We took a combination land/cruise package with Holland America, and it was worth the added days and sights.'
We flew from Kansas City to Fairbanks on Northwest--5 hours on a plane from MSP without music or a movie is a bit much!! They don't get any points from me for their service.
We had 2 days in Fairbanks, and then took the train south to Denali, which was fabulous! From Denali we went to Anchorage, where we took a bus south to Seward where we picked up the Statendam.
We had cabins with verahda's for sitting, and it was definately worth the added expense. You could sit in your own private world and watch everything from humpback whales to huge cliffs of ice.
The ship was immaculate. Our cabin was quite spacious, and there's enough closet space for 2 people. There was a real bathtub in our room, which was great. The thermostat takes a little getting used to but we had fantastic weather throughout the week, and didn't need the a/c side of it alot.
The food was quite good--not excellent, but pleantiful. Our waiter and busboy did a very good job--after 3 days at our table, they finally figured out that we liked ice tea with our dinner.
The entertainment was basically OK--no name acts, but the review of the crew show was, in my opinion, the best one of all. They put on a great show for the guests.
I can't begin to describe the beauty of the state. We saw a lot of ground, and H/A moves people and luggage better then anyone. The train trip was wonderful, and the food there was as good if not better then on ship! A hot breakfast, with fresh OJ and coffee that was worth a third cup!
If you can afford the time, please do the land and sea package. It's a once in a life time trip, and to miss Denali is sinful--9.000,000 acres of land! We saw brown/black bears, moose, elk, killer whales and allligators (just kidding about the last item....!) You'll find you have too many choices to make as far as what you want to do, but it's there to enjoy.
I was on a boat whalewatching, and there was a guest on his cell phone on some call. I had an urge to take the phone and sacrifice it to Neptune. He missed seeing whales sounding because of his call, and I suppose it was his choice. For my needs, that's not why we went vacation (even though we did have cell phones that worked fine in all the ports).
It was a great change for us, and if we had a chance to go back, I would.