there is van transfer from Anchorage to Whittier. The day cruises from Prince William Sound focus on glacier viewing and occasionally whales are spotted but there are no cruises specifically geared to whale watching.

Whittier to Seward Transportation

Q: We need to travel from Whittier to Seward after we leave our cruise ship there. Is there a bus service to Seward, and if so, what times are available?

A: There is no direct transportation service from Whittier to Seward. The only way to get to Seward after a Whittier cruise ship arrival would be to take our 9:45am Park Connection bus from Whittier to Anchorage and then that afternoon take our 3:00pm bus from Anchorage to Seward.

Whittier Cruise Ship Terminal

Q: How do I get to the Whittier cruise ship terminal if I take the train from Anchorage?

A: The railroad depot in Whittier is right across the street from the cruise ship terminal. You can walk over there with your luggage without a problem.

Hotel Shuttle Service to Whittier Port

Q: Do any hotels offer shuttle service to the cruise ship terminal in Whittier?

A: The cruise ship terminal in Whittier is an hour and a half from Anchorage, so none of the hotels shuttles will go that far. You would have to book transportation by bus (such as the Park Connection motorcoach) or train from Anchorage to Whittier.

Day Trip from Anchorage

Q: We want to take a day trip from Anchorage. Would Portage Glacier or Prince William Sound be better?

A: I would suggest doing a day trip to Prince William Sound via a glacier cruise out of Whittier. You can take the Alaska Railroad to Whittier in the morning from Anchorage, take a day cruise, and return by train that evening. The only way to get to Portage Glacier is by rental car. Portage Glacier is very scenic but it is just one glacier whereas a day cruise out of Whittier will allow you to see many glaciers.

Transportation Options between Whittier and Seward

Q: We are arriving by ferry in Whittier at 9:30 am on a Thursday. We would like to go directly to Seward. Are there bus or train connections?

A: Unfortunately, there is not public transportation service between Whittier and Seward. You can rent a car through Avis in Whittier and drive to Seward, however you would not be able to return the car in Seward. You would need to return the car in Whittier or Anchorage. The only other transportation out of Whittier available on Thursdays is the Alaska Railroad. The train does not leave Whittier for Anchorage until 6:45pm

Whittier in April

Q: We are staying in Anchorage and would like to do a day trip to Whittier on the 1st April 2012. Would this be possible by bus?

A: There are no buses or trains that operate tours to Whittier in April. I would recommend renting a car and driving to Whittier. The Whittier tunnel is open from 7:00am to 10:45pm during the winter months and is goes into Whittier on the half hour.

Whittier Tunnel

Q: Can you explain the Whittier tunnel? I see that it’s open only a certain times?

A: The Whittier Tunnel is a one way tunnel between Bear Valley and the town of Whittier. Bear Valley is accessed from the Portage Glacier Highway off of the Seward Highway. This tunnels is shared with the Alaska Railroad and is the longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America. It takes about 6 minutes to go through the tunnel. Standard vehicles cost $12 one way to travel the tunnel.

During the summer the tunnel opeartes from 5:30am to 11:15pm. Travel to Whittier from Bear Valley is available on the half hour (5:30am, 6:30am, etc.). When you depart Whittier you leave on the hour. The first departure from Whittier is 6:00am, then 7:00am, 8:00am and so on. A complete schedule is available through this link.

Drive from Whittier to Denali

Q: What route would you take to drive from Whittier to Denali?

A: The road that you would be traveling on between Whittier and Anchorage is called the Seward Highway, then you travel north out of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway and then take the George Parks Highway to Denali. It is about 60 miles from Whittier to Anchorage and about 240 miles from Anchorage to Denali. Plan on about 6 hours driving time. Please visit our blog on Alaska Highways for more information.

Whittier to Denali in One Day

Q: We arrive in Whittier via a cruise and would like to get a train to Denali National Park that same day. Is it possible to travel by train? If not, can we get a bus to Anchorage and then pick up the train on the same day?

A: The Alaska Railroad only operates one train to Denali from Anchorage per day and it departs at 8:15 AM, so there is no way to connect to this train via cruise arrival. The only way to get from Whittier to Denali in one day is by the Park Connection motorcoach. I would recommend taking the motorcoach going to Denali, then ride the train on your return to Anchorage. Alternatively, you can spend the night in Anchorage, and then take the train from Anchorage to Denali the following day.

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