Inside Passage Alaska Cruise Part Five: SKAGWAY

This was a fairly short day in port—we arrived at 7:00 am and would be underway at 4:00 pm. The White Pass Scenic Railway tour that we had booked began at 8:10 am and returned around noon. Interestingly, the tracks were on the dock and it alongside the our ship (Celebrity Millennium) and two other cruise ships—a Princess and a Norwegian lines.

About Skagway from Celebrity Today newsletter:

“In 1887 Captain William Moore and his son ventured up the Chilkoot Inlet, and built a small cabin at the mouth of the Skagway river. Previously unexplored and uninhabited this piece of land, named Skagway ,“land of the North Wind,” by nearby tribes, became the largest city in Alaska within 10 short years.”

About today’s tour: White Pass Scenic Railway
“Embark on an unforgettable journey through Skagway’s most historic attractions aboard the “Scenic Railway of the World,” an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Your 20-mile adventure begins at tidewater, taking you through ruggedly stunning terrain to reach the 2,865 foot summit of White Pass. See the original Klondike Gold Rush Trail from your window. Relish in the regions many wonders, including skyhigh trestles and remote valleys while learning about the railway’s impressive history.”

“…. Ride in vintage rail cars as you retrace the original route to the White Pass summit. Your fully narrated tour features pianoramas of moutains, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles, and historic sites. See the original Klondike Trail of ’98 worn into the rocks, a permanent tribute to the thousads of souls that passed this route seeking fortune. Experience this unique railroad that symbolizes accomplishment in the adventure of pioneering—triumph over challenge.”

Train engine, taken from second car back

Train engine, taken from second car back

View of second White Rail Pass train, viewed from our window

View of second White Rail Pass train, viewed from our window

The railway adventure was all that but, mainly, there were trees—seemingly millions of them. Our first real view of the vast wilderness that is Alaska—both breathtaking and mind-boggling. Unfortunately, it was a drizzly day so mountain views were obstructed, but this alllowed for some dramatic view of fog and cloud formations.DSCN2284

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This was a round-trip and we turned at the halfway mark, giving us views of the other side going back. The entire route went into the Yukon Territory. There was a 7-hour tour that went all the way to the Yukon, returning by bus via another scenic route. Frankly, I’m glad we didn’t take that one. There was another 4.5 hour tour that included going through Skagway that we would have like to take, but it was sold out.

Because we had not had time for a good breakfast, we re-boarded to have some lunch upon our return to the dock. Because of our early departure, there had been no time to visit the town of Skagway on our own. However, this seemed my day to be trip weary, so decided to take it easy. There was a 3:30pm presentation Beyond the Podium presentation in the ship’s theater about tomorrow’s destination: The Hubbard Glacier. Attending that was a great call—we not only heard all about the Glacier from a naturalist, but we also learned the best time to view it and from where…beginning at 6:00 am in the 11th deck cocktail lounge where he would be narrating and pointing out areas of interest.

Tonight’s dinner was formal, and we decided to pass on that in favor of something light so we could retire comfortably early—cheese, crackers, cold cuts and the like with some wine, and ice cream for “dessert.” (Cruiseship fare is generally very rich and too plentiful—it’s SO easy to over eat and drink, and we’d already done lots of both!)

We are really sorry that we had not visited the town of Skagway. Oh well, when travelling we always leave something undone as a reason to return…that could be it for this trip….

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