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KJ1231

Anchorage/Seward Pre-cruise; Train Questions

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We sail on Radiance from Seward on Friday 6/22. We arrive in Anchorage late Wednesday evening (6/20) so have a whole day in Anchorage on 6/21 before heading to Seward.

On Friday we need to get to Egan Civic Center by 11:30 AM for a 1:00 PM train to Seward. We booked the train through RC. When I called today with some questions I was told it was a 5 hour train ride which means we get into Seward at 6:00 PM, just 2 hours before sailing. Wondering now if we should get the earlier train (6:45 AM) from Anchorage with an 11:05 AM  arrival in Seward? This wouldn't be the RC train so we'd have to get bags from train to port, etc....

Pros and cons of RC train vs. regular train? And getting into Seward at 11:00 AM vs 6:00 PM?

Suggestions for what not to miss in Anchorage?

Thanks in advance....Ken

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The train booked through RC stops feet away from the cruise terminal.

The train booked through The Alaskan Railway stops at the train depot which is a 15 minute walk to the ship, or you can use the free shuttle buses they offer.

I booked Celebrity Southbound last year and booked the train directly.  It sold out months in advance.  Check availability before cancelling the RCI train. 

I did a recap blog of that cruise including the train ride here:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5211-alaska-recap-celebrity-millennium-june-2017/

The train ride is incredible.  So glad I booked it and I got the last two seats when I did.

I'd stick with the RCI booked train, suspect you'll be fine and since it's booked through Royal they won't leave without you.

Either way, have your RCI luggage tags on your bags when you arrive at the train depot in Anchorage, you won't see you bags again until on board so have all your docs and medication in a carry on bag. 

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Is the train you are currently booked on (the one that arrives in Seward at 6:00) booked through or sponsored by Royal ?  If so, you have nothing to worry about.  Even if it runs late, they will hold the ship for you.  If you book something outside of Royal, you are NOT guaranteed to get there on time and the ship COULD leave without you.  I can't imagine anything going SO wrong that you would miss the ship if you are there 9 hours early but it's possible,  I guess.

I'm just a 'fraidy cat so with something like this, I wouldn't consider doing it outside of Royal.  ....but that's just me.

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Did the non Royal sponsored train run in 2014 going from Anchorage to Seward. If I'm recalling correctly there was grocery store right near where the train drops offs if you do the non Royal run.

I personally think it worked great getting in around 11am. Gave some time to check-in  grab a quick bite and explore a nearly empty ship. Once rooms opened, drop off the carry-on bags and then explored Seward. Once nice thing in Seward is they have a free bus that goes around the city, wound up taking that bus to the The Alaska SeaLife Center. Spent some time there then walked around the town a bit. Eventually found a bus stop and took the bus back to the ship.

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IMG_5526.jpg

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Thanks!

Still debating.... the reason I was thinking of taking the earlier train is to spend time in Seward and board earlier. So here are the pros and cons of each train:

Early train (6:45 AM to 11:05 AM):

  • PRO: Cost $108 per person
  • PRO: Arrive in Seward 9 hours before sailing allowing time to familiarize with ship and spend time in Seward
  • CON: Need to be at train depot in Anchorage by 5:45 AM - long day
  • CON: 1/2 mile walk or cab from depot to port with luggage (or will RC pick it up for us - not clear?)

Late train (1:00 PM to 6:00 PM(?))

  • CON: Cost $125 per person
  • CON: Arrive in Seward a lot closer to sailing time - is the arrival around 5:30 PM? (Based on the published time for the early train) no time to spend in Seward
  • PRO: Need to be at Egan Center in Anchorage at 11:30 AM - can sleep in a bit....
  • PRO: Train drops us at the dock

Decisions, decisions......

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12 minutes ago, KJ1231 said:

CON: 1/2 mile walk or cab from depot to port with luggage (or will RC pick it up for us - not clear?)

