My family and I will be ending our cruise in Whittier. We were curious about what to do once we arrive at port. How do we get to anchorage? Our plane does not leave until 8:00 pm so we have lots of time, any suggestions on what to do? We've heard about a train trip but I can't find anything that leaves from Whittier at an early time, any feedback about the train trip?? Thank you for any help.
There may be a cruise contracted train that does leave early and drops off at the airport. But my opinion only, to make the most of your time, best is to rent a one way car with Avis- yes a big drop fee. BUT this option gives you the most for your time, IF you plan carefully. I would pick up the car then head to perhaps Hope, with a short stop at the Portage Glacier visitor center. Then spend time on the Arm heading back to Anchorage. Or head directly to Anchorage with a few Arm stops and head to Hatcher Pass. Along the way, consider Eklutna Spirt House tours, Eagle River Nature Center, etc. Also plenty to see and do in Anchorage. request their visitor guide www.anchorage.net
If you have no desire for touring, then there will be a cruise contracted bus to downtown.
We booked the train through the ship to Anchorage. I called Carnival to do that. Our plane from Anchorage did not leave until 7:00 that night, because it was an all night flight. Since we had to be off the ship around 6:00 A.M. to catch the train, I should have booked a night in Anchorage and flew out the next night. It was a really hard day and night, since all we could do in Anchorage was walk around all day. If I were you, I would spend one night before flying home. Call you cruise line about the train. The train ride was 3 1/2 hours, but definately worth it.
Whittier to Anchorage on the train is 2 hours, it is ONLY 60 miles and certainly not 3 1/2 hours. The train is not a good option coming from Whittier, I still suggest that the best option for short time is a rental car or cruise contracted bus. Determine WHAT you want to do before, then decide. If you just want to prowl around downtown, take the ship contracted bus to Egan Center.
Just returned. I recommend the bus that the cruise arranges. There is a one way tunnel that the train shares with autos so it is closed for several hours at a time in either direction. The train takes longer than the bus.
Anchorage is only good for several hours. I recommend renting bikes and riding the coastal trail. There is a "farmers market" on Saturdays and Sundays. I stayed there 2 nights after my cruise and that was way too much time. Though I highly recommend Glacier Brewery for Food. Golden Swan has great view but BAD food! We stayed at Captain Cook. Disappointing after Four Season Vancouver then Island Princess , but the staff were all very nice.
For clarification the tunnel is not closed for "hours". On average it is open 15 min/hour in each direction. The train does get priority for passage. The train takes 2 hours Anchorage/Whittier and is the exact same scenery as the bus.