Kristy Goes to Alaska

We just finished our CruiseTour with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam!!
We had an amazing time. Our favorite excursion was white water rafting in Denali with New Wave Adventures. Our favorite activity on the ship was dancing in the BB King lounge every night.


First look at our ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam!


On Covid testing: we did antigen testing 2 days prior to Denali. Nobody asked to see it. We also had recovery letters since we both had Covid in June, but wanted to utilize Verifly. We did our second test as soon as we arrived in Denali. Others waited until closer to departure. We had no line, and were so glad we did it early when we saw the line later. We were told that if we tested positive in Denali, they would accept our letters of recovery. We were thankful for the backup, but we both tested negative, so everything went smoothly.
On the hotels during our land portion: The Westmark in Fairbanks was okay, but dated. We loved the proximity to town. We easily were able to get to the visitor’s center and museum, and we had enjoyed a lovely walk. The McKinley Chalet in Denali was beautiful, especially the scenery. The resort transportation was fabulous, and every bus had a wheelchair lift, making it easy for EVERYONE to get around.
On hotel accessibility: both the Westmark Fairbanks and the McKinley Lodge had above average accessible rooms. The beds were low, the turn radius was adequate for both manual and power chair users, and the showers were zero entry with the controls in reaching distance. They provided a shower chair with back support for both rooms.
However, we did have issues. The first room we had at the McKinley Lodge was ambulatory accessible. I couldn’t reach the window, there was very little turn radius, and the closet was not usable. It also had a very narrow pathway between the wall and the closet, making it difficult to roll by. It had a stunning view of the mountains, which we were disappointed to give up. The second room had no view, and was very dated and dim. It definitely felt like a downgrade. We asked to be moved to an accessible room with a comparable view to our first room, and we were very pleased. It was quite a way from the main lodge, but as I mentioned, the transportation was fabulous.
On the train accessibility: we were very limited. A chair larger than mine would not have been able to fit, and I do not have a large chair. I was told there is a another train that can accommodate larger chairs.


A look at the glass domed train with the wheelchair lift all set for me.

On Denali excursions: we were not impressed with the Black Diamond ATV tour. We LOVED the New Wave Adventures white water rafting. The Tundra bus tour that’s included was excellent, but I do think your mileage will vary, based on how good your driver/guide is. We had a BEAUTIFUL view of the mountain on our tour.


White water rafting

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