Since that train is not arranged with Royal, they will not pick up your luggage and you'll have to bring it to the ship

12 minutes ago, KJ1231 said:

Late train (1:00 PM to 6:00 PM(?))

  • PRO: Luggage will be taken by Royal before you board the train, and will be on the ship by the time the train arrives

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Helps any... In 2014 a shuttle/bus ran between the drop off for the train and the ship. Luggage, dropped it off at the Anchorage station and didn't see it again until it was delivered on the ship.

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Just now, CGTLH said:

Helps any... In 2014 a shuttle/bus ran between the drop off for the train and the ship. Luggage, dropped it off at the Anchorage station and didn't see it again until it was delivered on the ship.

Twangster said the same thing about the luggage...

@twangster was the train ride really 3 hours? According to the schedule it's 4+:

Coastal Classic Train

Anchorage → Girdwood → Seward
Daily service May 12 – September 16, 2018

From/To Depart Arrive
Anchorage — Girdwood 6:45 AM 8:00 AM
Girdwood* — Seward 8:05 AM 11:05 AM

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@KJ1231 Would say the 4+ hours is accurate. First few pictures where I'm starting to see the ship was around 11. Don't remember exactly when I left Anchorage.

 

Yay Google history...

Left the hotel and got to the train station around 5:30 am. Show departing around 6:45 am arrived in Seward around 11:15 am. Moving time was just under 5 hours.

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4 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Since that train is not arranged with Royal, they will not pick up your luggage and you'll have to bring it to the ship

  • PRO: Luggage will be taken by Royal before you board the train, and will be on the ship by the time the train arrives

Not sure that is accurate. 

My only experience is with Celebrity taking the non-Celebrity train at 6:45am, June 2017.  In that case, they know 98% of people on the train are cruise passengers.  I put my Celebrity luggage tags on my bags at my hotel,  took my hotel shuttle to the train depot and handed my luggage to the workers there who are set up to collect ship luggage.  I never saw it again until it arrived in my cabin.  To be clear, I booked the Alaskan Railroad direct, it was not through Celebrity.  Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International and both owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and we shared excursions at other ports with RCI so I am fairly certain it will operate the same for RCI as it did for Celebrity last year. 

In either case of booking the train through the cruise line or booking it directly, they don't load luggage on the train.  In both cases luggage is loaded on a cargo truck and they drive it down the highway to the ship.  Passengers are worth more so they would rather have more passenger cars in the train versus luggage cars.

Either way, make sure you have all your cruise documentation and passports with you on the train.  Do not leave them in luggage since you won't see your luggage again until it reaches your cabin and you will need your documentation to check in at the Seward cruise terminal.

 

4 hours ago, KJ1231 said:
  • CON: 1/2 mile walk or cab from depot to port with luggage (or will RC pick it up for us - not clear?)

 

Referencing the same Celebrity cruise in June 2017, they had free buses to take you from the train depot in Seward to the cruise terminal.  I chose to walk because it was a beautiful day, but they were very clear, the shuttle buses were free and willing to take us.  They passed us as we walked to the ship. 

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4 hours ago, KJ1231 said:

Twangster said the same thing about the luggage...

@twangster was the train ride really 3 hours? According to the schedule it's 4+:

Coastal Classic Train

Anchorage → Girdwood → Seward
Daily service May 12 – September 16, 2018

From/To Depart Arrive
Anchorage — Girdwood 6:45 AM 8:00 AM
Girdwood* — Seward 8:05 AM 11:05 AM

In places the tracks are shared with other trains, passenger and cargo, so sometimes you need to pull onto a siding to let the other train pass.  This causes schedules to be somewhat different for each trip.  I posted our actual times above, 3:58.

