One of the most popular attractions in Alaska, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, is being adjusted for the summer Alaska season. Due to the border controls between the Alaskan and Canadian Borders, the train’s operators are making some changes to cover the first 20 miles of the track.
At least one cruise line has announced re-arranging booked tours to include a roundtrip railway trip that would remain in the United States. In a typical year, thousands of cruise ship passengers book a tour on what is otherwise called The Scenic Railway of the World.
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad Adjusted for This Year
Built more than 120 years ago through Alaska’s and the Yukon’s most spectacular terrain, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad is a must-do for cruise ship guests. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on the Canadian border, the tour is being changed. It is important to know that it’s not closed, and the operator is just making changes.
Tyler Rose, a white Pass executive, said there were several reasons why the company took the decision to change the offering: “We just couldn’t find a workable solution to it. It was logistics, some restrictions. The uncertainty around wait times — it just wasn’t possible for us to provide the consistent, high-quality service without delays. And we thought it would create a significant disruption to the passenger experience.”
During the railroad trip, guests would need to have their ArriveCan app scanned, or have a printed copy of their QR code ready, so officials could check it before the train would proceed on its journey.
Both sides of the border worked through a range of possibilities that would have enabled the trains to operate but to no avail. Instead, the tour will only cover the first 20 miles of track and remain in the U.S.
Yukon’s Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai: “We essentially went through a series of problem-solving on border issues and ensuring that we would have the ability for White Pass to come back and not have delays. And you know, we solved those issues. So yeah, this week was it was very tough to get that news.”
Royal Caribbean Offers Alternative Railroad Tour
One cruise line, Royal Caribbean, has already sent out a letter to guests informing them of the canceled tour and offered them an alternative option.
Stating operational challenges that would cause significant delays at the border, Royal Caribbean will offer a roundtrip train that remains within the U.S.:
“The White Pass Railway tour operator has advised they’re temporarily suspending any train services into Canadian territory for the 2022 season. Unfortunately, this impacts several of the shore excursions operating out of Skagway, Alaska. As a result, we’ve modified this tour so that guests will now take a roundtrip train that remains within the U.S.”
The railroad is still operating the White Horse summit excursion. Guests follow the original route to the White Pass Summit, passing Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point, and Dead Horse Gulch. At the same time, they enjoy breathtaking panoramas of mountains, glaciers, gorges, and waterfalls.
After reaching 2,865 feet at the White Pass Summit, the train makes a loop and descends the pass, allowing everyone to take advantage of the spectacular views during the round trip.
The railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, an honor it shares with the Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty.
Royal Caribbean has four ships operating in Alaska this season. Radiance of the Seas starts operations today, April 29. Serenade of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, and Quantum of the Seas will start operations in the upcoming weeks.