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Skagway Yukon Excursion


smurflady

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Hi All - I'm new to CC and planning my first Alaska cruise in June'08. I've spent several hours reading through the Alaska forums but have not found answers to these questions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

I'm interesting in taking a shore excursion in Skagway to the Yukon. I'm leaning towards a bus only tour as the cost is significantly lower than a train/bus combination. Is the one way train ride worth the extra $60 pp?

 

I'm also trying to decide between Chilkoot and Southeast Tours. I've heard a lot of good things about Chilkoot on CC but not much on Southeast. Chilkoot and Southeast both offer 6 hour Yukon bus tours but Southeast tour includes all the stops in the Chilkoot tour plus Bennett Lake and Carcross Desert.

 

Can anyone provide any insight on these two tour operators and if the train ride is worth the extra expense? Thanks in advance!:)

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Good question--may I add a part two? If you take the train, does it seem like a really long ride and you find yourself wishing that you had taken the bus since you are not in port that long? We are taking the train from Anchorage to Whittier, so we will have had the fun of taking the train once. The bus is 1.5 hrs, the train is 3.5 hrs. I am referring to only to the summit and not the Yukon, which does not have the option of bus/train. Thanks!

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The WP&YR train ride is considered to be one of the top 10 train rides in the world - the scenery, the engineering and the history are all exciting (well, exciting to many of us), and the ride (to Fraser, BC) doesn't seem long at all. Well worth the $60 extra.

 

Bennett Lake and the Carcross Desert are stops for pretty much every tour bus, as you drive right past them.

 

caribdvr, there are several rail/bus tours to the Yukon available from both cruise and independent operators.

 

Murray

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We're headed out next Saturday on our 14 day cruise and many of us on our thread are signed up for a Chilkoot tour. The reason? Smaller buses which have a quicker loading/unloading, less stragglers, ability to turn around for photo ops and a better itinerary. We're doing the one way bus/train back tour to give different views.

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If the object is to see the Yukon, there is also the option of renting a car. We did this last year. You cover the same territory as the bus but at your own pace. I can't recall how many times we stopped for Kodak moments but they were a substantial number. I even got some photo's of the train.

We made it to Emerald Lake, spent about 30 minutes there and headed back. Border crossings both ways were no problem. I would recommend this or the train.

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Thanks for the info. After reading another thread about renting a car and the amazing descriptions, I reserved a car and printed Murray's guide. Thanks to this board, I expect that this is a far superior tour than the bus.

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I booked a car for Monday, May 12th. We're in port for 14 hours, so I think we'll appreciate having the added mobility. There's just two of us, so if we make friends on the cruise, we can bring them along!

 

You may want to check to see if you, presumably as a Canadian, can drive a US registered car into Canada on a tour. Within the last few months when I checked Canadian customs regulations alowed you to bring one in but only to go to one specific location (the rental car location) and did not permit you to drive it on a tour.

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That's weird. I've rented cars in Seattle, driven to Vancouver, then driven back to Seattle for a return flight, and have never had a problem. The Canada border people have never asked how long I plan to stay in Canada (I am a Canadian citizen). I can't imagine why I would not be allowed to re-enter my native country in a rental car unless I plan to leave the car in Canada - that just sounds absurd. Anyone else encounter this?

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Thanks for the info. After reading another thread about renting a car and the amazing descriptions, I reserved a car and printed Murray's guide. Thanks to this board, I expect that this is a far superior tour than the bus.

 

Hello...I'm brand new on CC and would like some info as to where you rented your car. We will be leaving Seattle on May 10th and are trying to put some plans together.

Thanks.

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That's weird. I've rented cars in Seattle, driven to Vancouver, then driven back to Seattle for a return flight, and have never had a problem. The Canada border people have never asked how long I plan to stay in Canada (I am a Canadian citizen). I can't imagine why I would not be allowed to re-enter my native country in a rental car unless I plan to leave the car in Canada - that just sounds absurd. Anyone else encounter this?

 

There have been posts about this on these boards. As I understand it a Canadian cannot rent a car in the US and take it into Canada.

