I just booked the White pass & Yukon railroad directly thru the company- $89 versus $97 thru Princess. I know not a big difference but every penny helps considering the cost of all our shore excursions! Our confirmation stated that by booking direct thru the company we will be on a separate train from cruise passengers and will have to go to the depot to first collect our tickets before we board. So I have two questions: 1st, does the "independent" train go to the same place as the cruise train and is it just as good of an experience? 2nd, we are booked for the 12:45 ride...how early will we need to be at the depot to get decent seats? I understand it's only a few blocks from the dock? Thanks for any advice- I haven't paid yet so I can still cancel if necessary.
The route is the SAME. The distance can be different- some White Pass, some Fraiser. For direct booking- my top advice is to get into town in the morning and enjoy activities at the Park Service Visitor center- this will enhance your later rail trip with the historic information. http://www.nps.gov/klgo/schedule.htm
From the visitor center, actually the old depot, you are 2 buildings from the rail depot. I would be there an hour before. Be CERTAIN to get seating on the LEFT side of the train- facing the engine.
It's quite a walk. The train actually stops on the docks for ships. For the 8 bucks I would cancel and go with the ship. You also have the added bonus of going with your shipmates, whom you will be grinning at and talking to from the time you board till the time you say goodbye! Eight bucks isn't worth the hassle. Do it throught the ship. My opinion, only, from the last two trips. Left seating is correct. An hour before is just a waste of your port time.
This negative on walking to town???? With a 4:30pm train- HOPEFULLY they will be touring and in Skagway anyway. WHAT is the difference, since you would have to walk BACK to the ship with a ship booked train??? There is a shuttle for $1.50 each way- if you do not want to walk. Pick up is on the dock, after the first ship at the booth.
Good to hear the route is the same. We will be touring town before going on the train so the dock pick-up isn't a big incentive unless it's a long walk from town to the rail depot. How long of a walk are we talking? Can someone who has booked independently tell me if it's worth the $16? Thanks! To reply to Brenda, I don't have the website with me, but I think it is www.whitepassrail.com- just plug in "white pass railroad" and you will get the website, look under reservations.
Actually the website is www.whitepassrailroad.com. We're going to stick with the direct book. We'll be touring in the morning before our 12:45 train and we like to walk. It sounds like Skagway is a small town. Thank you for the advice!
I actually recommend waiting until you are in skagway to make your resevations at the train depot and pay...there is always availability and you can judge to see what the weather is like for the time to go....there are more good seats available when you go through the train themselves and always try to sit on the left side near the back of the train car so you can easily get out on the little outside balcony to take photos. Although I have enjoyed the train, we have been renting a car through Avis (cheaper) and you get to see a lot more and stop when you drive up the Yukon...there is only one highway so you can't get lost and you get to drive further into Canada....it's beautiful!!!
If you are interested in history, engineering and superior scenery the train is the way to go. If you want to get to the Yukon, then a car rental is probably the best option, next would be a bus going there. The train/bus combos do provide a varied tour that is recommended by many. Determine what are your priorities and go from there.
You do not need a guide to drive the Klondike Highway. go to www.explorenorth.com and print out Murray's excellent guide. there is an error in my above post, Carcross is in the Yukon, Fraiser is BC. Driving I recommend going to Emerald Lake and return about 150 miles round trip.