Jump to content

Bus or Train from Seward to Anchorage?


Azfunseeker
 Share

Recommended Posts

We've done an Alaska cruise before and are "tentatively" booked for July 10th this year. Last time we took the bus from Seward to Anchorage. Is there someone who has done the bus and also the train and can compare the two? If you took the train, did you do regular class (Adventure Class) or Gold Class (first class) which includes dinner, drinks and 2 adult drinks plus seating in glass domed car. If you did Adventure class, how expensive were the food/drinks on the train?

 

Trying to get info to help make a decision.

AZ Fun Seeker

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have done the bus a number of times and the cruise line (HAL) train once.  The train covers a somewhat different route from the bus.  If you look online at the Alaska Railroad site you will see the difference.  The train still travels Turnagain Arm but we also saw a glacier and a bear chilling out in a patch of snow as the train traveled inland near the portage glacier area.  There are reports in some of the reviews given here and there is a video online from a few years ago if you can find it!  Most people recommend the Gold Class.  The cruise ship train (transfer) is not the same as the regular train but travels on the same rail system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've done the bus once (Seward to Anchorage) and the train once (Anchorage to Seward) and for us, there was no comparison.  Take the train!  We felt as though we were actually part of the scenery, as opposed to just seeing it whiz by on one side of the vehicle.  The slower rate of travel allowed you to see the scenery and we were often surrounded by trees.  The only downside that we experienced was the delay between wildlife being spotted and us actually getting to the place where the animal had been seen.  By the time our car got there, the creature was long gone.  That is hardly a knock on the train, it's just the way things go!  We still saw so much more than we did on the bus.  I don't know how one arranges to be in car at the front of the train, but it's worth asking about.

 

We didn't have Gold Class seats but were able to go up top if we wanted to for brief stints; I did not do that.  I spent a good portion of the trip in the section where two cars are connected (sorry, don't know what that's called) and took photos from there.  A few passengers joined me and times and we took turns at the railing.  I'm a fan of getting pictures that aren't being blocked by a window.

 

I would suggest, should you take the train, to bring your own snacks with you.  Maybe this is again policy, so I apologize, but the "homemade muffins" were definitely grocery store-made and cost a fortune and other breakfast items very quickly sold out on the train.  If you are set on purchasing from the railroad, do so at the station beforehand to ensure you get something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have only done the train, but I will echo others here in that it was absolutely fantastic taking the train and we felt really immersed in the landscape. We did Gold Star Seward-Anchorage and I felt it was worth it. The meal was delicious, the views out of the dome car were excellent, they had a good selection of drinks to use your free drink tickets on, you got a souvenir pin, and the open air platform was fantastic for wildlife viewing and taking pictures. Our friends took the train to meet us in Seward the day our cruise ship arrived (they only wanted to do the land portion of our tour) and they took Adventure Class on the way down. They said they enjoyed it overall, but the breakfast foods sold out fast and they hadn't eaten anything all morning by the time they arrived in Seward, and that they wished they had done Gold Star on the way down too. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/24/2020 at 5:11 PM, gretnagirl said:

 The only downside that we experienced (on the train) was the delay between wildlife being spotted and us actually getting to the place where the animal had been seen.  By the time our car got there, the creature was long gone.  That is hardly a knock on the train, it's just the way things go!  We still saw so much more than we did on the bus.  I don't know how one arranges to be in car at the front of the train, but it's worth asking about.

 

I have not done either (yet!) but have been researching the question just now.  The first two cars on the train are the Gold Star Service and those behind are Adventure Class (less expensive).  So the way to be in one of the first cars is to pay up.  I have also read that, should you choose the less expensive class without meal service, there are no restrictions on bringing your own food and beverages aboard.  The upper level (domed) Gold Star cars also include an open air viewing platform so you can take pictures without the window in the way if that is important to you.  Aside from all that you may want to consider the timing of the train vs. the bus considering what you have planned for your day and, of course, the train is more expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done both. To me the train is worth doing once. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it's a very long route vs. the bus route which is also scenic (not as much) but shorter.If you do the train, I don't think Adventure Class is worth it if you want it strictly for the view because they have a shared upper level platform that is also clear for viewings. I spent most of my time up there because for whatever reason the train itself was pretty empty and no one was waiting to have a seat up there. That said, the menu from AC looks pretty good, but I don't like the idea of getting a random eating time squished with whoever (I'm not friendly lol). 

 

But yeah next time I'm in Alaska, I would easily do the bus. The company I took stopped at a nice wildlife refuge too which was fun (although short). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, FaithPlus1 said:

I've done both. To me the train is worth doing once. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it's a very long route vs. the bus route which is also scenic (not as much) but shorter.If you do the train, I don't think Adventure Class is worth it if you want it strictly for the view because they have a shared upper level platform that is also clear for viewings. I spent most of my time up there because for whatever reason the train itself was pretty empty and no one was waiting to have a seat up there. That said, the menu from AC looks pretty good, but I don't like the idea of getting a random eating time squished with whoever (I'm not friendly lol). 

 

But yeah next time I'm in Alaska, I would easily do the bus. The company I took stopped at a nice wildlife refuge too which was fun (although short). 

Just to clarify, Adventure Class is the less expensive fare.  Gold Star Class is what the more expensive fare with meals and upper level viewing platform and glass domed seats. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Travelling2Some said:

Just to clarify, Adventure Class is the less expensive fare.  Gold Star Class is what the more expensive fare with meals and upper level viewing platform and glass domed seats. 

My mistake. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, FaithPlus1 said:

My mistake. 

Definitely agree with you in that I wish they would not include the meal service.  I feel like I am paying a good bit of money to enjoy the scenery.  I don't want to have to go to dinner at a time of someone else's choosing and miss things because I have to chit chat.  That's really the thing that puts me off from paying (nearly double!) for Gold Star.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple years back we took the train from Seward to Anchorage, then stayed the night in Anchorage and the next morning took the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks.  From Seward to Anchorage we did Adventure class since it's only a 4-hour ride.  But the next day, since it was a 12-hour ride we did Gold Star class and loved it!  I'd recommend train over bus any time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

We’ve done this twice. The first time was train, adventure class. Not really impressed. Interesting, but the only wildlife in sight was a dog who ran away from its owner. The second time, we rented a car. This was a terrific choice. We went at our pace, stopped where and when we wanted, and saw many moose and black bears. Be warned , though, you might not have any cell service. We would drive again in a heartbeat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done both multiple times.   Either could be an excellent choice.    There is superior scenery via train.   I have a strategy I use, to maximize my viewing priorities which are essential for me with the train.   Seats are assigned.      I always go Adventure Class.   I've also taken the train in both directions.   🙂    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: PONANT Cruises & Expeditions
      • Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Q&A with American Queen Voyages
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...