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White Pass train - ship or self?


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I've been looking at a White Pass train excursion in Skagway,  the cost is $60pp cheaper doing it yourself compared to an excursion with the ship. The only advantage I see with the ships excursion is that the train comes to the ship, compared to a 10 min walk to the station? Is there any other benefits to the ships excursion? Love to hear from those that booked their tickets and walked to the station.  Thanks.

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We have been to Skagway a number of times. In fact I remember what the community was like prior to being discovered by the cruise industry.  In any event, we have booked the WP&YRR on our own.  One time we waited until we docked in Skagway and had a clear day to walk to the depot and book for the same day.  The walk is 10 to 15 minutes depending on where the ship is docked. Unless someone in your party has mobility issues I am not aware of any advantage to the ship excursion.

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We’ve done both and didn’t see any difference other than the boarding location. Make sure the trips are the same and if so, save the money and walk into town. We pre-booked to insure we had seats and then picked up tickets at the depot where we boarded.

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I was going to do it independently but found they were sold out for our June cruise.   So I booked through the ship.   We are taking our son and his gf and I want it to go smoothly.   Hate to get there without something planned.

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We did a van trip from Skagway to Carcross/Emerald Lake and then back to Fraser. Had lunch in Carcross. We had bought passes on the WPYR and the tour guide with Dyea Dave stopped at the train station and picked up our tickets and made sure we were boarded on the train in Fraser. In our 16 days in Alaska, this day was one of the most beautiful and inspiring excursions we did. Many, many stops for photos and got some great video on the 90 minute train ride back to Skagway. For the 2 of us, it was ~$350 for the full day of exquisite beauty. The Dyea Dave tour guide picked us up at the train station when we got back and made sure we were back on the ship prior to departure. Again, I cannot speak more highly of this tour and the grand beauty we saw.

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We did this excursion as a self-booked tour several years ago, and are going to do that again this summer. The route is the same, the price is lower, and the van/bus is smaller!  We do drive up/train back for two reasons. 1) later start time (this is true of the excursion booked through the cruise line as well). 2) if something goes wrong with your bus/van etc it gives your tour company extra time to get you back to the ship (you are going to be on the same train as folks who booked through the cruise line).  I think train both ways is less interesting - I recommend the drive/train combo.  The cruise line bus is usually a big tour bus, and independent tours are usually a smaller airporter style vehicle. Less crowded, more personal, more efficient, and better able to tailor stops to the group's needs and desires.

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On 2/23/2020 at 6:07 PM, pfd104 said:

I've been looking at a White Pass train excursion in Skagway,  the cost is $60pp cheaper doing it yourself compared to an excursion with the ship. The only advantage I see with the ships excursion is that the train comes to the ship, compared to a 10 min walk to the station? Is there any other benefits to the ships excursion? Love to hear from those that booked their tickets and walked to the station.  Thanks.

I just checked and it is not any cheaper- make sure you are looking at the white pass summit trip that is train to and from and not the one that is train up and bus back.

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On 2/23/2020 at 9:50 PM, Glaciers said:

We’ve done both and didn’t see any difference other than the boarding location. Make sure the trips are the same and if so, save the money and walk into town. We pre-booked to insure we had seats and then picked up tickets at the depot where we boarded.

 

It is $10 cheaper pp to book directly plus you have more time choices- today when i checked on RCCL website they only offer 8am 12 noon and 3.  The WPR offer 8, 9, 120, 11, 12, 1 ,2, 3 and 4 so many more options.  I want the 10am since it is a 3 hour tour so will book independently.

 

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I booked independently and biggest difference was that we had a bit of a walk to the depot (flat and easy). Our car was not incredibly packed- we had plenty of room on board and no issues being outside in the viewing platforms. Passed other trains and they seemed way more packed than ours.

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