Alaska tours for a semi-large group
February 11, 2014 6:55 PM   Subscribe

My extended family is looking into a tour of Alaska that would involve 15-20 people (including some younger kids), spending about a week to see the natural highlights. Can anyone recommend a good tour company?
posted by svenx to Travel & Transportation around Alaska (4 answers total)
Best answer: What means are you planning to travel by, cruise or some combination of land/plane/etc.?

Cruising is certainly an easy way to see the Alaskan coast (which is both stunningly beautiful and well-populated by Alaskan standards) and for that I would recommend poking around Cruise Critic as well as whatever results you get from this AskMe. Your question, I would guarantee, has been asked and happily answered on Cruise Critic before and they are a devoted and knowledgeable lot (my mother numbers among them).

If you're looking for land tours, I would tentatively recommend Gray Line of Alaska. They are well-equipped to handle big groups and they're an incredibly common site in tourist Alaska. My recommendation is tentative only because it's been about a decade since I last stepped foot on one of their tours, so maybe another Mefite has more recent info.

Your group would likely be well served by a rail trip to Denali or some other combination that Gray Lines (among others) offers. I don't think, with small children, that you want to do sport fishing or the Al-Can highway or one of the other more adventurous Alaskan trips but a trip to Denali is a fabulous way to see inland Alaska and since it usually entails getting there via coastal Alaska, you can see the beauty in both.
posted by librarylis at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2014

Alaska is vast and is home to several different biomes, each with their own appeal. Are you interested in scenery, culture, history? The maritime vs the interior? Time of year also makes a big difference. If you only have a week, you will probably need to avoid a grand tour that would include Southeast AND the interior. Are you looking for easy arrangements or novelty? You can't get much easier than a week cruise from the Seattle area up the Inside Passage. However, that will mean you will be traveling with thousands of others. The Alaska Marine Highway can take you to some great communities if you want to see something unique. The Alaska Railroad is pretty awesome if you want to see the interior. Something not a lot of people think of is a river tour on a paddleboat. There are several that tour the interior.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:18 PM on February 12, 2014

I know some people who took a cruise -- no, wait come back -- with the Alaska Boat Company and loved it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:13 PM on February 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Corpse has a great suggestion. These types of tours are fantastic if you can afford them. The smaller ships can go places the cruise lines can't, they emphasize the natural environment with education and hands-on activities, and they have a real feel for the communities where they dock. National Geographic does tours up here, too, that come highly recommended.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:09 PM on February 12, 2014

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