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Ship to train to Denali, all in one day - only with Princess

Princess luxury rail cars, Alaska's best rail experience, transport you in style. Following the Alaska Railroad route between Whittier and Fairbanks, the incredible vistas are complemented by tableside beverage service and natural history narratives from our car managers.

There's nothing between you and the wonders of Alaska when you step out to our open-air observation platform. The route from dock to Denali is not only spectacular - it's a National Scenic Byway.
Domed windows are large and provide unobstructed viewing opportunities. Relax and enjoy the ride. Awe-inspiring views of spectacular sights such as the towering Alaska Range, Matanuska Valley, the monumental; bridge that spans Hurricane Gulch, raging rivers and immeasurable forests
Getting to the wilderness of Denali is now quicker and easier. A new exclusive service from Princess allows you to step off your cruise ship in Whittier, onto your Princess railcar and arrive at your wilderness lodge that same afternoon. Or, on southbound itineraries, leave the Denali area and enjoy a direct link to your awaiting cruise ship in Whittier. Fewer transfers and less time waiting makes for a more relaxing and hassle-free trip.

See the Princess Alaska Wilderness Lodges and check out the variety of activities available.

Wrap-around glass domed ceilings ensure unobstructed views of Alaska's spectacular scenery while you relax and enjoy the full beverage service and informative commentary provided by our on-board Hosts.

Open air viewing platforms allow you to step outdoors for the perfect snapshot or breath of fresh air. Dining choices include an elegant dining salon with picture windows, fine china and a menu of delectable entrees prepared to your order or a bistro car serving delicious snacks and beverages in a more casual setting. Add reserved seating, plenty of legroom and friendly, attentive service and the choice is clear.

Cross mighty bridges

like Hurricane Gulch -

at 265 feet, it's the highest

bridge on the Alaska Railroad.

Direct-to-the-Wilderness® Alaska rail service

Princess Cruises exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness service allows you to step off your cruise ship in Whittier onto your unique Princess Alaska rail and arrive at your Princess wilderness lodge that same afternoon. Or, on southbound Alaska cruisetour itineraries, leave the Denali area and enjoy a direct link to your awaiting cruise ship in Whittier. Because fewer transfers and less time waiting makes for a more relaxing and hassle-free trip.
Sightseeing from Alaska Rail Service - Princess Cruises

Cruise Ship to Train to Denali — All in One Day

Our exclusive Alaska cruise ship-rail-lodge connection takes you straight to Denali National Park. While others are still in transit, you'll be enjoying more time at one of our two Denali area lodges where fabulous Princess service meets the real Alaskan wilderness.

Luxury Dining on board the Alaska Rail Service

Fewer Transfers, Less Time Waiting

Disembark while you're still in the glow of your Alaska cruise. Then step directly from your ship onto your waiting railcar. Sit back, read, chat, dine and marvel at the panoramic vistas from the domed observation lounge. Arrive at Denali that same day ready to experience the wonders you've traveled so far to see.

Couple at a Wilderness Lodge

More Time at Denali

Wake up to the sights and sounds of Denali National Park. You'll bask in the pleasure of knowing you've reached your destination nearly a full day earlier than with any other Alaska cruisetour company. That means more time to sit by the fire, linger over grilled salmon and soak up the comfort and luxury of the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.

Aerial view of the Princess Rail Service

A Princess Cruises Exclusive

 Luxury rail service direct to Denali will make all the difference in your Alaska cruise vacation. It's one of the many reasons Princess Cruises is the leader in Alaska.

Alaska Brochure - Princess Cruises

The Princess® Alaska Vacation Experience pamphlet

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So incredibly beautiful, you'll think you stepped into a painting. This is Alaska as seen from the panoramic perspective of your dazzling Princess cruise ship. Monumental glaciers are natures draw and Alaska's waterways reveal more of these thrilling Ice Age giants than anywhere else on earth. Alaska's Inside Passage is one of the most scenic sea-lanes in the world, home to bald eagles, whales, sea lions, otters, brown bears, mountain goats and flocks of seabirds. Plus you'll visit a variety of flavorful ports of call full of rich history and native culture.

Two new rail services allow you more time

at Denali exclusively from Princess.

Denali ExpressSM
Direct to Denali. Travel between Whittier and the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.

McKinley ExpressSM
Direct to McKinley. Travel between Whittier and Talkeetna, then by motorcoach to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

(times are approximate and subject to change)

Princess Alaska Rail Service
Fact Sheet

  • Introduction
    Traveling daily from May through September between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks, Princess Tours' Ultra Dome rail cars are the most luxurious of their kind. Princess also offers Direct to the Wilderness rail service between the cruise terminal in Whittier and Princess Denali-area wilderness lodges.

