Alaska travel notes – 5Posted: May 28, 2011
En route from Portland to San Francisco on Alaska Airlines flight 388 (yes, I just had to try the WiFi…)
The cruise was wonderful. I would do it again. The land excursion not so much. I've already written about the train trip and Denali Lodge. McKinley Lodge was nicer, and we had some good food there. Our second night, we have a marvelous dinner with first rate service. Terry loved her salmon and I've never had halibut prepared quite like that before, with a cheese crust. In general, people were dispersed enough that meals were never a problem at McKinley.
But the issue is that Princess likes to run at full capacity. This works on a cruise. It doesn't work so well on the land tours when it comes to transportation. The buses from one place to another were completely full. There were six buses at one time this morning from McKinley Lodge to the airport. Our luggage wasn't on our bus. We had to wait for the luggage truck for two of our bags, and the third one was on a bus behind us.
There also doesn't seem to be the same concern for the customer on land as at sea. While the gift shop at McKinley was great about helping us ship two flat rate boxes of dirty laundry home to help us with our overweight luggage issue, Denali had no clue. And we were always being shorted luggage tags – each segment needing different tags. Nor did McKinley provide assistance with boarding passes, which to me makes absolutely no sense. If Princess doesn't want to provide the service, there are third-party companies that operate kiosks for that purpose. As it turned out, the Alaska counter was not busy when we got there, but still.
I don't mean to be the travel curmudgeon. But, really, honestly, I think I would have been very happy to have just done the cruise. And I'm not losing sight of the fact that the cruise was absolutely spectacular.
We know for next time.