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Old January 14th, 2009, 08:40 PM
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Default White Pass excursion Skagway

We want to book this train. However, on the train website link for reservations, there is a note for cruise passengers. It reads:
Reservations made on this website depart from the Railroad Depot.
For convenient dockside service, please purchase your tickets from your cruise ship's shore excursion office. How far is the train depot from the cruise ship, and does it end up being cheaper just to book through the ship? (The picture shows the train alongside the cruise walkway area.)
Thanks!
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Old January 14th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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I would recommend doing this excursion, great scenery and a lot of history...I know the only way to book it, is through the cruiseline, you only spend a few dollars more. I honestly don't see why they don't let you book it direct...Still a great way to see the area and sit back and enjoy!
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Old January 14th, 2009, 09:16 PM
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Yes be sure to do this trip. Get out of the seat and grab a place between the cars for some pics.

If it is winter the heaters are at the front of each car so grab the front seat and put your feet up on the heaters.

You can walk to everything in Skagway. Its not that big really.

Bus up and train down or vice versa, its a great excursion.

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Old January 14th, 2009, 09:28 PM
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Sold!

I have booked my White Pass and can't wait for the ride.

Thanks!

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Old January 14th, 2009, 09:58 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I notice you say bus up train down or other way round. Is this just a 1-way excursion?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:39 AM
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First trip to Skagway in 2002 we didn't do the train trip. Last year we had this tour booked but the weather ( high winds ) kept us from getting into Skagway so we missed out again and from what I hear we really missed a good tour. We ended up going into Icy Strait Point - Hoonah, Alaska and that was very interesting and had a good time. So don't miss out on your train tour.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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The basic excursion is round trip. Or at least it was when we went. Going up the best scenery is on the left side of the train and coming back the right. The seats reverse and you switch sides with the other passengers so you get equal viewing. Most of the narration as I recall is on the trip up however so try to do the first leg on the left side of the train.

The middle dock is a really short walk to the train station. The dock by the graffiti wall and the other "outside" dock are longer walks but doable if you have the time and are in shape. Of course you won't know ahead of time at which dock your ship will be stopping.

We were the 2nd train in the morning to go up and it was awsome. But I've read on this site that there's more chance of foggy drizzly weather in the morning so I think we may have been lucky.

And if the weather's good...yes, get between the cars for photo ops and just to be outside rushing through this wonderful countryside. Hold your breath in the tunnel though.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:54 PM
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PeterC,

Excellent tips!

When you say the 'left' side of the train, do you mean when you are sitting in it, with the engine in front of you?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:37 PM
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Yes, the left side facing the engine. When the train reaches the summit they switch engines but the cars don't switch. They have these cool seats that reverse so on the way back down, you're still facing forward with the best scenery on the right.

But still the best spot is between cars. There were only 3 of us that were on the little platform so we got some good photos and videos by sharing the area.

I just thought of something about the docking....we've been to Skagway twice, once on HAL and once on NCL. Both times we were at the middle dock. Also both times, 2 Princess ships were docked by the graffiti wall and at the other dock was an RCCL ship. That might be a rule of thumb when planning. I would guess that if you said Princess you'll be docked by the graffiti wall.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: White Pass excursion Skagway

2sailors,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We want to book this train. However, on the train website link for reservations, there is a note for cruise passengers. It reads:
Reservations made on this website depart from the Railroad Depot.
For convenient dockside service, please purchase your tickets from your cruise ship's shore excursion office. How far is the train depot from the cruise ship, and does it end up being cheaper just to book through the ship? (The picture shows the train alongside the cruise walkway area.)
Thanks!
The information on the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) web site is correct. The railroad actually owns the warf and the piers where the cruise ships dock in Skagway, and the tracks extend the full length of most of them. The trains for the ship's excursions usually back onto the pier to pick up and drop off passengers. By contrast, the trains for passengers that book the excursion directly from the railroad pick up and drop off passengers at the depot.

The railroad depot in Skagway is at the end of town nearest the harbor, about a half mile (ten minute walk at a normal walking speed) from the end of the pier. Thus, it certainly is possible to puchase the excursion directly rather than booking it through the cruise line. Nonetheless, I recommend strongly against this for two reasons.

>> 1. If you book the excursion through the cruise line and the ship cancels the port of call or arrives in port after your scheduled departure time for any reason, you will receive a full refund. If you buy the tickets directly from the railroad, you are not protected.

>> 2. Afternoon excursions often return just before ships depart. The time required to walk to the ship from the depot could be just the amount of time by which you miss the ship. And if you miss the ship because an independent excursion returns late, you get to pay your own air fare to the next port of call and the cost of hotels and meals until you rejoin the ship.

BTW, the play called "The Days of 98 Revue Starring Soapy Smith" at the Eagles Hall in Skagway also is very good. Most cruise lines do offer an excursion that includes this play. IIRC, The Eagles Hall is a few blocks up State Street from the harbor.

Norm.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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Thanks so much for all the tips. We are looking forward to it! Hoping the weather holds. We are considering the 12:30 trip thinking the weather (fog) may be cleared by then for the ride. Special thanks to Norm for the extra tip about the show!
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:39 PM
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How far in advance can one reserve seats on the train? We will be there is late June. Thanks for the tips!
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Old February 11th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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Hi Zta,
I think as soon as final payment is made, you can pre-book excursions, sometimes before. IF you can get into the shore excurions on the web-site and purchase them, I'd give it a try.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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I have already booked all my excursions through Princess and I leave in August so I am sure you can do yours through their website.

On a cautionary note, you can reserve the tickets on the site, but not the exact seats.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 09:42 PM
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On the Princess website there are two White Pass tours......one about 4 hours and the other longer, 8-9 hours I think. Does anyone have a recommendation here or know how they differ? I believe the longer tour involves a motorcoach ride one way and the train ride one way. We definitely will be doing the White Pass, just don't know which one. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zta lady
On the Princess website there are two White Pass tours......one about 4 hours and the other longer, 8-9 hours I think. Does anyone have a recommendation here or know how they differ? I believe the longer tour involves a motorcoach ride one way and the train ride one way. We definitely will be doing the White Pass, just don't know which one. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!
What is the tour description??? Does the combo have "Yukon" in the information, what else?? Depends what you wish to experience here, both are good options to consider. For clairfication, the round trip train or short one way combo trips do not get into the Yukon, if that is of interest?
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 07:14 PM
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Does anyone know why the longer tour on the train in skagway is listed in Carnivals excursions for skagway, but if you actually go to book it, only the shorter ones are there. We are hestitant to book an independant, but everyone says the three hour tour is just not worth the money. Thanks
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Old February 24th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayne10
Does anyone know why the longer tour on the train in skagway is listed in Carnivals excursions for skagway, but if you actually go to book it, only the shorter ones are there. We are hestitant to book an independant, but everyone says the three hour tour is just not worth the money. Thanks
The 9-hour (train to Carcross) is probably not available on the day you're going to be there. The longer the trip you take, the better - the scenery past the Summit where the 3-hour turns around, is incredibly varied and all stunning. Chilkoot Charters offers some excellent bus/train combos - http://www.chilkootcharters.com/
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