Frequently Asked Questions about Alaska Rail Tours
Please Note: For the 2021 season, rail travel will be aboard the Alaska Railroad rail cars. Blue and Yellow Denali Rail Tours will include Adventure Class with upgrades available for GoldStar Service. Escorted and Explorer Tours will include GoldStar service. Similar rail service may be substituted.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is included in the Princess Rail Tour Package?
Alaska rail tours include rail travel; overnight(s) stay at a Denali-area hotel and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge; and transfers and baggage handling from the train depot to our lodges.
What rail tour destinations do you offer?
Princess offers four picturesque rail tour destinations in Alaska to choose from, each with its own unique activities and wildlife to enjoy: Denali National Park, South Denali, Anchorage, Fairbanks. Princess also offers land tours to Copper River Valley, Alyeska, Kenai Peninsula, and Seward.
How is seating arranged in the dome area of the train?
You and your traveling companions will be assigned to seats as indicated on your boarding pass. Your boarding pass will be assigned at the embarking rail station. You may be sat in forward facing seats or at tables. Tables generally hold four adults, two facing in each direction.
It is customary to change places throughout the trip to allow for a different perspective. Alaska rail tours will be on Princess railcars or similar luxury railcars wherein seating will be similarly designated.
What if I want to add additional nights at Mt. McKinley or Denali?
You may book one of the packaged vacations Princess offers, or we can assist you in customizing a rail package that suits your needs. You have the flexibility of deciding where and when you want to go.
If you decide to add an overnight once you are at Mt. McKinley or Denali, see the front desk.
What activities do you offer at the Lodge?
Both lodges offer a variety of optional excursions that can be reserved once you arrive at the lodge. Some options for each property are listed below:
Check out more information on activities offered at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.
Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge
- Horse Back Trail Ride
- Trapper Creek Homestead Tour
- Sled Dog Kennel Tour
- Wilderness Jet Boat Adventure
Check out more information on activities offered at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.
Where do I get my boarding passes?
You will either receive your boarding pass in your welcome envelope at your hotel or at the rail depot. Please have your ID available.
What time should I arrive at the train depot?
You should arrive at the depot 30 minutes prior to departure time.
Where are the Princess Lodges located?
The Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is located in Denali State Park, a 45 minute motor coach transfer from the Talkeetna depot. The transfer is included in your Alaska rail tour. Click here for maps and directions to Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.
Denali-area hotels are further north, located just one mile from the Denali National Park entrance. The hotels sit high above the Nenana River and are only minutes from the Denali National Park Visitor Center.
How do I get from my hotel to the train depot and reverse?
Princess provides transfers between the train depot and your Denali-area hotel or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge for all Alaska rail tours. Guests not booked on a Princess package must purchase a transfer from train depot to their lodging in Denali or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, dependent upon their location of stay.
Are there sleeping cars onboard?
Each leg of your rail journey onboard Princess Rail, or similar luxury rail service, is short enough that it is not necessary to overnight. There are no sleeping cars.
Will I be able to see any wildlife?
Princess railcars, or similar luxury railcars, offer our travelers an excellent view of all the majesty Alaska has to offer. Watch for moose and bear!
Do the windows on the train open?
No, but if you desire fresh air, we do offer the largest open-air viewing platforms on the Alaska Railroad.
Is there a place to store my luggage?
Passengers are limited to two pieces of checked baggage, not to exceed 50 pounds per bag, that will be checked with the Alaska Railroad. Each guest may also bring one carry-on, not to exceed 15x14x6, which will be stored under the guest’s seat on the viewing level. Travel documents, passports, identification, medication, cameras, binoculars, and /or valuables should be packed in this carry-on.
Wheeled carry-on cases that are often used as airline carry-ons are too large and not suitable as hand-carried luggage on the train.
Is there a dining car?
Yes, each car has a dining room. Princess Rail offers full-service breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all custom made to order. You will have the opportunity to visit the dining room and purchase freshly prepared food from the menu.
Is Princess Rail wheelchair accessible?
Each train has at least one Princess railcar, or similar luxury railcar, that is fully accessible to wheelchairs. A specially-designed lift makes getting on and off the train easy and safe. There are also accessible restrooms on each of the accessible railcars.
Can I smoke on board?
There is no smoking allowed in the railcars or on the outside viewing platform.
Can you cater to special meal requirements?
Since all of our dishes are prepared to order we will do our best to accommodate all dietary concerns. Please notify the reservation center of any special dietary requirements at the time of booking.
What is the temperature on the train?
We do our best to maintain a comfortable temperature for all. Bring a light jacket if you wish to visit the outside viewing platform.
What are the tipping guidelines for the train staff?
Recommended tips to the train staff and host guide are $2 to $4 per person. Tips for meal and bar service are also discretionary, but 15%-20% of pre-tax bill is customary in most Alaska restaurants. All tipping is a matter of individual preference and is always voluntary.
Can I use my credit card while on board?
Yes, a credit or debit card is required for all purchases onboard Princess Rail Service. However, we recommend having cash on hand for optional gratuities.
What is there to do onboard the train?
Sit back, relax, and watch the wonders of Alaska’s wilderness drift by your window. Or visit the outdoor platforms, dine on freshly prepared cuisine, watch for wildlife, visit the rolling gift shop, listen to the car manager share stories and natural history, sign up for a rafting trip at the Princess Lodge, get to know your traveling companions, enjoy a cocktail, chat with the conductors…
What type of clothing should I wear while on tour?
Given Alaska’s fluctuating climate, we strongly suggest you dress in layers and wear comfortable, low-heeled walking shoes or sturdier shoes for activities such as hiking. You may want to bring a fold-up umbrella and a light jacket in your carry-on.
Can you guarantee that I’ll see the wildlife and scenic attractions described in each tour?
We cannot guarantee that you will see wildlife. Our tour suppliers make every effort to fulfill a tour’s description. However, weather, time of season, and other factors beyond our control can affect wildlife sightings and scenic views.
What are the advantages of organized excursions?
There are a number of advantages to taking organized tours offered by Princess, including:
Quality – We are well acquainted with the areas in which we operate our tours and have carefully selected the most reputable tour operators.
Variety – All of our tours are designed to feature the most popular and interesting attractions at each destination and to satisfy the diverse interests of our passengers.
Service – By having your tours organized onboard the train or by the Tour Desk in your hotel, you can maximize your time at each destination and avoid having to make last-minute arrangements.
Safety – Your safety and security is of the utmost importance to us and every effort is made to ensure each tour operates as safely as possible.
Value – We endeavor to select local tour operators who provide excursions of the highest quality. We carefully monitor prices to ensure you are receiving a good value.
Have a question that we did not answer?
Email our reservations center or call us at 800 426-0500.