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White Pass Rail Excursions Celebrity Cruises

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I am looking at a few different options for an Alaska July 2020 cruise on Celebrity. I wanted to know if any one had experience doing any of the below excursions as I am trying to figure out the main difference between each above and beyond what is in the cruise planner descriptions.  

 

White Pass Scenic Railway

  • Climb aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, build in 1898.
  • Sit back in a restored vintage railcar as you wind through the majestic Alaskan wilderness.
  • Follow the same route take by stampeders during the legendary Klondike Gold Rush.

Best of Skagway 

  • Travel the White Pass and Yukon Railway, following the footsteps of miners who travelled into the mountains on foot.
  • Discover the incredible beauty of British Columbia’s Tormented Valley and Pitchfork Falls.
  • Immerse yourself in gold rush life at the Gold Rush Trail Camp where you’ll learn how to pan for gold.
  • Savor a delicious meal of wild Alaskan salmon, baked chicken, rice pilaf, salads, baked beans, cornbread, and dessert.
  • Sip a glass of champagne at the famous Red Onion Saloon.

White Pass Railway & Klondike Highway Journey

  • Experience the beauty of the Yukon’s White Pass Summit by both train and motor coach.
  • Relive the history of Alaska’s Gold Rush era, following in the footsteps of the early gold seekers, as you ride the White Pass Railway and climb the same route as Gold Rush Stampeders.
  • Journey 20 miles from tidewater to the summit of the White Pass - a 2,865-foot elevation.
  • Soak in the magnificent panorama of mountains, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles, and historic sites from the comfort of a vintage railcar.
  • Learn about the significance of the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush and regarded a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

 

Thank you for your help

 

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Skagway is a really interesting place.  Take the Whitepass ride. The scenery is spectacular. The train pulls up close to the ships. We also loved the town.  Lots of history to enjoy. Park rangers can help you with maps and info. There is a shuttle that goes through town.  The shops are interesting.  Great town to find souvenirs.  

We also enjoyed the sailing into and out of Skagway. The mountains are beautiful.  

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The first one is round trip on the train. Takes about 2 - 2.5 hours. Unlike most excursions, we found this to be cheaper to book through Celebrity instead of directly. I think this is because the cruise lines buy up tickets in bulk and get a substantial discount.

 

The last one is one way on the train and then transfer to a car/bus for the ride back.

 

Not sure about the middle one.

Edited by markbach

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We found that booking ourselves saved money but we did the Alaska cruise on Princess.  As I recall, the train station is right on the pier.  Meals as part of ship or group tours are normally preset and not very good....better to just find a small local place and order what you want.  a} If you want just the train, book it yourself...b) if you want train one way, bus the other, book with celebrity.  If you want food, buy it yourself and book either a or b.

Edited by ghstudio

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The middle one is one way train and motor coach back with a stop for lunch and at the Red Onion.  When we did it the gold panning and lunch was at Liersville and included a play.  It's been a while since we did it but we found the food to be quite good, cooked over a large hardwood grill.

Edited by CHEZMARYLOU
comment on food

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For the first one, you do not get off the train, and do not need a passport.  The other two require a passport/card.  EM

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I'm not sure if Celebrity offers the private car (they may call it "luxury" something or other) option on the train for your specific sailing but it's a nice splurge if they do.  I believe access is only offered through the various cruise lines (I did it through HAL) and you cannot book it direct.  Very comfortable seating, private guide, small group, food & drinks. I believe minimum age is 16, so no kids.  The trip is the same one as you take round-trip to the top of the pass: just a different experience than the rest of the train.

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If you love trains - we took the Chilkoot Charters Bennett Scenic Journey - 8 hours.

It's part of the Alaska Solstice review in my signature link.

Start page 4 post 80.

