The White Pass Railway has a 4 hour tour and an 8 hour tour I believe, at least it did last time I was there a couple years ago. If you take the shorter tour you can usually get in another tour if you wish but that will depend on how long your ship is in port.
Sailing on the Carnival Spirit and will be in Skagway on June 6. The most popular excursion is the White Pass Summit Excursion. Was told it was 3-3 1/2 hours round trip. Covers 40 some miles. Trains leave at 8:15 and 12:45. I think there was another time later in the evening but most cruise ships will not still be in port. I checked with Carnival for the price which was $139/person. The train comes and picks you up very close to the ship. You can book by yourself through the website and save $50/person by booking for $89. Couldn't believe the marketup by the cruise. Only thing is you have to pick up your tickets and board at the depot which is about a 5-10 minute walk from the dock. I would walk that 10 times over to save $50/person. The ship is supposed to be there by 7am. We booked for the 8:15 trip due to this being on a Sunday and figuring most shops would not be open until mid morning anyway. This way we can do the train ride in the morning and then have the rest of the afternoon to walk around town.
To Scottie: Someone told me that perhaps the $139 is Candian currency or that you were quoted price for a train/bus combo??? I'm debating on whether to just book direct and be done with it or wait until we depart. I wish Carnival allowed pre-booking tours or at least supplied the prices along with descriptions of shore excursions.
Left side going up and right side going down is more scenic. The seats flip over so you're always facing forward. At the top the left and right side passengers change so the viewing is equal for the whole trip.
The train is definitely worth the extra money. As well as being a train (which most people think is pretty cool these day), it has history and engineering sights that the highway just can't even come close to matching. The best photography is from between the cars on the platforms, but you miss the narration, which is usually very good on the way up and very sparse on the way back down.
Fondy--I got the $139 price directly from Carnival. I called them and they faxed me a list of shore excursions they offer on the cruise to Alaska. No prices were listed so I called back and told them the ones that I was interested in and they told me the price. I would assume that it is USD since it will be paid to the cruise line. I figured that their would be some markup but that is almost 50%. I went ahead and booked directly. I short walk in the morning will just get me good and woke up. Probably need it after breakfast anyway.
Scottie: Thanks for the info. Sad that the Carnival mark-up would be that much so I'm definitely taking your advice and booking direct. We're a family of four so that $200 will certainly come in handy during the cruise.
What number did you use to call Carnival? I'd like to get my grubby little hands on a price list in case there are some other things that we will want to book direct. We've already scheduled whale watching with Captain Larry in Juneau, but I'm a planner so I'll probably try and schedule everything prior to departure.
These forums are excellent for first time cruisers / first time Alaska travelers like me!
I took this rail trip last Sept. and it is great. DON'T sit in the front or rear cars, the deisel exhaust is bad, but thats about the only complaint. The train goes about 20 miles up to the summit at the Canadian border and then goes back down. At times you can see all the way down to the docks in Skagway and see your ships. I would recommend this trip.
We are planning an Alaskan cruise next summer. This will be our 6th cruise, but first Alaskan cruise. My husband would like to take this tour, but I have a question about it. Once you reach the top, are you able to get off and then get back on; or do you just go up & then come straing back down.