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christinand

Train/Bus combo train excursion in skagway

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Posted (edited)

Is it worth it to do the train/bus excursion versus the train excursion in alaska? It looks like i can't book this through holland america and feeling a little nervous about booking independent excursion as first time cruiser.

Edited by christinand

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Posted (edited)

Here is a company to book with: https://chilkootcharters.com  

 

I think Dyea Dave would be another - google dyea dave.

 

Don't feel nervous. These companies rely on cruise customers for their business. If they don't get people back in time for their cruise, they would be out of business. This company (and the others in Skagway that combine bus/train) consistently get excellent reviews and I don't think I have ever heard a complaint.

 

Most cruises have a very long day in Skagway which also helps.

 

If it helps, many experienced cruisers book many of their tours away from the cruise line for better tour experiences.

 

Also - yes, I would do the train/van combo as opposed to just the train as the views are different.

Edited by Coral

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Agree with the above post completely.....Chilkoot is a wonderful option and we enjoyed their bus/van up train down. We did the 8:30am bus up and we were back down into town in time for lunch and enough time to walk around this charming little town.

Have no worries about booking directly...remember when you take the train down there will be many on there with you that have booked with the cruiseline...and their not going to leave with out them. The tour provider's in Alaska are professional's have no concerns about booking any tours directly with them.

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I've done the Dyea Dave tour to Emerald Lake twice. Fantastic! We were picked up at the dock around 8:00-8:30 AM, stopped to pick up our train tickets at the White Pass office (you have to make your own train reservations separate from Dyea Dave - very simple) and were on our way by around 9:00 AM.  You *MUST* have you passport with you for this trip!  We stopped for lunch both times at Carcross, Yukon then continued on to Emerald Lake - only another 15-20 minutes past Carcross.  When we got back to Fraser to catch the train it was somewhere around 2:00 PM.  I'm sure we were back to Skagway around 4:30 PM.  We were docked from about 7 AM to 7:30 PM so there is *PLENTY* of time to look around town once you're back from the trip.  All along the way the Dyea Dave driver (if it's not Dave himself) will give a very good narration of what you're seeing and stop as often as most anyone would want for pictures.  Their buses are small (about a dozen or so passengers) so it's easy to get what you want without being in a huge herd - you'll see quite a few large buses with 50-60 passengers whiz by regularly.  The small Dyea Dave groups are much more flexible - our first trip, when we got to the "Welcome to the Yukon" sign (pretty nice and scenic) there was two buses stopped with most of the passengers lined up waiting their turn for a picture with the sign. Dave drove on by and said we could stop on the way back - we did and there was only a few of us so the stop only took a few minutes.  Dave called me personally during the winter prior to our first trip with him to answer a couple questions I had - much better than emailing.  He suggest taking the bus portion first and riding the train back from Fraser.  His reasoning is that often it's foggy/overcast in the mornings on the Skagway side of the mountains - the bus will be up and over the mountains into nice weather quickly.  By the time you ride the train back from Fraser the fog will have burned off.  Our first trip that was exactly the case -- but once across the mountains we had picture perfect weather both trips and the train ride is very spectacular.  Good luck!

 

On the way across the mountains in the morning our first trip - just a little foggy. Ha Ha

 

27679412625_c6b335d4fd_b.jpg

 

Almost 2 years & 2 Days later... Much nicer weather that morning...

 

47987126501_c2a95eced5_b.jpg

 

We were the only ones at the Yukon sign on the ride back...

 

27387204160_8ef4be0f16_b.jpg

 

One of my favorite pictures ever!  On the big bus tours you most likely won't get opportunities like this.  Our 2nd trip with Dyea Dave.  I'll do Dyea Dave again!

 

47975540136_019faed484_b.jpg

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We did Chilkoot bus/train combo in May. It was wonderful, smaller group. Would definitely. Book with them again. Loved doing bus first then return on the train.

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I've gone with Chilkoot several times and always had a great day/. Take the longest tour available, I love the Lake Bennett option. The farther you go the better the scenery gets and the smaller group size makes a better tour

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On 8/3/2019 at 11:58 AM, christinand said:

Is it worth it to do the train/bus excursion versus the train excursion in Alaska? It looks like i can't book this through Holland America and feeling a little nervous about booking independent excursion as first time cruiser.

If you drop down to my post #90 you'll get a feel for our Skagway van and train ride. Then drop down to post #98 for more of the Skagway adventure. supercrewbear defined how it worked for us perfectly.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2660632-trip-report-may-24-2019-radiance-of-the-seas-seward-vancouver/page/4/?tab=comments#comment-57781159

 

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On 8/3/2019 at 4:03 PM, Ashland said:

Agree with the above post completely.....Chilkoot is a wonderful option and we enjoyed their bus/van up train down. We did the 8:30am bus up and we were back down into town in time for lunch and enough time to walk around this charming little town.

Have no worries about booking directly...remember when you take the train down there will be many on there with you that have booked with the cruiseline...and their not going to leave with out them. The tour provider's in Alaska are professional's have no concerns about booking any tours directly with them.

 

 

This is the tour im taking in 2.5 weeks.   Can’t wait.

Didnt realize id be back so soon from the trip.   But that’s great time to walk around town.    

I booked on my own as well not worried at all.   Thanks for the info.  

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On 8/3/2019 at 4:03 PM, Ashland said:

Agree with the above post completely.....Chilkoot is a wonderful option and we enjoyed their bus/van up train down. We did the 8:30am bus up and we were back down into town in time for lunch and enough time to walk around this charming little town.

Have no worries about booking directly...remember when you take the train down there will be many on there with you that have booked with the cruiseline...and their not going to leave with out them. The tour provider's in Alaska are professional's have no concerns about booking any tours directly with them.

 

2 minutes ago, christinand said:

Is there much to see in skagway? I'm just worried i'll miss out seeing the town.

 

 

Did you read ashlands post??  

they were back in time for lunch and to walk around town for a while.  

Which is the same reason why I chose the bus train combo.  It’s only like 3-4 hour tour.  

“A 3 hour tour”

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The yukon tour is 7.5 hours. I was wondering if there were any good museums or galleries i'd miss because they'd be closed when i get back.

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I just thought i'd let people know i decided to take the white pass train by chilkoot. As a canadian it would cost me 260.00 to take yukon option and with the weather iffy at end of september i decided not to do it. I discovered the days of 98 vaudeville show that sounds entertaining. Thanks for all the feedback. If i go back in spring or summer i'd consider bennet lake option.

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1 hour ago, christinand said:

I just thought i'd let people know i decided to take the white pass train by chilkoot. As a canadian it would cost me 260.00 to take yukon option and with the weather iffy at end of september i decided not to do it. I discovered the days of 98 vaudeville show that sounds entertaining. Thanks for all the feedback. If i go back in spring or summer i'd consider bennet lake option.

Good choice.    Depending on when you picked to go.  You’ll have time to walk around town some.  

Like I said. I’m doing the morning tour.  And should be done by lunch so I’ll walk around town for a while.   Enjoy your trip

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