Skagway – Cruise Ship Central

Please note, this post is part of a series. Click here to read it from the beginning.


When you spend any time in South-East Alaska, it soon becomes apparent that a lot revolves around the cruise ship arrivals. In Haines, where I was staying, they receive one cruise ship at a time. When I arrived in Skagway, there were four docked at the same time. Apparently, they have room for a fifth, this was a relatively quiet day. If you want to take part in excursions from either town, I suggest you check the cruise ship schedules first. If there aren’t any docked, the excursions don’t run. At one point when planning my trip, I’d considered staying over in Skagway. I’m glad I picked Haines instead.

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Right from Sacramento, I had been following the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. Skagway is the point at which all those hopeful young men would have set off on foot, or with horses if they were lucky, to claim their fortune. Although  thousands went in search of gold, apparently only a few actually discovered any. Many of the men returned to Skagway empty-handed, and set up businesses to sell to newcomers who didn’t yet know there was no gold.

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My main purpose of visiting Skagway was to join the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad excursion. I wanted to say that I had visited the Yukon. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t get the chance, but more about that later. I’m glad I got to stop off in Skagway, though. However, I’m not sure who had the tougher deal. The early Gold Rush explorers faced with an unforgiving trek up into the mountains, or today’s travellers having to navigate through 10,000 American, Japanese and European tourists as they flood off the cruise ships.

I’m still here!

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on the updates from the past few days. My trip is going well, but I’ve been in Haines AK where wi-fi is sketchy at best. I have now arrived in Anchorage, where the sun is shining and the temperature is still warm at 10.30pm.

Here’s what I’ve been up to since I left the ferry…

I arrived in Haines, a tiny but friendly town, where I chilled out and explored for a couple of days. There is some incredible art there, both Native and western. I got to see two bald eagles up close at the Bald Eagle Foundation. That was where I also met Merlin the hawk. And, Haines is also home to the world’s largest hammer museum (although I can’t imagine it has much competition).

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Yesterday (Wednesday) was a bit of a disappointment. I caught the fast ferry to Skagway to go on the White Pass and Yukon railroad, as I had been told by the excursion company that I could travel into The Yukon. It was only after I got on the train that I discovered that excursion barely goes into British Columbia. It is a beautiful train journey, but I wouldn’t have paid what I did for it had I known I wasn’t going into The Yukon. Skagway wasn’t my cup of tea, either. Me and 10,000 cruise ship passengers rammed into a tiny little town. No thanks. And apparently that’s not a busy day for Skagway. There were four ships in when I got there, someone told me they have room for one more!

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