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We are planning on booking through Frontier Excursions. They have a couple of different Yukon trips. We are going on a bus trip because you get to stop for photo ops at many spots (no stopping on the train) and see some things you don't get to see on the train. If anyone has gone with this company, how was it?

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That's weird. I've rented cars in Seattle, driven to Vancouver, then driven back to Seattle for a return flight, and have never had a problem. The Canada border people have never asked how long I plan to stay in Canada (I am a Canadian citizen). I can't imagine why I would not be allowed to re-enter my native country in a rental car unless I plan to leave the car in Canada - that just sounds absurd. Anyone else encounter this?

 

Everything I can read on the subject indicates that you may not as a Canadian citizen bring a US rental car into Canada. Here is a link to a CBSA site and if your scroll down to "Temprary Importation ....." you will find information on this. I would also check with your rental company in Skagway, they have told me that I can't rent a car to drive to Whitehorse in. The one time that I did drive a US plated car across the border from Seattle it was a foggy night and planes were not landing at YVR and the customs officer understood the situation and allowed me to drive directly to YVR and pick up my own car. Under certain "hardship" circumstances they will allow you do do this.

 

http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5056-eng.html

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Damn, you're right. I just called CBSA, and they confirmed what you've said. I guess I've just been lucky when I've done it.

 

That ruins my entire plan for our day in Skagway.

 

Any US citizens planning a day trip to Emerald Lake on May 12th that we could ride along with? It appears I need a foreigner to drive me into my own country.

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Sorry about that, but I thought it was better you find out about it now than when you got to the Yukon border. I used to have a connection with Whitehorse pre the highway and I have wanted to drive over see Whitehorse again but was prevented by this rule. Avis had also adivised me that as Skagway was a seasonal operation for them they did not have any Yukon plated cars in Skagway.

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PutterDude - thanks for the heads-up. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know about this. Better to be disappointed now than disappointed at the border. I've canceled my car rental and have booked a tour with Chilkoot Charters. Our government at work.... :(

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Hello...I'm brand new on CC and would like some info as to where you rented your car. We will be leaving Seattle on May 10th and are trying to put some plans together.

Thanks.

 

The only major car rental company is Avis. I've heard of another local company but reviews were not great.

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The WP&YR train ride is considered to be one of the top 10 train rides in the world - the scenery, the engineering and the history are all exciting (well, exciting to many of us), and the ride (to Fraser, BC) doesn't seem long at all. Well worth the $60 extra.

 

Bennett Lake and the Carcross Desert are stops for pretty much every tour bus, as you drive right past them.

 

caribdvr, there are several rail/bus tours to the Yukon available from both cruise and independent operators.

 

Murray

 

we live in Vancouver BC and have taken the train from Vancovuer to Whistler

 

will we see the same on the whipe pass train ride or will it be a some what different

 

I ask as I read thats it s similar

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we live in Vancouver BC and have taken the train from Vancovuer to Whistler. Will we see the same on the white pass train ride or will it be a some what different. I ask as I read thats it s similar

 

The WP&YR trip has NOTHING in common with the Vancouver-Whistler one (I've been on both). Howe Sound is beautiful, the White Pass is spectacular, and the history and engineering you see and hear about on the WP&YR are far more exciting.

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I am a great fan of the WP&YRR trip at least to the Summit then spend the other half of the day exploring Skagway. Between the two you will have a great sense of the gold rush history.

I keep going back and forth about which tour to take...booked White Pass Railway and then changed it to the wilderness safari.

Then folks who have been to Alaska say..."you mean you are not going on the WPRR?" So now I am thinking of switching back.

You suggested exploring Skagway ....what's to see and are there places to eat, salmon bakes and such available without going on a tour?

Suggestions for Skagway? Explore the town and take the evening Train or do the regular ride on the train and explore on our own the rest of the day? HELP!

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Does anyone know of a independent tour that offers the train/kayak/van w/stops on the way back that is similar to the one offered by the cruise ship (RCI)?

 

Also, does the RR cancel the train when it is foggy? I'm thinking a tour group would only cancel if the RR canceled.

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