Frequently Asked Questions and General Information
You are on your way to America’s last frontier, Alaska. Its size is 1/5 that of the contiguous United States. Alaska has five unique areas: Inside Passage, Southcentral, Interior, Far North and Southwest. Alaska became the “49th” state in 1959, with Juneau as its capital. Originally called “Alyeska – The Great Land” by its native dwellers, it was bought from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000. Alaska is the home of Mt. Denali, known to the Natives as “The Great One.” At 20,320 feet, it is the highest mountain on the North American continent.
Nowhere else can you view so many active glaciers and find such a rich abundance of wildlife. Living styles vary from modern city dwellers to solitary lifestyles in the wilderness and everything in-between. Many areas in Alaska can only be reached by air or water. The mountains, rough coastlines and tundra are not conducive to road building. Whether you are visiting to enjoy the beautiful scenery, on business, to fish, for adventure or a little of each, we hope you have a marvelous stay and that the following information will be useful.
Knightly Tours has been customizing vacations to Alaska since 1969. Your vacation is custom planned to your specific requests. You will be traveling independently and not be with an assigned “group” of people. This gives you the maximum amount of freedom to dine when you wish, take optional tours on your schedule and enjoy Alaska at your pace.
Some of our vacations are Escorted Tours, which will have you traveling with a group of guests on the exact same itinerary. This group will be lead by an Escort who will be responsible for all of your arrangements. Unless outlined in your itinerary, no meals are included.
Whether you are traveling independently or are on an Escorted tour, your travel documents will consist of a detailed itinerary, and some vouchers. Services that do not require a voucher are outlined in your itinerary.
Your detailed itinerary includes names, addresses and phone numbers of accommodations and services you will be using during your vacation. For self-drive tours we have included general driving instructions. Always use personal baggage tags to help identify your luggage in case it is misdirected while traveling.
MANAGER ON DUTY
Knightly Tours deals with many different companies. Should you have a question regarding a particular portion of your trip, please refer to your itinerary, and contact the office of the appropriate supplier. Always identify yourself as a Knightly Tours passenger.
Should any difficulties arise that cannot be solved by dealing directly with the company supplying the service, contact KNIGHTLY TOURS at (800) 426-2123 – during business hours stay on the line for an available representative, and after business hours dial extension 230 to be connected to the manager on duty 24 hours a day.
It is very important to reconfirm all services as noted on your itinerary. There may be a last-minute change of time, pick-up point, etc., after your travel documents are received. Occasionally a flight time can change, which in turn can affect a transfer time to the airport. If a pick-up location other than your overnight accommodation is assigned, you must provide your own transportation to that location. Please reconfirm flight departures with each airline at least 12 hours in advance. Be sure to carry photo ID as all airlines are requiring identification upon check-in. All rail seat assignments are made at check-in time.
Alaska is such a large state, and as a result temperatures and weather will vary greatly between the regions of Alaska. The chart below shows the daily average for high/low temperatures and the amount of daylight in the major regions of Alaska.
The rule for Alaska is dress in layers. Weather can change quickly in Alaska. Make sure you bring a waterproof rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, and most of all comfortable walking or good athletic shoes. Most walks in Alaska are on uneven ground so the selection of shoes is important.
Alaskans are practical. Comfort is the key. If you are not cruising (larger cruise ships) you will find no need to bring sport coats, suits or dresses. In Alaska you can dine in the best restaurants in “country club casual” attire. Dress for comfort and pack light.
Cruise ship passengers’ evening attire ranges from casual to formal. Depending on the length of the cruise and cruise line there will be at least one formal evening. Most cruise lines, in keeping with the destination, have limited their dress to the more casual options. In your documents will be your specific cruise itinerary with the cruise lines suggested attire.
The Alaska State ferry is a casual environment.
Airlines limit luggage to two pieces plus one carry-on or overnight bag per person. Private Air Charter Flights require “soft sided” bags due to limited space. An overnight bag will be useful if you have itinerant travel of one or two overnights away from a “base” city hotel. Due to space limitations it is best to bring what is needed for the “away overnight” in the smaller bag and check the rest with your hotel. There may be a minimal charge, but it is well worth it. If traveling from Anchorage to Fairbanks or vice-versa by train with a stop in Denali Park, we recommend checking all but your carry-on with the railroad. There is minimum space for baggage in the passenger cars. You are responsible for claiming luggage checked. If traveling by motorcoach all but the overnight bag will be stored in the luggage bay. Small ship and day boats also have limited space for extra luggage. Large cruise ships have no restrictions. The Alaska Marine Highway ferry system takes no responsibility for handling passengers’ luggage. There are coin-operated storage lockers on board the ferries and baggage carts are furnished to the car deck for foot traffic with luggage.
Always have your personal identification tags on your luggage. Luggage is subject to customs inspection if travel takes you through Canada.
All published Self-Drive packages include a prepaid rental car. This prepaid voucher covers car rental with unlimited mileage and most Airport Fees and Taxes. The driver(s) must carry a major credit card in their name, have a valid driver’s license and be at least 21 years of age – Avis (25 years – Hertz). There is an added charge for additional drivers which must be paid at time of pick-up. Collision Damage Waiver Fee is offered by the rental companies and can be purchased at the time of rental. Prior to departure, you should consult your insurance carrier about coverage for rental cars. The emergency number for Avis within the state of Alaska is (907) 243-4300 or contact the closest Avis office listed in your itinerary. A contact number for Hertz is included in itineraries that include a Hertz rental.
Tipping is a matter of personal preference. The following are suggestions only:
|Sightseeing/bus/van (2 to 4 hours)||$3.00|
|Sightseeing/bus/van (All Day or highway travel)||$7-10|
|Tour Escort, Escorted Tours||$7-10|
|Food service/wait persons||15 to 20% of bill|
|Maid service||$2.00/ day|
|Bed & Breakfast||Visitors discretion|
|Small ship tours||$75 – $100/day per person added to your bill|
|Cruise ships||$10 – $15/day per person added to your bill|
|Fishing, Day Fishing||$15 – $20 per person|
|Lodge Fishing||$50 – $75 per day|
Knightly Tours recommends that you leave a copy of your itinerary with family before you go. The itinerary will contain contact information for the various hotels/lodges you will be staying at. If contact with a cruise passenger is necessary it can be done through ship to shore calling.
If you are cruising all large cruise ships now have satellite phone systems and email. This information for your specific cruise line is included in your documents. If there is an emergency your family can contact Knightly Tours at 800-426-2123 and one of our agents will help getting family in contact with you.
Refunds will not be given on vouchers that are unused voluntarily or as a result of illness or injury. If a service was cancelled by the operator, request a refund through Knightly Tours. All refund requests must be made in writing, through the booking agent when applicable, within 60 days of completion of your Knightly Tours trip. Remember to save receipts for insurance claims if you have purchased travel insurance.
HINTS FOR A WONDERFUL ALASKAN EXPERIENCE
Remember, you have gone on vacation for new experiences so do not expect everything to be as it is where you live. Relax don’t be so serious you can’t allow yourself to have a good time. If a negative situation occurs, do not judge all people by one experience. Be flexible and patient. Some days will be longer than you are used to, so keep your sense of humor. Listen for instructions on trains and motor coaches. If you are a smoker, always ask about smoking areas and regulations before lighting up. Take your sense of adventure with you for a truly unique and exciting new experience. Don’t go to Alaska for the weather – go for the beauty and adventure, be prepared for anything. Thank you for choosing Knightly Tours to plan your tour. Remember to take this pamphlet with you and bring back wonderful memories of Alaska, the GREAT LAND.