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Our tour guide told us to not bother buying train tickets in advance as they never sell out....well, you guessed it - we got there and went to purchase tickets and they were SOLD OUT! We had quite a moment of disappointment as you can imagine. We were on a tour bus and on the way back down the whole place was completely socked in fog so it did ease the disappointment as we wouldn't have seen much anyhow and we were spared a nearly $200 foggy train trip.
But if you're a huge train lover and were looking forward to this, I can see how it would be a major bummer!
Usually if you go through the ship, they have tickets. The ships buy the bulk of the tickets. The savings of going direct is really not that much (or at least it used to around the same amount give or take $10).
Yeah, the train tickets were the same price from the ship as at the station. Cruise ship passengers board right outside the ships, and if anyone is thinking about this option, we found that the lines start forming well in advance of the departure time. So, if you have a large party who wants to sit together in one car, you might want to stand in line to do that. The train ride with commentary is great, by the way!
If you are just going to do the train round trip, buying through the cruise ship may be the best way to go.
The OP's situation is that they were on a bus tour and planning to take the train back down from Fraser, but were unable to buy tickets once they got there. Some independent tours arrange your train tickets for you in advance, while others tell you that you can buy them the day of the tour. Apparently, at least in the OP's case, this does not always work out as planned.
Carnival Spirit - Alaska - July 11, 2001
Star Princess - Alaska - July 26, 2009 - Honeymoon!!
Golden Princess - Alaska - August 14, 2010 - 1st Anniversary!
Golden Princess - Alaska - August 6, 2011 - With the family this time!
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Star Princess - Alaska - July 20, 2013 - With Mom and Aunt!
Grand Princess - Alaska - July 20, 2014 - With 4 teens/young adults!
Crown Princess - Alaska - July 25, 2015 - Splurged on a balcony!
What day of the week were you in Skagway? Back when I was planning my 2008 trip, I remember reading that you should buy your tickets ahead of time if you were going on Wednesday, as that was the day most likely to sell out.
HAL Volendam Alaska June 15, 2008 NCL POA Hawaii May 22, 2010 HAL Amsterdam Alaska August 5, 2011
I'll be on the Sapphire Princess next week, and the ship's excursion for the White Pass Summit round-trip by train is $129 vs. $113 directly from the railroad, but we are there on a Wednesday so it will be a busy day. It looks like you can book ahead online at www.wpyr.com but I haven't tried since I've already done the train on a past trip.