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Seward isn't a big town.  Here is the difference between where the train booked through the cruise line stops versus booking directly through the Alaskan Railroad:

seward.thumb.jpeg.9a7f65e79a051fb336523ec38bf92633.jpeg

The charter train is only ship passengers since the cruise line chartered the whole train so they can stop right at the cruise terminal.  The regular train station where anyone can walk up and buy a ticket requires a proper train station and employees who can sell tickets, etc.  Therefore when you book it directly the train goes to the regular or public train station 1/2 mile away from the cruise terminal.

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OK, so this is my first ever cruise.  We have scheduled to take the RCL train departing at 1pm.  Am I understanding correctly that we will complete our check in before boarding the train and when we get there we just walk on? I'm assuming we are getting our luggage tags and boarding pass when we get to the downtown Anchorage station?

 

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Did a bunch of research, most of which seems to support the notion that your luggage can be dropped off in Anchorage and delivered straight to the ship regardless of which train you take.  here is one quote that seemed to explain it best...
"I booked the train on my own last year. When you arrive at the train station there will be lines for each cruise line. Get in the Royal Caribbean line and check your luggage. You won't see it again until it is dropped at your cruise room door. When we got to Seward we actually checked onto the ship and then left again to explore Seward, but in hindsight that was not necessary. When we re boarded the ship there was no one waiting to be processed. It took 90 minutes at 1130 am and would have taken 5 minutes at 7 pm."
 

If you look at a photo of the Anchorage depot you wil see a large whote tent structure off to the right of the actual depot.  I beleive that is where you actually drop off your luggage.  I highly suspect the luggage dropped off for the early morning train goes on the same truck as the RC train later in the day.

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Twangster,

You also booked the Goldstar service correct?  Do you happen to know if the cars that RCCL uses are as nice as the Goldstar seating?  From my own research, it looks like they are.  I think the only difference is that a meal was served in your class on your train.  RCCL is an option?

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The charter train through Royal does not offer Goldstar service.   It is all standard seating.

FNTNoTm.jpg

If you book directly with the Alaskan Railroad then Goldstar is offered but it sells out quickly.  

In this picture the one level passenger car to the right is the standard service (seating pictured above).  The two level car on the left with the skylight ceiling is a Goldstar car.

i4T3CzT.jpg

I8GjFKU.jpg

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We took the RCL train last August and as you can see it was similar to Goldstar, but had a table for dinner service and drinks.  Going again this year and definitely planning the same train.  Just not enough time to explore Seward.

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IMG_0254.JPG

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On 5/25/2018 at 8:04 PM, twangster said:

Not sure that is accurate. 

My only experience is with Celebrity taking the non-Celebrity train at 6:45am, June 2017.  In that case, they know 98% of people on the train are cruise passengers.  I put my Celebrity luggage tags on my bags at my hotel,  took my hotel shuttle to the train depot and handed my luggage to the workers there who are set up to collect ship luggage.  I never saw it again until it arrived in my cabin.  To be clear, I booked the Alaskan Railroad direct, it was not through Celebrity.  Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International and both owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and we shared excursions at other ports with RCI so I am fairly certain it will operate the same for RCI as it did for Celebrity last year. 

In either case of booking the train through the cruise line or booking it directly, they don't load luggage on the train.  In both cases luggage is loaded on a cargo truck and they drive it down the highway to the ship.  Passengers are worth more so they would rather have more passenger cars in the train versus luggage cars.

Either way, make sure you have all your cruise documentation and passports with you on the train.  Do not leave them in luggage since you won't see your luggage again until it reaches your cabin and you will need your documentation to check in at the Seward cruise terminal.

 

Referencing the same Celebrity cruise in June 2017, they had free buses to take you from the train depot in Seward to the cruise terminal.  I chose to walk because it was a beautiful day, but they were very clear, the shuttle buses were free and willing to take us.  They passed us as we walked to the ship. 

Does anyone have an update to this? Specifically, will the early morning Anchorage to Seward train take and deliver the RC passenger's luggage? If not, what's the usual procedure to luggage on the MORNING train?

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