Edited by twins_to_alaska

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When we did Alaska, we did an excursions that involved taking a bus to just across the Canadian Border, then the White  Pass train back down part of the way.  We then did a 10KM hike in a rain forest.  The hike was fantastic.  We were in our late 60s but we had two guides and managed quite well.  The train ride was great as well.

After the hike we picked up the train again and made it back to Skagway.

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It's not the train - but we chose a bus trip through Rainbow Glacier Adventures that did the White Pass Summit as well as going farther up to the Yukon Suspension Bridge, which you walk across.  Very happy with our tour.

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We took the train up and biked down with a celebratory beer (on our own) at Skagway Brewing when done. I’m not sure if they still offer that through Celebrity but it was a lot of fun. You’ll need your passport. Great views on the train.

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6 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

For the first one, you do not get off the train, and do not need a passport.  The other two require a passport/card.  EM

can you tell me why a passport/card I needed?

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We enjoyed the train trip.  You never leave the train, and are in the Yukon for about 3 minutes to move the locomotive to the opposite end of the train, so no immigration issues.

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I would recommend train up or back and bus the other way with a private vendor.  You'll see more that way as you see very little from the train.  

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14 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

I would recommend train up or back and bus the other way with a private vendor.  You'll see more that way as you see very little from the train.  

Our driver was a photographer (she did morning excursions specifically for photographers) and we made stops by a waterfall and a "Welcome to Alaska" sign that people wanted to pose in front of along the highway.  I think we were up higher than the train tracks as well.  

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We were there this summer on HAL.  We did a small bus tour with Dyea Dave and took the train back.  The small bus was great, stopped lots of places and easy on and off.  Looking at the charter buses, they didn't stop as often and I don't think got off nearly as often either.

 

Our tour went to Carcross on the small bus, that's in Yukon Territory.  Came part way back and caught the train from the border back to Skagway.  Bus met us at the train station and took us back to the ship, but also offered to drop us downtown if that was our preference.

 

Small bus meant being able to converse with the driver, and bonus we stopped at a sled dog farm and got to play with puppies. I also waded a bit in one of the lakes.

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We have done Option 1 and Option 3.  Both were excellent.  If this is your first visit and possibly only visit to Skagway I would do Option 3 as you see a wider variety of things.  The train is really the reason to go to Skagway.  

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We were traveling as a family of 6 so chose to rent a car and drive the Yukon Highway all the way to Emerald Lake - stopped whenever we wanted to enjoy the scenery.

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5 hours ago, SbbquilterUT said:

We were traveling as a family of 6 so chose to rent a car and drive the Yukon Highway all the way to Emerald Lake - stopped whenever we wanted to enjoy the scenery.

 

That's the way we prefer to do it as well.  It gives you the most freedom and flexibility.

It is a very easy, scenic drive.   For more than 2 people, we like to rent a van (and reserve it in advance).

 

There is a good chance of seeing bears along the way and you can pull off the road  beside them to stop and watch them for as long as you like.  (Just keep your windows closed.) 

They appear to be very used to tourists as they just glance up briefly and then ignore us and go right on eating.

 

If you have any passengers who want to do the train ride, they can buy one-way train tickets and ride the train from Skagway up to Fraser while you drive the car up to Fraser and wait to pick them up at the train station there.

But drive very slowly and stop to take photos along the way because the car gets up there long before the train does, so you will just be sitting around at the station up there waiting for the train to arrive.

 

Then you all continue the ride from Fraser up to Carcross and Emerald Lake together in the car.

We like to bring along a copy of    Murray's Guide to the South Klondike Highway

which tells you all the places to stop and things to see along the way.

 (This site won't accept the link, but you can google it.)

 

  

 

Edited by varoo

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We did not use the train but instead did a small bus tour in Skagway and it was fantastic. Our driver made many stops, including when we saw a bear on the side of the road, eating dandelion. The driver, Heidi, ran the Iditarod in 2015 and is also a special ed teacher in a small town in the interior of Alaska. She was so informative about Alaska. Our favorite excursion of the trip.

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