    Mid-May to Mid-September

    Tour Packages
    Approximately 30 cruisetour packages and several rail-and-hotel-only itineraries are available. Most cruisetours and rail tours include luxury rail travel and overnight accommodations at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.

    Princess rail cars offer full-dome panoramic view, bar service and passenger seating in dome, open-air outdoor observation platforms, full service dining salon with meals prepared to order, circular stairways to upper level, stainless steel self-contained kitchen and wireless public address system. Six cars comply with American With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, including convenient hydraulic lifts to lower level.

    -Princess rail cars are rated as Alaska's number one rail experience and have set the standard for luxury rail travel in the nation.
    -Princess rail cars feature some of the largest domed windows ever built for a rail car.
    -Princess rail cars offer wide aisles and open-air outdoor observation platforms.

    Total upper level seating for 10 Ultra Dome cars combined = 880

    Princess pioneered luxury rail travel in Alaska with the introduction of the original Super Dome cars in 1984. As the Alaska travel industry grew, Princess introduced the largest passenger rail cars in the world, the Ultra Dome Series I cars in 1988 and the Ultra Dome Series II cars in 1993. Series III cars were added in 1997 and Series IV cars in 1999.

    Built at a total cost of $14.3 million and totally refurbished in 2005, these 10 cars will continue to set the standard for luxury rail travel in the nation.

    Anchorage/Fairbanks Schedule (times are approximate)
    Depart Anchorage 8:15 am, Arrive Talkeetna 11:05 am
    Depart Talkeetna 11:15 am, Arrive Denali 3:45 pm
    Depart Denali 4:00 pm, Arrive Fairbanks 8:00 pm

    Depart Fairbanks 8:15 am, Arrive Denali 12:00 pm
    Depart Denali 12:15 pm, Arrive Talkeetna 4:40 pm
    Depart Talkeetna 4:50 pm, Arrive Anchorage 8:00 pm

    Direct to the Wilderness Schedule (times are approximate)
    Northbound Cruisetours disembarking in Whittier:
    Denali Express: Whittier -- 8:15am/ Denali -- 5:45pm
    McKinley Express*: Whittier -- 7:15am/ Talkeetna -- 12:45p

    Southbound Cruisetours embarking in Whittier
    Denali Express: Denali -- 8:00 am/ Whittier -- 5:30pm
    McKinley Express*: Talkeetna -- 1:00p/ Whittier -- 6:15pm

    * McKinley Express service uses chartered rail cars with full-view, large domed windows. Operated by Princess staff, the rail service features onboard narration and tableside snack/beverage service plus a bistro car with light fare and beverages.

    Number of staff
    19 full-time and 250 seasonal, with approximately 6 to 8 service staff aboard each rail car.



    THE ALASKAN EXPERIENCE cannot be captured in one single image or moment. For our guests, the journey north is a nonstop odyssey of glorious landscapes, majestic wildlife and exploration of some of the most remarkable points on the planet. And with Princess as your guide, you can count on seeing nothing but the best this amazing land has to offer.


    Up north there's a land without fences. Animals outnumber people, sunlight shines at midnight and nature reigns. Life is different. This northern frontier still boasts pristine landscapes, majestic wildlife and a coastline that is one of the most enthralling waterways in the world. Beyond Alaska's fortress-like glacier walls lie scenic ports of call, treasured national parks, and abundant wildlife. .....and, with more than 1,400 miles north to south and 2,400 miles east to west, Alaska is truly a land of epic proportions.

    Like frozen sentries standing guard along the glistening coastline, these massive bodies of ice offer some of the most spectacular sights and sounds you'll experience on your Alaskan adventure.

    Regularly shedding enormous chunks of ice into the sea, these wonders of nature can be found in pristine Glacier Bay, along the wandering banks of College Fjord, and amid the cascading waterfalls of Tracy Arm - all of which can be savored from the deck of a Princess cruise ship.


    When you consider that one-half of all U.S. national park land is in Alaska, you begin to understand the scope and diversity of this vast expanse. Stretching across a staggering 13.2 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve may be the largest, but its sister parks share in the beauty and wonder.


    Glacier Bay

    National Park
    Set on the state's southeastern coast, this glacier-rich territory is equally abundant in snowcaps, fjords and wildlife.

    Denali National Park

    Mt. McKinley keeps a watchful eye on the caribou, moose, bear and gray wolves that roam this 6 million acre wilderness.

    Wrangell-St.Elias National Park

    The highest coastal mountains in the world can be found here, near the Canadian border in south central Alaska.

    Kenai Fjords National Park

    This rocky southeastern coast of the Kenai Peninsula in south central Alaska is home to more than 100 bird species.

    Gates of the Arctic

    Located north of the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range, this wide swath of tundra is unparalleled in its beauty.

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