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26 glacier cruise prior to cruise

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First time cruisers this summer from whittier on princess. I had hoped to do the 26 glacier cruise out of whittier prior to embarking on saturday the 6th. The glacier cruise ends at 5:30, the ship departs at 8:30. I've been advised to be on board cruise ship at 6pm. These docks are right next door to each other.


I thought I would have plenty of time to take the glacier cruise and still comfortably board, we will already have our baggage on board since we will be arriving via the train, and they will forward baggage onto princess per a email from them.


I have seen people have done this in the past, but being our first cruise, unsure if we should do this or not.


We could take the shorter glacier cruise, but had really hoped to do the 26 tour. Is it really necessary to be on board 2.5 hours early?


Thanks for any insight and any other tips for first time cruisers

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You have time to do the 26 glacier tour. No worries.


There will be several individuals on your boat who are also on your cruise.

Edited by Coral

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We are doing a B2B which begins in Vancouver.  When the ship disembarks the northbound passengers in Whittier we will get off the ship and take the 26 Glacier tour.  After the tour is over, we will embark the ship to complete  our southbound trip back to Vancouver. 

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You will have no problem doing this tour and boarding a ship.  I have personally done it several times.     

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Thanks to the replies, I think I may go ahead and try to do this, it sounds fantastic and would be a great start to our cruise adventure. 

Being first timers, sure don't want to mess up somehow. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Milo,

I think it was Budget Queen who first suggested I look into this when I was researching, and I am so glad I did.  I posted in another thread about taking the train also, so I am going to copy and paste it here:


OK friends - I did this EXACT thing before I boarded the SB Coral on June 27th 2018!


I researched a number of ways to get to Whittier, and the answer for  me was ......THE TRAIN!


It was awesome, and the best part was you leave your Princess luggage tagged bags at the train depot in Anchorage, and you won't see them again until they are waiting for you outside your cabin door on board the ship!


I booked the 26 Glacier Cruise separately with Phillips, and booked the Train myself: https://www.alaskarailroad.com/ride-a-train/buy-tickets


You'll want the one way Glacier Discovery from Anchorage to Whittier - departs at 9:45 am and is $89.

It arrives at 12:05 - but wait you say......will I be on time for the 26 Glacier cruise?  YES you will because they are waiting for this train as many of their cruisers are on it as well.


When you return, just walk just steps to embark, and there's no line!


Best part - the 26 Glacier cruise was fantastic !  You will see the Glaciers much more upfront and closer than you will on the rest of the cruise.  The lunch was great, and our Park Ranger was better than the one we got for Glacier Bay National Park Day.


I really enjoyed the train ride as we did not do any land package before.  The scenery on the way there is great - down Turnagain Arm and through the tunnel.


NOW - a note on the luggage.  This was a big concern for my non-cruise critic traveling friend, but I had read on here how this works, and it did - seamlessly.  When you arrive at the train depot in Anchorage, and you are facing the building and its front door, to the right is a tented area of pavement - like a small parking lot with white tents.  This is where you will give your luggage to the porters who will load it on to a truck and it will go to the ship.  I don't think they technically work for the railroad, but for Princess.  As long as you have your Princess tags attached you are good to go!


Edited by ColoradoMom!!

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If you are booking the 26 glacier tour directly with Phillips Cruises and Tours (the vendor) and you are an AAA member, they do offer a discount but you have to call them direct to book in order to get the discount.

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Thanks Colorado Mom. Interestingly enough, I called the railroad and they had no knowledge of baggage being able

to be checked in anchorage and delivered to the princess ship. 

Reckon I'm gonna wing it and see what happens in July. Worst case I guess is I'll have to drag it to the dock with the glacier cruise and have them hold it until we get back, as their isn't enough time between the train arrival and the glacier cruise departure to get the luggage checked into princess. 

Any others have tips, thanks for sharing

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